Archive for December, 2007

Happiness is a warm, steaming pile of sh…

December 22, 2007

The Puget Sound Business Journal reported that things are going just swimmingly in Seattle:

Seattle Symphony Music Director Gerard Schwarz is putting to rest any speculation that he will step down after an unflattering story about the symphony and Schwarz was published by The New York Times.

"I am absolutely staying here (in Seattle)," he said. "I have a contract until 2011. After that, I don’t know. But I’m staying now."

Schwarz’s comments were echoed by Susan Hutchison, chair of the Seattle Symphony board.

"There is no truth in any rumor that he is going anywhere," she said. "We are very happy with the way things are going."

What would it take to make the SSO Board unhappy with the way things were going? An asteroid dropping in on an SSO concert?  Or only if Schwarz were conducting the concert?

I wish I had their pain threshold.


Abu Bratsche’s Podium Nightmares – Christmas Pops edition

December 20, 2007

Memo to young conductors:

If the orchestra isn’t together, it’s YOUR FAULT. Leave the lovely gestures at home until you can get the orchestra through a couple of tempo transitions in one piece.

What do they teach in conducting school these days?

A hard place to run an orchestra

December 16, 2007

There has been a remarkable run of good financial news in the orchestra
industry this year. But two items in the news recently got me thinking
about why some orchestral institutions consistently work well and some
others consistently don’t.


Gerry’s Peak – ready to blow?

December 16, 2007

Orchestra industry insiders have known for a while that the
relationship between the musicians of the Seattle Symphony and its
Music Director, Gerard Schwarz, was dysfunctional even by the low
standards of orchestras, and that the problems were abetted by
Schwarz’s unusually strong hold on the SSO’s board of directors.


Why can’t conductors conduct?

December 14, 2007

My orchestra recently did a holiday concert in a neighboring community.
Such concerts aren’t one of the joys of orchestra life, and I’m a long
way from being in the Christmas spirit this year anyway. But this one
was made far worse by the fact that the conductor simply wasn’t up to
the job. So how does a full-time professional American orchestra end up
with a guest conductor who can’t conduct? We don’t hire violinists who
can’t play.


We have spinmeisters too

December 1, 2007

It’s not often that one gets to see the classical music industry spin
machine so openly in action as with Gustavo Dudamel’s debut appearance
with the New York Philharmonic. Dudamel, for those one or two orchestra
aficionados who haven’t yet heard about him, is the Venezuelan
wunderkind who was hired (at the age of 7 or some equally ridiculous number) to be the next music
director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.