September 23, 2007 at 3:34 PM
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9/18/07 – The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph notes that Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University has enrolled its first official class of students this fall. It was about this time last year that Amy Schwartz Moretti resigned her position as concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony to lead the center.
“Seven professional musicians handpicked by McDuffie teach the inaugural class of eight students selected through an application and audition process, Moretti said. The center will reach its full capacity when it enrolls 26 students - 12 violins, six violas, six cellists and two double basses - and McDuffie said he expects to reach that mark within three years. ‘We are turning some students away at auditions, and the level is continuing to rise’, he wrote in an e-mail last week from Seoul, South Korea, where he was performing. ‘We will never go over the number of 26, maintaining the intimacy to concentrate on the comprehensive string curriculum we've put together’."
9/19/07 - "Ladies and gentlemen of the orchestra, be seated. Not so fast, says the conductor. Violins, you may take your places to my left, for the moment. Violas, let's see. Should you be on my right, or should the cellos go there? Basses, let me think. Winds, brasses and percussion, you know where you need to be. (Or do you?)" These days, there seem to be as many orchestral seating configurations as there are conductors. The Cleveland Plain Dealer wants to know how conductors decide where they want everyone to sit, and why does it matter?
9/25/07 – Violinists Elena Urioste, Clayton Penrose-Whitmore, Robert Switala and Maia Cabeza will all give solo performances at the Sphinx Organization's annual gala at Carnegie Hall.
9/19/07 – The Tallahassee Democrat profiled British violinist Chloe Hanslip in advance of her solo recital at Florida State University this weekend. Her visit was to include a free string seminar with members of a local youth orchestra.
9/18/07 – Violinist Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio, former concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony, has joined the University of Nevada-Reno faculty as an assistant professor of violin. The university’s news release includes a look at Sant’Ambrogio’s family tree, which includes her father, John, principal cellist in St. Louis for 30 years, and her sister Sarah, cellist of the Eroica Trio.
9/16/07 – Ariana Kim is the new concertmaster of the Louisiana Philharmonic, reports Nola.com. The same article also provides a very encouraging picture of the LPO’s status two years after Hurricane Katrina, with the headline saying it all: “Gung-ho at the LPO.”
9/15/07 – For more on violinist Aaron Rosand’s $1.5 million pledge to the Curtis Institute of Music, read the New York Times’ account.
9/14/07 – Not surprisingly, man-of-the-hour Joshua Bell has scored another commercial hit: his new release of John Corigliano's Red Violin Concerto, based on the film’s score, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart.
9/20/07 – According to the Orange County Register, "After arduous negotiations, the Pacific Symphony's management and the union representing the symphony's 88 musicians announced Wednesday that they have reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract. The contract - the longest in the symphony's history - includes a 41.5 percent compounded increase in musicians' wages… The musicians argued that they were just barely earning cost-of-living increases, and the wages offered did not match comparable orchestras. Pacific Symphony musicians are part-time employees who earned an average of less than $25,000 per year, according to the union, the Orange County Musicians' Assoc….That threatened strike has now essentially been averted. By the end of five years, a musician who does regular service should earn more than $40,000. Most musicians do other jobs as well, such as Hollywood studio work.”
9/18/07 –PlaybillArts.com notes that the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra voted last night to accept a new three-year contract which includes annual salary increases averaging 4.6%, the loosening of some work and scheduling rules and more flexibility in distributing concert recordings electronically. “The minimum annual salary for a Philadelphia Orchestra musician under the new agreement is now $119,600, a 4.6% increase, with a 4.4% raise to $124,800 in 2008-09 and a phased increase through the 2009-10 season that averages to 4.8%, for an annual salary level of $131,040 by the end of the contract term. The full complement of the orchestra is now 105 musicians and two librarians, up one from last year but still down two from the 2001-04 contract.”
9/13/07 – The Triangle Business Journal reports that "The musicians who make up the North Carolina Symphony have reached a new four-year deal with symphony management that will boost their wages and extend the length of the orchestra's season. Players will see minimum weekly wages rise by an average of 4 percent per year over the next four years, the symphony said, with the season growing in that time frame to 44 weeks from its current 41 weeks."
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