Local and Industry News

A report by researchers at the University of Texas-Austin has found that trained musicians make better decisions.

The study, which used the Iowa Gambling Task designed to simulate real-life decision making, found that people who began musical training after age 8 performed significantly better at complex decision-making tasks than those without musical training or those that began musical training before age 8.

Florida health insurers are poised to significantly raise rates for 2018 Affordable Care Act coverage. Due to uncertainty over whether the Federal government will continue to pay for cost-sharing reductions, insurers are being asked by regulators to raise premiums higher. About 75 percent of Floridians with ACA plans receive cost-sharing subsidies to reduce out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles. It is estimated that premiums would need to rise an additional 20 percent to cover the cost of the cost-sharing reductions if the Federal government halts the payments.

The Great Artists Series will debut in Miami in November, honoring the 50th anniversary of Judy Drucker's career as an impresaria. The Series, brought to life by Mark Bryn, will present new young talent as well as established artists, and the first concert will feature the Amernet Quartet, soprano Giselle Elgarresta Rios, pianist Alan Mason, and the Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida.


SoundCloud will remain in business after receiving $170 million in financing. The funding comes from the Raine Group and Temesek Holdings. SoundCloud has distinguished itself from competitors with its vast catalog of creator-uploaded works and free-for-all strategy.

According to RIAA, the music industry is growing again, thanks to music streaming. Streaming revenue is up 48 percent in the first half of 2017 thanks to 30 million paying subscribers to streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Streaming now accounts for 62 percent of the revenue for the music industry.

Spotify has reported that the number of subscribers has doubled since last year, to 60 million. Streaming revenue has also doubled, from $1.8 billion to $3.8 billion.


Musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic have ratified a new five-year agreement. The new agreement raises wages by 2.5 percent in the first year and three percent in each of the following years. It also increases the pay of subs and extras such that by the final year of the agreement they will make 90 percent of the scale of contracted players, up from 82.5 percent.

The Sarasota Opera will collaborate with the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School this season. The ballet will perform in three of the five opera productions this season, beginning with La Traviata in November.

Andrea Bocelli performed with a robot conductor last month. YuMi the robot, created by Swiss company ABB, conducted the Lucca Philharmonic, featuring Bocelli, at the International Festival of Robotics in Pisa, Italy.

Musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra have donated $74,000 to their employer. The Orchestra was $3.8 million short of their fund-raising goal at the end of last season, and the musicians chose to make this donation as a sign of their true partnership with management, the board, and patrons. The gift is unusual in that every one of the musicians participated.

Palm Beach Symphony will inaugurate a themed chamber music series this season. The 75-minute performances will feature a narrator. The first concert in January will honor Black History Month by featuring music of William Grant Still.

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra has received $1.5 million from Carol and Warner Henry, the largest gift in the Orchestra's 50-year history. The gift will endow the Allen Vogel Chair, honoring the former principal oboist of 44 years who retired in 2016.

Musicians of the Boston Symphony have ratified a new three-year agreement. Wages will rise two percent, 2.5 percent, and three percent in years one, two, and three, respectively.

Musicians of the Dallas Symphony have ratified a new three-year agreement. Wages will rise two percent in each of the second and third years. The Symphony will also make additional contributions for health care costs.

Houston Opera and Houston Ballet are looking for new venues to perform this season. The Worthham Center suffered major flooding during Hurricane Harvey and will be closed through at least next May. The Ballet will perform at the Hobby Center for its first production, but finding available venues that can accommodate the sets and orchestra will be a challenge.