Whither the Louisville Orchestra?
Image/still from "Music Makes a City" documentary about the Louisville Orchestra
Drew McManus has a good roundup of the current LO situation in his most recent post. I really don’t have much to add except that given how closely I’d been following the situation I kinda saw this coming while I remained hopeful. Drew also saw this coming: as an industry expert and consultant he’s seen this happen and saw all the checkpoints that lead to this destination. His advice to the parties involved is in the post but I’ll post here for my reader’s convenience:
- Managers & Staffers: get out of Dodge as fast as you can. There have been a number of very nice job openings posted at Adaptistration Jobs this past week; stop by and see if there’s one you’re qualified for.
- Musicians: get out of Dodge as fast as you can. I know a number have already left for other work; some of which is orchestral playing but others have found academic positions.
- CEO: save every penny, start planning for an employment transition, and take the first reasonable offer that comes along.
- Board: unless staying in the fight offers some sort of side political benefit (in which case, I’m sorry), resign now and move on to a new philanthropic endeavor.
- Patrons: buy a bottle (or twelve) of your favorite spirit, put on an old LO recording, and gently sob while lamenting the fact that you no longer have a professional symphonic orchestra.
I might disagree a little with Drew’s comment that “Neither side has displayed any real vision or leadership, which only reinforces the notion that having either side cave only prolongs the dysfunction” to an extent. I thought the Keep Louisville Symphonic
was a grand idea that, if it were allowed to, might have been a way actively involve the musicians in the LO organization in ways to help generate and maintain buzz about live Symphonic music.
In some ways I feel as if the musicians caved in too early with that organization (though technically it isn’t defunct organization by any means). It could possible be part of the foundations of a new orchestra (or at be a part of the infrastructure that helps to create a new orchestra from these ashes). What was difficult is that the organization was so clearly a plea to the LO as well as to patrons and that implicitly made it a threat to the LO organization itself (as one of the rejected contracts the LO gave to musicians in the past can attest).
Regardless, I think it might be best to cut the losses and move on with rebuilding an orchestra. I think the musician owned Louisiana Phil
might be an agreeable model for our musicians here! Maybe what would have been the 75th anniversary (this past September) can now be the year of the new orchestra!