Friday, May 06, 2011

This Week in the Death of Classical Music

Busy week, presumably stimulated by the bankruptcy filing of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
  • Soundcheck had a discussion called "Orchestral Bright Notes," with critic Anne Midgette and Brooklyn Phil artistic director Alan Pierson.
  • Anne Midgette had a follow-up column in the Washington Post. I'm interested to see that in the first paragraph, she mentions good and bad boards, and visionary or phlegmatic music directors, leaving out management, which has a vast amount of responsibility for the health of an organization.
  • Drew McManus says Relax, It's Not a Crisis (be sure to read the comments!), in response to...
  • American Orchestras: Endangered Species? at WQXR.
  • Greg Sandow has a lot to say (read all May and recent April postings)....
  • Alex at Wellsung has a bone to pick with Greg.
  • 24/7 Wall Street has a Sandow-esq piece called "The Death of Classical Music in America." Repeat after me: institutions are not the same as the art form itself.
  • Proper Discord has a serious, serious bone to pick with 24/7 over giant errors in the piece.
  • Daniel Wolf has a few remarks about Perfect Careers.
  • UPDATE: Adding Matthew Guerrieri's great posting on the so-called "cost diease," which amounts to hand-wringing over a few things: 1. The fact that ticket sales do not now (and have not ever) covered costs, thus the model includes (gasp!) fund-raising and endowment-building as major tasks of management 2. Musicians are the largest cost of any orchestra (this should be a self-evident factor of an orchestra - it would be much, much worse if administration were the largest cost, hmm?) 3. Certain industrial efficiencies are not possible.


Drew said...

Good eye on point #2 Lisa. It's always troublesome to see administrators left out of the overall equation when talking about institutional success or failures. Simply put, the orchestra field is squarely in the dawn of the age of the executive.

What really got me in that piece is the author lists New World Symphony as a different model along side professional orchestras. There's no mistake that New World is an educational institution, it operates on a different playing field and to include it alongside organization that have vastly different obligations and revenue performance requirements is dangerous (especially for readers).

Lisa Hirsch said...

You should leave a comment for Anne. :)