Things weren’t pretty on the classical music scene in Cowtown this past season. The Fort Worth Symphony went through an ugly strike; Fort Worth Opera’s board fired the company’s very successful general director without warning; the Symphony’s venue, Bass Performance Hall, threw out the music director because he was carrying his kid’s violin, for crying out loud. Peter Simek surveys the damage, talks to the orchestra’s CEO (who’s now quitting and leaving the music business), and finds out that the Opera’s director was fired basically because he’d been so good at his job.
To save money, the offices, then on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, had been turned into a makeshift storage facility, and rent hadn’t been paid. The phones had been turned off, and for two years calls to National Lampoon had been routed to the pink-cased iPhone of Cora Victoriano, the beloved longtime receptionist/office momager who in a previous life worked in the office of Imelda Marcos.
If something is the best in the world, it ought not to depend on government subsidy or favourable regulation or legislation that discriminates against competitors. It ought to be able to stand on its own two feet, as Google has had to do since it was a start-up in September 1998 and as all surviving US media businesses have over the decades. But in the 21st century, just as in the mid-20th, the BBC seems not to understand the meaning of market forces.