A question

Semyon Bychkov has been conducting the Shostakovich Seventh Symphony at the New York Philharmonic. He's substituting for Christoph von Dohnanyi, who was going to conduct something else. But for Bychkov, the Philharmonic changed the program to the Shostakovich Seventh. The New York Times review gave a little background, saying that Bychkov had recorded the symphony. As it happens, he'd also conducted it in Pittsburgh the week before. It wasn't surprising, then, that when he agreed to replace Dohnanyi on short notice he wanted to do the piece … [Read more...]

Why change can be hard

Like my post on marketing, what follows comes from conversations with many people, and from one consulting job. Let's say you run an orchestra, or work in a high position at one. You know you have to change, and one obvious change is to become more accessible, more transparent, more understandable to everybody in your city. And so you start looking at the face you present to your public. You look at all the printed matter you produce -- your brochures, for instance, and your program book. Pretty quickly you find things that ought to change. … [Read more...]

Modernism footnote

Or, really, not a footnote, but a huge piece of art history that had no equivalent in classical music. I'm in Pittsburgh, doing some work with the symphony. I had a day off today, and went to the Andy Warhol Museum, and was just blown away. It's easy to think of Warhol's work as 80% concept, 20% realization (in the form of a compelling art object), but that's just not true. The color, design, and presence of his pieces (the Mao series, for instance) is really stunning. Reproductions don't begin to do them justice, and when I saw many of them … [Read more...]