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March 26, 2010

In today's paper: Baltimore Symphony contract, 'Porgy' and more

While you're waiting for something fresh and fabulous to appear on this site (it's always such a long wait, I know), don't miss other efforts by your humble scribbler.

In a followup to Thursday's bulletin, check out Friday's story about the new, painful contract over at the BSO, which will effectively push the musicians back to 2001 pay levels (and that was a pretty low level then).

Also, you'll find a mini-review of Washington National Opera's "Porgy and Bess," a welcome revival of the striking Francesa Zambello staging. Oh yes, and a review of Everyman Theatre's gentle new production of "Our Town."

That should distract you until I can get a review up of Thursday night's BSO program of Gershwin. Barber and Stravinsky.   

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:40 AM | | Comments (5)
        

Comments

CLEARLY, the players and the organization deserve a standing ovation prior to the next concert for their performance on this issue.

The reality of our current economic climate is discouraging, to say the least. And the reality of being a professional musician in this climate can be frightening. (The salaries, as numbers, don't really factor in all of the different costs associated with maintaining a career. Being a musician ain't cheap!!!)

While I hold the view that any orchestra is lucky to maintain itself now (Meecham isn't kidding when he talks about the necessity of "tough love"), I think that the BSO is in very good, sensible hands and is staffed by very realistic people.

They got that standing ovation last night, at the urging of a board official, before the concert began. TIM

Then they deserve another standing ovation -- no "urging" should be necessary, for anyone who's read your article (or knows someone who has)! ;^)

I feel for the musicians in the BSO but as we all know, they are not alone. The economic crisis has affected many professions in a similar way. Salaries are being cut or frozen. Layoffs are frequent. We are very fortunate to have such a gem in our city as the BSO. We can only hope they can weather the storm and that sometime in the near future they will again have the compensation they deserve.

A difficult economic situation, to be sure. But the endowment was drained BEFORE the big crash to get rid of debts. (see Tim Smith's article)

Is the administration that runs up these debts readjusting their strategy? The smart money is on budgeting your orchestra on the endowment and contributions. You can't run a major symphony on ticket sales, just as you can't run a library on overdue fines.

The sad fact is that citizens allover America are being forced to cut back & in many instances take pay cuts, or forgo needed pay raises because so many companies are on the brink of collapse... It seems the only people who do not realize this are Government workers such as Members of Congress, State legislatures, Governors of certain states (MD), and the President & vice President of the United States.

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at baltimoresun.com/artsmash. This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog
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