Orchestras: alive or dead

Take a friend to the orchestra badgeSo, according to Drew McManus of Adapistration fame, April is Take A Friend to the Orchestra month. It’s also National Poetry Month , National Pecan Month, and Pet First Aid Awareness month, but I digress. The goal of the orchestral event is to invite others to live concerts who might not usually go to such events; thereby, hopefully, recruiting new and potentially vital audience members in this age of disappearing ensembles.

Labor struggles have surfaced in Syracuse, Louisville, and with the ultimate demise of the Honolulu Symphony (the former employer of this blog’s author and past-life-flute-player). Then there’s the big daddy of labor unrest in Detroit. The Detroit Symphony has been on strike for six months now with quite a bit of dust and blood flying. Word is that they have finally reached a tentative agreement and could be back to work as soon as this weekend.

Working at a conservatory of music which trains musicians to pursue careers in the arts, I am sobered by these dire circumstances befalling potential future employers of these amazingly talented students. However, I am also reminded that this course of events is not new to the field. There were several orchestras that were on the ropes back when I was getting my performance diploma that have since zoomed to prominence and relative financial stability, like the Nashville Symphony, to name just one. It really comes down to community support and audience development which is why Take A Friend to the Orchestra month is a good rallying point.

So, come out and hear CIM’s own fabulous orchestra on Wednesday, 13 April 2011. Stop by the Robinson Music Library and check out Symphony magazine or the International Musician to learn the latest developments in the field. Don’t forget the American Record Guide which lists a great compendium of recent performance reviews.

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