Tommasini: lessons to learn from 2013

Posted on: January 9, 2014

“With all the crises in classical music during 2013—orchestras grappling with ominous deficits, ensembles closing down, opera companies going out of business—have we learned anything?” writes Anthony Tommasini in Wednesday’s (1/8) New York Times. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg “may have gotten to the heart of the matter” when he said that the struggling New York City Opera’s “ ‘business model doesn’t seem to be working.’ That was sadly true. By the end of the September, the 70-year-old company, the ‘people’s opera,’ was gone for good…. So, what is the lesson that Mr. Bloomberg implied in his comment? In short, artistic excellence is not enough.… Let’s put things in context. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra seems to be thriving…. The same holds for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.” Tommasini also cites as successes the New York-based Gotham Chamber Opera and Riverside Symphony. “On another positive front, an entrepreneurial ethos is welling up from the ranks of idealistic young composers and performers, gifted artists who are inventing new templates for a life in music: promoting and producing their own and one another’s work, forming ensembles and cultivating careers made up of multiple components. It is all very inspiring. It is important to keep the success stories in mind as we sort through the nagging problems.” 

Posted January 9, 2014