Author: Ginger Dolden

This Week’s Headlines

CAPTION: Masked audience members at a New York Philharmonic concert in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Photo: New York Philharmonic


Masks for audiences and artists? Different protocols as fall concert season approaches

Big turnout for East Texas Symphony Orchestra’s second annual park concert

New two-week arts festival in NC: 200+ events, Charlotte Symphony world premiere of “Blackstar Symphony, The Music of David Bowie”

Ten musicians join Cincinnati Symphony

Boise Philharmonic appoints Tim Young as executive director

Charles Dickerson: re-energizing Inner City Youth Orchestra of LA and South Side Chicago Youth Orchestra amid pandemic

Berlin Philharmonic appoints Esa-Pekka Salonen as composer in residence

Jaap Van Zweden to become Seoul Philharmonic’s music director in 2024

Obituary: Pianist and conductor Lars Vogt, 51

Obituary: Longtime supporter of orchestras and the arts Helen Schaefer, 89

Bard Festival takes a deep dive into Rachmaninoff

Pan-Caucasian orchestra brings together musicians from Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and nearby countries

This Week’s Headlines

Lina González-Granados leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo: Los Angeles Times


Review: Lina González-Granados makes LA Phil debut at Hollywood Bowl

Pittsburgh Symphony and musicians agree on one-year contract, with pay increases

Wilbur Lin named Missouri Symphony Orchestra’s music director

Central Wisconsin Symphony appoints Graham Emberton concertmaster

Wartime music: Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra’s summer performances in support of Ukraine, with refugee musicians in the ensemble

Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival and diversity

American Symphony Orchestra performs Joe Hisaishi scores for Miyazaki films in NYC

Salzburg, Hamburg, and beyond: Pittsburgh Symphony’s European tour

Jack Everly, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s longtime principal pops conductor, to move to emeritus role at end of 2025-26 season

Music director appointments in Singapore, Florida, and Texas

New development director for Carmel Symphony Orchestra: Tracy Barron

TRACY BARRON has joined Indiana’s Carmel Symphony Orchestra as director of development. A CSO board member from 2002 to 2006, Barron has over 30 years of experience in the non-profit sector, with posts as executive director for the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library Foundation, the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, and the Zionsville Education Foundation. Barron is an alumna of Carmel High School and holds an undergraduate degree is in arts administration. The Carmel Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1975, is a professional orchestra that is among the resident companies of the Palladium at Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts.

Daniel Gee appointed music director of Santa Barbara Youth Symphony

California’s Santa Barbara Symphony has named DANIEL GEE as music director of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony for the 2022-23 season. Gee is an assistant professor of music at Westmont College, where he conducts the College Choir and Chamber Singers. The Santa Barbara Symphony’s music education programs include three youth ensembles for students in grades 3 through 12, from beginner to advanced: Camerata Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. Gee has served as assistant conductor for the Long Beach Symphony and associate conductor of Orange County’s Choral Arts Initiative, with conducting experience that includes professional ensembles, church and community groups, and educational settings. Gee received his doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. His work abroad has included teaching and conducting masterclasses at the 2018 Simpósio de Música in São Paulo, Brazil, and performing with the USC Chamber Singers in the Baltics and Poland. He began his music studies studying the cello in his public school music program in Temple City, CA.

Canton Symphony performances at area winery and city plaza

The Canton Symphony presented the first of two summer “Symphony Uncorked” performances on July 19 at Gervasi Vineyard in Canton, Ohio. A string quartet from the orchestra—violinists Erin Redhead and Abigail Tsai, violist Jessica Pasternak, and cellist Michael Koscso—performed in the round the vineyard’s open-air pavilion, with the audience surrounding the musicians. Each member of the quartet spoke about the music; the event featured a cash bar and the Bistro and Crush House were open for dinner before and after the performance. A second event on August 23 will feature Canton Symphony Orchestra cellist Eleanor Lee and double bass Thomas White. More information at The orchestra also will offer two performances this summer in Canton’s new Centennial Plaza; the free performances are sponsored by the Special Improvement District Downtown Canton. A string quartet from the orchestra will perform on August 21 at 6:30pm, and a brass quintet will perform on September 11 at 6:30pm.

At Salzburg, conductor Teodor Currentzis under fire; his orchestra is funded by Russia’s VTB Bank

Austria’s Salzburg Festival “is being overshadowed by the appearance of a conductor whose orchestra and choir are funded by a bank controlled by the Russian government,” writes Kate Connolly in Friday’s (7/22) Guardian (U.K.). “Cultural commentators have described [the] festival, which is also receiving sponsorship money from a foundation with close ties to the Kremlin, of being in the grip of Vladimir Putin’s influence…. The main focus of the row is on Teodor Currentzis, a Greek-Russian conductor, who on Tuesday is due to open the Salzburg festival with a performance by his ensemble, the St. Petersburg-based musicAeterna. The orchestra is funded by VTB Bank … sometimes referred to as Putin’s ‘private bank,’ and … under western sanctions…. Markus Hinterhäuser, the head of the Salzburg Festspiele, has staunchly defended his decision not to cancel the sell-out performance…. ‘Currentzis has never in the slightest taken sides with Putin,’ … Hinterhäuser said…. Separately, the festival has severed links for the time being with [Russian soprano] Anna Netrebko, … and conductor Valery Gergiev, over their close links to Putin.… Currentzis has yet to respond to the scathing criticism…. Austria’s government [says] it is working on new guidelines to govern sponsorship of cultural events.”

Nashville Symphony finds success coping with thousands of migrating birds that had settled at concert hall

“Maybe you’d never heard of purple martins until last year when the roost of more than 100,000 migrating birds was nearing eviction from trees around Nashville Symphony,” writes Tasha A.F. Lemley in Wednesday’s (7/20) WPLN radio (Nashville). “At the symphony, they would swirl around in something like tornadoes of birds until they would land for the night—sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder on branches…. For the last two years, these birds have favored the [trees surrounding the Nashville Symphony’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center] as roosting grounds. Since the symphony’s trees have been recently been removed or deeply pruned, the birds no longer find a resting spot there. But where did they go? … On a Wednesday night in July, [bird biologist Melinda Welton] is waiting out near Jefferson Street bridge gazing at the sunset sky around 3 trees…. [At] 8:40 … in come hundreds of Martins. ‘That’s the spectacle you were hoping to see,’ she says…. Over the next 20 minutes, birds keep coming in. Sometimes a couple dozen at a time, sometimes a couple hundred. All in the dark.”

Printed programs increasingly being replaced by digital programs

“These past few months… patrons are once again filling up the rows of concert halls and theaters,” writes Michael Andor Brodeur in Saturday’s (7/23) Washington Post. But “the rich, thick, glossy, palm-filling printed programs of pre-pandemic days have become harder and harder to find…. Digital programs are increasingly sprouting up as the heir apparent to the printed programs…. The [Bethesda-based National] Philharmonic was spending roughly $20,000 a year … on printing programs for its concerts…. When the pandemic hit, priorities changed.… The digital program, meanwhile, offered a level of flexibility…. ‘If there’s any mistake [or] a last-minute change … we can do that literally moments before the concert starts,’ [President and CEO Jim] Kelly says…. [At] the Kennedy Center, … Eileen Andrews, the arts center’s vice president of public relations, says … the calculation behind their full-scale migration to digital programs over the past two years … was about [reducing] ‘the total amount of paper consumption’ … For the fall season, the Kennedy Center will produce limited runs of streamlined printed programs… But the center intends to refine and improve its digital program platform.… Similarly … the National Philharmonic will limit its output of printed programs.”

Three-week piano festival in Cleveland, including pop-up concert-truck performances

“Piano Days is coming to Cleveland. The festival comes courtesy of the folks behind the quadrennial Cleveland International Piano Competition,” writes Marc Bona in Thursday’s (7/24) Plain Dealer (Cleveland). “Piano Days will be held at assorted venues today through Aug. 14. Over its three-week run, pop-up concerts via a concert truck are set and multiple performances … are scheduled throughout the region. Many events are free…. Director Marissa Moore stressed, … ‘We’re really trying to showcase the piano as really diverse.’ … Moore, a Cleveland native who played flute in the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra … said performances will include trivia-night themed social events and musical comedy…. Classical, rock and jazz pianists will be part of the program, which fits the musical interests of Yaron Kohlberg perfectly. Kohlberg is one half of [Israeli-Palestinian piano pair] Duo Amal and also the president of Piano Cleveland…. The Cleveland International Piano Competition was moved from 2020 to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, a virtual piano competition was held for artist relief. The next CIPC is set for 2024. A Young Artist competition in partnership with Cleveland Institute of Music and Lang Lang Foundation is set for 2023.”

Films-with-orchestra: entry points for audiences, revenue for orchestras

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Assistant Conductor Jacob Joyce conducts a July 7 rehearsal for the orchestra’s “Jurassic Park” concert at Heinz Hall. Photo by Vanessa Abbitt / Post-Gazette

“At a recent orchestra rehearsal in Heinz Hall, a raptor sprang from the shadows repeatedly to the sounds of bellowing brass and squealing strings,” writes Jeremy Reynolds in Monday’s (7/25) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra was preparing for a weekend of concerts of live film with orchestra, in this case, ‘Jurassic Park’ [featuring] John Williams’ score…. The Pittsburgh Symphony’s performances of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Harry Potter’ films typically sell out…. They’re significant revenue generators…. Said Jacob Joyce, the PSO’s assistant conductor … who leads the orchestra’s film concerts, ‘It shows the orchestra off in the best way… These are serious in every way as a Wagner opera or a Beethoven symphony.’ … ‘Cinematic music connects with people enormously,’ PSO music director Manfred Honeck [said] in April…. Converting the music for live performance is an involved process that begins with securing the licensing for the music and screenings from production companies. In the past 10 years, several companies have sprung up to do just that [including] CineConcerts [which] typically puts on around 400 such shows a year at different orchestras, offering a range of classics … to more modern favorites… Other production companies license and package dozens of other films.”