Local and Industry News

Congress has approved a bill reauthorizing the FAA which includes a provision for standardizing policies for bringing musical instruments on airplanes. Any instrument that can safely be stored in overhead bins or under a seat can now be brought onboard as carry-on baggage, and musicians may purchase seats for larger instruments such as cellos. The legislation also standardizes weight and size requirements for instruments.

The Pershing Square Foundation has donated $25 million to the Signature Theater in New York City to keep ticket process affordable for the next 20 years. The donation will enable the theater to set ticket prices at $25 for the next ten years, and at an accessible level for ten years after that.


The boards of AFTRA and SAG have overwhelmingly approved a plan to merge. The 125,000 SAG members and the 70,000 AFTRA members will now vote in a referendum to decide whether to approve the plan.

The fate of record label EMI is drawing scrutiny. Universal Music has bid $1.9 billion for EMI's recording division, and Sony and its partners have bid $2.2 billion for EMI's publishing division, and both mergers are subject to regulatory approval. Opponents, including Warner Music Group and independent music labels, are arguing that reducing the number of major labels from four to three would give Universal and Sony an unfair advantage. Should the mergers be approved, Universal would control 40 percent of the global recording market (and as much as 50 percent in some markets), and Sony would control 32 percent of all music publishing.


The Dallas Opera will be simulcasting The Magic Flute in Cowboys Stadium in April in the first-ever simulcast in a sports venue. The performance, and parking, will be free.

The Oregon Symphony musicians have approved a new 3-year contract. The new agreement keeps the season at 38 weeks, keeps the size of the orchestra at 76 full-time musicians, and increases pay between two and four percent each year. The agreement also allows more flexibility in broadcasting concerts.

The Buffalo Philharmonic finished its 75th anniversary season with a $46,000 surplus. With a budget of $9.9 million, the orchestra saw attendance rise 3.9 percent, earned income rise 4.2 percent, and donations rise 6.9 percent.

The Hawaii Symphony will make its debut on March 4, two years after the Honolulu Symphony ceased operations. The new orchestra has scheduled an eight-concert classical series and is planning a pops series.

The Dallas Symphony has raised $5 million for its emergency fundraising campaign, enabling the orchestra to finish its 2011-12 season as planned. The orchestra has outlined a plan to perform in outlying North Texas communities to expand its base.

Palm Beach Opera has received $1 million from Helen K. Persson in honor of its 50th anniversary season. Perssson, a member of the Opera's board of directors since 1999, also sponsored the Opera's 2009 performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and the 2011 performance of Verdi's Requiem.

Some Miami City Ballet board members and donors are questioning the 2013 retirement of artistic director Edward Villella. Harry and Harriet Pownall have withdrawn $125,000 of their $500,000 sponsorship of the premier of Symphonic Dances in protest.


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