Christina Fong

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The Louisville Orchestra is in a financial crisis. The board's solution was to convert some positions to part time and if the musicians did not agree then bankruptcy would be invoked (March 8th Courier-Journal).

With corporate culture overtaking arts organizations in America it is no surprise the board proposed downsizing as the only possible solution. After a highly contentious and public fight the Louisville Orchestra and their board of directors reached a five year agreement. Although the musicians made huge financial concessions in other areas I am glad they had the moral and artistic backbone to stand up against such an atrocious threat.

The Louisville Orchestra is no longer the shining organization it was during the 1950s thru the mid 90s. In 1955 Time magazine dubbed the LO "the world's busiest performer of new music." Indeed, the Louisville Orchestra deserved such a distinction. Not only did they commission and perform works by living composers, they did what no other orchestra had done by establishing their own record label, First Edition Music. The LO recorded a staggering 158 LP and 10 CD releases ... over 400 works by over 250 composers. No other orchestra can match this feat.

But the LO is not what it was. Then again, little is. Believe it or not, there was once a time when the majority of Evangelical Christians weren't heartless, war mongering, SUV driving, gun-toting, mindless right wing Republicans. There was a time when a majority of them voted for Jimmy Carter.

Clearly the mid 50s thru the early 90s represented the LO's "glory days," artistically and financially. The LO has not made a recording since Lawrence Leighton Smith (aka Larry Smith) ceased being their music director. I applaud the musicians for their moral fortitude and spine during these very trying times and also hope the LO will remember what it was that made them such an important orchestra.