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Two very interesting questions for those from the article for those who don't want to bother following the url:

From the article:

"Critics of orchestra management are not so sure. They suggest that if a city cannot come up with the money to support a symphony orchestra, perhaps it does not need one."

(emphasis added by EW)

"Some cultural figures say it is hard to sell classical music in places where much of the population has no direct connection to the northern European cultures that produced most of it."


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Thanks for posting this, Ed. I read the article earlier today and found it interesting, and sobering. Orchestras have been "in trouble" -- losing subscribers, losing donors -- for at least a decade. It's too early to tell whether this is an Arts problem or an Orchestra problem.

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the northern European cultures that produced most of it.

Err... I wonder where the definition of "northern" starts for that journalist- doesn't Italy have quite a decent record of classical music composers, for example? :confused:

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Good point, Estelle -- I thought that, too. And then there's Eastern Europe. Gosh, no Russian or Czech or Polish composers that I can think of.....

I think, in some American circles, this is a common perception -- the same arguments are used against ballet, sometimes.

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"Northern European" does seem like the author is referring to the music of Sibelius, Grieg, Norgard, Haalvorsen, Nystrom, Hamerik and other Nordic composers.

He could have simply written "European" and been more correct.

Of course he also could have written "Vienna/Berlin/Darmstadt" and been pretty close. While it leaves out most serious composers, it does include many who Americans think of as "Classical" and several who actually are: Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann (Robert and Clara), Mendelsshon, Schoenberg, Berg, Hindemith, Haydn, Webern, several Strausses and a bunch of Bachs.

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I think it's a stretch to say the economy is in "collapse". Collapse is what Germany experienced post-WWII, when millions were starving. This is recession, not collapse.

Music has moved from live to recorded format. Pop music survives by changing all the time --- often simply for the sake of change. But when you can buy a great recording of just about any serious musical masterwork for $15 (or often less), that puts a dent in the live performance market.

I think it would be a stretch to say we've distanced ourselves from European culture. We're actually very much like Europe. And I wouldn't be surprised if European orchestras are grappling with the same long-term issues --- after all, the Continent is not insulated from pop culture either.

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