Fast Eddie on Effective Symphonic Programming in a Tough Economy

The following is an excerpt from an interview with renowned critic-scholar Fast Eddie at an undisclosed location.


[Empiricus] Some say the symphonic organizations are being hit very hard by this econom...

[Fast Eddie] Yeah, yeah. The economy this and the economy that, profit margins, season ticket subscriptions, local business donations, dwindling audiences, dying patrons, and on and on...

You knows what? I got your problems fixed, sure as folded pizza. If ya listen to what I gotta say, you’ll make all the moolah you can eat. Ready?

First, that’ll be five bucks. [At this point Empiricus asks for change for a twenty-dollar bill. Fast Eddie waives his fee]

Okay. Bottom line, what cha gotta do is this—really simple: Ya gotta have fait[h] that the customer is always right. Don’t try to be smart—that’s for those Ivy League know-it-alls who’ve got nothin betta t’do than analyze stuff all day. If ya simply give ‘em what they ask for, and not what you think they might want, then you’re on your way to cabbage heaven. Stick to whacha know’ll work, the warhorses. Your 70-somethin customers’ll love ya. Just don’t surprise ‘em; the more surprisin you are, the worse odds you’re getting on your dough.

One catch: Ya gotta lower your overhead, see. Instead of a 100 person orchestra, how ‘bout a 50 person orchestra? Presto! That way you don’t have to give ‘em the world, just what you can afford. The suckers’ll lap it up. Sure, they’ll miss the Mahler, the Berlioz, the Strauss, for a while. But they’ll still love ya for the Mozart and ya don’t have to lower the prices, see.

[Empiricus] But there’ll be those who say that Mahler is a core part of the repertoire. Can we really set it aside, like you propose?

[Fast Eddie] Listen, this economy bull-puckey is just a self-correction. Got it? We were livin beyond our means. That goes for symphonies, too. I mean, look at the whole shebang: three-thousand seats, statues, gold railings, thirty ushers, guest solists, commissions, what have ya. And all for a puny two hours of 50 string players waiving horse hair across cat gut? Holy friggin cannoli, ya got 180 people on the payroll, right. How much does that cost? Way too much. Ya just can’t keep it goin. That’s like Imelda Marcos and shoes. If ya cut half the shoes out of the picture, bingo, you make more than you spend!

[Empiricus] I see. Has anyone taken your advice, Mr. Eddie?

[Fast Eddie] Glad you asked. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra recently purchased my patented advice; they even got a 20 percent discount, being they’re the first and all—I need t’get my brand out there, see.

Bang, they were going about their plan, throwing greenbacks at three Mahler Symphonies per season, right. Well, they took my award-winning wisdom and now they’re playin a bunch of Beethoven instead. Win-win, badda-bing.

They even got Scott Cantrell to hype it up as if nothin strange was happenin.

Instead of the planned performances of Mahler's Third, Fourth and Eighth symphonies, the FWSO will offer the ultimate in core repertory: Beethoven.

“Ultimate”: now that’s a winnin salesman!

The FWSO didn’t change the concert’s title, too.

The "Great Performances Festival," Aug. 28-30, will include Beethoven's Third, Fifth and Sixth symphonies, the first two piano concertos and the Violin Concerto.

They’re gonna play the safest—and most profitable—music in the encyclopedia.

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony will be performed during the FWSO's 2009-10 symphonic series...

But most strategic of all, they’re listenin to the suckers.

Most other programs include at least one work chosen by patrons in an audience survey.

Sure, they got some work to do still.

[Another] program will include the world premiere of a work by Peruvian composer Jimmy López. Jennifer Higdon, the orchestra's 2009-10 composer-in-residence, will be represented by four works on two different programs.

Guest conductors will be baroque-music specialist Nicholas McGegan, for music of Vivaldi, Haydn and Mozart; Giancarlo Guerrero, music director of the Nashville Symphony; and Mei-Ann Chen, assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony.

Soloists will include pianist Horacio Gutiérrez and violinists Midori, Sarah Chang and Jennifer Koh.

But there’s still time to cut more spending.


custom made essays said...

among a large Number of different materials, sometimes encountered terrible delusion, which can mislead the true is not too sophisticated reader. sadly