The Arts Cost Money

Something Empiricus and I have been discussing came to light in Kyle MacMillan's article on the Colorado Symphony:

If they were not told, most concertgoers would probably have no idea that the tough economy forced the Colorado Symphony Orchestra to make significant alterations to its originally planned lineup for 2009-10.

The article goes on to describe how the artistic director has gone through great lengths to preserve a high-quality and full season for the orchestra despite budget cuts.


If they were not told...

...it also shows how The Arts are perceived as somehow automatic, or beyond the reach of mundane economic considerations. Having not been told (we are told), the public would assume that everything is hunky dory.

Figure 1: The androgynous person assures us everything's alright.

The reality is that running a major subscription orchestra (or opera company) entails an enormous flow of money, employment, contracts, management, organization, and time. But, of course, all of the other things are contingent on money.

Kudos to the CSO and its director for their commitment to quality in the face of budgetary limitations, and also to MacMillan for his reminder about the real-world economic world of the arts.


The orchestra is also not backing off on contemporary repertoire, presenting the world premiere of Chris Thile's Mandolin Concerto, as well as the local premiere of Peter Lieberson's "Neruda Songs" with up-and-coming mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor.

Awesome. Contemporary music is often the first victim.

Read the rest here.


Empiricus said...

I saw this one, too. It's always nice to see good solutions to difficult problems. I still think that large performing arts organizations in socialist/democratic/free-market systems are a bit too immobile to sustain negative shifts in economic prosperity. The economic restraint in Noh theater, I think, is remarkable and, perhaps, exemplary.

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