Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why am I Not Surprised?

I just read that the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra was unable to pick a winner for its public and partially online concerto competition. Maybe the reason is similar to why some major orchestras have trouble filling first chair positions. People who find themselves in the position to judge other musicians always act subjectively. Too much "personality" (for better or for worse) often doesn't make it past the preliminary stage, but not enough "personality" is (or not hearing anything special) is a big reason for deciding not to hire anyone.

I imagine that when it comes to hiring soloists, administrators tend to be concerned with extra-artistic matters, like how well a potential soloist will promote ticket sales, and how much promotional money they would have to spend to make everything work out financially for their organization.

It is sad that as the "business" of music has come to embrace the values of the greater business world at large, people tend to make decisions that are musically counterintuitive.

The judges could have voted to have Odin Rathnam in the semi-finals, but he, as a result of the video he sent in for the competition, has gotten several offers to appear as a soloist elsewhere. To think, Pittsburgh could have gotten him for cheap. Why is it that some people don't pay attention to the obvious when it comes to evaluating musicians.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Why is it that some people don't pay attention to the obvious when it comes to evaluating musicians?" The PSO folks were looking for free advertising and exposure. Given their balance sheet painted in red ink and their deficit spending in spite of asking musicians to earn less for the same work, the PSO is headed for bankruptcy. It makes perfect sense that they run a "campaign," get press while paying for none of it, and end it with a "null." Who lost? Some good and unsung musicians. Who won? The press department.