Huffington Post: No doom and gloom, but orchestras can’t be complacent

Posted on: November 17, 2010

Tuesday (11/16) on The Huffington Post, Gary P. Steuer, chief cultural officer for the city of Philadelphia, writes, “The Broadway Theatre has been called ‘the fabulous invalid’ for decades as a result of the periodic reports of its imminent demise, but of course it has continued to survive, albeit with challenges and mutations. Now we have a similar debate around the symphony orchestra. Andrew Taylor recently shared some thoughts on his ArtfulManger blog, that included a quote from an article in Time magazine about the impending collapse into financial ruin of the American Symphony orchestra. The year the article was published: 1969! He is reporting on a recent article in Symphony magazine by the president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras. Yet since the death knell was sounded in 1969, the number of orchestras in our country has grown exponentially as has the budget of our great orchestras. … It is easy to look at 40-year old predictions of demise and remain complacent that this is just an age-old ‘Chicken Little’ cry of alarm. It is not. This is not to say that the orchestra is doomed, only that it must find a new way to operate where its cost can be covered by revenue. … A big part of that challenge is reaching new and more diverse audiences, and creating opportunities for more musicians and composers of diverse cultural backgrounds.”

Posted November 17, 2010