Orchestra News

Image of an Assyrian Orchestra, from a slab in the British Museum, dating from 7th century BC. There are 7 portable harps, a dulcimer, two double flutes, and a drum.

Detroit: Drew McManus posts some recent not-so-great news about the possible binding arbitration deal the DSO musicians wanted to begin negotiation with DSO management.

Philadelphia: Management have been threatening Chapter 11 for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Honolulu: Drew also posts a link to the Liquidation Auction of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra which filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy last year after 110 years running.

Louisville: Despite the overturned Chapter 11 for the Louisville Orchestra, there are still difficulties as the LEO outlines very well.  Also notice that the Louisville Orchestra have effectively shut down the Louisville Orchestra Musicians Association website which is one of the reasons we’ve been seeing Keep Louisville Symphonic in our parts.

Brazil: Brazil Symphony Orchestra to re-audition the whole orchestra???

In other news related to my research.  Last weekend as I was working on my database for ethnic orchestras (see my post Music of the Whole World: The ABCs of Intercultural Music) I was just stunned with the numbers of organizations I’ve been coming up with.  After 1990 it almost seems like an exponential blossoming of ensembles and increasingly larger and larger ensembles (this is just for North America).

As the US’s immigrant population increases and the ethnic make-up of the US changes we might start to see what other countries around the world already see–not just one model of Orchestral organizations to the exclusion of others.  This can mean interesting things–with funding from both government and donors declining; and the decline of ticket sales due to shrinking audiences this will just mean fewer resources available to a musical environment that won’t be so lopsidedly in favor of Western classical music organizations.

Rather than just talk about should we continue funding and supporting the arts, the talk may start to turn to funding and supporting which arts?  The traditional dichotomy of the “Arts” versus “Popular Culture” just turned into a three body problem.  In a cultural climate that favored music either through government or private subsidies and [mass] cultural subsidies the arts of underserved audiences has finally emerged in public spaces as opposed to the private “venues” many of these groups have traditionally performed.

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