Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. Summer is usually kind of a slow news cycle in the arts world, but for come reason there has been a series of provocative articles in the past few weeks on various topics. For those of you looking for some amusing (and sometimes amazing) reading this Friday, this is for you…..
First up is this widely circulated and spectacularly ignorant piece that would be almost comical but for the not-so-subtle racism couched in buzzwords and simplistic conclusions. Fortunately Bill Eddins demolishes this nonsense in his excellent response, emphasizing the fact that blatant racial stereotypes are neither the cause nor the solution for the various issues confronting orchestras these days.
This article eloquently explains why Pandora sucks for musicians and songwriters. As convenient as it is, I still wince when I see one of my musician friend’s Facebook posts telling me
how they’re currently getting ripped off what they’re listening to on Pandora.
On the upside, the Pittsburgh Symphony musicians got a nice new contract a year early, after what was apparently a cordial set of negotiations. Then the orchestra reported its deficit tripled last year; presumably that fact was an element of the contract talks, since no one seems too concerned at the moment.
More recently this appeared, MPR’s hyper-contorionist attempt to be “fair and balanced” regarding the Minnesota Orchestra situation. While most would acknowledge that serious miscalculations have been made all around (unsurprising after a 10-month lockout), this article completely sidesteps some important facts. For example, the original proposal from the Minnesota Orchestra Association (MOA) didn’t just have an average pay cut of 30%, it also tore up the master agreement, starting from scratch in terms of industry-standard working conditions (check this out for starters). Then they walked away and literally locked the doors. In essence, the MOA management continues its quest to completely rebuild the entire business model of a (formerly) thriving arts institution by first destroying it, then plowing forward at a bargain price with the musicians that hung around. That is, after the shiny new lobby is done, and if they can ignore the picketing from former patrons. Make no mistake- the MOA and Board hold the key to the future here, not the (fleeing) musicians or their likely-soon-to-be-former Music Director. And the entire community is losing out, with no end in sight.
Finally there’s this, which just left me speechless, but the comments are worth reading. Truly one of the most appalling things I’ve ever seen on a prominent NY press outlet, and further evidence of the sad deterioration of the Village Voice, formerly known for some outstanding arts writing prior to firing everyone with an even ounce of talent. Take note, MOA….