The orchestra is in decline. Apparently this decline has been conventional wisdom since at least 1969. I don’t know much about this disaster, nor do I know if ½ of orchestras went out of business between 1969 and 1973, as so glumly predicted; I suspect not. Alarmism is alive and well in all fields. But at the end of the day, orchestras do have to pay the bills, and they are having more difficulties every year. It’s true – even the largest institutions in the world are having trouble – I noted not too long ago the since-resolved labor disputes at the Metropolitan Opera, for example, and Atlanta is currently managing its own labor lockout.
The filmmaker David Donnely, in a blog piece on Huffington Post, laments the current state of affairs for the popular appreciation of orchestral music. He really wants people to like classical music, “It’s illogical not to give classical music a try,” he says, continuing, “Hollywood makes a lot of terrible movies, but rarely do we say we will never watch a movie again if we do not enjoy it.” He says the world of classical music is quite big and that people can all surely find something to like about it.
David Donnely is a documentarian who has just completed (as of 13 hours ago) a successful Kickstarter campaign, which he launched to fund his new film Maestro. The film is about the hard work of creating orchestral music. Two key figures in the film are legendary conductor Paavo Järvi and violinist Joshua Bell. It’s due to be released in January 2015 – one good thing about living in Chicago is these things tend to make a debut of some sort here. I’m going to keep my eyes open.
Thanks for reading.