Annemarie Petrov, currently serving as WSO interim operations director, will leave this fall to follow her computer engineer husband to his new job in the Alberta capital.
With qualified replacement candidates few and far between, the orchestra's interim management committee has convinced the newly retired general manager of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Rita Menzies, to fill in until a new E.D. can be found.
"I would have wanted to stay but it's a real coup to get Rita," said Petrov, who plans to stick around to help out until November.
"Everyone throughout the organization is delighted that she is coming on board."
Menzies, 60, spent her final day in the MCO office on Friday. She is on vacation until she begins at the WSO Sept. 15 and could not be reached for comment.
Patti Sullivan, chairwoman of the interim management committee said a new E.D. could be in place by November.
Menzies served as MCO GM for more than 20 years, keeping the organization in fine financial and administrative form.
Composed of more than 20 WSO string players who are employed on yearly contracts, the MCO stages eight concerts annually at Westminster United Church.
The WSO, now effectively sitting at 65 players, performs more than 70 concerts a year.
The financially beleaguered orchestra begins the new season with a free concert outdoors at The Forks on Sept. 14, followed by the first subscription series pair at the Centennial Concert Hall Sept. 18-19.
The management committee still is awaiting reaction from the province on the business plan it submitted in late June.
Petrov had been widely viewed as the best local candidate to manage the WSO's day-to-day affairs.
She and her husband, Paul, now the parents of two toddlers, moved here from Atlantic Canada in 1994 for her job as WSO director of artistic operations.
She left in 1998 to run the St. Norbert Arts Centre and left there in 2000. She returned to the WSO on a temporary basis in the midst of last spring's administrative turmoil.
New players on board
The WSO also has confirmed several changes to its artistic side.
Assistant principal trumpeter Jean-Francois Phaneuf has been appointed the orchestra's personnel manager, replacing principal tuba David Norris, on a year's sabbatical to follow his wife, Lisa, to a band teaching job in North Carolina.
Chris Lee is the new principal tuba.
Louise Alexander of Toronto has a one-year contract to replace first violinist Hiroko Kagawa, who moved with her husband, second violinist David Visentin, for a teaching post in Toronto. Both are technically on one-year sabbaticals.
Manitoban Sigmar Martin has signed a one-year contract as second violinist. He is the father-in-law of Vermont native Patricia Evans, who joined the WSO as principal horn last year. Her husband and Sigmar's son, Todd Martin, has signed aboard for a year as third horn.
The new acting principal bass player is Hilda Cowie, a replacement for Moirah Parks, who died in a car accident last season.
Julia McIntyre has been hired as principal bass trombone, replacing John Miller who retired after 37 years.
Ballet promotes dancers
Artistic changes are minimal to this year's Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Artistic director André Lewis has promoted Janet Sartore and Alexander Gamayunov from the corps du ballet to second soloist positions.
He also has added two apprentices, Florida native Jo-Ann Sundermeier and Albertan Amar Dhaliwal.
The big RWB changes this year are at the top of the administrative ladder. The company's new chief operating officer, Judy Murphy, has just moved over from her old job running the Winnipeg Folk Arts Council.
The RWB school's second-in-command, Arlene Minkhorst, has taken over from David Moroni, founding director of the professional division, who retired at the end of last season after 38 years with the company.
New busts installed
Busts of the three newest inductees into the Winnipeg Real Estate Board's Citizen's Hall of Fame have been installed in Assiniboine Park.
William Fonseca, John W. Dafoe and Donald MacDonald were created by local sculptors Josef Randa, Madeleine Vrignon and Helen Granger-Young, respectively.
Located at the park's southeast corner at Park Boulevard and Corydon Avenue, the hall of fame boasts more than 20 other busts, including those of Steven Juba, Samuel Freedman and Carol Shields.