Author: Jennifer Melick

Jennifer Melick, Symphony magazine’s former longtime managing editor, is a freelance journalist based in Detroit.

This Week’s Headlines

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, composer Missy Mazzoli, and Music Director Riccardo Muti at the orchestra’s March 2022 premiere of Mazzoli’s Orpheus Undone. Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Riccardo Muti heads into final season as Chicago Symphony’s music director

At Delaware Symphony, new three-year musicians contract with pay increases and expanded community engagement

Charlotte Symphony aims for more inclusive music-director search (password-protected article)

Baltimore Symphony’s incoming music director, Jonathon Heyward, on obstacles and successes as a Black American conductor

Paducah Symphony appoints Ching-Yi Lin as concertmaster

New World Symphony in radio program celebrating history and influence of the Harlem Renaissance

Obituary: Jorja Fleezanis, longtime Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster, 70

Odesa Philharmonic and its American expat music director, Hobart Earle, in Berlin

Trevor Weston to commission nine composers for “Composing Inclusion” partnership among American Composers Forum, Juilliard School, and New York Philharmonic

Moving New York Philharmonic audiences closer to the stage at renovated David Geffen Hall

Philadelphia Orchestra, on tour in London, substitutes “God Save the Queen” and “Nimrod” after death of QEII


This Week’s Headlines

After Sunday’s Boston Symphony Orchestra concert at Tanglewood, Michael Tilson Thomas, who is being treated for an aggressive form of brain cancer, received a six-minute standing ovation. Photo: Hilary Scott

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Beethoven’s Ninth at Tanglewood

Akron Symphony to debut at Blossom Festival with semi-staged “Sound of Music” also featuring music-theater students

Compare and contrast: American and European classical music tastes

Podium promotions: Nashville Symphony’s Nathan Aspinall and Canton Symphony’s Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz

Study links learning a musical instrument in youth with improved thinking skills in old age

Dallas Symphony musician escapes apartment during flooding—with her violin

New Zealand Symphony’s Gemma New on reaching out to country’s Maori and Pacific communities

Now playing on YouTube: William Bolcom’s second piano concerto, with pianist Igor Levit and Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Classical-music biopic about musician/composer Lydia Tár, starring Cate Blanchett, set for October release

This Week’s Headlines

The Boston Symphony Orchestra celebrated the 90th birthday of composer John Williams (center) at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts. Photo: Hilary Scott/Boston Symphony Orchestra

“Happy birthday” to John Williams at Tanglewood

In Scotland, Philadelphia Orchestra replaces Beethoven 9 with Beethoven 5 when Edinburgh Festival Chorus singers choose not to wear masks

New San Antonio Philharmonic formed by former San Antonio Symphony musicians to launch first season this fall

Saginaw Bay Symphony’s COVID Recovery Campaign, raising funds for revenue lost during pandemic

Vermont Symphony to give world premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s “Riots and Prayers,” with contributions by Vermonters

Sydney Symphony Chief Conductor Simone Young “blown away” by acoustics of renovated concert hall at Sydney Opera House

U.K.’s Glyndebourne Festival invests in emission reductions to achieve sustainably produced opera

Cleveland Orchestra employee files lawsuit after insurance company denies coverage of gender-affirmation surgery

Pay raises for musicians plus efforts to expand diversity for auditioning musicians at Charlotte Symphony

At Illinois Philharmonic, new musicians contract through 2025, plus contract extension for Stilian Kirov

David Cubek named music director of California’s Peninsula Symphony

Minnesota Orchestra appoints Katherine Siochi as principal harp, adds violin and viola section musicians

Cleveland Orchestra appoints Brian Wendel as principal trombone

This Week’s Headlines

The Florida Orchestra and Music Director Michael Francis. Photo: The Florida Orchestra

Florida Orchestra and musicians agree on new three-year contract, with pay raises

Obituary: conductor and educator Larry Rachleff, 67

Tucson Symphony to embrace city’s local heritage in 2022-23 season

Lina González-Granados on her upcoming LA Phil/Hollywood Bowl podium debut

Study: Listeners under 35 are streaming orchestral concerts on TikTok

South Bend Symphony’s free “Lifting Our Voices” concert, with choir, gospel musicians, dancers

Michael Butterman heads into debut season as Williamsburg Symphony’s music director 

Longtime former Charlotte Symphony violinist Leroy Sellers, 85, on bringing diversity to orchestras

Atlanta Symphony’s IN UNISON membership program for LGBTQ+ community

Welcome to the new Hub

On August 1, the League announced that it will soon be launching, an engaging mix of news, articles, and thought leadership. This updated, mobile-friendly version of Symphony will replace The Hub and the physical version of the quarterly magazine (we’ll still print one special Conference issue).

As the League staff focuses on developing this new platform, The Hub will transition away from daily posts. Starting today and continuing until launches, news about the orchestra field will appear in a streamlined way, spotlighting essential headlines and information. Expect new posts every Thursday here at The Hub.

Changes coming to The Hub

On August 1, the League announced that it will soon be launching, an engaging mix of news, articles, and thought leadership. This updated, mobile-friendly version of Symphony will replace The Hub and the physical version of the quarterly magazine (we’ll still print one special Conference issue). The site will provide an accessible way for members to stay informed about the field and their colleagues. Business partners will benefit from a wider range of advertising options and a greater reach.

As the League staff focuses on developing this new platform, The Hub will transition away from daily posts. News about the orchestra field will appear in a slimmed-down way, spotlighting essential headlines and information. Starting on Thursday, August 11 and continuing until launches, expect new posts on The Hub every Thursday at

Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra performances in New York and Washington, D.C.

New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts will present two free concerts by the touring Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra on August 18 and 19 at Damrosch Park. The orchestra, organized by the Metropolitan Opera and Polish National Opera, is touring Europe and the U.S. this summer. Musicians in the orchestra include recent refugees of the war, members of orchestras in other parts of Europe, and musicians from ensembles in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, and Odesa. Canadian-Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson will lead the orchestra in Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s Seventh Symphony and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova. Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska will perform “Abscheulicher!” from Beethoven’s Fidelio. An outdoor reception following the August 18 performance will offer an opportunity to connect with the Ukrainian artists. The concert is free, but donations are encouraged to organizations supporting the resettlement of Ukrainians. The Lincoln Center performance is a co-presentation of all eleven resident organizations; there will also be an August 20 performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. More information here.

Kennedy Center hires Jen Luzzo as director of public relations for classical music

“Jen Luzzo has been hired by the Kennedy Center to oversee classical music public relations,” writes Nicholas Beard in Friday’s (8/5) Musical America (subscription required). “Previously in a related position with the New York Philharmonic, she arrived at the KenCen last week and has a portfolio that includes the Washington National Opera (WNO), the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), the Fortas Chamber Music series, all music education activities—of which there are many—and initiatives that explore the intersection of music and wellness. Luzzo reports to Eileen Andrews, VP of public relations at the Kennedy Center, but will be working with NSO Executive Director Gary Ginstling (ironically, leaving for the NY Philharmonic in the fall to succeed Deborah Borda as CEO) and WNO General Manager Timothy O’Leary. Luzzo studied music and broadcast journalism at Syracuse University.”

Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s three-week Summermusik festival: Piazzolla, women composers, chamber crawls, new “Symphonie fantastique” arrangement

“Coming out of Covid, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s Eckart Preu has a new motto: Joy. ‘It’s not just another season. It is a joyful occasion, and I think everyone will be excited to be playing again,’ said the German-born music director,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Friday’s (8/4) Cincinnati Business Courier. “The Chamber Orchestra’s ‘Summermusik’ festival, Aug. 6 through Aug. 27 … includes four mainstage concerts with the full, 32-piece orchestra…. There are also ‘Chamber Crawls’ and ‘(A Little) Afternoon Musik’—an inventive menu of short concerts for small ensembles in unexpected venues, such as Fretboard Brewing, New Riff Distillery and Newport Aquarium. They are curated by the orchestra’s own musicians…. The musical selections in this year’s mainstage programs [include] [Astor] Piazzolla’s Concerto for Bandoneon, ‘Aconcagua.’ [with] Hector Del Curto [on] button accordion. Tango dancers will also enliven the concert…. There will be nods to women composers [Gabriela Lena Frank, Florence Price, Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Nadia Boulanger]…. On Aug. 13, the orchestra will give the North American premiere of Berlioz’s famous ‘Symphonie fantastique,’ as arranged by Arthur Lavandier…. The orchestration will include a midi keyboard, electric guitar and alphorn…. The season will conclude Aug. 27 with … ‘Water Concerto’ by Chinese composer Tan Dun.”

Montana to Nevada: Ignacio Barrón Viela selected as Reno Philharmonic’s president and CEO

“Ignacio Barrón Viela’s love for music started at his childhood home in Spain, but soon it will lead him to Reno. Barrón Viela will begin his new role as the president and CEO of the Reno Philharmonic on Oct. 26,” writes Jenny Kane in Friday’s (8/4) Reno Gazette Journal (NV). “Barrón Viela will succeed Tim Young, who retired last November…. Barrón Viela … most recently … served as the executive director of the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, where he helped to acquire the two largest single gifts in the organization’s 72-year history [and] led the organization to adopt a diversity, equity and inclusion policy and worked with Montana senators and the Spanish Consulate bring foreign artists to Billings…. In college, Barrón Viela studied industrial engineering … ‘but I was missing music so much,’ … said Barrón Viela. While working in Germany and playing cello for a local orchestra, the administration asked him to use his consulting experience to assist the orchestra in building its financial stability…. Barrón Viela decided to pursue a master’s in business administration. He … graduated with a master’s from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.” Barrón Viela is an alum of the League of American Orchestras’ Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar and Emerging Leaders Program.

Family classical-music road-trip, including festivals in Colorado and Wyoming

“Four classical music festivals. Three children. Two exhausted parents, with a brave grandfather in tow. One bedraggled minivan. It’ll be fun, my wife promised me. Surprisingly, it was,” writes David Allen in Saturday’s (8/5) New York Times. “The revival of programming after the darker days of the pandemic affords the adventurous a fresh chance to get better acquainted with the summer offerings here in the United States. There are plenty of them … My family and I … started with the up-and-coming Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, which is within easy reach of Rocky Mountain National Park. Then it made sense to a climb up to the ski resorts west of Denver—first to Bravo! Vail, then to the next valley for the Aspen Music Festival and School. Jackson Hole, Wyo., didn’t look all that far away, really. There, the Grand Teton Music Festival plays just outside the park of the same name, with Yellowstone National Park an hour to the north…. The … four festivals … are all quite different, serving discrete audiences in distinct atmospheres…. Each has its own idea of what—and whom—a summer festival should be for, and each turned out to be valuable in its own way.”