What orchestras mean to their communities

Posted on: November 13, 2014

“Why is a symphony important to a cultural landscape?” asks Janelle Gelfand in Wednesday’s (11/12) Cincinnati Enquirer. “An orchestra, says Cincinnati Symphony music director Louis Langrée, ‘is part of the soul of a city.’ ‘Great cities have a great orchestra both for what the orchestra does onstage, but also for what the musicians bring to the community off the stage,’ says Trey Devey, the CSO’s executive director.… That ripple effect is felt throughout the region. Does Cincinnati realize what it has in its arts? In other cities, there recently has been turmoil.” Gelfand discusses the musician lockouts and contract settlements at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. “Since the 2008 recession, American orchestras have struggled to raise the private donations, foundation money and corporate grants that keep them playing. Some blame these troubles on the ongoing weak economy. I believe that there is a cultural shift in our nation that has marginalized the arts.… Any Chamber of Commerce will tell you that the arts help cities flourish by adding to quality of life, retaining creative talent and attracting business to the region. But maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe it’s about … sharing a collective experience.”

Posted November 13, 2014