The fate of American orchestras...

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by WAKeele, Nov 19, 2004.

Do you think the American orchestra will survive the test of time?!?

  1. Darn right it will!!!

  2. Sorry to say, I don't think it will.

    0 vote(s)
  3. Who really knows?

    0 vote(s)
  4. I don't care, I play/listen to Jazz or other stuff only!

    0 vote(s)
  1. WAKeele

    WAKeele Pianissimo User

    Sep 30, 2004
    The Wild West
    I am doing a research paper and this very well may be my topic of choice. I've been toying with the idea of doing it Mahler as a musical genius but since I'm preparing for a career as a professional orchestral player this might do me better at the moment.

    First I'd like to keep the responses, at the moment, to players that make there living or did make their living playing in orchestras, either regional or studio.

    Also I am planning on interviewing at least two long-playing orchestra members, one like 40+ years and another close to 20+ playing in pro orchestras. Mr. Herseth for example would be a great source. But I'm not limiting my sources just to trumpet players of course.

    Thanks for any thoughts and feeling from you BIG DAWGS!!!

    I've also posted this on the Trumpet Herald but haven't got much of a responce, probably because most the great orchestral players have came here or left forums all together.

    Also I this poll will be used as part of my research. Thanks![/b]
  2. gus

    gus Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003

    Financially speaking, if the Gov. ( Local, State or Country ) do not intervene, the 2nd and 3rd tier professional orchestra will dissapear soon.
    Anyway I don't think that music will dissapear, it will be like here in my country, amateur-semipro orchestras.

    The only orchestras to survive will be the big ones.

    Sorry for the bad news, but it is my honest opinion.


  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    A message from M-Dawg...

    Seriously, this is a topic that has been almost completely driven by critics and the general sense of cynicism that accompanies anything that no longer holds luster for them.

    I will admit that when it comes to the arts, Minnesota is somewhat anomalous because it always seems to belie what other organizations are experiencing. Here, in the frozen north, the arts are fairly flourishing. Our orchestra is experiencing a deficit but that was brought on by what will prove to be a blip in the stock market a few years ago and really nothing more.

    We support a symphony orchestra, a chamber orchestra, two youth orchestra organizations with a total of about 800 students participating, a professional theatre of international reknown, and dozens of other theatre groups of varying size, most of them professional. the list of arts organizations that are doing well goes on.

    Here's the point: you have any number of musc critics that see dwindling audiences and immediately blame it on many things yet always manage to ignore that arts organizations that fail or do badly are always the ones that have been managed badly. Bad decisions, lack of vision, second-guessing an audience are among the many reasons that arts groups like orchestras fail.

    I, for one, do not subscribe to the nonsense of the short attention span. There is a profound difference between having too much to have to focus on and not being able to focus for more than a few minutes.

    Where has the ball been dropped? We have developed a culture where teaching music has become a job rather than a passion. In my annual speech to those graduating from the Youth Symphony, I tell them that if they don't have a burning passion to get up in front of kids to share what they know, please find another vocation. We instead have fostered a mentality whereby TOO MANY people look at music education as something to do to bide your time. Then net result is a younger student populace that is not ENTHUSED about going to hear a concert or play their instrument or practice or buy a CD and listen. I have taught music with a shoestring budget and I have taught it in the midst of an embarrassment of riches. During both times I was just as passionate about what I was doing as I am now.

    So, yes, orchestras will continue. Will there be fewer? It will always cycle up and down. Right now we're beginning to cycle up and out of a slump slowly and a good time will be sustained for a while. If it means that at some point there will be fewer orchestras, then that's what it means. Survival of the fittest. My 14 year-old son is an aspiring trombonist and I won't discourage him at all. He just will have to know that he'd better be damned good if he wants to make this his lifes work.

  4. WAKeele

    WAKeele Pianissimo User

    Sep 30, 2004
    The Wild West
    Thank you very Mr. Laureano! I have just about the same thought as you on the matter. I might be calling on your knowledge if I decide to go though with this topic. Oh, and the "BIG DAWGS" thing was ment more in a southern way than a gangster way. :wink:
  5. gus

    gus Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Hi Manny,

    Your counsels on the Magnificat have been used... on the 129th Cantata and the 3rd Suite ( last minute changes ) . Thanks.

    I like your post and the contents.

    Here in Argentina we run a Brass Academy for kids ( A very good one ) and we teach for free brass instruments and we provide the instruments and material and the rest of the things all for free or for a symbolic amount of $ 3 a month (mainly for oil and all of this things ).
    We think that we do things pretty good ( Anyway it is always possible to improve things ) because many of the professional brass players in our orchestras were in our academy. Most of them return to do different things in the Academy, write pieces, teach, conduct groups etc. The only financial support we received are some instruments and material from Germany but not a single penny from nobody. We do this because we (all that we worked in the academy ) think that Music is important and because music makes us better. So I can say that I deal with a bunch of pros who are involved in education for free and they like it.

    Now regarding the future of Symphony, I think that it is very difficult to obtain a budget to pay 90 or so guys all the year (Sorry if I am a little European with this respect but I think that a worker must receive wages all the year ), pay a hall, decent conductors, soloists etc., only based on private donors. I think that this can be done only with top groups ( like yours ), but not in the little towns. So that is why I think gov. should do something ( like in Europe ).

    I think that gov. should intervene not necesary by paying wages but by giving incentives to donors, and an active promotion of the arts thru media and education in school. How someone would like something that he doesn't even heard in his life.?

    Just a few unorganized ideas that came out of my mind.

  6. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    My condolences. :(
    I guess its better than a woodwind, tho, right? :wink:
  7. WAKeele

    WAKeele Pianissimo User

    Sep 30, 2004
    The Wild West
    Man I would be proud if my son took up the trombone! I love all brass instruments! Well baritone might not get the same reaction but it's better than flute. :wink: If I couldn't play trumpet for some reason and I could play another instrument, I'd be playing tuba or bass trombone!

    Okay, since I haven't had any responces for a few days, I'm opening it up to everybody. What are your feelings about this topic?!?
  8. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003

    If you are using this for a paper I think you should reword your poll choices and I think the paper about Mahler would help you more as a musician than this topic.

    As for the topic at hand: I hardly claim to have some great insight but I think a lot of it comes back the education system and culture as a whole. I think Manny’s comments are good but when it comes to band directors many of them aren’t so much bidding their time as it is that they really don’t love music. As a result that doesn’t really impact kids or make band worthwhile. I see so many band directors that have that burning passion to share but have nothing to share. I also see plenty of kids and their parents that could care less about music. I think that alot of this just goes in circles.

    That is just my take on things, back to bidding my time…….


    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    Jason is on to something IMO.

    With kids being marketed out of their money by rap crap, and gansters wearing bling bling, it is hard to see where serious music will survive.

    But you have to look beyond that. I grew up in the disco era ... not much of disco has been enduring. Neither will rap IMO.

    But the schools in some places are really pushing fine music. The push forward my very competitive marching bands is one place. The band in my district has been a top five band 5 of the last 6 years. Last year, they didn't make it out of regionals. Last year, the played a completely original piece. It was awful. This year, back to good music (Fanfare for the Common Man). Back to a top five finish.

    The 2005 Drum Corps season shows are starting to be announced. Here is a sample - remember these are kids from 14 to 21.

    Boston Crusaders
    Show: The Promise of Living
    Repertoire: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (J.S. Bach), Overture to “Candide†(Leonard Bernstein), The Promise of Living (Aaron Copland), Sing Sang Sung (Gordon Goodwin)

    Capital Regiment
    Show: Chiaroscuro
    Repertoire: Chiaroscuro: Symphonic Dances in Shades of Darkness and Light (Robert Sheldon)

    Carolina Crown
    Show: Angelus!
    Repertoire: Church Windows (Ottorino Respighi), Angel (Sarah MacLachlan), Chorale VI – Sol Fa (Karl Jenkins)

    Pacific Crest
    Show: Fluid States – Vapor, Solid, Liquid
    Repertoire: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes (Benjamin Britten), Sinfonia Antarctica (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

    Phantom Regiment
    Show: Rhapsody
    Repertoire: Rhapsody in Blue (Gershwin, George), An American in Paris (Gershwin, George)

    Santa Clara Vanguard
    Show: Russia: Revolution – Evolution, 1917 - 1991
    Repertoire: Symphony No. 12 (Dmitri Shostakovich), Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)

    Seattle Cascades
    Show: Airborne Symphony
    Repertoire: Airborne Symphony (Marc Blitzstein

    Spirit from JSU
    Show: The Spirit of Broadway
    Tentative Repertoire: Selections from They're Playing Our Song, Wicked, other music

    That is only a small fraction of the corps. Others will post their shows soon. Airborne Symphony to Gershwin to Shostakovich. Good music is being played by kids. This will support good music in the future. I have heard some of these kids talk about classical genre music and know more about some selections than I EVER will with a music degree.

    Symphonies will have to change a bit. But music that lasts several hundreds years is enduring.

  10. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    That man proved a personal vendetta against the french horn with that one.

    Sorry, back to the topic- Jim also brought a great example-Disco. I didn't live the 70's, wasn't born, and thankful for it. However, notice that we still have orchestras today. The interesting thing is that the orchestra has survived it all, from the time that Glenn Miller started his orchestra, to now with the morons that get paid for doing pathetic poetry to a machine. Throughout this time you have some INCREDIBLE composers, Gershwin, Bernstein, Copland and of course, John Williams.

    I think what would be a very VERY interesting topic is if you wrote a paper on what it was about orchestras that has sustained them through the ages.

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