July 2008 Archives
A few months ago in Eugene, Oregon, I experienced a performance of Anton Bruckner's Seventh Symphony that started me thinking about the place of Bruckner's music in orchestral repertoire and how it has changed over my lifetime. The change has not been as dramatic and sudden as that of Mahler's place. Mahler was kind of hurled into the mainstream by Leonard Bernstein and then by Georg Solti in the 1960s (with much credit to such conductors as Mengelberg, Walter, Klemperer, and Mitropoulos for at least keeping the flame alive in earlier generations). For Bruckner there was no sudden lurch forward, but rather a slow, steady sense of forward motion over time. That's rather appropriate, because it could serve as a description of his music as well.
I was recently lunching with one of the country's more important music journalists, and he asked me what was the most meaningful change I'd seen in orchestras recently. Only a week earlier, Jesse Rosen, then executive vice president of the League of American Orchestras (he succeeded me as president in July) was lunching with another highly visible and widely read music journalist, who asked an almost identical question: What is the most interesting development in the way orchestras are operating?
I rarely use this space to review
or report on recordings, but I recently came across one that struck me as
important and noteworthy in many ways. It is
I've been asked a lot what I planned
to do after retiring from the League of American Orchestras at the end of June.
The first thing I have to clarify is that I am not "retiring." I am stepping
down as president and CEO, because after 45 years of managing budgets I would
like to stop (sort of like stopping hitting one's head against a wall). But I
will retain a relationship with the League - spending half of my working time
on their behalf, continuing to visit orchestras around