Contrabass Conversations co-host John Grillo pointed out the following story to me in the New York Times last week by Dan Wakin (who also did a profile on Calgary Philharmonic bassist Matt Heller a couple of years ago).
The Philadelphia Orchestra, which appears at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday evening, is functioning without a permanent board chairman, chief executive or music director. It has canceled a prestigious European tour scheduled for this summer, delayed a project to stream concerts on the Internet, and will see its recording deal end with no clear extension or replacement certain. And its new home, Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center, which opened with much fanfare in 2001 and has been dogged by criticism of its acoustics, faces yet another acoustical evaluation.
On Wednesday the orchestra announced salary reductions and deep cuts in the administrative staff. Those measures are the sharpest shrinkage recently among the traditional Big Five orchestras, which also include those of Boston, New York, Chicago and Cleveland. The Pittsburgh Symphony said on Monday that it would lay off nine employees and cut two unfilled jobs.
Read the complete article from The New York Times here.
What’s Happening to the Orchestra World?
While the current recession is profoundly reshaping finances in orchestras worldwide, evidence points to this systemic problems in the current full-time orchestra model. Many culturally significant orchestras have folded in recent years (the Columbus Symphony and Florida Philharmonic are a couple of recent examples), and it now looks like even the Big Five orchestras in the United States are running into substantial problems.
Your Two Cents
Here’s my question to you, readers–what is the future of the full-time orchestral model? I’m limiting it to U.S. orchestras for the poll, but I’d love to hear any additional perspectives in the comments on how orchestra prospects are looking abroad: