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 National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2019-07-17 08:15

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/national-philharmonic-bows-out-abruptly/2019/07/16/8977dcd8-a810-11e9-9214-246e594de5d5_story.html?utm_term=.0f22c630c158



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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-07-17 14:18

Very troubling trend.



I thought the nation's economy was the best ever? Why is basic funding for the arts being cut?





.................Paul Aviles



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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2019-07-17 21:28

1. Slipped Disc | What future is there for American orchestras? (Lots of interesting comments...IMO.)

https://slippedisc.com/2015/06/what-future-is-there-for-american-orchestras/


2. No Easy Remedy for Symphony Orchestra “Cost Disease”

https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/no-easy-remedy-symphony-orchestra-cost-disease


A possible solution?


3. "Saving American Symphony Orchestras in Four Movements"

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedgavin/2012/01/18/saving-american-symphony-orchestras-in-four-movements-2/#4af2374d5ba2



Post Edited (2019-07-17 22:22)

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2019-07-17 21:53

While this trend understandibly causes angst in the classical community. It does emphasize a point: the only music thriving in the US today had war declared on it by the US government. Jazz (and, as an extension...rock).

Governments across the US tried everything they could to kill jazz. They raided the district in New Orleans, they made dancing to jazz all but illegal (actually illegal in some cities)...yet jazz flourished. Jug bands flourished. String bands flourished. Swing flourished. Rock and Roll came into being.

The war on drugs: drugs flourished.
The war on poverty: same rate of poverty today
The war on health care costs: health care costs skyrocket

It seems that the best way to insure something survives is to have the government declare war on it. ;^)>>>

The second link provided by Dan (the Gregor article) seems to support this concept: "...Orchestras outside the United States face similar economic challenges even though they benefit from millions of dollars in direct government subsidies..."

The answer doesn't seem to lie in "help" from the government(s).

Fuzzy

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-07-17 22:31

Another economic reality is the loss of recording revenue. I don't think any US orchestra ever made a ton of money off record revenue but it certainly didn't hurt. Now it is nonexistent. Some European orchestras must be experiencing the same pain as the pop music industry here. At one time under Karajan, the members of the Berlin Philharmonic were pretty much independently wealthy (a way of life that already dropped off with Karajan's passing).


I suppose the answer to that will be some form of recording product that will force us all to pay a more equitably amount for each unit as opposed to the current .0003 cents per stream (or "free," what the youngins' call torrenting).





..............Paul Aviles



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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-07-17 22:42

Quote:

the only music thriving in the US today had war declared on it by the US government. Jazz


I know many jazz musicians who would beg to differ that jazz is thriving.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2019-07-17 23:12

Quote:

I know many jazz musicians who would beg to differ that jazz is thriving.

I agree with that to a degree (trad jazz has seen somewhat of a resurgence in the past 12-15 years - benefited greatly by an increased interest in old-time dancing), but I do feel country and rock are/were a logical progression of jazz/jug bands/etc. So that while jazz itself might not be at its highest point of popularity - it still flourished well into the 60s/70s much later than when the government(s) actively tried to kill it fifty years earlier, thus allowing for the growth into swing, bebop, country/country swing and rock. Rock, country, etc. don't really seem to be in danger...though Paul's observation about recording/income still applies. The model of earning money as a musician is changing across the board.

Big band leader, Glenn Crytzer, posted an interesting article the other day pertaining to this topic - a lot of talk about the "old" model of musician income, and how sites like Patreon and Kickstarter are being used to replace certain needs which used to be filled in other ways. He is also a writer/composer/arranger, so his income potential from recordings is greater than a non-composer/non-writer, but the advent of digital licensing has caused some serious issues for all types of recorded music - especially for the musicians appearing on those recording(s).

Fuzzy

[Edit: corrected spelling]



Post Edited (2019-07-17 23:13)

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2019-07-17 23:28

Going off topic...Is Jazz music thriving?

1. "Jazz in 2017: The Music Is Thriving, Though Support Is in Peril"

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/arts/music/popcast-jazz-kamasi-washington-nea-masters.html

2. "Atlanta Jazz Scene: Rich in Jam Sessions, But Gigs?"

https://jazzguitartoday.com/2019/02/atlanta-jazz-scene-rich-in-jam-sessions-but-gigs/

3. "Is jazz dying?"

https://www.quora.com/Is-jazz-dying

4. "Jazz Musician Says Genre is Dying"

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89523633


It appears that there are a lot of differing opinions...



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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2019-07-18 04:08

I played an R&B/rock gig this past weekend with a "big" band (11 pieces). Made $105 - that for the ENTIRE band. So I personally made $9.50, for 6 hours on the job. Or about $1.60/hr.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is yet another example of why I don't even attempt to make any sort of living playing music (of any genre).

Make a living doing something else; play music for your own satisfaction. Otherwise expect to starve.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-07-18 07:51

Sucks...


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-07-18 09:13

I hear what you're saying about loss of recording revenue, but do they think at all about putting out videos for money? I don't like listening to sound-only recorded classical music because the emotional content of the music becomes too intense, but I absolutely love watching videos of orchestras. I wonder if it would be possible for them to make money from videos via Youtube? I watch lots of orchestra videos on Youtube.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2019-07-18 10:24

SunnyDaze, even though your idea appears to have merit, after scanning the articles below, the income level, IMO, wouldn't be enough to pay the electric bill for the auditorium.

1. "How Much Money do YouTubers Make in 2019?"

https://techwiser.com/how-much-can-you-make-from-youtube/

2. "Estimated YouTube Money Calculator by Social Blade"

https://socialblade.com/youtube/youtube-money-calculator

3. "YouTube Money Calculator: Calculate How Much You Can Make"

https://influencermarketinghub.com/youtube-money-calculator/

4. "Here’s how much money you can make on YouTube"

http://joshrimer.com/how-much-money-can-you-make-on-youtube/



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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-07-18 11:58

I know what you mean. So many things have become easy to do now online that it is hard to make any money from them. I do quite sophisticated photography work, but there is no way that I can see to make money from it. I think that that people who work out how to make money from the internet will really be onto something.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-07-18 12:57

Amazon






...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-07-18 14:17

Well quite...

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2019-07-18 17:03

This is a regional orchestra made up of freelancers, many of them regulars, in the area that served the commmunity well. It's a companion to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, a fully professional orchestra, that also has a concert series in the same hall on an almost weekly basic to soon become a regional orchestra. The articles are posted above in my name if you've missed them. Since the BSO lockout of a month ago there has been no progress made at all. The board and management have dug in. The negotiations yesterday proved fruitless.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

Post Edited (2019-07-18 17:06)

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2019-07-19 06:02

Sorry for being so negative, but it's simple economics: tons of supply (thousands and thousands of competent musicians who want to play, even if for no pay) vs. very little demand (classical music lovers dead or dying; other music "consumers" getting their tunes for free or cheaply in a myriad of ways). And with terrible traffic, parking woes and (usually) high ticket prices, going to hear live music is not a very compelling reason for a "night out" any more.

I'm surprised professional or semi-pro orchestras have lasted this long in the US - clearly their continued existence is in doubt. Sorry in particular about the Baltimore SO's troubles, they're a very fine group and deserve much better.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2019-07-19 08:20

David, IMO, what you wrote was very concise, encapsulating the numerous "challenges" faced by major orchestras and symphonies of today and was certainly not negative at all, but, realistic. Thanks for your input.

Whether it's the BSO, the CSO, the SFO, or whatever, they are all businesses and are subject to the dreaded profit/loss ledgers every business has to deal with.

I thought it might make for interesting reading to find out what various orchestras and symphonies in the U.S. required in 2018 and other years to stay afloat:

1. "Boston Symphony Orchestra financial impact (on the state) pegged at $261M"

https://www.masslive.com/entertainment/2018/04/boston_symphony_orchestra_fina.html

2. The following article compares 74 American Orchestra Operating Budgets (with varying years involved):

http://clymer.altervista.org/minor/orchbud.html



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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2019-07-19 16:31

The above two comments and 100% true but the wealthy and large corporations used to think supporting the arts was important enough to fund them, which includes orchestras like Baltimore. Even in a year that they received enormous tax cuts that no longer seems to be a priorty of most any more. We have lost so much in music education in our public schools as well that our society is deaf to the importance of classical music. I've seen it coming for a long time but it's devastating in Baltimore how it came about with such an impact all at one time because management has been so inefficient and closed to what was happening.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-07-19 20:03

Ed's comments above are SO true. Over the years it has really gone from bad to worse. I shudder to think what music education and the music business will be as the years go by.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2019-07-19 21:58

For me, David S and Ed P have nailed the important aspects.

I'll try to piggy-back on their comments - adding some thoughts/observations for fodder.

It seems that in the not-so-distant past (1900s-1940s) the "average" US citizen understood music in a more fundamental way than we do now. It was common for children (and adults) to be in choir (whether school, church, community, clubs, etc.) Prior to television, there weren't a lot of "technical" options for indoor entertainment. Board games, conversation, reading books, performing music, etc. Technology brought about gramophones and radios...which (in the gramophone's case) still fostered this world of music. People still seemed to be connected with music, understanding harmony and being able to pick instrument/sounds from the orchestra. People seemed able to discern a "good" band/orchestra/choir from a bad one.

Now (as evidenced on the streets and Bourbon Street clubs of New Orleans), the general populace seems unable to discern the good from the bad. A screeching clarinet holding a high note for 20 seconds is applauded more loudly than a skilled clarinetist who offers amazing skill a deliberately beautiful, skillful, emotional solo - based on a full understanding of music.

Likewise, our technological entertainment options are now virtually limitless.

My personal take is that the park gazebos used to be filled with music/bands/singers. The streets/corners of large cities were filled with buskers. The grange halls (rural western halls where local communities met to address local issues) held weekly or bi-monthly dances. Through these "free" venues or "pay-what-you-can" venues, children were frequently exposed to live music of varying style and offered by a range of skill. Even if a person/child wasn't at a location to specifically listen to music...music was there.

We seem to have (mostly) locked live music away from children's social lives. They can find such things online, but not in a live, social setting where they interact with others enjoying the same thing. They are more likely to find a local downtown fest where rock or country is played. We hold fests (and charge tons of money to try to cover the costs), we hold concerts (and charge to help cover costs). There's no lack of places for those with a nurtured interest to go hear the music...but then we scratch our heads as these options start disappearing. We've locked away the music for only those who are willing to pay (kids aren't), and then wonder why no new listeners are coming along.

For many years, I've thought the best way forward is to find a way to plant the seed in the free/public spaces where children can learn to fall in love with music. I understand the difficulties of doing this.

For me - I fell in love with music because (when I was a small child) the high school marching band used to march in front of our house during it's daily rehearsals. I'd run out into our yard and watch/listen in amazement as they marched by.

Likewise, countless are the stories where a New Orleans youngster listened to street players, or listened from outside the club's doors. The exposure was usually plentiful and usually free.

Where is that opportunity for kids today?

Fuzzy

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-07-19 22:27

I understand things have changed quite a bit regarding how we consume music. Up through the 1950's many homes had to have a piano. If you heard a song you like (in the movies or music halls) you went out and bought.....THE SHEET MUSIC! Music was part of communal family moments.


Today we are isolated in our earbuds listening to our favorite streamed playlist.


Just two years ago I attended a music industry school and almost all the students where either planing on a career creating beats (composing various rhythmic patterns/sounds to be used as the pad for rap) or creating Electronic Dance Music (EDM). Both of these pursuits can be produced to professional quality with just a laptop, microphone and a music creation program such as Garage Band or Logic (and such).


So the opportunities are there for our youth, but they are mostly electronic.


I am somewhat hopeful in that there is live music out there simmering under the surface. For example football is a huge pastime for the US. And there MUST be huge bands and huge band shows for ever big college game.


Also a major component of the EDM popularity is the live show which is a massive, over the top staged event attended both as a music event and a social one.


Somewhere in there live music will continue to evolve and thrive. The music of J.S. Bach didn't survive for over three hundred years for nothin'. Perhaps we're just in a trough of a bigger cycle.





.............I hope





......................Paul Aviles



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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-07-20 00:37

Hi Fuzzy,

I think the 1950s view that you mention is still pretty much going where I am. It's a shame that it isn't carrying on everywhere.

It's nice to know that we are doing something right here. I always worry that we are failing the kids with too much traffic and not enought running the countryside. It's good that we're getting music right-ish anyway.

Sunny

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: JohnP 
Date:   2019-07-20 12:58

Reading the article on the demise of the National Philharmonic I see that "130 administrators and musicians will be out of work". Also that the cost of saving next season was $150,000. How many administrators does the orchestra have? Are they full time? If a concert can be put on with 60, 70 or say 80 musicians that still leaves a lot of administrators.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-07-20 14:31

Good point. Nearly one each. :-) I work as a volunteer orchestra administrator and we operate at a ratio of about one administrator to 7 musicians.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2019-07-20 21:38

The following was published yesterday, July 19, 2019 in the Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/people-are-upset-when-an-orchestra-closes-if-only-they-went-to-the-concerts/2019/07/19/67b2d188-a983-11e9-9214-246e594de5d5_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.857e66780512

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-07-20 23:11

That article is really interesting. I only started going to formal orchestra concerts recently because my friend plays in an orchestra and she put their poster up on facebook. I would never have dared to go otherwise.

Once I got there, it turned out that I knew two people in the orchestra and it felt like a lovely community get-together, where I felt I could be useful, cheering for people that I knew. I also found the music very exhilarating, which I had no idea would be the case.

I have tried going to a concert where I didn't know anyone playing, but it wasn't the same at all.

I wonder if maybe these big orchestras just feel a little bit too distant from real life, and perhaps people don't like to intrude on a social gathering where they don't feel that they can be useful?

Maybe a little bit of skillful advertising could change that perception? They could even make short video adverts showing the conductor and a few of the players who are happy to be seen, so that people know what to expect?

I always watch youtube videos of the music before concerts now, so I know what it is going to sound like and that really helps.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2019-07-21 00:03

There are quite a few misconceptions about this recent development for the National Philharmonic that should be cleared up a bit before we make grand pronouncements about music in America today.

As Ed Palanker said above, "This is a regional orchestra made up of freelancers, many of them regulars, in the area that served the commmunity well." This is an important point. The National Philharmonic is nowhere near the main employer of any of the musicians who play in it. Losing it is a great loss to everyone involved, but they are not the National or Baltimore Symphonies. They are not a "big orchestra" and shouldn't be pontificated upon as such. John P's confusion about 130-plus musicians and administrators is almost certainly a result of the number including every nearly musician who plays with them throughout the year. Like any contracted group, it's not always the same people.

In the Washington Post article above, the author makes reference to a number of other freelance orchestras in the Washington, D.C. area. This highlights something that annoys me to no end when people start making pronouncements about classical music and its "changing" place in American society. There is always the premise that it's dying relative to the previous century, with no real evidence to support it. There are more orchestras, more concerts and more accessible venues today than from 1900-1940, Fuzzy's chosen golden age. Classical music concerts in America have ALWAYS been a predominantly elitist exercise. If anything, it's a bit more mainstream today. And while I agree that there are far, far more places competing for our attention, I don't think the masses care any less today than they did in the mid-20th century. If anything, the financial struggles of the institutions reflect a growing array of choices for the wealthy to spread their dollars around. That is the real challenge that faces orchestra bookkeepers.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-07-21 11:57

That's good to know. Thanks. It's a shame it's closing though.

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 Re: National Philharmonic bows out abruptly
Author: JohnP 
Date:   2019-07-21 11:59

Ah, I see how my interpretation of the 130 figure could be wrong. So, how many administrators does the orchestra have and are they full time? Just interested.

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