A bizarre and wildly misinformed article by the Telegraph critic Ivan Hewitt has topped the Google search for ‘orchestra’ for the past week. No need to read the article, the headline says it all: ‘US orchestras are greedy and overpaid’.
It was only a matter of time before a response came from Bruce Ridge, Chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (by ‘international, we think they mean Canada). (Update: we are advised that ICSOM is not a union but a lobby organisation).
Ridge rightly castigates Hewitt for misinformation – linking Los Angeles Philharmonic wages, for instance, to a ‘mounting deficit’. Actually, the LAPO is in surplus. Ridge has further swipes at NPR’s coverage of the Minnesota disaster among other deficiencies, before ruining his own case by proclaiming The Failure of Arts Journalism at a Time of Cultural Need.
Get real, Bruce. The failure lies on both sides of the Minnesota dispute to reach agreement, in an American system that is innately confrontational and is long overdue for reform if music and orchestras are to survive far into the present century.
You’ve read it here before. Start listening, Bruce, then let’s talk.