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This week in classical music news:
- Conductor James Levine, citing lingering back problems, has withdrawn from the rest of the season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and announced he will resign as BSO music director Sept. 1. The move wasn't exactly a surprise, but it leaves orchestra management to find a replacement.
- Though Levine's departure put a wrench in things, BSO audiences did get to watch violinist Christian Tetzlaff in a program that included a world premiere and kept him on stage the entire evening.
- The striking Detroit Symphony musicians are set to return to work under binding arbitration – which basically means they'll negotiate while they work. Anne Midgette thinks the move is too little too late – and she might be right, considering that the entire DSO percussion section has left the orchestra for greener pastures.
- A forgotten Ralph Vaughn Williams piece, written when the composer was a college student, had its world premiere Thursday.
- Coming Soon: Esa-Pekka Salonen has withdrawn his new piano piece from a Yefim Bronfman recital at L.A.'s Disney Hall – it's not done yet.
- Critic Turns Curator: Music writer Alex Ross is on a mission to expand awareness of classical music – and his next move is programming a touring music program with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
- Hello, World: An anonymous composer in Kansas is composing voicemail-inspired soundtracks. Call (316) 247-0421 to contribute to the project.
- Renowned Scottish composer James McMillan, whose reputation in the U.S. rests largely on his early pieces, is returning to America with a new violin concerto performed by Vadim Repin.
- Concerto in FTD: A performing florist takes center stage in a concerto played by a massive all-volunteer orchestra and led by a percussion professor.
- The theater blog of The Guardian asks why opera critics rarely review the music.
- The man who stole Min-Jin Kym's 1.2 million-pound Stradivarius violin last year clearly had no idea what it was worth – court hearings reveal that he tried to sell it for 100 pounds in a café. The violin still hasn't been recovered.
- Violinist Eugene Fodor, who made headlines first for his Tchaikovsky Competition win and then for a drug arrest, died recently of cirrhosis just before turning 61.
- Philip Glass is launching his own annual arts festival in California. The first season will feature a retrospective of his career.