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Events & Annoucements

Announcements: July 2008 Archives

Seattle Opera Presents "Wagnerian Idol"

Seattle Opera

Singers Gather in Seattle for "Wagnerian Idol"

Second International Wagner Competition to be Held at McCaw Hall August 16

Competition Includes Audience-Voted Prize

Seattle – Eight singers from around the world will compete in Seattle Opera's second International Wagner Competition on Saturday, August 16. The first competition held in 2006 was dubbed "Wagnerian Idol", reflecting the audience-vote component to the competition. Seattle Opera is internationally well-known for its focus on the works of Richard Wagner, including the company's signature performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen. The company's next complete Ring cycle will be performed in August 2009.

Each of the finalists – aged between 25 and 39 – will perform two arias accompanied by the Seattle Opera Orchestra conducted by Asher Fisch, Seattle Opera's principal guest conductor. Full program details are listed below. The finalists were selected via a series of international auditions. They are competing for two cash prizes of $15,000. In addition to the two main prizes, there is an "Audience Choice" prize and an "Orchestra Choice" prize.

The judges for Seattle Opera's second International Wagner Competition are an international group of authorities in all aspects of opera production – Hans-Joachim Frey, general director and chief executive officer of the Theater Bremen, which includes Oper Bremen; tenor Ben Heppner, well known for his acclaimed performances of the Wagnerian repertoire; stage director Peter Kazaras, a Seattle Opera Artistic Director of the company's Young Artists Program; Pamela Rosenberg, administrative director of the Berlin Philharmonic and former general director of San Francisco Opera; Stephen Wadsworth, frequent director of Seattle Opera productions, including its highly praised 2001 and 2005 Ring cycles and upcoming 2009 Ring; and Eva Wagner-Pasquier, the daughter of Wolfgang Wagner and an artistic advisor to the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

The second International Wagner Competition is once again made possible by a generous contribution from the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences.

The first International Wagner Competition, held in August 2006, was created by Seattle Opera's General Director Speight Jenkins to identify and recognize qualified, emerging opera singers who demonstrate clear promise of an important career in the Wagnerian repertoire. The winners of the 2006 competition were soprano Miriam Murphy from Dublin, Ireland and baritone James Rutherford from Dulwich, England.

International Wagner Competition
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
Seattle, Washington

For tickets and information, call 800-426-1619 or 206-389-7676 or visit

Cleveland Orchestra News Release

The Cleveland Orchestra announces Gary Ginstling as General Manager

CLEVELAND , July 14, 2008 – Executive Director Gary Hanson announced today that Gary Ginstling has been appointed General Manager of The Cleveland Orchestra. Mr. Hanson said, "I am delighted to welcome Gary to the staff of The Cleveland Orchestra. His career in orchestra management and corporate marketing, alongside his experience as a professional musician, make him the ideal candidate to help lead our new initiatives in Cleveland and internationally."

As the General Manager of The Cleveland Orchestra, Mr. Ginstling will have overall responsibility for management of the Orchestra, Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center, as well as the Orchestra's educational and community relations activities.

Gary Ginstling's career in orchestra management includes serving as Executive Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 2003-2006 and, most recently, as Director of Communications and External Affairs for the San Francisco Symphony since July 2006.

As Executive Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Ginstling was responsible for a number of initiatives that enhanced the orchestra's reputation for creative programming and innovative projects. Under his tenure, the orchestra and Music Director Kent Nagano gave many world premiere performances, received three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, and was a recipient of the inaugural Bank of America Award for Excellence in Music Education. Mr. Ginstling oversaw three consecutive years of balanced budgets, the elimination of all outstanding debt, and a significant increase in ticket sales.

In San Francisco , as a member of the senior management team, Mr Ginstling's responsibilities include the oversight and direction of public affairs, publications, and the organization's education/youth orchestra and community engagement activities. Previously, Mr. Ginstling worked for three years at Sun Microsystems as a marketing manager for multimedia and emerging markets.

Gary Ginstling is also a professionally trained musician. He served as principal clarinet of southern California 's New West Symphony for eleven seasons, and has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Santa Barbara Symphony. He was a Fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida , from 1992 to 1996.

Mr. Ginstling is a board member of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) and served as a board member of the San Francisco Opera BRAVO! Club for young professionals. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University, a Master of Music from The Juilliard School, and an MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA.

Gary Ginstling succeeds Jonathan Martin, who served as General Manager of The Cleveland Orchestra from 1999 to March 2008. Mr. Martin is now the Executive Director of the Charlotte Symphony in North Carolina.