How many contemporary political figures have a piano prize named after them? Here's one: Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. A gold medal will be awarded in her honor at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Playing the piano was one of her coping mechanisms during 15 years of house arrest.
A US bankruptcy court judge has approved the Philadelphia Orchestra's exit from bankruptcy. Said Judge Eric L. Frank: "The orchestra is an important cultural and civic institution, and any Chapter 11 case comes with the risk of failure. Had that occurred, it would have been a great loss for Philadelphia, the region, and the music world." He expressed hope that the changes would put the orchestra in a position to "continue to perform for audiences for many years to come."
Remember that inadvertent leak about the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton? Well, the official word is out — he's going to be there, but not as music director. They've named him as their new artistic advisor for three years. (He's not going to be in Denver all that much, just two concerts a year.)
And remember how earlier this month, when the Delaware Symphony Orchestra suspended its 2012-13 season, and Lee Williamson, the executive director, said that the ensemble was doing its best to move forward? Well, now she's resigned — just three months after she arrived.
Meanwhile, Delaware's News Journal has been digging into what exactly went down. A year ago, the DSO "presented a rosy financial picture to the public ... herald[ing] a break-even fiscal year." The apparent reality? "More than a decade of swelling operating deficits, during which the DSO raided its supporting foundation, maxed out a $200,000 line of credit and relied on last-minute donations to stay afloat."
Conductor Bill Eddins on the double messes at the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra: "Hot fun in the summertime seems like a lost cause in the Twin Cities. Instead, it looks like we will be treated to a summer of great discontent, followed by only the Gods know what. There's only one guarantee — this is not going to be pretty ... Of course, the people who are going to end up being screwed the most by all this are 1) the musicians; and 2) the audiences."
Also struggling: Indianapolis Opera, Indiana's only remaining professional opera company. "I would say it's all up for grabs right now," Executive Director John Pickett says.
Israeli-Argentine conductor Daniel Barenboim on Wagner and Israel: "I respect that there are survivors who can't, and certainly don't want to, listen to this music. But I don't accept that the fact that an orchestra playing Wagner in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem would do any harm to someone sitting in an apartment in Haifa ... it's absurd to ban Wagner while buying German submarines at the same time." And on the decision of his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to play Wagner: "[The initiative came] from the Israeli brass players. Wagner is pretty heavy on the brass section. But I explained the musical importance of Wagner to the orchestra. As a musician, you can't simply ignore him."
And the hits just keep on coming: a violin concerto attributed to Vivaldi has just been discovered in the Dresden State Library. The Icelandic scholar who found the manuscript says it's actually pretty important; "the unusual character of this particular piece sets it apart from the rest."
I'm loving the super low-stakes idea of the non-performing Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra — or TACO — of Los Altos, Calif.: "What's the goal? The goal is to play music together. That's it."
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