Elaine Calder, the Oregon Symphony’s Executive Director, has weighed in with a pointed response to the article that ran on Crosscut last week. Calder’s response is right on. I tried my best to come to the defense of the Oregon Symphony, but Calder does it better. One of the band’s violists offered his own defense of the orchestra. You can read his thoughts over at Daily Observations.
My favorite paragraph of Elaine’s response is the following:
"Carlos Kalmar had the unenviable challenge of succeeding a much-loved, long-serving music director, and has wisely concentrated on forming his own relationships with the orchestra, our audiences, our donors and the broader community. He’s a younger man, with a busy international career, and his work with other orchestras has brought us a new and diverse roster of conductors and guest artists like Valentina Lisitsa, who opened our season in that "respectable - if safe - opening-season concert". I suppose there’s nothing safer than Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto, and Dvorak’s Symphonic Variations and Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra are certainly "respectable" - but we sold a quarter million dollars worth of tickets to large audiences who roared their approval. We’re trying to close a $2 million structural deficit, and we think the solution lies in having as many people happily paying for our performances as possible. We don’t blame Carlos for the financial problems, and he’s working with us to design programs that will attract bigger audiences and help fix the mess."