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Who owns the orchestra?

On May 29th covering , ,

Even though orchestras are bigger and more complex organisms than chamber groups or bands, the same questions of ownership apply. Orchestras have formal boards of directors and union contracts, which are supposed to represent the interests of the larger community and the musicians, respectively. This can bring the issues to light in ways that in rock bands tens to be vague.

These questions are all over the place in the debacle taking place in Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus symphony is within a couple of days of closing down altogether. Drew McManus has been covering these sad developments in his blog, which is always instructive and entertaining. I recommend reading all of the posts with “Columbus” in the title for a case study of how music groups can be torn apart. Here is a letter from the orchestra musicians in Cleveland and Cincinnati to the board and management of the Columbus Symphony. It’s a good read. notice how much of the letter makes the point that the whole community hs a stake inthe orchestra.

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