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The Great Philadelphia Orchestra Remains Mired In Difficulties

   The woes of the  world-famous  Philadelphia orchestra  continue after its recent declaration of bankruptcy , which has shocked the classical music world and is unprecedented in the history of America's top symphony orchestras .
   The members of the orchestra have just rejected general manager Alison Vulgamore's plan to get the orchestra out of its financial mess , and a number of key musicians in the orchestra have accepted positions in other U.S. orchestras, which is an ominous sign .

   Why ominous ?  Gaining a position in one of the top American orchestra's is a rare accomplishment for any classical musician.  These orchestras offer excellent pay and benefits and  great job security ,and many members of these orchestra teach at the prestigious conservatories in  the respective cities,such as Juilliard in New York, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and  the New England conservatory of music in Boston .  Minimum starting salary in these top tier U.S. orchestras is usually at least $100,000  per year, and first chair
members are payed considerably more .

   The competition for these jobs is unbelievably stiff and  each orchestra usually has only several openings per year .
Often 200 or more musicians will apply for a single job .  But the Philadelphia's economic woes have caused a number of its musicians to leave for greener pastures . Principal clarinet Ricardo Morales will soon be heading to the New York Philharmonic , after having been offered the chance to succeed  the legendary Stanley Drucker , who recently retired
at the age of 80 after nearly 60 years with the orchestra !  No one was chosen from the auditions , and a number of leading clarinetists from other top U.S. orchestras were invited to appear as guests with the orchestra  in concerts before  Morales was finally offered this plum job .

    The Philadelphia's associate principal cellist , who sits next to the principal  cellist in the orchestra, has
recently been chosen as principal cellist of the Seattle symphony , which conductor Gerard Schwarz had built into one of the nation's finest .  Several other musicians are also leaving .  There are worries that these departures may have an adverse effect on the orchestra's famous sumptuous sound , but there is a very large pool of
highly talented  players who have recently graduated from the nation's top music schools, and many other musicians in other orchestras who would  kill for a position in the orchestra .

   There are great hopes for the orchestra's music director designate , the rising young French-Canadian maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin , and the whole classical music world is keeping its fingers crossed  for the success of this highly gifted  young conductor , who  has had a meteoric rise to success in recent years .  He is set to take over as music director next year  after a period  of a few years when  the distinguished and veteran  Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit had served  in the position of chief conductor  , which is not really the same as music director after the sudden departure of German conductor Christoph Eschenbach , whose brief period  the orchestra was considered less than  a triumph  by more than a few critics .

   It would be an artistic tragedy of monumental proportions if this great and storied orchestra were to go under .Let's all  hope for the best .
Posted: Aug 23 2011, 05:46 PM by the horn | with no comments
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