Back when the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) labor dispute and subsequent work stoppage was fairly new, Indiana native and urban affairs analyst Aaron M. Renn published an article at his website, The Urbanophile, that took a very long and hard look at what was transpiring.
In his article from 9/2/2012, Renn begins with the bigger national picture and begins to whittle down to what’s transpiring at the ISO. On the way, he touches on other Indiana related scenarios, such as The Carmel Center situation, and by the end his final sub header sums up the analysis: Leadership Failures.
Now, in case you’re prone to jumping to conclusions and think Renn’s article may be some sort of pro-this, anti-that dreck, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. For instance, the article is launched with the following observations:
“…as far back as 2008, in an article I would strongly encourage you to read entitled “The Decline of the Midwest Cultural Institution,” I actually suggested that the city consider downgrading the orchestra myself.
A top quality, full time orchestra is a huge mouth to feed financially. Some cities like Cleveland, which has a world-renowned orchestra, derive considerable branding benefits from their orchestra. But Indy’s orchestra, despite its high quality, doesn’t generate those branding benefits.”
Consequently, content such as that may not lead a reader to imagine that the very same article would conclude with some of the following observations.
“…there are clearly serious leadership problems at the symphony. This is not all a result of outside structural forces…The previous music director was forced out by management, which now itself is gone. The CEO slot is empty, as are other senior posts, leaving a management vacuum.
The board itself has been operating in secret…There was absolutely no community discussion whatsoever about this, which is completely unacceptable for an organization that routinely solicits donations from the public at large.
Had the ISO been fortunate enough to have stronger leadership, perhaps it never would have come to these straits.”
In the end, Renn’s article is all but certain to get you thinking. It might make you angry, it might make you feel justified; but the real kicker here is you’ll see people on both sides of the debate think someone on the other side should read this.
In actual ISO labor dispute news…
There isn’t much to report other than what was expected following the latest offer from the ISO board which contained an escape clause after year two of a five year agreement. The musicians announced almost immediately after the offer was made public that they had no intention of accepting it and that’s precisely what happened.
As a result, the ISO cancelled another round of concerts scheduled for 10/12/12 and 10/13/12 and is offering ticketholders the options of a credit, an exchange, a donation, and/or a refund. Meanwhile, the 10/7/12 edition of the Indianapolis Star reports in an article by Jay Harvey that an ISO musician organized concert on 10/7/2012 featuring A-List piano soloist Andre Watts attracted a nearly 70 percent audience at The Palladium Stage in Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts.