If there is only one individual that is traditionally associated with the idea of an orchestra, it has to be the music director. And the past year has seen some remarkable events regarding the control and influence music directors assert over their orchestras. Here’s a quick recap:
We have Daniel Barenboim stepping down as the music director for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the top orchestras in the entire world. Why? It wasn’t over money or artistic issues but over how much time the orchestra’s management wanted him to spend in the community. The musicians flirted with a vote designed to implore Barenboim to stay but it never came to fruition.
Martin Fischer-Dieskau, music director of the Canadian Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony was fired. But then a few months later, the board of directors has asked him to take his old job back again. This about face is due to the fact that entire executive board that approved Fischer-Dieskau’s dismissal resigned en masse after pressure from hundreds of the music directors supports and several key donors.
Gerard Schwarz was recently the target of a no confidence vote by the musicians of the Liverpool Philharmonic that said no to extending his contract after 2006. But the orchestra’s board, management and several key donors are saying “nuts” to the players and want Gerald to stay.