Although Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra escaped a legal peccadillo recently, the reality still remains that something smells bad over there. In fact, if you read the Seattle Weekly's article summarizing the case, the symphony's argument to dismiss the harassment case by violinist Peter Kaman was based on the fact that it couldn't be harassment against the violinist in particular because "the declarations from other SSO members suggest the maestro dishes it out pretty widely." If that is a victory for the Seattle Symphony, then there is something wrong there too. And now Alex Ross has gotten into the mix in his recent conversation with Jen Graves. According to Ross, the West Coast has always been this pioneering area of the country that confronts its myths about what classical music is and what it's supposed to be. When Graves asked if Seattle can join San Francisco and Los Angeles in that effort, here is what Ross said:
"I think there could be an amazing effect if Seattle had a music director who was following that same kind of recipe. Gerard Schwarz doesn't seem to be on the cutting edge of anything. I can just imagine a whole lot more energy and conviction in that direction, and I think Seattle instantly could become one of the leading orchestras in terms of setting the agenda for classical music, because I think there's this great potential audience there."
Such a stern indictment. Then again, what does Alex Ross know? Or the musicians of the Seattle Symphony? Or the New York Times? Or some blogger from Chicago? In the end, Seattle will have to make the ultimate decision, and as long as the Seattle Symphony board thinks that Schwarz has something to contribute, then I guess he will be allowed to. In the mean time Seattlites, continue to enjoy whatever you can from the symphony and keep your hopes alive about what the Symphony could be in the future.