Local and Industry News

Conductor and former Kennedy Center Orchestra trumpeter Michael Rossi has launched a new summer music festival in Miami. The Miami Summer Music Festival launched this summer in partnership with Florida International University, providing piano, opera, and orchestral institutes to 150 students from as far as Russia and Argentina.

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County has recommended $180,000 in grants to 28 organizations. Organizations to receive funding include the Palm Beach Symphony ($7,678), the Boca Raton Philharmonic Symphonia ($8,725), and the Swing and Jazz Preservation Society ($8,888).

YoungArts has received $300,000 from ArtPlace America. The funding will be used for outdoor multidisciplinary events and a residency with a national dance troupe. YoungArts also received $150,000 from the state of Florida for outreach to students in South Florida.

The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami has appointed Charles Castleman as professor of violin. Castleman has taught at the Eastman School of Music since 1975. He will join the Frost faculty part-time this coming school year and will become a full-time professor in the fall of 2015.

Ousted Opera Naples founder Steffanie Pearce has founded a new opera company. The Gulfshore Opera will serve Lee, Collier, and Charlotte counties. Former Southwest Florida Symphony conductor Paul Nadler and Florida Gulf Coast University chorus professor Trent Brown will serve on the artistic team and several former Opera Naples staff will serve in the administration. The goal of Gulfshore Opera is to bring quality opera to patrons at affordable prices.


SAG-AFTRA has reached an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new TV contract. This will be the first unified TV agreement since the SAG and AFTRA merger. The new three-year agreement incorporates basic cable into an industry-wide agreement for the first time and raises wages 2.5 percent in the first year, and three percent in both the second and third years. Pension and Health and Welfare contributions also increase a half of a percent.


The Kravis Center is launching a new pops orchestra to be conducted by Michael Feinstein. The Kravis Center Pops Orchestra will present a three-concert season beginning January 3, 2015. According to Kravis Center senior director of programming Lee Bell, the 60-piece orchestra will be composed mostly of musicians from South Florida.

The Florida Orchestra has appointed Briton Michael Francis as its fourth music director. The thirty-seven year old Francis is chief conductor and artistic advisor for the Norrkoping Symphony in Sweden and has guest-conducted major orchestras including the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the San Francisco Symphony.


The Houston Grand Opera has received $750,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will be used to help fund five new works, including a new opera by onetime Houstonian Carlisle Floyd and a chamber opera based on the Columbia space shuttle tragedy.

Seraphic Fire has hired Rhett Del Campo as managing director. Del Campo, currently assistant to the executive director of the Kansas City Symphony, has performed as a New World Symphony fellow and as principal percussionist of the Royal Swedish Opera and Ballet. He succeeds Joey Quigley, who is leaving to pursue a master's degree from Christie's auction house.

The Houston Symphony musicians have ratified a new four-year agreement. The new agreement raises wages 1.5 percent, 3 percent, 3.5 percent, and 3.6 percent in the first, second, third, and fourth years, respectively. Per diem and audition committee pay was also increased.

Musicians of the North Carolina Symphony have ratified a new two-year agreement. The agreement raises wages 1.5 percent in the first year and 1.4 percent in the second year. Seniority pay was also increased, and musicians will receive a $400 bonus in August 2015 and again in August 2016.

The Hawaii Symphony has reached a new two-year agreement with musicians. The agreement will provide two additional weeks of employment each year.


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