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Music

ALSOP LEAVES: Marin Alsop is leaving as music director of the Colorado Symphony. Replacing her will be difficult - The Colorado, based in Denver has an unusual arrangement where the music director shares artistic decisions with the player. Denver Post 07/30/00

MUTI MYSTERY: Maybe it's not so surprising Riccardo Muti turned down the NY Philharmonic music director job. He's never seemed comfortable in the US. "He came from a world where music directors inhabit Olympian heights. He was visibly uncomfortable with the schmoozing expected of American music directors. He used to wince a lot." Dallas Morning News 07/30/00

MUSICAL CHAIRS: The Philadelphia Orchestra has been looking for a new music director for three years, with still no one in sight. "My fear is that the search is at an impasse. And now that Riccardo Muti has turned down the New York Philharmonic, I fear that the competition for that small group of star conductors is likely to be even more fierce." Philadelphia music critics debate the choices. Philadelphia Inquirer 07/25/00

BARENBOIM'S DILEMMA: The furor over Daniel Barenboim's role as director of Berlin's Staatsoper continues. "Should he abandon what increasingly looks to be a no-win situation and leave Berlin, concentrate on his responsibilities in Chicago (where he has been music director since 1991) and devote more time to playing the piano and guest conducting? Or should he stay on at the Staatsoper, possibly in a reduced role Ė music director without administrative duties - he said earlier he would accept if the authorities agree to give his orchestra players more money?" Chicago Tribune 10/29/00

CARNEGIE CHAOS: Five of Carnegie Hallís top executives have resigned or been dismissed in the past six weeks, and tensions are running so high the board of trustees has hired an outside consultant to talk with the staff privately. Many of the disgruntled cite the autocratic management style of new executive director Franz Xaver Ohnesorg, whose soon-to-be-unveiled five-year plan may instill more ire. New York Times 10/25/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

BATTLING FOR POSITION: Daniel Barenboim began his 10-year contract as head of the Berlin Staatsoper in 1992 with great expectations of leading it back to the ranks of international fame. "But last month, city officials said he would not renew his contract because he no longer wants to continue with the administrative aspects of the job, and just wants to be the musical director instead." Now entreaties to him to stay. New Jersey Online (AP) 10/23/00

NEW SPOLETO DIRECTOR: French conductor Emmanuel Villaume, age 36, has been named the new music director of the Spoleto Festival USA. CNN 10/19/00

WHEN FLATTERY GETS YOU NOWHERE: A regularly outspoken critic of the Royal Opera Houseís former management, Raymond Gubbay has applied to run the institution after Michael Kaiserís departure. In his application Gubbay called the Opera House "the preserve of the rich, the influential and those concerned with corporate entertainment." London Times 10/18/00

                  I CAN FIX THIS: Gubbay "calls for a higher status for the Executive Director which would put him or her above the Music Director and the Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet. He also wants more performances, longer production runs and cheaper seats." London Evening Standard 10/18/00

HANDICAPPING THE MUSIC DIRECTOR SWEEPSTAKES: The "Court of Musical Euphemisms and Factual Economies" is now in session. Sorting out the twists and turns of choosing music directors for America's major orchestras is a mysterious game. "For reasons I have never fathomed, US coverage of serious music seldom delves below the veneer of stability and tends to reiterate every last euphemism and half-truth without so much as a cocked eyebrow. Such complacency nurtures a system rich in abuses and absurdities." The Telegraph (London) 10/04/00

THE ROYAL WINNIPEG'S REVOLVING DOOR: The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has had three artistic directors in eight years. And, with the dismissal late last week of Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles, three executive directors in the same period. What's happening to one of Canada's great dance companies? National Post 11/29/00

BIG MISTAKE? The Bolshoi Ballet stumbles into London. The company has been a mess the past year. There's been "talk of missing money; of a threadbare repertoire; of a headless organisation, because the new team of the conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky (artistic director) and Anatoly Iksanov (general director) had yet to get its act together." The question is - is this a company that should be touring right now? The Independent (London) 01/23/01

BOSTON BALLET BACKLASH: When the Boston Ballet unexpectedly dismissed several of its dancers last month, and then fired the incoming artistic director who had apparently ordered the action, the troubled company went into full defense mode, with everyone involved desperate to blame someone else. Now, two of the dismissed dancers paint a dismal picture of an organization where the buck stops nowhere. Boston Herald 03/22/01

FROM THE BARRE TO THE BOARDROOM: Performers arenít always the most suited to be arts administrators, but David McAllister might be the exception. After giving his last performance at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday, he will step into his new role as artistic director of Australian Ballet and plans for his inaugural season already include a new "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty", and adding 10 new dancers to the company. "His dressing room tells the tale. On one side of the table is eye makeup, foundation and powder. On the other is an ever-increasing stack of business papers." Sydney Morning Herald 3/23/01

WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN? "Conducting is a competitive field, but some say that for women, it seems bitterly so. America's best-known female conductors have little to show for decades of effort. None of the 27 American orchestras with the largest budgets has appointed a woman music director, and many insiders expect a woman president to be sworn in long before a female takes the helm of one of America's top orchestras." Minneapolis Star Tribune 03/17/01

BALLET COMPANY SETTLES SUIT WITH DANCER: The National Ballet of Canada and dancer Kimberly Glasco have reached a settlement on her charges of wrongful dismissal. Glasco gets money and won't return to the company as a judge had ordered. Glasco sued for unlawful dismissal when the National Ballet decided not to renew her contract after it expired in June last year. Glasco claimed she'd been fired illegally for speaking out as a dancer representative on the board of directors against artistic director James Kudelka's new Swan Lake." CBC 07/20/00

WASHINGTON DEBUT: Newly-named Kennedy Center director Michael Kaiser "was presented to the press, patrons and politicians...capped by a bipartisan dinner in the Capitol's Statuary Hall hosted by the four leaders of Congress. The accolades were lavish; in turn, the new arts center president promised to stay in the job for at least five years, which would be 'longer than I've ever been anywhere.' " Washington Post 07/20/00

Deborah Borda

TOP NY PHILHARMONIC EXEC goes to LA. Deborah Borda surprises orchestra world by leaving NY orchestra to manage the LA Philharmonic.
 New York Times 9/30/99

REBUILDING LA: A year ago when Deborah Borda took over management of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the orchestra was in shambles, with a $7 million debt and attendance and morale problems. "By September, the end of fiscal year 1999-2000, the Phil's operating deficit had been reduced to less than $200,000. To date, this season's ticket sales are up an average of 13% per concert following 10 years of steady decline - good news, but still 25% behind ticket sales a decade ago." Los Angeles Times 01/07/01

DO THEY CALL THIS SUCKING UP TO YOUR BOARD? The director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art is taking the museum to court to prevent its board from advertising his job. The museum board recently failed to roll over the director's contract when it expired and propose to open the post up for competition. Irish Times 11/30/00

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Theatre

WHERE'S THE RISK? London's National Theatre director Trevor Nunn is being criticized for staging such a safe commercial hit as "My Fair Lady." The National is subsidized by the government because it is thought not to be commercially viable, but when the play transfers to the commercial West End it promises to earn Nunn and the theatre substantial profits. The Observer (London) 03/25/01

THE NATIONAL'S IDENTITY PROBLEM: All the fuss about the running of London's National Theatre doesn't matter much. The real concern is whether a successor to current director Trevor Nunn be found who can realize the place's potential. "The ongoing off-stage drama of the National Theatre is an instructive parable. It's the story of a great arts institution that has, from its inception, had a built-in identity problem. It's the story of the tail wagging the dog Ė of an art-form that is all about the creation of magic in the here-and-now being in thrall to a building that is Ė in both the good and bad sense of the word Ė history." The Independent (London) 12/01/00

NUNN UNDER FIRE: The chorus of boos for London's National Theatre director Trevor Nunn is growing. "Like circling vultures, half of what used to be called Fleet Street have pounced on the events and suddenly accused Nunn of every sin in the book: artistic incompetence, overspending, pandering to white middle-aged audiences, sticking to the boring programming of safe, well-tried classics or musicals at the expense of cutting-edge contemporary drama and, last but not least, of arrogance for trying to run the ship himself and not appointing associate directors to help him pick plays for the National's three stages." Is the criticism justified? The Telegraph (London) 11/14/00

 

RIGHT DIRECTOR, RIGHT PLACE: She had the good fortune to direct the hit ABBA musical. Now Phyllida Lloyd is rich and can afford to direct all those plays she always wanted to do (like the new Mamet) without worrying where the next Peugeot is coming from. The Times (London) 03/05/01

ONE WAY TO CUT LOSSES: Sending immediate shockwaves through Britainís theatre world, acclaimed director Richard Eyre told a conference investigating why UK theatre audiences were falling that the nationí subsidized theatres (including the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre) should be disbanded, rather than continue churning out stale work. "We have to acknowledge that theatre companies have a finite life span and that few manage to sustain artistic ardour beyond seven years." The Telegraph (London) 3/02/01

FEAR OF THE NEW? "Next Friday in London, this year's Olivier Award for best director will go to a play first produced in either 1981, 1957, 1947, 1904 or 1879. Given the chance to strut their stuff, to examine their times, to challenge the establishment, these directors have dutifully ploughed their energy into what? Revivals; classics. What's wrong with them? Are they so scared of new plays?" The Independent (London) 02/21/01

THINK YOUNGER: The Sydney Festivalís new director Brett Sheey announced his strategy for putting his own stamp on the annual arts event by attracting younger audiences with bold programming - a philosophy that differs dramatically from his predecessor. "It was no secret that Leo's great loves were opera and Western classical music; my great loves are theatre, dance and contemporary culture - multimedia, hybrid arts and those fusions which are reflective of the 21st century." Sydney Morning Herald 2/16/01

ENCOURAGING THE YOUNG: Are "elderly, reactionary critics" putting young people off going to the theatre? Director Deborah Warner thinks so, and she's slashing prices for some of the best seats at her West End hit 'Medea' to encourage young people to come to the theatre." The Independent (London) 02/12/01

TAKING SHOTS (OR BEING FRANK?): Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of the Oxford Stage Company has written a now-infamous book for the jibes it takes at British theatre luminaries: "John Mortimer (he 'has the look of a Faust who has said yes to the devil so many times that he has got nothing to trade with') and Tom Stoppard ('it's rather like dealing with a lunatic who keeps telling you he's got a map showing where he buried his underpants but he's eaten it'). The Independent (London) 01/24/01

SAVING THE ARENA: Molly D. Smith, a little-known artistic director from Alaska, was brought in to try to save Washingtonís ailing Arena Stage three years ago. "Now, as Arena commemorates its 50th year, it looks as if the gamble has paid off. Subscription renewals are at a high of nearly 90 percent." The New York Times 01/10/01 (one-time registration required for access)

THE AGE OF THE DIRECTOR: The last 40 years have seen a rise in the stature of the stage director. "Today's director is most often a catalyst, visibly channeling theatrical elements and placing a recognizable stamp on the practice." And he's sometimes placed alongside or above the contributions of the playwright and actors. Backstage 12/22/00

GOOD FOR THE GOODMAN: In the 14 years since Robert Falls became artistic director of Chicagoís Goodman Theatre, he has turned an already esteemed theater into one of the countryís finest. Thursday night an audience filled its new $46 million home for the first time. "We've got resources now that very few theaters anywhere in America have, and we're going to make full use of them." New York Times 12/03/00 (one-time registration required for access)

 

NEW BLOW TO THE NATIONAL THEATRE: London's National Theatre has been hit by a fresh crisis after the director of a new production of Peer Gynt, due to open next month, returned home to Ireland on medical advice. But his departure was marked by reports of mounting friction between him and the cast at the Olivier Theatre. He was alleged to have been asked to leave the theatre last weekend after shouting abusively at the cast during a preview performance. The Independent (London) 10/28/00

IS BRITISH THEATRE RACIST? Minority theatre is vanishing in Britain. "So much so that many writers, actors, technicians and directors are driving mini cabs, or have gone into teaching or some other occupation. Some of the best have left the country. It is worth noting there is not a single non-white artistic director in any theatre in the UK. What we have is an industry that is institutionally racist to its very core, yet congratulates itself on being super-liberal." The Observer (London) 09/10/00

MORRIS MAJOR: Londonís Soho Theatre, founded in 1968, was one of the cityís first fringe venues and launched the careers of several famous playwrights. But by the early 1990s, the company had lost its way, not to mention its audience - until Abigail Morris took the helm as artistic director. ďIn just eight years the Soho has gone from bust to boom, and Morris, whose only previous experience was running a feminist theatre company in the late 1980s, has become a major player in Britain's new-play culture.Ē The Guardian (London) 09/06/00

BRUSTEIN TO LEAVE: Founding director Robert Brustein will step down as head of American Repertory Theatre after 22 years. "Brustein has functioned as a director, adapter, fund-raiser and playwright (the ART will stage his adaptation of Chekhov's 'The Proposal, the Bear, and the Wedding Reception' and his new original play `The Face-Lift' this season, which opens next month with a limited run of `The King Stag'). He also has remained unapologetic about some of the company's more misguided productions." Boston Herald 08/16/00

TIRED OF STARGAZING? Critics had a field day with director Sam Mendesís comment last week that British theaterís ďreliance on Hollywood stars meant it was in peril of being held hostage by the lure of glamour,Ē since it was Mendes himself who had Nicole Kidman strip bare in ďThe Blue RoomĒ last year and set off the current craze for celebrity casting (and stripping). But, if lagging ticket sales are any indication, British audiences finally are tiring of Hollywood stars taking center stage. The Guardian 06/21/00

FIRST LOVE: British director Sam Mendes accepted his Oscar for "American Beauty" Sunday and immediately pledged to use his success to draw attention and financial backing to his first love, British theater. Mendes is the artistic director of London's Donmar Warehouse, where he said his award "will provide power and funds." The Age (Melbourne) 0 3/29/00

Museums

MUSEUM DIRECTOR HAULED BEFORE GOVERMENT COMMITTEE: The director of Australia's National Gallery has been hauled up before a government committee to answer charges by his former chief of Australian art that management of the museum is in disarray. The curator said Brian Kennedy's "management style had resulted in exhibition planning being in disarray. Art historians were bogged down in bureaucracy and morale among staff was abysmal." Sydney Morning Herald 02/23/01

WHAT HAPPENS IF NOBODY WANTS THE JOB? Before London's Victoria & Albert Museum selected its new director last week, headhunters had offered the job to several international candidates, but had been turned down. "It is known they encouraged quite a number of people to apply from all over the world. It subtly undermines the candidature in the end." The Independent (London) 02/11/01

JONESING FOR THE V&A: Many believe that the Victoria & Albert Museum needs a charismatic figure to pull it out of a prolonged slump. But Mark Jones, named last week as new director, "is seen as a subtle networker, a scholarly figure, adept at behind-the-scenes politicking but unlikely to stamp his personality on the V&A in a radical shake-up. Yet that is exactly what some critics claim is needed to save the 149-year-old museum from dwindling attendances and a nightmarishly bureaucratic way of working." The Guardian (London) 02/13/01

HOPE FOR THE V&A? London's Victoria and Albert Museum has been a mess for decades. Now "the reliably clumsy V&A trustees have finally announced the name of the new director. The result could be good news. It could be terrible news. Who knows? Mark Jones may not be an entirely unknown quantity - he has been running the National Museums of Scotland since 1992 - but he is untested at the highest level and was certainly the darkest of the three horses in the race." The Sunday Times (London) 02/11/01

THE TASK OF REINVENTION: Mark Jones, director of the National Museums of Scotland, was appointed Monday to head Londonís Victoria & Albert - a museum with flagging admissions, a stalled £80 million redesign, and an obvious need for artistic leadership. "His next task is to polish this Victorian jewel and make it appeal to the modern eye. A museum cannot ossify and be left to decay. It has to reinvent itself." The Herald (Glasgow) 2/07/01

TRYING TO FIX THE VANCOUVER ART GALLERY: It's been a rough year for the Vancouver Art Gallery. The museum's director resigned under storms of protest from the city's artists that he was forced out by a board that had overstepped. Now the city is looking to a new director, plucked from LA's Museum of Contemporary Art. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/20/00

THE V&A's PROBLEMS: London's Victoria and Albert Museum is in disarray. Attendance is down, raising money is tough, and the museum's leadership is feuding amongst themselves. "There is a feeling among some of the trustees that the V&A doesnít know where it is going. Having a director and chairman at odds only adds to the problems, and decisions on many key issues are now being postponed." The Art Newspaper 10/03/00

Thomas Krens

THE NEW MUSEUM: The Guggenheim's Thomas Krens on criticisms of the museum's Armani show: "Weíve expanded the concept of what a museum/gallery is. You have to be flexible today. I see a museum as a research and education institution, as well as a theme park - I say theme park not in a pejorative manner. People come here for a visceral experience. Iím involved with objects of material culture - thatís about everything." The Scotsman 01/08/01

POINTING FINGERS: Why are so many people in the museum world hurling insults at Guggenheim Director Thomas Krens, who has overseen some of the museumís most successful shows to date, as well as its opening of Bilbao and planned projects all over the world? "To hear some people tell it, the museum world hasn't seen anything like this since Napoleon ransacked Europe to fill the galleries of the Louvre." Forbes 01/08/01

WORLD DOMINATION? "The response of the guardians of the American museum world is to cry "McGuggenheim!", and claim that Thomas Krens, the management-trained director of the New York Guggenheim, is rolling out the brand. The tie-up with the Hermitage and Kunsthistorisches are just part of a wider strategy for what looks increasingly like a bid by Krens for world domination." The Guardian 01/27/01

 

STARS IN THEIR EYES? Some 100 of Vancouver's most prominent visual artists and critics have signed a petition demanding the resignation of the Vancouver Art Gallery's acting director and the the museum's board of directors who appointed him. The petition says that "to appoint an unqualified individual with no experience directing a gallery or public institution is irresponsible and reckless." The museum's previous director "left in the wake of series of disagreements with the board, the most recent a clash in which he was pressured to mount a show of photographs by rock star Bryan Adams." Toronto Globe and Mail 04/11/00

"I'm very bothered by the conflict of interest of having a board member take over as director of the gallery." CBC 04/11/00

PORTRAIT GALLERY DIRECTOR RESIGNS: National Portrait Gallery Director Alan Fern, who recently lost a bitter public battle over how much space his museum would have in the building it shares, will retire. The gallery is part of the Smithsonian, and uses art to tell the history of people and events. Under Fern's direction, the gallery's collection doubled to more than 18,000 pieces and began including popular cultural and sports figures. Last year it had 432,000 visitors. Washington Post 02/04/00

 

CRITICIZING FROM WITHIN: Last month the director of London's Barbican criticized his fellow arts institutions for the manner in which they were run. Now another arts leader has turned on his colleagues. "It used to be unknown for subsidised institutions to condemn each other." But now, "with the attacks now coming from within, the pressure will be on the notoriously non-interventionist Culture Secretary Chris Smith to take a closer interest in the performance of national institutions." The Independent 11/12/00

Malcolm Rogers

FIRING CURATORS, hiring an architect to expand without any public discussion. Boston Museum of Fine Arts director Malcolm Rogers is remaking one of America's top cultural institutions. Many are asking - just what is he making it into? Boston Globe 9/26/99
    
ALSO: MFA's School doesn't escape controversy either. Boston Globe 9/26/99

TROUBLED TURNAROUND: When Malcolm Rogers became director of Boston's Museum of Fine Art five years ago he inherited a $4 million operating deficit. Last year the MFA had a $437,000 surplus. He helped the museum complete a $137 million capital campaign. Last year's 1.7 million visitors set an attendance record, and membership has nearly doubled in five years. Even so, his detractors are legion: "his acquisitions, his exhibition policies, everything that has to do with art is a disaster." New York Times 12/23/99 (one-time registration required for entry)

SO THIS IS DISNEYLAND? Malcolm Rogers has been in charge of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts for five years. The museum's debt is down, attendance is up and the institution is reaching into the community. But the MFA has also been charged with controversy. No question the museum is being reinvented. Is it for the better? Boston Globe 06/11/00

Franz Xaver Ohnesorg

CARNEGIE CHAOS: Five of Carnegie Hallís top executives have resigned or been dismissed in the past six weeks, and tensions are running so high the board of trustees has hired an outside consultant to talk with the staff privately. Many of the disgruntled cite the autocratic management style of new executive director Franz Xaver Ohnesorg, whose soon-to-be-unveiled five-year plan may instill more ire. New York Times 10/25/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

BERLIN'S COUP: Franz Xaver Ohnesorg was controversial as the head of Carnegie Hall. But news he's going to run the Berlin Philharmonic is being greeted by the Germans as a coup.  He was first considered for the job with Berlin's leading orchestra in 1996, but withdrew because the Berlin Senate's regulations seemed too restrictive. He believes that cultural institutions need to be managed as business enterprises, as "cultural service providers." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 12/21/00

CARNEGIE HALL CHIEF QUITS: Carnegie Hall's top administrator, buffeted by the recent resignations of four senior staff and the general unhappiness of the Hall's workers, suddenly resigned Tuesday. He'll move to a similar position with the Berlin Philharmonic in his native Germany. Nando Times (AP) 12/19/00
  • ROUGH TIME: "His tenure there was stormy, partly because of what critics called an autocratic management style, but yesterday he denied that problems at Carnegie Hall led him to leave." New York Times 12/20/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • UNFULLFILLED POTENTIAL? "Mr. Ohnesorg probably didn't have enough time to implement what, as far as I understood, were very exciting ideas. The Berlin Philharmonic is very lucky to get him." Washington Post 12/20/00

Boston Ballet

MORE THAN TUTUS AND TIGHTS: Faltering Boston Ballet puts together a roadmap for getting back on track. There's a large audience in Boston for dance, but for classical dance? Boston Globe 01/16/00

Dance is boffo box-office around the country, but ballet is having a tough time. Boston Globe 01/16/00

  • CHANGES AT BOSTON BALLET: Anna Marie Holmes is leaving artistic director job at Boston Ballet. Denies report in Boston Herald she was fired. New York Times 01/03/00 (one-time registration required for access)

    Previously: Holmes fired Boston Herald 12/29/99

    Statement from the Boston Herald standing by story. 01/03/00

    Boston Ballet director to step down. Boston Globe 12/29/99

    Driving force of the company. Boston Herald 12/29/99

    LOOKING FOR LOVE: Sizing up the search for a new artistic director for Boston Ballet. Boston Herald 06/09/00

    BOSTON BALLET searches for a new artistic director. The speculation is... Boston Globe 04/02/00 

    THE GIELGUD AFFAIR: When Maina Gielgud left the Boston Ballet six months before she was even scheduled to begin work as the embattled company's new artistic director, accusations flew over whose fault it was, and speculation over the "real" reason for her dismissal was rampant. The latest theory: it's (almost) all about the money, baby. Boston Globe 03/25/01

    BOSTON BALLET BACKLASH: When the Boston Ballet unexpectedly dismissed several of its dancers last month, and then fired the incoming artistic director who had apparently ordered the action, the troubled company went into full defense mode, with everyone involved desperate to blame someone else. Now, two of the dismissed dancers paint a dismal picture of an organization where the buck stops nowhere. Boston Herald 03/22/01

    BOSTON BALLET - WHO'S THE VILLAIN?: Maina Gielgud, who resigned as artistic director of the Boston Ballet before beginning the job, is refusing to take the rap for budget problems and the firing of nine dancers. Ballet CEO Jeffrey Babcock, who's already developed a reputation for antagonizing company members, appears to be on the hot seat right now. Boston Globe 03/02/0

     

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

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