Orchestra news is a bit bittersweet, while the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has resolve their differences with the musicians, and the Honolulu Symphony has been bought and is currently being reconstituted, both orgs are doing so at significant financial cost.
But recently the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra has filed for Chapter 11 and has suspended its season, and it looks like the Philadelphia Orchestra (one of the “Big 5” in the US) is going to do so soon as well.
In Non-Western Orchestral News, the New York Arabic Orchestra is doing a year long residency with FIAF (French Institute: Alliance Francais) which just sounds like a fantastic program:
FIAF is pleased to announce its first year-long artist residency!
Led by Lebanese musician Bassam Saba, FIAF audiences first became familiar with the New York Arabic Orchestra in May 2010 through their sold-out, opening night concert in Florence Gould Hall as part of World Nomads Lebanon.
As an extension of this World Nomads partnership, Saba and his orchestra now bring to FIAF a wealth of musical exploration and performance, ranging from Arabic music to western classical method. Featured programming includes summer classes for kids and teens as part of FIAF’s summer camp program, a Fall 2011 concert/presentation as part of FIAF’s Young Audience Program, and the Arabic Music Semester Intensive (AMSI), a year-long program of beginner-through-advanced monthly workshops in theory, rhythm, and improvisation for adults and teens, starting on February 26. See spring schedule below.
Formed in 2007, the Orchestra is a 30-piece ensemble specializing in the performance of classical, contemporary, and popular vocal Arabic music. Its members, hailing from multiple music-professional and cultural backgrounds, form sections of oud (Arabic lute), nay (Arabic reed flute), the qanun (Arabic zither), Arabic percussion, Western strings, woodwinds, and chorus. Bassam Saba, known throughout the U.S. and abroad as one of Arabic music’s finest conductors, has led the NYAO via strict, intense training to an authentic sound and quality regarded highly around the world.
EDIT: David Beem writes a humorous take on the Orchestra and funding issue in his recent post, Classical Musicians Eat their Young.