Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

WSO music director will rest his baton in Osborne Village

  • Print
THE Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's music director is living up to his pledge to move to Winnipeg.

Los Angeles-based Alexander Mickelthwate says he will move into an Osborne Village apartment Sept. 10.

It will mark the first time that the WSO has had a resident music director since Bramwell Tovey departed for Vancouver in 2000.

Mickelthwate, 37, who is preparing to start his second year on the podium with the 67-member WSO, is bringing with him his fashion designer wife, Abigail Camp, and their preschool-age son, Jack.

"I'm going to try to be very visible," he said Wednesday from L.A. "I'd like to connect with the university and do some teaching."

Born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany, Mickelthwate is finishing up his contract as associate artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Some symphony observers were skeptical of Mickelthwate's promise to leave Los Angeles.

They wondered if he could convince Camp to relocate here at the possible expense of her work life. Professional celebrity Paris Hilton was photographed last spring in People magazine wearing a Camp-designed shirt.

Mickelthwate's predecessor, the Russian-born Andrey Boreyko, did not live up to his pledge to live here. It was said that his wife and daughter wanted to stay in Europe.

One of the factors causing the decline in North American orchestral attendance, some observers have said, is that conductors too often have no connection to the communities in which they work.

Mickelthwate's full-time arrival here comes after a disastrous debut year, financially speaking, as music director. The orchestra is facing a possible deficit of $700,000 as it prepares for its annual general meeting at the end of September.

The organization had wiped out a long-standing deficit, thanks largely to a taxpayer-funded bailout, stemming from administrative chaos in the early 2000s.

But Mickelthwate says last year's problems were due to factors beyond his artistic control.

"I thought I counteracted some of them," he said. "From an artistic standpoint, the orchestra sounded good. The New Music Festival was a success. The audience had a younger feel."

He says his wife will run her business from here.

On Wednesday, WSO executive director Dale Lonis said he had two large private donations "on the table." As well, he was waiting for word from officials in the province's culture department who were on summer vacation.

"They want to be careful and do due diligence," said Lonis, who took over the WSO reins last July.

Lonis says WSO subscription revenue stands at $917,000, $28,000 ahead of last year and on target to reach the 2007-2008 budgeted goal of $960,000.

This despite his cancelling 18 concerts from next season's lineup to trim costs. Last year, the orchestra failed to attain its subscription goal of $1.1 million.

New board president Dorothy Dobbie says last season was a transition year. "It takes time to get an organization up to speed," said Dobbie, a magazine publisher and former Conservative MP who was a WSO board member during the organization's recovery in the 1980s.

"And we will do it."

Rei Hotoda, whom Mickelthwate hired last year as his assistant conductor, lives in Wolseley. Her husband and son have remained in the U.S. pending Mickelthwate's decision to renew her two-year contract, Lonis says.

The WSO will kick off its 60th season Sept. 28-29 at the Centennial Concert Hall with Mickelthwate conducting Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and guest pianist Louis Lortie playing Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2007 $sourceSection$sourcePage

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


I Dream of Diesel at Rachel Brown Theatre scene preview

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local/Standup- BABY BISON. Fort Whyte Centre's newest mother gently nudges her 50 pound, female bull calf awake. Calf born yesterday. 25 now in herd. Four more calfs are expected over the next four weeks. It is the bison's second calf. June 7, 2002.

View More Gallery Photos


Do you think the Jets will win Game 4 on Wednesday?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google