Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ArtsBuzz: Cleveland Orchestra contract talks stall on eve of Miami stay; Palm Beach Opera comes to iPhone

Violinist Leila Josefowicz. (Photo by Deborah O'Grady)

Cleveland Orchestra could strike as early as Jan. 18

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect new developments.

The Cleveland Orchestra, which is less than three weeks away from its Miami residency, could go on strike as early as Jan. 18, union officials said late Wednesday, according to the orchestra.

That would be four days before the start of its scheduled Miami residency, which is set to open Jan. 22 with violinist Leila Josefowicz playing a violin concerto by the contemporary British composer Thomas Adès.

In a release late Wednesday, the orchestra said talks between the orchestra and the Cleveland Federation of Musicians, Local 4, American Federation of Musicians, had stalled without an agreement and the union indicated it could strike as early as Jan. 18. The three-year contract between the musicians and the orchestra expired Aug. 30, and the musicians have been working on month-to-month extensions, the last of which ended Dec. 31.

Thursday afternoon, a spokeswoman said orchestra management was still making plans for the Miami residency.

“We are going ahead with plans for the Miami residency," Ana Papakhian said. “Although musicians have indicated that they could strike on January 18, we need to be fully prepared for our residency as scheduled. We certainly hope to be there.”

Management is offering the union a three-year contract reducing base pay by 5 percent in the first year, a restoration in the second year, and a 2.5 percent increase in the third year, the orchestra said. The union is proposing an eight-month contract at current compensation and benefit levels.

The average annual pay for a Cleveland Orchestra member in 2009 was $152,000. Benefits include 10 weeks paid vacation and 26 weeks paid sick leave, orchestra officials said.

Union and orchestra representatives met previously in November and December.

“We welcome the impetus to get back to the table,” Cleveland Orchestra executive director Gary Hanson said in a statement late last month. “At this time we are not speaking publicly about the substance of our collective bargaining, but we are prepared to alert our patrons and the media should an imminent strike threaten upcoming performances.”

Like many orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra is challenged financially, with Northeast Ohio being one of the regions of the nation hardest-hit by the economic downturn. Ticket sales and other revenue fell by 5 percent in the fiscal year ending June 30. The orchestra has instituted across-the-board cost controls, and music director Franz Welser-Möst and Hanson volunteered pay cuts of 20 and 15 percent respectively.

For more information about the Cleveland Orchestra’s Miami programs, call 305-949-6722 or visit the orchestra’s Miami Website.

Tenor Carl Tanner.

Palm Beach Opera: There’s an app for that

Palm Beach Opera has become the first Florida arts organization and the first opera company on the East Coast to launch an iPhone application.

The new technology reflects a younger audience accustomed to instant online communication.

“Our e-mail address list is more than 10,000 now,” publicist Margie Yansura said today. “It is now larger than our regular mailing list. People tend to think of opera as having an older audience, but many of our patrons are younger and their number is growing.

“Of course, we will not abandon our traditional methods of communication,” she said.

For those not versed in iPhone, the application – or “app” for short – allows users simply to tap the opera company’s icon on the phone display to get the latest information about Palm Beach Opera.

Once registered, a user becomes a “fan” of Palm Beach Opera and receives weekly updates on events and performances, as well as important messages and offers. Officials promise the free service will be spam-free.

“We are very proud to be the first arts group in Florida and the second opera company in North America to offer a free iPhone app,” general manager Daniel Biaggi said in a statement. “The launch of Palm Beach Opera’s iPhone app is just the latest development in our efforts to stay on the cutting edge of technology and the new media. It is critically important to keep an audience engaged.”

The first staged production of the current 47th season is Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, starring the American tenor Carl Tanner as Otello and Slovenian soprano Sabina Cvilak as Desedemona. The opera runs from Jan. 22-25. For more information, call 561-833-7888, visit, or download the new Palm Beach Opera app onto your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The German high command on trial at Nuremberg.

Lynn University to study, make art of original Nuremberg transcripts

Forty-two volumes of original Nuremberg Trials transcripts will be studied and utilized by three different departments this semester at Lynn University in Boca Raton.

More than 200 Nazi Germany leaders were tried after the end of World War II at war crimes tribunals held from Nov. 21, 1945, through April 1949 in Nuremberg, Germany. The accused were examined by the International Military Tribunal, which consisted of judges from the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union.

The original transcripts were donated to the Lynn University Library by LEAH (League of Education and Awareness of the Holocaust) in 1998.

Sindee Kerker, associate professor of criminal justice in Lynn’s College of Liberal Education, will teach a Nuremberg Trials course with Rabbi Jessica Brockman at Temple Beth El in Boca Raton. Adam Simpson, assistant professor of drama at Lynn’s College on International Communication, will use parts of the original Nuremberg transcripts to create the dramatic production Project Nuremberg, which will incorporate theater, dance, movement, music and reenacted documentary film work.

Courtroom dialogue will come verbatim from the transcripts.

The third spring course utilizing the Nuremberg documents will feature Stanley Kramer’s award-winning 1961 film, Judgment at Nuremberg, and will be taught by Nava Dushi, assistant professor of film at Lynn’s College of International Communication. The play and screening of the film will be set sometime in April.

The transcripts will be on display in the Lynn University Library at a date to be announced later. They also will be digitized and made available online to the public, Lynn officials said.

Composer Burt Bacharach.

Burt Bacharach cancels at Kravis Center

Composer, pianist and singer Burt Bacharach has canceled his Jan. 29 performance at the Kravis Center, venue officials said today.

Bacharach, 81, had back surgery Jan. 1 in Los Angeles and is still recovering.

Three options are being offered to ticketholders who have seats for the canceled show:

A refund may be requested in full, back to the original method of payment; ticketholders can receive house credit in the full ticket value for future Kravis performances, valet service or purchases in the Kravis gift shop; or tax-deductible contributions in the full value of the ticket may be made to the Kravis Center.

Call the Kravis box office at 561-832-7469 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

-- Compiled by Skip Sheffield

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