Friday, July 14, 2006

Restless in Seattle

Some indeterminately large population of the Seattle Symphony's musicians is clearly dissatisfied with the leadership — musical or otherwise — of music director Gerard Schwarz, and once again the P-I's intrepid R.M. Campbell has the story. It's always difficult in a situation like this to gauge the real extent of the problem, and Richard does a good job in laying out the possibly dubious parts of the survey that was distributed among the orchestra's musicians. Any orchestra has its share of full-time malcontents, reflexive apple-polishers and so on. For that matter, the survey itself sounds like it might have been a fairly slipshod affair.

Still, it doesn't matter whether the majority of the players are pro- or anti-Schwarz or somewhere in between. The mere fact that the dissension has become so open and noticeable is a problem for the orchestra's board — or it should be. If the argument is about whether most of the musicians in the orchestra think the music director is doing a sucky job, or only some, you're already a tempo or two behind.

Plus, you want to bring in people who know what they're about. I loved this detail:

Don McDonough, founding partner of the Seattle survey firm Evans/McDonough, strongly criticized the survey in his two-page report.
"It is our professional opinion that there are serious flaws in the questionnaire design, data collection and overall methodology, and as a result of these deficiencies the results are highly suspect," reported McDonough, who misspelled Schwarz's name throughout the document.



At 7/24/2006 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is apparently the second time in less than two years that musicians in an orchestra led by Maestro Schwarz have rebelled against his leadership. He is currently also, until the end of August 2006, the leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, in Liverpool, UK, one of Britain's oldest and finest orchestras. (Previous RLPO leaders have included Max Bruch and Malcolm Sargent.) Schwarz's contract there was not renewed, reportedly after two-thirds of the RLPO's voted against renewal in 2004.

There seems to be a trend here!

You may be interested in the discussion page of Wikipedia's entry on Gerard Schwarz, where debate about his achievements has raged recently:


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