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If you follow classical music news like I do you would have seen some very troubling headlines.

Osmo Vänskä's departure shakes Minnesota Orchestra

If you are not familiar with the on going issues the Minnesota Orchestra has had with their Board of Directors you should definitely look it up to fully understand how it got to where they are now

New York City Opera Shuts Its Doors

CANCELLED: Carnegie Hall Live: Opening Night Gala With The Philadel...

Without An Angel Donor, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra Could Go Dark

keep in mind this orchestra is currently accepting scores for a new competition. 

Many blame changing audience taste, crazy new music, MTV culture, shorten attentions spans, snobbishness of symphony goes, and high ticket prices for the decline in audience sizes at the symphony. All legit reasons but their seems to be a bigger problem at hand, a problem from within many failing orchestras, opera companies, and professional performing ensembles. While each situation is different, an underline theme that I see throughout each of these performing groups is some kind of mismanagement. It appears that many orchestras have yet to keep up with the times and run their business as they did 100 years ago. So what can be done?

What do you think is the main issue for these failing performance ensembles? What do you think needs to be changed?

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Well if we lived in a true democracy, the democratic process would decide what we, collectively, thought needing enriching. It would not need to be imposed like a totalitarian state.

I would vote for a party that pledged to put money behind the arts on a pledge to make society richer.

However, I dont see parties tempting the voter with such pledges....There probably isnt even a groundswell of demand from the people that politicians should respond to.

So sadly we are back to issue that the arts, for most people and the political class, are not all that important.

We cant change societys priorities overnight.

Consumerism is quite a stubborn dominant ideology.

And Tyler, in a cultured society, I or we wouldnt need to fulfl a burden of proof that orchestras are enriching for society. We would just know, as you and I do now.

And the parents are brainwashed by the perceived status and rewards of sports.


indoctrination into the brainwashed voting/ tax pool ( and bring your own towel ) Heir Zinos   what else
Fredrick zinos said:

"So why do we fund schooling?"

 

So the graduates will know how to operate the new high tech weapons systems. What other reason could their possibly be?

Just because you don't value something doesn't mean that someone else's experience of it is invalid. If sports is meaningful to some people, that is a valid thing. Nobody has more meaningful or rewarding experiences than anyone else. It's all relative to the individual.
 
Adrian Allan said:

And the parents are brainwashed by the perceived status and rewards of sports.

There's a number of factors at work, all colliding in a somewhat "perfect storm" situation.

 

First factor, we have the current business model of symphony orchestras, which are typically non-profit organizations relying on both large gifts from major donors (i.e. the 1 percenters) as well as lots of membership funds from the general public, as well as some federal, state and local government funding. All of these funding sources have been slammed in recent years due to the prolonged recession. Even the 1 percenters are much more stingy in their donations, despite that group being the first to recover from bad economic times. So, non-ticket sale funding is way down.

 

Second factor, costs haven't gone down. The overhead in paying for keeping a symphony hall or opera house has not gone down, and the cost of performers, since many are in unions, has also not gone down.

 

Third factor, ticket sales are likely down, for several reasons. First, the recession - symphony /opera attendance are purely discretionary items - people cut these back when times are tough, and second, tastes may be changing.

 

Add these up, and it's no wonder that it's hard times for symphony orchestras/operatic companies, etc. (FYI-many other "traditional" industries/endeavors are having equally hard times.) While a large part of it is a business cycle issue, another part of it is a trend issue, changing demographics and their tastes, etc.

 

While I think that more professional management of symphony orchestras/operas have helped them through tough times, I'm concerned about how adaptive their business model is to the current culture. For example, each day when I tune into my local classical radio station, most of the music I hear was written well over a hundred years ago. I think I usually last about 30 seconds before turning the radio off. In short, I'm not sure management of these entities is as visionary as they need to be in order to survive.

 

I think many of us are thirsty for moving on from the past, and moving on from many of the experimental aural soundprints which, even though they might be mathematically correct or technically brilliant, are just adding to the cacophony that is our current culture.. Composers like Eric Whitacre, using current technology and social trends, to present musical ideas, provide a good example of how orchestral music needs to adapt to current times.

 

As to the comment that we just need to move away from capitalism, I urge that member to enter his cryo tube to wait out the next few hundred years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furthermore, if kids don't want to do sports, they don't. It's the kids that decide the vast majority of the time. When I was a kid, I took piano for a year. then I got interested in baseball. I quit piano. I now regret it. But it was my choice. My parents did not force me to do either, and there certainly wasn't any brainwashing going on.

Still, we are indeed a sports-obsessed culture, on both sides of the pond. Modern Western civilization definitely resembles ancient Greece and Rome more than it does Europe during the Renaissance or Enlightenment. Perhaps these things run in cycles. Who knows, a hundred or two years from now, kids may be dreaming of being the next Mozart or Debussy, instead of the next Tom Brady.
 
michael diemer said:

Just because you don't value something doesn't mean that someone else's experience of it is invalid. If sports is meaningful to some people, that is a valid thing. Nobody has more meaningful or rewarding experiences than anyone else. It's all relative to the individual.
 
Adrian Allan said:

And the parents are brainwashed by the perceived status and rewards of sports.
I have nothing against sports per se.

I just object to the fact that it had taken over the media to the detriment of all else.

Plus, i dont like the cult of celebrity sport.

Sport, music and just about everything else is better when you do it for yourself. There is an irony in morbidly obese football fans scoffing burgers before and after the match.
And as to the comment that I should wait out the end of capitalism for the next two centuries.
I need not wait that long. It is already in terminal decline. Unless you havent noticed, we are ending the age of cheap oil. You cant grow an economy without burning fossil fuels, so the game is up.

The next genreration will work twice as hard for half as much as the baby boomers. That is blindingly obvious.

I agree with you Fredrick, it sometimes seems heaven and hell can occupy the same space.

over time, hair gets longer-hair gets shorter    ties get wider- ties get thinner  the pendulum swings

back and forth    I'm sure if it's good music  it will be back  rediscovered and possibly re-invented.

it certainly won't die and be forgotten.

Those who are "in the know" about the hard facts of economics and energy are in agreement about the fact that we are on a steady downhill slope. On a finite planet, the infinite growth paradigm is impossible to sustain. In a period of prolonged decline, the first " non essential" to suffer is nearly always music. We will adapt over the next century, but anyone who thinks mass consumption occupies a permanent place in human history is seriously deluded
.
http://youtu.be/kPgohNERJBI
With the greatest respect, that is just wrong.

What we have had in the past one hundred years is nothing short of a population bloom, sustained only by the low hanging fruit of abundant fossil fuels.

whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, .

During the 20th century alone, the population in the world had grown from 1.65 billion to almost 7 billion.

This is completely unique to human history. It is an unsustainable trajectory.

As any biologist will tell you, after a population bloom, there is always an inevitable die-off. It is nearly always due to a species over consuming and ruining its energy source.

What we are doing with the War on Terror is finding another pathetic little excuse to invade areas rich in oil to stave off the inevitable for a few more years.


Fredrick zinos said:

 

"Those who are "in the know" about the hard facts of economics and energy are in agreement about the fact that we are on a steady downhill slope"
This could have been written 100, 200, 500, 5000 years ago. The statement is probably true (or probably untrue) but the result, it would seem, is never as unequivocal as one would think. The only thing that seems certain is that mass consumption can lead equally to both mass extinction and the next renascence. Since both are equally beneficial to our sordid little species who cares which one it is?
We have seen the economy bite, some of which was undoubtedly engineered by those in high places, profiting from the 2008 collapse.

Under these conditions, it becomes fashionable to extract more and more labour from workers, leaving less time for culture or personal and spirtitual development. Under these conditions too, classical music has sufffered a set back.

I would advocate a less intense, less consumerist and work obsessed mind set. But I have to accept that my opinions count for zilch.

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