Dallas Symphony’s multiple music education programs, new and established

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Young musicians participate in a Dallas Symphony Orchestra program at Silberstein Elementary School. Photo: Sylvia Elzafon

“For 30 years, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has provided free instruments and lessons to talented string players in underserved communities through its Young Strings Program,” writes Nicole Cormier in Thursday’s (6/16) Dallas Morning News. “Many graduate to perform with the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra…. More recently, the DSO established the Young Musicians Program in southern Dallas. The program begins by introducing students in 1st through 8th grade to all instruments of the orchestra, and providing them instruments and instruction for free…. This year, the DSO will host summer camps for both the Young Strings Program and the Young Musicians Program…. The DSO also recently announced the creation of the Dallas Symphony Children’s Chorus (DSCC) … geared towards children and teens in grades 4-12, expanding the educational offerings of the DSO…. Beginning in the 2022-23 season, the group will be a complement to the Dallas Symphony Chorus and will perform as individual ensembles at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center and venues around Dallas…. Ellie Lin has been named as Interim Artistic Director of the DSCC…. She brings 25 years of experience with children and youth choruses, and students in the inaugural groups will grow as musicians under her tutelage.”

June 22, 2022

Report: American orchestras playing more works by women and composers of color

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“American orchestras have long fallen short when it comes to performing compositions by women and people of color, sticking to a canon of music dominated by white, largely male composers,” writes Javier C. Hernández in Tuesday’s (6/21) New York Times. “But the protests over racial justice and gender disparities in the United States appear to have prompted some change. Compositions by women and people of color now make up about 23 percent of the pieces performed by orchestras, up from only about 5 percent in 2015, according to [the 2022 Orchestra Repertoire Report] released on Tuesday by the Institute for Composer Diversity at the State University of New York at Fredonia. The increase comes amid a concerted effort in the performing arts to promote music by women and people of color, prompted in part by the #MeToo movement and the death of George Floyd. ‘The change that has been talked about for a very long time has suddenly been tremendously accelerated,’ Simon Woods, president and chief executive of the League of American Orchestras, which helped produce the report, said in an interview…. The League of American Orchestras, aiming to make works by living composers a more permanent part of the orchestral landscape, announced [the Virginia B. Toulmin Orchestral Commissions Program] last month to enlist 30 ensembles in the next several years to perform new pieces by six composers, all of them women.” Read the complete Repertoire Report.

June 22, 2022

Toronto Symphony’s new resident conductor: Trevor Wilson

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“The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has named a rising young talent as its next resident conductor,” writes Susan Elliott in Tuesday’s (6/21) Musical America (subscription required). “Trevor Wilson, who trained under Marin Alsop at the Peabody Institute and Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Orchestre Métropolitain’s Orchestral Conducting Academy, starts next fall in the two-year position. At the same time, he begins his pursuit of a Professional Studies Diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music under Carlos Kalmar. TSO Music Director Gustavo Gimeno commented that his new right-hand-man ‘showed a confidence, musical intelligence and sensitivity’ in his audition for the job. The Ottawa-born Wilson has been active on local podiums, including that of the University of Ottawa Orchestra, and is co-founder and music director of the Ottawa Pops Orchestra. He also served as the assistant conductor of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada under the late Boris Brott, and, while earning his graduate degree at Peabody, was assistant director of the Institute’s choruses. In the position of TSO resident conductor, Wilson succeeds Simon Rivard, who has held the job since 2018 and at the same time has been the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra’s conductor—a post he’ll retain.”

June 22, 2022

Singapore Symphony names Hans Graf music director

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“On 2 June, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra announced that Hans Graf will step up and assume the title of Music Director … for the upcoming 2022/23 season,” after serving as the SSO’s chief conductor during the 2020-21 season, writes Fidel Tan in last Tuesday’s (6/14) Bandwagon (Southeast Asia). “Graf has previously led several distinguished orchestras in North America and Europe, including the Houston Symphony, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, and the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg…. The SSO 2022/23 season will commence … on 28 and 29 July…. Ahead of the upcoming season, … Graf [shared] his thoughts on being appointed Music Director, his artistic vision moving forward, as well as the difficulties he faced in leading the orchestra as Chief Conductor amidst the pandemic.” Graf: “We just had an associate conductor audition…. We’re … trying to recruit musicians for the orchestra. Some musicians have retired while some moved to other orchestras in other cities due to family reasons. We have 10 positions to fill at the moment. We’re preparing for my first real big concert since before COVID-19. We’re doing the real thing with the full orchestra. And this is in July, it’s our big Inaugural Concert. And then the whole season will follow.”

June 22, 2022

Ukrainian parliament votes to ban performances and broadcasts of some Russian music

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“Ukraine’s parliament has voted in favor of banning some Russian music in media and public spaces,” writes Alys Davies in Monday’s (6/20) BBC News (U.K). “The ban will not apply to all Russian music, but rather relates to music created or performed by those who are or were Russian citizens after 1991 [the year Ukraine declared independence]. Artists who have condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine can apply for an exemption from the ban. The import of books from Russia and Belarus will also be prohibited under the legislation. Many of those living in areas of east and south Ukraine have historically felt a strong connection to Russia…. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led many Ukrainians to want to separate themselves from Russian culture. The bill … bans some Russian music from being played or performed on television, radio, schools, public transport, hotels, restaurants, cinemas and other public spaces…. The document says the ban will ‘minimise the risks of possible hostile propaganda through music in Ukraine and will increase the volume of national music products in the cultural space.’ … This means the works of long-dead Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich can still be performed.”

June 22, 2022

New York City’s 92nd Street Y—now 92NY—undertakes $200 million campus upgrade

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“Changes are afoot at the 92nd Street Y. For starters, that’s not technically its name anymore,” writes Matt Stevens in Sunday’s (6/19) New York Times. The organization has a substantial history as a presenter of classical music and home for music education. “The longtime Upper East Side institution for arts and enrichment has rebranded itself, leaned into digital offerings and is now set to begin a long-awaited renovation of its home on the corner of 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for later this month at … the cultural center’s … Buttenwieser Hall [kicking] off a new phase of what officials say is a broader $200 million master plan to reimagine the campus…. The plan was developed … in large part by Seth Pinsky, the chief executive of the institution, which last month was renamed the 92nd Street Y, New York — or 92NY for short…. The renovation will include improvements to Buttenwieser Hall, the creation of a new dance studio … Some … renovations … are designed to improve energy efficiency, upgrade the heating and cooling systems and ensure that new restrooms and lockers meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

June 22, 2022

Pacific Symphony continues free outdoor chamber concerts in summer 2022

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The Pacific Symphony’s free Symphony On the Go! outdoor chamber music concerts have returned for a second summer at venues throughout Orange County, California. The 2022 series began with a June 17 event featuring a Pacific Symphony String Quartet performance, followed by a screening of the 2021 movie SING 2. The performance and screening were offered free at Eastgate Park in Garden Grove, California. The chamber music concerts feature string quartets, woodwind quintets, and brass quintets, curated by the musicians of Pacific Symphony. The traveling stage on wheels features colorful images of Pacific Symphony musicians and Music Director Carl St.Clair. Additional concerts are planned in Buena Park (July 1), Laguna Hills (Aug. 26), and Dana Point (Aug. 27). More information at PacificSymphony.org/SOTG.

June 22, 2022