This week in classical news:
- After six long months on strike, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is returning to work. Although the players have yet to ratify their three-year, $36.3M contract, they began rehearsals yesterday in preparation for concerts this weekend with music director Leonard Slatkin. To celebrate, these and next weekend's concerts will be free.
- It's four steps forward, three steps back at New York City Opera: the Wall Street Journal carries a story that NYCO is suspending next season in a bid to get its financial ducks in a row. (Despite recent critical successes, the company is still projecting a $5M deficit the close of its current season.) NYCO is also revisiting the idea of leaving Lincoln Center for cheaper digs. (Late Friday night, the company issued a statement saying that they are "now finalizing our offerings for the 2011-12 season," which will include the US premiere of Rufus Wainwright's opera Prima Donna, but that they won't announce those plans until late May.)
- The Recording Academy has slashed the number of classical categories going forward. Among those taking the hit: Best Classical Album.
- Classical artists, labels and organizations continue raising money for Japan. Among the many efforts: EMI's big auction on Ebay UK, where items up for grabs include a private singing lesson with soprano Diana Damrau and a 1921 Steinway piano from the Abbey Road studio. We'd bid on those (and the signed Beastie Boys action figures, too).
- The 2011 Guggenheim Fellows were announced this week: Among them: composers Philippe Bodin, Chaya Czernowin, Fred Ho, Louis Karchin, Amy Beth Kirsten, Marilyn Shrude, Manuel Sosa and Toby Twining.
- Greg Sandow muses about whether a hip new music scene that reaches a critical-mass audience can only exist in New York.
- Awards across the pond: the newly renamed "Classic Brit" folks announced their ten nominees for the Classic FM Album Of The Year this week, which include albums by tenor Rolando Villazón, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and guitarist Craig Ogden. And those French nuns. And Andre Rieu.
- The New York Philharmonic has canceled its planned Cuba trip for the second time. What tripped up the logistics? A lack of orchestra-sized planes, or so they say.
- After suspending all operations last week, the Syracuse Symphony has filed for bankruptcy with $5.5M in debt.
- The Guardian's Fiona Maddocks offers an insightful look at the players of the Berlin Philharmonic. Average age for those musicians: 38.
- In the aftermath of Robert Spano's appointment to the Aspen Music Festival, Anne Midgette wonders what makes or breaks the buzz around a conductor.
- Composer Joseph Bertoluzzi's plans to turn the Eiffel Tower into a massive instrument has been approved by the Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, the company that operates the tower. Now all he has to do is raise the money.
- One of the most entertaining diversions of the week: #conductormovies on Twitter. Personal favorites so far include Dudamel, Where's My Car?; The Tennstedt Commandments; Bend It Like Beecham; Citizen Kahane; This Is Spano Tap; The Last Klemperer; and Waking James Levine. Classical96.3 up in Toronto went to town Photoshopping up putative posters for some of these gems.
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