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Classical 101

Money Crunch May Force St. Paul Chamber Orchestra to Go Part-Time

Not even a 50-year track record of recordings, Grammy awards, big name guests and music directors, and world-class performances can keep the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra from feeling the sting of a sour economy.

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra is the only full-time chamber orchestra in the United States.

According to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "the SPCO has cut expenses by $1.5 million since 2008, but officials said they anticipate a deficit between $750,000 and $1 million this year."  However, this is not the first time the SPCO has faced fiscal problems.  In 1993, they faced extinction. Read Feeling Pinched, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra May Go Part-Time (Star Tribune)

Pittsburgh Symphony Concerto Competition Ends Without Winner

In February, PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck announced aunique performance competition.  They were hoping to find talented musicians who might otherwise never get noticed.

Soloists entered by downloading 10-minute clips onto a symphony YouTube website. A panel of musicians and other experts picked eight semi-finalists from the 104 eligible videos, and the public voted on them in April. The top four were flown to Pittsburgh for auditions.

First prize was $10,000 and the opportunity to perform twice with the Pittsburgh Symphony.  It was announced Monday that no winner was chosen.  A spokesman for the orchestra said they "expected to try the competition again." Read PA Symphony Ends YouTube Video Contest for Instrumental Soloist Without Picking Winner (Washington Post) (BBC)

Three Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra Members Detained at London's Gatwick Airport

Three Japanese members of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra were detained over the weekend after being told by border agents their passports hadn't been properly stamped.

The three musicians were arrested, held in detention for five hours, and then sent back to Amsterdam.

Conductor Ton Koopman was forced to alter the concert, as the three had key roles in the performance.  Some are saying Koopman should have done more to secure their release. Read What Should the Conductor Have Done When his Players Were Arrested at Gatwick? (Arts Journal)