This Week: Three orchestras now on strike as audience waits… Two other orchestras report record success… A museum raises $100 million in just three months… Bots are getting awfully good at making art… More links between being bored and being creative.
- A Bad Week For Three Orchestras: The audience was sitting in Verizon Hall waiting for the Philadelphia Orchestra to take the stage Friday night, but the musicians never showed after voting to go out on strike. The orchestra and its musicians had punted a year ago during contract negotiations, hiring Michael Kaiser to evaluate the orchestra and write a prescription to fix it. But the financial and managerial problems are huge and complex and the orchestra has dug a deep hole for itself. It will be very hard to crawl out. Earlier in the week the Pittsburgh Symphony musicians also went out on strike, rejecting a 15 percent wage cut. The Fort Worth Symphony was already on strike and showed few signs of progress this week. There’s no easy fix for any of these orchestras. And possibly no pattern either except that maybe success is tied to the fortunes of the cities in which they live? UPDATE: Philadelphia Orchestra musicians settled their strike Sunday evening.
- Two Other Orchestras Have A Different Story: The Milwaukee Symphony announced it had set new box office and attendance records last season. an 8 percent overall increase in single ticket sales and 20 sold-out performances. More than 200,000 people attended its shows over the season. … The organization said it also had a 32 percent increase in new attendees over the previous year.” And Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society – America’s oldest performing arts organization and not technically an orchestra, sure, but often plays as one – announced it had just completed a $13 million endowment campaign on the heels of six balanced budgets and growing from a $3 million organization to a $5 million one.
- A Museum That Didn’t Do Too Badly, Either: Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Gallery raised $100 million in just 12 weeks. The feat was “spurred in large part by a $42.5 million pledge from billionaire bond-trader and Western New York native Jeffrey Gundlach. … [His] gift was designed to flush out millions in matching donations from Western New York foundations, corporations and individuals as well as state, county and city government. It did just that.”
- Rise Of The Machines, Part 472: It’s becoming more and more obvious that artificially intelligent machines will be making art – and potentially great art. It makes sense. “We’re always writing from our experiences of things that we’ve read and what we’ve heard and things that we’ve absorbed verbally. So to what extent can anyone author anything? And to what extent does this machine augment this capacity?” Meanwhile, Watson, the IBM smartypants is learning to recognize human emotion. “As the artificial intelligence computer gets better at understanding humans it starts to interact with them in more complex ways. For now though, Watson is coming up with movie trailers…”
- A Link Between Boredom and Creativity: As we detailed last week, creativity seems to flourish when the mind is unhooked from a directed purpose. It opens up possibilities of inventive thinking. Now a fascinating piece on how boredom can shape kids’ creativity. “Boredom is where creativity is born. Boredom is not the enemy. Boredom is the friend. Boredom is what gives rise to ‘What happens when I take a picture between my fingers? What happens when I turn the camera sideways?’”