Klarinet Archive - Posting 001101.txt from 1998/04
From: Jonathan Cohler <cohler@-----.net>
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 14:47:25 -0400
This lengthy and interesting discussion of the blatant unfairness of the
National Symphony Orchestra has highlighted one of the difficulties (and at
the same time one of the advantages) of carrying on conversations in this
wide open forum.
One of the prerequisites for informed debate, is the use of logic. Without
logic, one can not have a debate, only a rambling conglomeration of often
unrelated facts and opinions.
I started a debate with the following premise:
It is fundamentally unfair to exclude candidates from first-round
auditions of full-time orchestras in the U.S. based solely on
a resume. In other words, if a person sends in a resume, pays
whatever the application fee is, and shows up, he/she should be
allowed to audition.
As support for this, I gave a financial analysis that proved that:
ALL full-time orchestras can EASILY afford to have this policy, and
I demonstrated that any other policy is inherantly unfair (i.e.
it WILL exclude some people who are more qualified than others who
are not excluded). Larry Liberson also offered empirical evidence
There have been many interesting facts offered about what this or that
orchestra does and many thoughtful comments about related issues and
For example, the issue of how to choose the "best player for the job" is a
completely separate question from the premise I offered. The question of
how to choose the best player is an issue of concern to the orchestra.
Whereas, the question of ensuring a fair process is of concern to the
This country (and most industrialized countries) have many laws to ensure
"fair" hiring practices.
So far, everyone on this list who has spoken up on the subject has
indicated that in an ideal world everyone should be allowed to audition (in
other words, they agree with my premise). Some have indicated they don't
think it is financially practical, although noone has yet refuted my
financial analysis (nor Larry Liberson's empirical corroboration of it).
So, if it's good enough for Brazil, and it's good enough for Canada, and
it's good enough for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and there is no
financial impediment to doing it, then why don't we make it a reality here
in the U.S.?
Perhaps we need to lobby the AFM and NSOA and other organizations that
wield power over American orchestras, but it should be an eminently
Or is there a big unseen resistance to this movement coming from the "old
boys club" (be it the Curtis faction, or any other!)?
The next message from me is a quick informal poll.