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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000499.txt from 1999/06

From: Mark Gustavson <>
Subj: Re: [kl] NY Times article
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 12:06:31 -0400

Your post is interesting if not all over the place. I am not for substituting
musicians for computers. In fact when I was 16 in 1976 I wrote a paper in high
school discussing this digital reality as a sad future. However, the NY Times
article did state that audience members either liked the synthesizer or were
neutral about it. That says it all.

At one time or another I've performed with a number of these small opera
theaters in NYC and most of them are not run by crooks or cheap-skates. They
love opera and they are trying to get opera (mainly 19th c. Italian or Mozart
and others, not big Wagner and Strauss operas) to an audience that cannot afford
the Met or NYC Opera. The Amato and Dicapo are good examples. Dicapo is
unionized even though the pay is low. Amato isn't unionized. If it did
unionize, it would go right out of business. Most who play for the later
believe in the company and don't complain. I think that the audience that goes
to opera, especially these little companies, go to hear and see singers and sets
(theater) and not instrumentalists. To me this is odd but it appears to be the
truth. I think these people are happy with a piano, an orchestra, a small
orchestra or a synthesizer. By the way, Broadway musicals rehearse the singers
before they open with synthesizers and many pits use synthesizers with
musicians. It's not new.


Patricia Smith wrote:

> Dear Michael and others on this list,
> Thank you for forwarding this article to all of us on this mailing list. I
> felt the Times writer did treat his subject well. Also, he gave the lie to
> the notion that hiring union musicians is too expensive for smaller
> companies (or any smaller organization). What the real truth is, is that
> the people running these organizations are either cheap, foolish or crooked,
> many a time. Instead of putting on a less challenging, easier-to-produce
> work, then hiring good musicians, building an appropriate set and obtaining
> reasonably priced costumes, a great deal of money is spent on the rights to
> a major work which then requires massive sets, extra rehearsals (which also
> can get pricey unless you are not paying your singers or actors?),
> custom-sewn need to go on. Cuts end up having to be made -
> and it is usually not the producer's salary that is the first to go,
> especially if the individual does not have another income. Somehow, I just
> cannot see where anyone is saved much, if it takes over 600 hours to enter
> the parts (or just one part!) into a virtual orchestra program. And no way
> to change dynamics...
> I also believe that this is a slap in the face to legitimate composers of
> computer music. The electronic medium should be used for its own virtues,
> not to imitate other instruments (does this argument sound familiar?).
> I hope everyone will take the time to read this article, and follow up
> with some sort of public correspondence to the appropriate local or state
> government agency where they reside. It is one thing to not impede
> legitimate commerce; it is quite another to basically defraud people,
> monetarily and artistically.
> Patty Smith

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