David V. Foster, whose management firm Opus 3 Artists represents many top performers, conductors and Osvaldo Golijov, has come up with an idea for an annual festival at Carnegie Hall that will recognize leading orchestras for the the “creativity and distinctiveness” of the programs they propose to perform.   Called Spring for Music, the festival is scheduled to begin in May 2011, at Carnegie Hall.   According to the Center of the Universe Times:

The Festival of North American Orchestras, as the organizing entity is called, will rent the hall and handle production and marketing, and the orchestras will bear their own costs for travel and soloists but share the proceeds, with a guarantee of at least $50,000 per appearance. Tickets — $25 each except for 100 or so seats in the top balcony at $15 — will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis two months before the event.

The principals– Foster, Thomas W. Morris, a former executive director of the Cleveland Orchestra and the artistic director of the Ojai Festival; and Mary Lou Falcone, a public-relations consultant describe the festival as an “idealized musical laboratory designed to see what kind of programming an orchestra can concoct when mundane considerations like marketing are taken out of the equation.”

Sounds a little Jerry Jeff to me, but we can hope for the best.

6 Responses to “Can David Foster Save Symphony Orchestras?”
  1. I’d never bet on the likelihood of interesting artistic experiences under any circumstances — but that doesn’t mean I would dismiss anyone’s efforts to bring them about. I still say Mr. Foster’s efforts are commendable, even if they don’t completely pan out. That’s how I feel about composers who try to do things a little differently — kudos to them, even if the results aren’t always what they might have hoped.

  2. You’re right, Lawrence, it’s possible for them to create an interesting artistic experience, but how likely is that? I wouldn’t buy a ticket and attend to hear the same old shit. I suspect that in holding this point of view I have plentiful company.

  3. Can he save Symphony Orchestras isn’t the question — Nobody can. Can he help them create interesting artistic experiences? Absolutely. Cue applause.

  4. Eric Lin says:

    Hmm…about a million each year…I guess it’s possible. Doesn’t sound like a remarkably interesting idea though. Let’s see what the orchestras come up with.

  5. Eric Lin says:

    Look, the capacity of Stern is less than 3000 (I think its about 2700?). If they are guaranteeing $50,000 to each orchestra that performs, they need to at least sell (50000/25 per ticket=) 2000, which is over 2/3 capacity. And that’s just to make 50000. Plus, part of the proceeds go to composer royalties, esp. if part of the ‘new and adventurous programing’ is to include new works…or even simply works written after 1920 (or sometime around that).

    Seems like a losing prospect. But then again, this is only an initial reaction. I’ll read the article before I post something else again.

  6. CD says:

    With $166K financing per show, plus the box, against $80-100K in expenses it shouldn’t be too hard.

    And their definition of ‘creative programming’ is very vague.

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