Local and Industry News

Live orchestra is returning to Miami City Ballet's Nutcracker.

The new production by Isabel and Ruben Toledo will retain George Balanchine's choreography and the Tschaikovsky score will be performed by the Ballet's resident Opus One Orchestra at all performances for the first time in nearly ten years.

A study by scientists at Wesleyan University has found differences in the way brains of classical and jazz musicians work. The study used electroencephalography to study the response to chord progressions by jazz musicians, classical musicians, and nonmusicians. Previous studies have shown that jazz improvisers and creative individuals are more open to divergent thinking and the ability to "think outside of the box."

The British Musicians Union has reported that pay and job security for music teachers is at a new low. The study found rising job dissatisfaction due to lack of financial support. It also noted that the use of employment agencies diverts pay away from music teachers and into agency fees.

Congratulations to members Yasa Poletaeva (violin) and Darren Matias (piano) for winning first prize at the International Liszt-Garrison Duo Competition. Their ensemble, Contrast Duo, won first prize in the Collaborative Duo division at the competition, which was held at Ohio State University in October.

According to a research team at the University of Padua in Italy, musicians have better memories. The study found that musicians had slightly better performance in long-term memory tasks, and significantly better performance in short-term and working-memory tasks.

The Related Group has withdrawn its unsolicited proposal to restore the Olympia Theater. The developer had been criticized for proposing to demolish and replicate the theater, and will engage in more dialogue with residents, preservationists, and theater enthusiasts before moving forward with a proposal.

New York City has repealed its Cabaret Law. The Law, created during the Prohibition, has effectively banned social dancing by requiring a license to host musical entertainment, singing, and dancing, and for many years performers had to be fingerprinted and carry a "cabaret card" in order to perform. In the past, musicians such as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Ray Charles were denied cards and were prevented from performing due to the law.

The Grammy Music Education Coalition is raising money to support music education programs in Philadelphia, New York City, and Nashville. Funds raised will cover expenses such as the cost of instruments and recording equipment. The goal is for every elementary school student to have access to music education, and to significantly increase music participation rates for middle school and high school students.


Both Walt Disney Company and Comcast are in talks to buy parts of 21st Century Fox. Fox hopes to leverage the scale of a larger company to be able to better compete. If a sale goes forward, likely only movie studio, TV production, and international assets would be sold, as sale of news, sports, and the broadcast network would likely run afoul of antitrust laws.SAG-AFTRA members have ratified a new Interactive Media Video Game Agreement. The new agreement calls for bonus payments based on the number of sessions worked, more transparency in the nature of the work, and a commitment to continue work on the issue of vocal stress.


Anu Tali will end her tenure as music director of the Sarasota Orchestra in 2019. Tali first led the orchestra as guest conductor in 2011 and has been music director since 2013.

The William Davidson Foundation has donated $15 million to the Detroit Symphony. $5 million of that amount is promised as a challenge grant to benefit the endowment fund, of which $3.5 million has already been matched by the Andrew Mellon Foundation ($2 million), the Erb Foundation ($1 million), and the Dresner Foundation ($500,000).

Graham Fandrei has co-founded the Magic City Opera. The company will perform 90-minute operas in venues such as Pinecrest, the Olympia Theater, and Bayfront Park.

The Chicago Symphony ended the 2017 fiscal year with a $1.4 million deficit on a budget of $72.2 million. The deficit was largely due to an increase in expenses and a drop in performance fees and hall rentals.

Michael Tilson Thomas will step down as music director of the San Francisco Symphony in 2020. He will be age 75 and will have held the position for 25 years when he retires. Tilson Thomas intends to continue to serve as artistic director of the New World Symphony after he retires from San Francisco.

Richard and Emily Smucker have donated $15 million to the Cleveland Orchestra. $3 million will be designated as a challenge grant, and the remainder will support the Orchestra's endowment, artistic programming, and educational initiatives.