DC Philharmonic cancels inaugural concerts
It always did sound too good to be true -- a new orchestra called the DC Philharmonic, set to debut with a huge program featuring Mahler's Resurrection Symphony and other works, and give two performances at Strathmore. Word just came that the concerts scheduled for Thursday and Friday will not take place. Here's the official statement from Strathmore:The DC Philharmonic announced today that for the best interests of all involved they are postponing both of their April 9 and 10 performances. They will be looking to reschedule their inaugural concerts in the fall of 2009. All patrons who purchased this concert will have a refund for the full amount of the tickets for this concert refunded to their credit card, or receive a refund check if original payment for the ticket was via check or cash. If payment was via gift certificate, the refund will be credited back to the gift certificate.
The orchestra was the dream of 30-year-old conductor John Baltimore, who has never conducted a Mahler symphony before. He had engaged stellar mezzo Denyce Graves and soprano Harolyn Blackwell as soloists for the inaugural program, which also was to have involved the Heritage Signature Chorale. Baltimore and a couple friends raised money to launch the DC Philharmonic, but not enough to keep things going past three rehearsals. Ticket sales were poor; perhaps decent advance box office revenue would have helped the save the enterprise.
UPDATE APRIL 10: Several musicians have contacted me about this matter, making clear their concerns not just with the issue of payment, but with John Baltimore's conducting ability, as evidenced by the initial rehearsals. One of those players has posted his observations of those rehearsals. Meanwhile, John Baltimore contacted me to dispute the allegation that some checks bounced. He says that the initial checks were never actually deposited by the union, and that he subsequently provided funds, as requested, with cashier's checks. He also expressed satisfaction with the way the Mahler symphony was shaping up in rehearsal, but acknowledged that he found the Michael Torke piece more difficult to conduct than he had anticipated.