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administration labor issues the orchestra world

on the brink in philadelphia

 

UPDATED 4/15/11

While last-minute talks between management and musicians are underway, the Philadelphia Orchestra edges closer to filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I find it inconceivable that one of the great orchestras of the world might soon go under – clearly there are some hard questions that must be asked about how the organization has been managed over the past two decades. Here’s a roundup of some recent news articles about the situation.

By Charles Noble

I'm the Assistant principal violist of the Oregon Symphony.

3 replies on “on the brink in philadelphia”

Oh boy… I’m still reading up about the situation in Philly – hopefully there’s a rational & realistic discussion between parties to avoid another DSO-type implosion. I’m assuming orchestras across the country are dealing with declines in philanthropy & ticket revenue… but is that an excuse to run such a large deficit ($7-14mil in Philly’s case)?

When will the management & boards of these orchestras wake up and realize that if you run in the red – the party *will* end… regardless of how good you sound, how much talent you have or how big your legacy is.

In the spirit of Noble’s Random Thought #7… management/boards/musicians need to have constructive discussion on what can and can’t be done with the long term viability of the organization as a priority. Drop the shields & BS… be realistic. Be a grown-up and put on your thinking caps. I realize that’s easy for me to say since i’m not in arts admin or a union musician… just throwing it out there.

“In the spirit of Noble’s Random Thought #7… management/boards/musicians need to have constructive discussion on what can and can’t be done with the long term viability of the organization as a priority. Drop the shields & BS… be realistic. Be a grown-up and put on your thinking caps. I realize that’s easy for me to say since i’m not in arts admin or a union musician… just throwing it out there.”

Dan, we’re lucky here that we have both a management team and a set of musicians who are both realistic and pragmatic about what needs to be done to make the OSO a healthy and successful organization. Frank discussions are par for the course here, and that’s something that I’m very thankful for, as are all of my colleagues.

Yes – we are *so* very lucky with the OSO. I subscribed because Carlos & the band rocks. I give because I trust Elaine & Janet to spend my money wisely. I give *more* because patrons/board members like the Earlys (with their donation match) put their money where their mouth is.

I’m excited & optimistic BUT without a doubt there is so much work to be done… musician compensation/retention, recruiting new donors/subscribers and the elephant in the room – arts appreciation/education for future generations of artists, patrons & donors.

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