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Backstage News

2016-17 Season Brings More New Players

Already a familiar to audiences, Lisbeth Dreier officially joins the violin section this season. Now serving in their official roles are Principal Clarinet James Shields and Prinicpal Flute Martha Long. Also new this season is cello Kevin Kunkel.

2015-16 Season Begins With New Faces

We welcome new musicians joining the orchestra at the outset of the season: violin Samuel Park, viola Ningning Jin and cello Antoinette Gan.

2014-15 Season Changes

Cellist Timothy Scott and Yoshi Nakao, Principal Clarinet both retired from the orchestra this season after over 65 combined years of service. Principal Flute Jessica Sindell also left the orchestra this season. We wish them well. Joining us this year is violin Laura Ha, bass Nina DeCesare and trumpet Doug Reneua.

September 1, 2013 — 2013-14 Season Begins With Changes

A number of musicians well-known to Portland audiences will not be on stage with us this season. Retiring this year are violist Stephen Price, violinist Kathryn Gray and Principal Bass Frank Diliberto. They have contributed over a century of combined years of service. Also leaving the orchestra are violinist Eileen Lande and Trumpet Michah Wilkenson. We wish them well.

April 4, 2013 — Announcing Classical Up Close

Making an opportunity out of disappointment is the impetus behind a new musician-run chamber music series called Classical Up Close. The idea for the series began after the Oregon Symphony canceled its return to Carnegie Hall that was slated for May 2013. That opened a free week for Oregon Symphony musicians. Classical Up Close is the resulting week–long series that includes six evening concerts and a couple of “blitz” concerts each day.

“We want to make the symphony visible to everybody, and to thank our supporters by going to them instead of them always coming downtown,” says Concertmaster Sarah Kwak. “We hope to make new friends and reach as many people as possible.”

For more information, please visit ClassicalUpClose.com.

February 21, 2013 —Coming in with a bang

We welcome our newest member of the orchestra, Michael Roberts to the Percussion section.

February 11, 2013 — Remembering Maestro James de Preist

We are greatly saddened by the news of the death of the Oregon Symphony’s former Music Director James de Preist. His leadership from 1980 until 2003 shaped the orchestra into the nationally–recognized ensemble that it is today. We are proud of the orchestra’s achievements during Maestro DePreist’s tenure: the 15 CD recordings, the move to the orchestra's home at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, the orchestra’s 1992 performance at the Hollywood Bowl and our community engagement throughout Oregon. Jimmy’s rapport with the audience was legendary, and his way with words, spellbinding. We remember most of all the sweeping gestures, the great arches and the power of his music making, his humanity and matchless charisma, and his genuine and tireless support for the Oregon Symphony and its mission to bring great music and great music–making to our community and beyond.

December 6, 2012 — Grammy nominations!

The Oregon Symphony has learned that its first CD released under the musical direction of Carlos Kalmar, Music for a Time of War, has received two Grammy award nominations: for Best Orchestral Performance and for Best Engineered Album, Classical.

September 2, 2012 — starting the 2012-13 season with change

At the end of last season we said farewell to two long-time players: Carla Wilson, piccolo and Mary Ann Coggins Kaza, violin. We wish them well in their future endeavors. Coming to the orchestra this fall is Zachariah Galatis, piccolo.

May 23, 2012 — 2011-12 season changes

Many Changes to the orchestra have taken place. Sarah Kwak will join the orchestra in the fall as our new Concertmaster, taking the place of Jun Iwasaki who is now Concertmaster in Nashville, Tennessee. (Mr. Iwasaki made a final guest appearance with the Oregon Symphony for our last concert of the season). Also new to the orchestra in the fall will be violinist Vali Phillips, husband of Ms. Kwak.

Already onstage are Principal Flute Jessica Sindell, English Horn Kyle Mustain, Second Bassoon Adam Trussell, Violins Ruby Chen, Emily Cole and Ryan Lee, new percussionists Matthew McKay and Sergio Carreno.

Oregon Symphony radio broadcasts are back! Please see Here us on the Radio for more information.

September 17, 2009 — Musicians Vote for the Sake of the Orchestra

On September 8, musicians voted to alter the current contract. The resultant two-year financial saving of $1.4 million, made possible by the reductions of season length for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, compensations, and benefits, is considered a contribution by the musicians to stabilize and improve the current economic condition of the Oregon Symphony Association, and as a collective gift to assist fundraising efforts by the Association to improve the future strength of the Association.

September 5, 2009 — New Season Brings Several Personnel Changes

New to the orchestra this year is our new Assistant Principal Cello, Marilyn de Oliviera. Her husband, Trevor Fitzpatrick, returns to the cello section from his leave last season. (Read about other Oregon Symphony musician couples in Married, with Music).

Harris Orem has retired from the oboe section after many seasons as the orchestra's English Horn. We wish him well in his future endeavors. An audition for his successor will occur later this season.

Three musicians are taking sabbatical years this season: Violist Masayo Higuchi, Principal Trombone Aaron La Vere and violinist Virginia MacCarthy. Taking the stage for this season are Mac Kim, Acting Violin and Steve Menard, Acting Trombone.

March 17, 2009 — Orchestras Feeding America.

Come to a concert, feed your soul and your fellow Oregonian. Bring three cans of food to your next Oregon Symphony concert to support your local food bank.

During March and early April of 2009, the musicians of the Oregon Symphony are joining orchestras across America in a national food bank drive called Orchestras Feeding America. This venture is a joint project between the League of American Orchestras and Feeding America, the country’s largest food bank network. We are collecting food at concerts for the Oregon Food Bank. Concertgoers can be a part of this food drive by bringing three cans of food to concerts during March and April. Read more here.

November 15, 2008 — New Bassoon Principal.

We're happy to welcome our newest member, the leader of our bassoon section, Principal Bassoon Carin Miller. She comes to us from the Jacksonville Symphony. Evan Kuhlmann, who has been Acting Principal for more than a season, will return to his Contra Bassoon position.

October 31, 2008 — The Trumpets Shall Sound.

We are pleased to welcome to the orchestra our new Third Trumpet, Micah Wilkinson. He comes to us from the Tucson Symphony.

October 25, 2008 — CD release.

The last CD has recently been released in the series of recordings under Music Director Laureate, James DePreist. It includes Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, Berlioz' Romeo et Juliette, Op. 17 and Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture from the orchestra's 1988 private recording. You'll find information about other Oregon Symphony recordings here.

October 6, 2008 — Orchestra Loss.

Ken Baldwin, Assistant Principal Bass since 1985, succumbed to cancer this weekend. He contributed to the orchestra in so many ways, not only as a talented bassist and genial colleague, but also with countless hours of committee work and as a musician member of the Symphony Board. We will miss him.

September 20, 2008 — Two-Year Contract Ratified.

Musicians ratified a new two-year contract which trades a continued reduction in orchestra size (from 88 to 76 players) for a 5 percent salary increase this year and a cost-of-living increase in the second year. Read more here.

July 26, 2008 — Orchestra Family Grows.

We welcome four new players to the stage for the 2008-09 season, plus two orchestra family members who are not musicians (yet). Alicia Waite and Graham Kingsbury join the horn section, Mark Dubac becomes our new 2nd Clarinet and Alicia DiDonato Paulsen becomes our new 2nd Flute in the newly named Martha Herby Flute Chair.

Two babies were born to orchestra musicians this summer. Chien Tan has a new baby girl and Joseph Berger now has a second boy in his family. Perhaps you will see this next generation on stage in twenty years or so...

October 12, 2007 — Orchestra Loss.

Martha Herby, Second Flute for the Oregon Symphony for 26 years, passed away earlier this month. Her sudden illness and death has shocked the orchestra and Portland's music community. We knew Martha as a dedicated musician and a dynamic force. We will miss her.

August 22, 2007 — More Changes.

Mark Eubanks has resigned from the bassoon section. We wish him well in his new endeavors. Evan Kuhlmann will serve as Acting Principal Bassoon.

August 15, 2007 — New & Renewed Players, One Retirement and Trading Basses.

The orchestra welcomes Charles Reneau, Bass Trombone. Also, back from a year's leave are Chien Tan, Principal Violin II and Robert Naglee, 2nd Bassoon. Cheri Anne Egbers has announced her retirement from the Oregon Symphony after serving the clarinet section and the orchestra for 46 years. We wish her well. Jeffrey Johnson will serve as Acting Assistant Principal Bass while Kenneth Baldwin is on leave this season.

May 31, 2007 — Concertmaster Named

Jun Iwasaki will join the Oregon Symphony as Concertmaster in August. Prior to being named concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony, violinist Jun Iwasaki has served in the same position with the Canton Symphony Orchestra for the past two years. Iwasaki was the only finalist in the search who earned a place by winning a national audition. He appeared with the orchestra for classical series concerts on May 5 and 6 under the direction of Maestro Kalmar. Click here to read the full press release.

May 24, 2007 — Two-Year Contract Ratified

The new contract between the Oregon Symphony Association and the musicians’ union, Local 99 of the American Federation of Musicians, covers the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons and provides for modest increases in the musicians’ compensation over the two-year term. Read the press release or see Paper Chase for a history of labor contracts from 1985 to the present.

April 11, 2007 — Departures

Having recently won a position in the Detroit Symphony, Una O’Riordan has left the cello section of the Oregon Symphony. Lisa Hansen and Paloma Griffin have both resigned from their positions in the violin section. We wish them well.

February 23, 2007 — Arrival

The orchestra welcomes Evan Kuhlmann to the bassoon section.

January 8, 2007 — Trading Places and Future Retirements

Bridget Kelly has become the new Director of Musician Resources for the Oregon Symphony, leaving her position in the cello section. Katherine George has announced her plans to retire her position as Principal Keyboard. Similarly, Alan Pierce will leave his position in the trombone section at the end of this season. We wish them well.

December 21, 2006 — Arrival and Departure

The Orchestra welcomes Michael Myers to the trumpet section as Acting Second Trumpet. Leon Chodos will be leaving the bassoon section to take his new position as Associate Principal Bassoon in the Utah Symphony. We wish him well.

September 21, 2006 — Departures
Sally Nelson Kuhns has announced her plans to leave the trumpet section to spend more time in music education. We wish her well. Concertmaster Amy Schwartz Moretti has announced her plans to leave the orchestra at the end of the 2006-2007 season to become the Director and Associate Professor of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and to hold the Caroline Paul King Chair in Strings at Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music in Macon, Georgia. A search for her successor will begin shortly.

August 25, 2006 — Season Changes
Connie Whelan has announced her retirement after 27 year in the viola section. We wish her well. Second Bassoonist Bob Naglee will be on leave for the 2006-07 season. Taking his place will be bassoonist Ann Kosanovic-Brown. The Orchestra's new Principal Flute is David Buck. Other new players include Scott Esty and Rodica Filipoi who will be joining the violin section this season. We also welcome Samuel Hager as Acting Bass.

May 25, 2006 — Departures & Sabbaticals
Paul Denola will be leaving the bass section to take a position in the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. We wish him well. Violinists Paloma Griffin, Lisa Hansen and Chien Tan will be on leave during the 2006-07 season. Taking Tan’s place as Acting Principal Second Violin will be the Oregon Symphony’s newest violinist, Elena Hirsu.

May 20, 2006 — Record Tenure
Violist Patricia Miller will retire from the Oregon Symphony viola section this season after 56 years of service. While there have been a number of musicians who have performed with the Symphony for 45 years or more, Pat is the first to reach so far into the fifth decade — and she hasn’t worn out her viola yet! We wish her well. See Musician Tenure and Experience for related information.

May 10, 2006 — Contract Settlement
Oregon Symphony musicians have voted to accept a one–year contract between the Oregon Symphony Association and the Musicians Union. The vote capped 1–1/2 years of bargaining between the symphony and musician representatives. The new contract covers only the 2005-2006 season, which is now near conclusion. To read the Oregonian article on the settlement, click here.

April 24, 2006 — Changing Principals
Principal Oboe Frederic Korman, who has been with the Oregon Symphony for 28 years, will be leaving his position at the end of the 2005-06 season. Also at that time Principal Trumpet Fred Sautter will be retiring from his post after 38 years on the job. We wish them well. When the 2006-07 season begins, Martin Hebert will be leading the oboe section and Jeffrey Work will be the Principal of the trumpet section.

March 6, 2006 — Walton CD Release
The Oregon Symphony's newest CD recording is available. It features the music of William Walton: Suite from Henry V and the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra with Mark Kosower as soloist. The Disc also contains Bernard Rands' Tre Canzoni senza Parole (three Songs Without Words). Herbert Greenberg, who served as the Oregon Symphony's acting Concertmaster during the 2003-04 season is featured on the second disc of the two-CD set, performing Walton's Sonata for Violin and Piano. (Delos DE 3342.) Please see CDs for a list of the orchestra's recordings.

March 1, 2006 — Blog Recognition
National Public Radio's Performance Today host Fred Child read from The Works, the Oregon Symphony Players official repertoire blog, as an introduction to a broadcast of the orchestra's recent performance of Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod. "Members of the Oregon Symphony are keeping a fascinating online music blog," Mr. Child said on the air. "It's a rare glimpse into the minds of orchestral players."

November 19, 2005 — New Arrival
The orchestra welcomes Trevor Fitzpatrick to the cello section.

September 1, 2005 — Reaching Out
Because of the initiative of Oregon Symphony musicians, and with help from the Association President and staff, members of the Louisiana Philharmonic are getting a little extra help. At the Waterfront Concert in Portland, Oregon today, there was a collection of donations to assist the musicians whose livelihood has been affected by hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The collection is being administered by the American Federation of Musicians Local 99 in Portland.

To contribute, make a check out to “LOCAL 99” and send to:
Local 99 AFM
325 NE 20th
Portland, OR 97232
(In the memo section please put the caption “Hurricane Katrina Musicians Relief Fund”)

August 26, 2005 — On Leave
Joseph Berger, Associate Principal Horn and Sally Nelson Kuhns, Assistant Principal Trumpet will both be on leave during the 2005-2006 season.

August 25, 2005 — Personnel Changes
Violists Jennifer Arnold and Masayo Higuchi join the orchestra onstage. Ayako Gamo has left the violin section, to play in the Seattle Symphony. We wish her well.

June 3, 2005 — More Departures
Larry Johnson has announced his career move from the horn section to conduct at the Portland Youth Philharmonic. We wish him well.

May 21, 2005 — Departures
Four orchestra members will be playing on other stages next season: Barton Parker is retiring from the orchestra after 43 years in the horn section, Anna Schaum is leaving the viola section to pursue a career in psychological counseling, and Connie Whelan will be on a year–long leave of absence. We wish them well.

May 12, 2005 — Acoustical Study
The international firm Arup (www.arup.com) begins its acoustical study of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon. Technicians were on hand this weekend taking readings and making observations as part of the Symphony Association's continuing investigation of potential improvements to the acoustical environment at the concert hall.

April 4, 2005 — Arrivals
The violas are coming! There are four new players in the viola section. Viorel Bejenaru and Leah Ilem will be joining us this month. You'll see Jennifer Arnold and Masayo Higuchi onstage beginning in August.

October 20, 2004 — Departures
Violist Mara Lise Gearman as left the Oregon Symphony to join the Seattle Symphony. Violist Peggy Swafford has retired after 40 years with the Symphony. Peggy says:

“I feel blessed by having music in my life. Music is an extraordinary gift, and I welcome the opportunity to share this gift with as many children as I can. Children are our future and I feel we, as musicians, have an obligation to serve them.”

September 1, 2004 — New Recording
The orchestra’s latest recording with Music Director Laureate James DePreist is now available. The CD holds two symphonies by Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 2, recorded live during concerts on September 21-23, 2002, and Symphony No. 7. See Orchestra Recordings for more information.

August 18, 2004 — Arrivals
The orchestra welcomes five new violinists: Keiko Araki, Shin—young Kwon, Sarah Roth and Ines Voglar. Also, after a year—long search process, Amy Schwartz Moretti is the Oregon Symphony’s new Concertmaster.

Back from their sabbaticals are Lawrence Johnson, horn and Robert Taylor, trombone.

May 30, 2004 — Latest Oregon Symphony recording is available
The Orchestra's performances of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11 (“The Year 1905”) on January 18-20, 2003 have been made into a CD recording on the Delos label, thanks to the continued generosity of Gretchen Brooks. See Orchestra Recordings for more information.

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