- Fogel Steps Down as League CEO, Rosen Promoted
- Operas by Robert Ward and Gershon Kingsley to be Presented in International Opera Festival in Hungary
- Penguin Withdraws Lebrecht Book Plus Pays Damages to Naxos Founder
- Charles Ives Gets Podcasted
The American Symphony Orchestra League announced today that its president and chief executive officer, Henry Fogel, will step down at the conclusion of his five-year contract, which expires June 30, 2008. In a unanimous decision, the League’s board of directors has voted to appoint Jesse Rosen, currently the League’s executive vice president and managing director, to the chief post effective July 1, 2008.
During Fogel’s tenure, the League’s fiscal health was restored, with balanced budgets for five consecutive years. Additionally, the organization launched a five-year, $25 million campaign to secure its financial future, developed a comprehensive strategic plan that focuses the League’s priorities to better help its member orchestras in their work, and significantly strengthened its national board of directors.
After he steps down as President, Fogel will give 50% of his time in service to the League’s member orchestras in an ambassadorial role through September 2009, and will continue to actively support the organization’s fund-raising efforts. Additionally, he will continue to be involved in the League’s conductor training programs.
Jesse Rosen, who joined the League’s staff in 1998, currently oversees the programmatic output of the League’s programs and services to the orchestra field, including learning and leadership opportunities such as seminars, conferences and meetings; the resource center, which collects and disseminates data about the orchestra field; government affairs, which provides advocacy services; communications, which links via an award-winning magazine and email alerts a vital network of constituents with information they can use. He has been instrumental in the creation of new programs such as Music Alive, the American Conducting Fellows Program, and the Ford Made in America Program, and has been the principal architect of content for the League’s annual national conferences. Rosen was also responsible for instigating and executing a two-year strategic planning process to enable the League to transform itself to better help orchestras meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Five international opera companies will participate in the first annual “Opera Competition and Festival with Mezzo,” presented in cooperation with Hungary’s Szeged Festival and Mezzo Television, a French channel devoted to classical music, opera, ballet, jazz, and world music. Two American operas will be presented as part of this program: Theater Bremen will present Gershon Kingsley’s Raoul and the New York’s Dicapo Opera Theatre will present Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, The Crucible. In addition, Baltic Opera will present Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Opèra de Rennes will present Heinrich Marchner’s Der Vampyr, and Szeged National Theatre will present Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. All of the operas presented in the November 2008 finals in Szeged will also be broadcast by Mezzo Television.
The year-long process will commence with auditions for roles in all five operas in each of the company’s home towns in November 2007. During that first round, each of the five partner opera companies will audition and select at least one applicant for each of the roles of the five competing productions. In the second round of auditions, to take place in Szeged in January 2008, the directors of each of the productions will select the final casts. (The directors are Róbert Alföldi for Dicapo Opera Theatre, Zoltón Balázs for Opèra de Rennes; Balázs Kovalik for Bremen Theater; Péter Telihay for Baltic Opera; and Michael Strum for Szeged National Theatre.)
In the months leading up to November 2008, each opera company will perform one of the works in their home town. Kingsley’s Raoul will receive its world premiere performance in Bremen on May 10, running though June 7, and Ward’s The Crucible will be presented in New York City from August 1 to September 15. Between November 2 and 16, 2008, performances of all five operas will take place in Szeged as part of a final competition for the singers involved. At the Szeged finals, a jury of international music and theater professionals will judge the singers not only for their vocal capabilities, but also for their acting abilities. Those judged as the best performers—one male and one female—will also perform a compilation of several arias for a special film broadcast by Mezzo Television.
On October 18, 2007, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Penguin Books issued an apology and paid damages to Naxos Founder Klaus Heymann for a book they published earlier this year entitled Maestros, Masterpieces and Madness by writer Norman Lebrecht. In addition, the publisher has withdrawn the book from the market.
Penguin Books has accepted that there is nothing whatsoever behind Lebrecht’s suggestion of business malpractice on the part of Mr. Heymann. Further “Penguin Books accepts that Mr. Heymann deserves a reputation amongst his peers untainted by any allegations of this kind and it regrets that its publication of Mr. Lebrecht’s statements has caused concern to Mr. Heymann.”
Penguin Books also has agreed to contribute towards the legal costs Heymann has incurred and to pay him an appropriate sum by way of damages. Heymann has agreed to make a donation from the settlement to the charity Nordoff Robbins which provides therapy through music for children. Penguin Books has also undertaken not to repeat the allegations made by Lebrecht and to seek the return of all unsold copies of the book. Maestros, Masterpieces and Madness was issued in paperback in the United States by Random House/Anchor Books in April 2007 under the title The Life and Death of Classical Music and is currently still available.
The Oral History of American Music (OHAM), based at Yale University, has announced its second podcast, featuring historic interviews with American composer Charles Ives. This is OHAM’s second podcast. Their first, featuring historic interviews with Aaron Copland by OHAM director Vivian Perlis, is the 9th most downloaded podcast on Apple’s iTunesU site. Click here to access these and other music-related podcasts from Yale.
(Compiled and edited by Frank J. Oteri)