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Breaking: another US orchestra is blacked out

It’s Spokane.

The musicians went on strike tonight over stalled contract negotiations. They join the Minnesota and St Paul players out in the cold, and more to follow.

The US has never known a non-concert season like this. Seen from the outside, the system needs a total rethink. Remedies, anyone?

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  1. There’s blood in the water. Managements are going for it.

    • Greg Youmans says:

      The U.S. is the richest, most powerful country in the history of the planet. Why does it have so much trouble funding it’s orchestras ? Sensing that the money is out there, one must suppose that the problem lies in the system, which doesn’t make it easy for the board and administrations to garner the cash. An orchestra is a community cultural institution. From well before the time of the Duke of Brandenburg to the present, public fundind has been a relevent component of funding orchestras throughout much of the world. It doesn’t make it easy for managements when fundraising is so hugely dependent on finding voluntary donations.
      Amid negotiations we sometimes need to remind ourselves that the symphony boards are the good guys who step up to make possible an orchestra in their community. It’s the other 99% of citizens who don’t give a rip who pose the challenge. If it requires the tax man to make the rest of the community to step up and pitch in, then so be it.

      • It is not true that 99% of the people are uninterested in classical music. There is a considerable audience. The increased education and accessibility public funding creates, would further increase interest in classical music. The funding would thus not be forced by the “tax man,” as you put it. Public funding and increased interest would grow hand in hand in a self-regenerating cycle until acceptable standards were reached.

        Some board members are indeed problematic. Due to their conservative views, arts organizations are often prevented from becoming advocates for public arts funding. In fact, it is extremely rare for arts organizations to be advocates – a situation that needs to be changed.

  2. The managements of orchestra’s that are locking out its players are saying their books needs more cuts from the musicians salaries, benefits, and pension contributions. That the future calls for leaner and meaner budgets may be in order. But this is only a partial solution and for me certainly not the most important one. LOST is the enthusiasm, LOST is the interest, LOST is the passion of these managements for the music their musicians play so beautifully. You can’t raise new money in the end by keeping your noses in the books.

    I can’t find much enthusiasm behind managements words of wisdom these days. it all seems like a bunch of prepared statements. For me it is presently a bit like what happened 15 or 20 years ago when orchestral musicians were somewhat successfully categorized as lazy, overpaid half-competent-players. Believe it or not this writer believes that effort to downgrade orchestral musicians back then is one reason we have the situation today. Now we have a situation where in my opinion the managements need to rejuvenate themselves, re dedicate themselves and express the enthusiasm, yes even their JOY in doing what they are supposed to do. This kind of positive energy can make or break a successful fund raising call for instance. We REALLY need to see that now on the management and board side. LOVE what you do!

  3. Michael Barar says:

    It’s also worth noting that this negotiation isn’t “stalled”. Management made a “last, best, and final offer” to the mucisians which was subsequently rejected because of its concessionary nature (never mind that Spokane has been operating in the black). At that time, management imposed the contract, forcing the musicians to either accept the concessions or strike.
    So this is a bit different from Minnesota and St. Paul, where indeed negotiations are stalled, but in those cases managements have chosen to lock-out the musicians rather than continue operations while also continuing to bargain. Both are hardball negotiating tactics that, coupled with the other labor disputes this season (not to mention the Detroit Symphony and New York City Opera previously), are poisoning labor relations in orchestras across the country.

  4. A suggestion: If orchestra members choose to accept other gigs that conflict with their salaried position (Spokane members often take Seattle work away from locals), management should be allowed to forgo their benefit plan.

    • I think exchanging gigs that conflict with their contracted orchestra job for loss of benefits is a little odd. The best way to is to not pay the musicians for the services they miss. And naturally the musician would have to get approval.

      • I don’t think it’s odd, Chris. While musicians are accepting these outside, better paying engagements, management is still expected to cover their healthcare and other benefit plan costs, which really eats up the budget.

    • The Spokane Symphony pays 50% of the health insurance premiums for those members who choose to use it (many don’t, due to its cost). Should that not warrant a less-than-100% commitment in return, especially when coupled with such a low salary? Remember – we’re talking about unpaid leave.

      Your parenthetical comment about Spokane Symphony musicians “taking” away work from Seattle area musicians implies something underhanded at work. To the contrary, Spokane area musicians have auditioned for and fairly won their positions on various substitute lists in the Seattle area, using the same meritocratic system as advocated in a recent post on your blog ( The Spokane Symphony regularly has Seattle area musicians playing in its performances and nobody begrudges them taking work away from Spokane area musicians. They are grateful to have skilled performers willing to travel such a long distance to join them in making music.

    • William Safford says:

      Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi: You wrote that and you’re a freelance musician??? Part of the reason freelance musicians take other gigs is because positions such as the Spokane Symphony do not pay living wages. Musicians need scheduling flexibility to be able to support themselves.

      If the Spokane Symphony (and orchestras like it) do not want its members to have flexibility in their freelance schedules, the orchestra should quintuple its base salary, not cut it.

      • I AGREE, William. If an orchestra cannot provide a means to earn a good wage, then players must find work outside that orchestra…..

  5. “In addition to the pay cuts, union representatives opposed what they call a restrictive leave policy that would inhibit the musicians’ ability to pursue other employment opportunities. Many of the musicians have outside jobs, such as teaching.”

    Just above this, we are told that the Spokane musicians’ salaries will be reduced to 15,130 dollars.


  6. Cynthia Katsarelis says:

    I’m sure that the fact that music has suffered extensive cuts from the public schools in the US over the last 4 decades is part of it… And a media that incessant covers popular culture, but rarely art culture. Oh to have BBC 3 and 4 here!

    I wish that board members, managers, and musicians could work together like Obama and Gov. Christie. Really talk things through, and shed preconceived notions like “it’s the unions,” or “the board isn’t doing their jobs in fundraising,” etc.

    Everything should be on the table. How many staff/managers does it take to run an orchestra? What is appropriate pay for managers in arts non profits? Are the problems mostly due to the economy? Or more systematic? If it’s temporary, then shouldn’t the remedy be temporary? If it’s systematic, what part of the system? Ticket prices? Audience? What fundraising has been effective? What’s been less than effective? Is there a need to engage with the community more deeply? If so, how? Who is going to do the hard work of cultivating those relationships?

    It seems like working together on identifying real problems, solutions, and opportunities, without preconceived or entrenched opinions, could go a long way toward helping matters. It would also help if board members understood that musicians expenses, like mortgages, college loans for their kids, etc., don’t go down when they accept a cut. Most of the articles I read show no sensitivity to that and it comes across as the 1 percent throwing their musicians under a bus, and being happy that they “won.” Everyone needs to do better, and be nicer.

  7. Cynthia Katsarelis says:

    One more thing. I think conductors need to step up and be a force in their communities for music. I understand that the “top” conductors who are truly jet setting to do their art all over the globe probably can’t do it. But resident conductors? Associate conductors? Over the decades the power has tilted to the managers. Maybe many are good at managing, but it’s the artists who need to provide inspiration vision and have the wherewithal to advocate for that vision in the community. Music is awesome, and it’s the musicians who can best convey that passion and vision. Conductors need to be a leading force.

  8. The solution is for the USA to develop a public funding system for the arts like ALL other developed countries have long had. To move there, our arts administrators need to become strong advocates for an effective public funding system.
    So why does Germany (to name just one European example) have 83 opera houses with 52 week seasons while the USA only has about 6 real opera houses for a country with four times the population? And why is our longest opera season (The Met) only seven months? Why does Germany have 133 fifty-two week season orchestras while the USA with four times the population only has 17 – and with that number rapidly shrinking?
    We also see that a funding system by the wealthy concentrates support in a few financial centers and leaves the rest of the country culturally impoverished. One example is that the average base pay for our regional orchestras is only a little over $13,000 per year. Most of the musicians have to have day jobs. The orchestras can’t have daytime rehearsals. And worse, they can’t tour to other parts of their states because the players can’t get free from their day jobs. That means that millions of people in smaller cities do not have regular access to live classical music at all.
    Our system is also incredibly inefficient because every orchestra requires a huge, expensive development department. European orchestras do not even need such employees. And they can easily plan their budgets years in advance. Nor do they need administrators who are paid salaries in the million dollar range like many of our top orchestras.
    The lack of an effective public funding system formulates the foundation of our problems and yet this is seldom discussed by American arts administrators since it would likely put them in conflict with the conservative perspectives of some of their Board members.
    In that sense, American arts administrators have characteristics similar to Creationists. They have to work within a system with so many unconfronted fallacies that none of their theories, solutions, practices, and rationalizations really work. They come up with endless ideas about how to solve funding issues, but since the basic foundation of the system of thought they use (private funding by the wealthy) is so obviously ineffective and anachronistic their problems are never really solved. And they can’t discuss this topic unless the crushing forces of reality come down upon them. God just put the dinosaurs on earth 7000 years ago and then “He” turned their bones to stone. And by programming more film music, letting people applaud between movements, letting the audience dress casually, by performing in unusual venues, and by letting musicians work in the administration, we’ll alleviate the deficits of our orchestras. And by the way, the universe was zapped into existence in seven days.
    When are we going to face reality and admit that we are the only developed country in the world without a comprehensive system of public arts funding, and that until we develop one, we are never going to solve the financial issues that vastly limit our cultural lives? No matter how many ideas we come up with, we can’t build an effective system of arts funding on a foundation that is as ridiculous as creationism.

    • William, how do you propose to bring US taxpayers around to your point of view?

      • Through education. The public needs to be informed about the advantages of public funding systems for the arts as demonstrated by Europe. They need to better understand the deficiencies of the system we use and that it cannot be repaired. They need to understand that we are the only developed country in the world without a comprehensive system of public arts funding distributed on the Federal, State, and Municipal levels and how this has an extremely negative impact on our cultural lives.

        It is also essential that our major arts organizations become stronger advocates for public arts funding and become deeply involved in the sorts of education I describe. Their voices carry considerable weight and could be significant in transforming the political climate surrounding public arts funding.

        I’ve discussed these topics with Mwnyc in much more detail on another AJ blog, “lies like truth,” which can be found here:

  9. Here are some reasons why public funding systems are better than the US system of funding by the wealthy:

    1. Funding is very consistent because it is an established part of government budgets (which are far more stable than donations by the wealthy.)
    2. Public funding is far more efficient since it alleviates the need for massive development departments and administrators with huge salaries.
    3. Governments do a better job of controlling costs because they generally bargain with all of the country’s orchestras at once.
    4. Governments have an inherent desire to connect their cultural institutions with the public (the voters) through outreach programs.
    5. The governments see an inherent connection between culture and education and organize their orchestras along those lines.
    6. Governments fund all areas of the arts and thus make sure that orchestras receive their due share but not more. (Top orchestras are not allowed to hog resources like they do in the USA.)
    7. Governments make sure that all regions of their country have decent orchestras, not just the areas where wealthy donors are concentrated.
    8. Subsidies allow the ticket prices to be far more reasonable, thus allowing the arts to reach a much wider demographic.
    9. The subsidies allow for more independence from the market thus allowing for a better balance with unusual programming and new music.

    • William, please answer thoughtfully and truthfully, would you be satisfied to have a massive Washington DC bureaucracy deciding who gets funding and how that funding is spent in the most minor of detail? Do you have any experience dealing with government agencies (other than arts funding) and do you realize the potential nightmare that will result from a monolithic and centralized model of funding? Yes, it works in Germany, primarily because the bureaucrats themselves have been exposed to and appreciate classical music, but in the United States? who are you kidding?

      • Your post illustrates why arts supporters need better educations regarding funding systems. I am advocating a system similar to Europe’s where generally only about 5% of the funding comes from the Federal level. About 45% comes from the State level, and about 50% from municipalities. The systems are anything but centralized. There is some variation between countries, but the ratios I describe represent a general pattern.

        Culture is by nature inherently local. Europeans thus administer their arts funding locally, and not from a remote Federal organization such as the NEA. They express themselves according to their local needs and prerogatives and the cities and regions fiercely defend that autonomy.

        Europeans also use their local public cultural institutions to educate their children and this creates a wide appreciation for classical music. The popularity is also based on a sense of communal pride. They support their local cultural institutions almost like they were sports teams. European society illustrates that music education leads to forms of creativity and autonomy that are often antithetic to mass media and to centralized forms of government.

        For a much more extensive comparison of the European and American systems and philosophies see my article “Marketplace of Ideas” at:

        The idea that Americans are somehow allergic to classical music is absurd. I have seen 60,000 people in Central Park for the Met’s performances there. And 20,000 show up for the San Francisco Opera when it performs in the local base ball stadium. We have very few genuinely professional opera and orchestras performances compared to Europe, and the tickets are generally 4 to 5 times more expensive. We give Americans very little chance to experience classical music, then condemn them for not appreciating it. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle for closed minds. With a little courage and imagination, we can change that.

  10. Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Much has been written about this season’s labor disputes involving a significant number of professional orchestras in the USA. The decline and demise of music in the public schools is always cited as one source of declining interest in live classical music and that argument has merit. In Philadelphia (to cite an area I know very well), EVERY public senior high school (grades 10-12) had a symphony orchestra and/or a wind band plus a chorus throughout the 50s,60s and early 70s. Almost every junior high school (grades 7-9) had the same configuration up until the late 1960s and even into the early 1970s. (And a related question, what ever happened to all those school-district owned instruments?)

    But I see another reason for this shift. In the Philadelphia area, even as late as the 1980s, there were at least 10 amateur symphony orchestras some of which only hired a handful of professionals, usually for the last few rehearsals in chairs such as principal trumpet, principal oboe, or principal horn. Occasionally there were professional principal strings but that was the exception rather than the rule. Almost all of them have since disappeared or morphed into something different.

    Today there are precious few urban public school music programs (at least in the Philadelphia area). And there remain few community orchestras on the level described above. IF they exist, they are significantly professional if not 100% paid, employing current and former students of local universities and conservatories in an ensemble disguised as a professional training opportunity. The community music school and the conservatory prep programs have gradually assumed the role of teaching music performance and some who finish there go one to study music at a university or conservatory. The others tend to abandon their musical study. It’s all or nothing in most cases.

    Let’s cut to the chase. Would it help the overall health of the American orchestra scene if professional organizations were to sponsor and support more amateur performance groups which would be conducted, coached and even reinforced by the professional players? There is precedent for this in several cities where the major orchestra sponsors a youth orchestra which is often excellent. But what about the adults who want to continue to play their instrument even though they have pursued other professional paths? What about retirees who would like to come back to the instruments of their youth?

    I don’t propose these thoughts as a solution but as a simple question that the administrative leaders of the profession might consider along with their gurus at the League of American Orchestras (ex-ASOL).
    Are we witnessing the equivalent of a serious car accident which involves people in both vehicles doing stupid things to cause the crash? Let’s hope that there are survivors.

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      PS: There are grass-roots efforts in Philadelphia and other large cities using an El Sistema model to promote music among young children including Play-On, Philly which has attracted considerable private resources in the form of grants and gifts. To cite another author above, how sustainable are these movements without public, i.e. government, support?

      • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

        PPS: There used to be amateur wind bands, choruses,etc. in the USA sponsored by large corporations for their employees (the Philco Band in Philadelphia was excellent). This concept still exists in some European countries: the RATP (Paris public transport) and the SNCF (French railway system) have ensembles made up of their employees and their annual or semiannual performances are advertised and supported by the parent company (governmental services). Are those days over in the USA?

    • Robert Fitzpatrick: Would it help the overall health of the American orchestra scene if professional organizations were to sponsor and support more amateur performance groups which would be conducted, coached and even reinforced by the professional players?

      It might. I think one of the biggest problems would be convincing the musicians to do it.

      Greg Sandow told a story on his blog a while back about watching a principal brass player in a major US orchestra give a workshop for some public school students. Greg (who was doing consulting work for the orchestra) reported that the player did a great job and that the students were fascinated. So far, so good – this is just the sort of thing we’d think a professional orchestra should be doing, right? Well, Greg talked to the musician afterward, and evidently the only thing the guy had to say about the experience was that it’s something that he, as a principal player, shouldn’t have to do (and that Greg should pass that message on to management).

      I fear that this attitude may be more common than we’d like among professional orchestra musicians – at least in the top dozen or so orchestras in the US.

      I suspect that musicians in mid-size orchestras – the orchestras whose long-term existence seems less secure than, say, the Boston Symphony’s – would be happy to do that kind of educational work (at least if they’re paid to do it or if it’s included in an adequate annual salary).

      • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

        Unfortunately, your story of a major orchestra principal rings all too true. And yes, the mid-size and regional orchestra musicians tend to be more willing to perform services of community engagement.

        I was once almost run out of town at an LAO (ASOL) session in Los Angeles in 2006 at which I stood up and suggested that symphony musicians (especially in 52 week salaried jobs) should be in exempt positions with an annual salary and a broad job description (like their distinguished administrators). Practicing, Rehearsals, concerts, community engagement, master classes, etc would be included in the annual salary…no overtime, no “free-lancing.” They would be expected to put in at least 35 hours of service per week as employees of the orchestra. The only exclusion would be private studio teaching for which they would receive an hourly fee according to the local market (or the fees paid by local music schools). It almost sounds like a facet of LF’s “community of musicians.”

        No one invited me to lunch that day…

  11. Thanks Messrs. Fitzpatrick and Osborne. You have said it all.

  12. Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Just wanted to share this:

    StarTribune, Opinion, 11/4 -

    Reminds this reader of a famous movie line …

    The more I hear about the labor woes of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra, the more I’m reminded of Woody Allen’s quip in “Annie Hall”: “I don’t want to live in a city where the only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light.”


    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      This was passed on by Kendall Betts, former principal horn of the Minnesota Orchestra.

  13. christophe says:

    I like what I read. People are discussing, debating, involved, concerned. Public spending, as we have in Europe, is vital to reinforce the importance of culture to our society. What will happen when public spending for culture is further decreased in the USA? What will happen to our fellow musicians salaries when the 1% get limited tax deductions for their donations (as Mr. Romney has stated)? I have recently read John Axelrod’s very interesting book (Wie Großartige Musik Ensteht..oder auch nicht?) about the anthropology of the orchestra, and he has offered some very interesting ideas that are similar to what Messrs. Osborne and Fitzpatrick have suggested. Before others decide to criticize Mr. Axelrod, let me say he is an excellent, experienced musician who has a substantial international career, despite what some frustrated musicians have written. But what I particularly appreciate is that he is not a jet set conductor concerned only about himself, but has made the effort to initiate discussion, open the question of what can be done to protect the symphony orchestra and its musicians. I appreciate his ideas and the fact he has taken the risk to write a book about it and inform the public, who need to know. I do not believe his book is yet available in English, but I offer you what I consider the most interesting part from his book for those who read German (or use translation). An orchestra as a sports team. Umbrella organizations that have many ensembles, from amateur to professional to senior. Mentor/protegé acadamies. Involving more the middle class (who can no longer support orchestras). All these are necessary to make an orchestra more relevant to its people, whether there is public spending or not. While this blog mainly preaches to the converted, we need to take these ideas to the general public (the voters) and the political debate. But let us not be kidding ourselves: does culture really matter to the USA? Without a secretary of culture and a presidential candidate committed to culture, rather than cutting it, the chances are unlikely and your ideas, and Mr. Axelrod’s, however good they are, will fall on deaf ears. It wont happen under the current circumstances. Or maybe enough discussion can make a difference. Even as funding for culture is cut here in Europe, we still believe music can make a difference. If Americans believe this, then we should not remain silent. We need more friends.

    Musik war einst für das Volk da. Wenn das Volk in seinem Begehren nach Ver- änderung politischer und ökonomischer Strukturen der Welt mit Revolution begegnet, so kann sich auch das Orchester eine Scheibe davon abschneiden. Vielleicht wollen die Musiker dies aber nicht. Vielleicht akzeptieren auch die Manager und Dirigenten so etwas nicht. Doch man ist entweder Teil der Revolution, oder man wird von ihr gefressen. Erinnern wir uns daran, dass die Bewohner des Warschauer Ghettos während der Besetzung Polens durch die Nazis mit Chopins Revolutionsetüde zum Widerstand motiviert wurden! Ohne Musik hätte ihr Widerstand vielleicht nicht den nötigen Antrieb gehabt.
    Lassen Sie uns diesen Antrieb neu entdecken und gemeinsam großartige Musik machen! Dafür muss Schillers und Beethovens Ideal von den Menschen, die zu Brüdern werden, in konkreter Form greifbar sein. Wir können nicht die Theorie singen und dann das Gegenteil praktizieren. Wir können nicht Gleichheit behaupten, und dann sind einige gleicher als andere. Wir müssen zurückkehren zu einer bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, da Kultur dort die größte Bedeutung hat. Und das Orchester kann dabei eine führende Rolle spielen.
    Greifen wir einen der bereits angesprochenen Gedanken noch einmal auf: Stellen Sie sich vor, Orchester würden wie Sportteams agieren. Nicht nur im Sinne zeitlicher Befristung von Verträgen und individueller Gehälter, sondern es würde auch Kinder-Orchester-Teams und Senioren-Orchester-Teams geben, Fanclubs und Merchandise-Produkte. Wie bei den Green Bay Packers würden Aktien des Teams verkauft, und das Team würde sich – nehmen wir als Beispiel einfach mal die Wiener Philharmoniker – im Besitz der Fans und Musiker befinden und von ihnen betrieben werden. (Ja, Sie haben sich nicht verlesen: Ich habe die Green Bay Packers und die Wiener Philharmoniker einfach in ein und denselben Satz gepackt!)
    Stellen Sie sich einen regelmäßigen Wechsel von Ensembles und Konzerten vor, wobei die Eintrittskarten nicht mehr kosten sollten als im Kino. Geld wird verdient, weil schlicht mehr Karten verkauft werden, wenn sie günstiger sind. Was indes die Anzahl der Programme betrifft, so ist weniger mehr. Was die Anzahl der Konzerte pro Programm betrifft, so ist wiederum mehr mehr. Mehr Eindrücke heißt mehr Publicity. Warum sonst sind die Stadien so gepflastert mit Bandenwerbung und Reklameschildern? Warum sonst werden Spielfilme ein paar Mal am Tag gezeigt? Konsistenz und Frequenz, nicht unbedingt Vielfalt, sind etwas, worüber man nachdenken kann.
    Mein Orchester in Frankreich hat den größten Abonnentenstamm von allen nationalen Orchestern des Landes. Warum? Weil es ein Programm mindestens viermal aufführt, manchmal sogar achtmal, um es der regionalen Öffentlichkeit anzubieten. Allzu oft bereitet ein Orchester ein Programm vor, um es dann nur einmal aufzuführen. Höchstens dreimal. Und für gewöhnlich am selben Ort. Da besteht nicht viel Möglichkeit, sich ein größeres Publikum aufzubauen.
    Was ist mit dem Dirigenten? Stellen Sie sich vor, die Dirigenten wären Politiker und würden Babys küssen, wenn sie sich um ein öffentliches Amt bemühten. Um das des Chefdirigenten etwa, der vom Publikum auf seinen Posten gewählt würde – nicht von einem Komitee des Orchesters, einem Ver- waltungsgremium oder einem Kultusminister. Die Dirigenten stünden ihrer Gemeinde gegenüber stärker in der Verantwortung, wären seltener abwesend und nicht allein ihren Karrieren und Managern verpflichtet.
    Eine Studie der Andrew W. Mellon Foundation aus dem Jahr 1998 zeichnet ein deprimierendes Bild, das sich seither kaum verändert hat: Orchester sind sich nicht ausreichend über die historischen, sozialen, kulturellen und politischen Faktoren im Klaren, die ihre jeweiligen Gemeinden prägen.
    »Orchester ziehen nach wie vor eine künstliche Trennlinie zwischen ihrem eigentlichen künstlerischen Ansatz und ihrer Rolle in der Gemeinde. Weil sie die Prinzipien nicht verstehen, nach denen die Gemeinde funktioniert und die zugleich deren Wahrnehmung und Erwartung an das Orchester beeinflussen, wird die Isolation des Orchesters verstärkt und seine Fähig- keit eingeschränkt, wichtige neue Kundenkreise zu erreichen. Die Folge ist, dass Orchester die Bedürfnisse der Gemeinde als abträglich für ihre künst- lerischen Ziele betrachten und nicht als Unterstützung und Bereicherung.«
    Solange die Orchester der Ansicht sind, sie wüssten es besser als ihr Publikum, brauchen sie sich nicht zu wundern, wenn das Publikum sie nicht länger unterstützt.
    Natürlich, ich mag absolut falsch liegen. Vielleicht braucht man ja ein paar Menschen als Hüter dieser großartigen Tradition namens klassische Musik, und ihnen gebührt per se die Unterstützung der Öffentlichkeit – ob die Zuhörer nun kommen oder nicht. Ist doch egal, was die Leute denken! Manche Musiker halten es für ihre Pflicht, lediglich für die Zuhörer zu spielen, die sowieso schon entbrannt sind für das Repertoire. Warum sich um die anderen scheren?
    Schon Platon kritisierte die öffentliche Meinung. Er war der Ansicht, die Demokratie verursache das Verderben der Menschheit durch die öffentliche Meinung und schaffe Herrscher, die eigentlich nicht wüssten, wie man herrscht, sondern nur, wie man die »wilde Brust« des deˉmos, der Öffentlichkeit beeinflusst.
    Doch wenn »Musik der Zauber inne wohnt, die wilde Brust zu besänftigen«, wie der englische Dramatiker und Dichter William Congreve 1697 schrieb, kann der deˉmos unser Freund sein. Und von denen könnte die klassische Musik derzeit gut ein paar mehr gebrauchen.

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