Silly season?

The season’s off to a peculiar start as three major institutions negotiate down to the wire (or past it). Despite healthy news from places like Seattle and St. Louis, things are not looking great in Atlanta or Indianapolis.Today’s article from Drew McManus details developments in Atlanta, and this piece pretty much sums up Indianapolis. Not much news coming out of St. Paul except for a revealing interview with Artistic Partner (and our Music Director) Edo de Waart. I do love his quotes….

I have friends in all these orchestras, and beyond the personal connections it’s difficult to comprehend how such quality institutions get into these complex and dire situations, and equally vexing to imagine a path out. I can only hope that my colleagues and their respective managements will find some sort of common ground that meaningfully addresses the financial issues and yet still preserves the artistic quality that (after all) is the reason people buy tickets in the first place.

If you’re interested, please visit the Atlanta Symphony Musicians page and the Indianapolis Symphony Musicians pageStay tuned….

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2 thoughts on “Silly season?”

  1. I was just writing about these matters in my report about the ICSOM Conference that just happened. My understanding is that we have a number of situations in which the absence or changeover of management has resulted in devastated conditions. In other cases, ideology has been the driving force in the demand for cuts, rather than economics. Also, in Indianapolis, it sounds like the Board got taken over by nitwits who think they know how to run an orchcestra. I can remember 10 or so years ago when the Indianapolis Symphony was sitting pretty with good management and plenty of support.

    Interestingly enough, Susan M., now ICSOM Counsel, advised orchestras to do what the Milwaukee Symphony did a few years ago; namely, to bring in an outside consultant such as Peter Pastreich to teach best practices to Boards.

    • Thanks for your observations. I agree that the situation in Indy seems to be that magic combination of a massive power vacuum, simplistic ideology, and staggering ineptitude on the part of the Board. What a difference from even a few years ago. Regarding Susan’s proposal, I don’t think anyone would disagree that Peter P.’s involvement with the MSO over several years was really critical. While a consultant/mediator might not be a comprehensive solution for every orchestra’s issues, there are individuals out there who can be of enormous influence to bridge what can seem like giant chasms, and the right person can often be the defining component of a resolution. But it’s imperative that both sides buy in and are willing to listen; in our case Peter had (and has) an enormous amount of professional credibility and respect from both the Board, management, and musicians. I don’t think we’d hesitate to enlist him again if it was needed.


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