13 comments on “The Future of the Orchestra

  1. Pretty sad for the musicians who are forced to play such pap. But the people want easy stuff and this is what you have to deliver if you want to survive in the new Middle Ages.

    • I fear you are correct. On one hand, I imagine it is pretty easy evening for the musicians and, I imagine, they are paid the same whether they are playing Mahler or Disney. On the other, I would think serious musicians might prefer something a little more substantial.

    • Very cool – thanks for the suggestions. Harper’s Other Dad would be traumatized since the first song I happened to open was “Say Something”, a song that makes him twitch but lots of good stuff there

  2. believe it or don’t, I have never been to see the philadelphia orchestra. the performances are downtown at night; not exactly convenient for those of us in the burbs AND expensive (tickets, parking). then you have to be concerned with the possibility of robbery…

    I would LOVE to see a gershwin review.

    • Phoenix does not have the same concerns about security when going to the Symphony. The downtown area is pretty safe and very well policed. Of course it helps that one can drive one’s locked car into the underground parking and take an elevator directly into Symphony Hall so it is possible to attend without having to set foot on a public sidewalk. Parking here is cheap compared to cities back east but it all adds up when you factor in the cost of the evening out.

  3. …. or you can do a mixture of both classical and popular.

    Great coincidence in the timing of your post! Just this past Saturday at the end of their traditional concert the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra gave a ‘nod’ to the local NHL hockey team (Calgary Flames) that had, earlier that night, won the best-of-7 hockey series to go onto the next round.

    I think it would be a nice gesture for the well-paid hockey players to give a nice donation to the CPO as a token of their appreciation for the acknowledgement of their win!

    • Our local symphony patrons have a love/hate relationship with our local baseball team. Symphony Hall and Chase Field (where the Diamondbacks play) are only a couple blocks apart and traffic and parking are a nightmare if there is a concert at the same time as a home game.

  4. Years ago Herbert Blomstedt’s snippet in the inside front cover of the SFS programs included a comment along the lines (and I’m relying on my memory) that music was composed to be performed by live musicians for a live audience.

    I believe that there is a place for ‘Pops’ programs (e.g. the Hollywood Bowl is a fun summertime diversion, but it is not serious – Concerto in C Major with Police Helicopter and Car Alarm), but I also feel that the habit of the subscription builds understanding and knowledge by exposure to live performances of work that one might not seek out. Over the years there are also discoveries of talented soloists and performers that you watch develop or begin to understand how their interpretation of works, both new and familiar, speak to you in a special way instead. There is joy in the adventure, but it is the long game and does not reap dollars for the organizations immediately. Single performance habits or dumbed down programming will keep things afloat in the short term.

    Alas, presently I am in reduced circumstances and have had to let the subscriptions lapse. So instead, I shall go out into the front yard and yell at kids to stay off of my lawn.

    • The circumstances issue is a significant one. In years past we have subscribed for two seats to the local Symphony, Ballet, and Opera companies. Since I started ushering at these venues I get to see the performances for free so we reduced the subscriptions to one ticket for each group and I will usher the same performances. The downside is we can’t sit together. The upside is it saved about $1500.

  5. Last time I was at an orchestral thing was in the 1980’s. It’s something I felt I had to experience once and that was that.

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