The commencement speech given by Aspen Music Festival and School President and CEO Alan Fletcher during the 2013 Convocation on 6/24/2013 has been making the rounds due, in part, to its approach that some of the recent troubles in the field are the result of self inflicted stakeholder relations problems than merely a down economy. Regular Adaptistration readers already know this is a well-worn topic but it is nice to see it take root elsewhere.
We’ve been seeing some terrible fractures in the historic cooperation that is needed to create music.
For me, the very worst of it has been in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where two great orchestras were locked out of their halls.
This is not the place to try to describe fully what has happened – the complexity of the problem is intense – but what happened, and is still happening, has no place in our art form. A strike is a very unhappy thing, but a lock-out is unworthy of us all and unworthy of our beautiful profession.
In almost all of the problematic cases in recent years, one or more of the “sides” in a dispute is saying that they can’t, or won’t, recognize another side’s good faith, and the rhetoric all around the country has been remarkably poisonous and negative.
We really must find a way to work together, and this fracturing makes that seem impossible.
Let’s start with one of the most wrongheaded ideas: that, since there are so many good musicians out there, the particular composition of any given orchestra doesn’t matter.
The trouble with implementing what seems like a perfectly rational point of view into is the lack of necessary pressure on those who are more interested in a fight than an their institution’s respective the mission.
To that end, decades long traditions of self regulation that utilized a combination of peer pressure and common sense to achieve unified mission potential no longer produces the desired outcome and the field needs a new collection of cooperative leadership driven by concerns other than its own perpetuity and capable of influencing desperately needed change.
In the end, the adage nothing risked, nothing gained comes to mind. but what do you think? Take some time to read through Fletcher’s speech and leave a comment with your thoughts and observations.