If anyone ever wondered whether or not the orchestra field has a history of projecting an elitist image where the self-ordained curators of “greatest art” are comprised of a bunch of pompous asses, might I direct your attention to an article by Mariella Moon in the 9/17/2014 edition of endgadget.com that examines a brand new social network called Netropolitan that is designed expressly for the one percent crowd. What makes this a genuine embarrassment for the entire field is the site was conceived and spearheaded by a conductor who wears his Maestro Mystique like a badge of honor.
The Mr. Maestro in question is one James Touchi-Peters, a former conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, a nonprofit ensemble that somehow fails to appear in either the GuideStar.org or CharityNavigator.org databases.
If your stomach isn’t turning yet, listen to how Touchi-Peters shills his restricted online community via an article in the 9/16/14 edition of CNN.com by Doug Gross.
Launched Tuesday, Netropolitan bills itself as “the online country club for people with more money than time.”
“This is 100% real, and I believe there is a need and an audience for this service,” said James Touchi-Peters, Netropolitan’s founder.
Touchi-Peters, 48, a composer and former conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, said he had trouble finding people to whom he could relate on other social sites.
“I saw a need for an environment where you could talk about the finer things in life without backlash — an environment where people could share similar likes and experiences,” he said.
The author is clearly giving Touchi-Peters rope to hang himself (along with the rest of us) and can you blame him (I certainly can’t)?
Consequently, it is easy to see why the public at large sees orchestras as a caricature of navel-gazing, self-entitled elitists. In the meantime, I would pay real money to watch a genuine conductor from Minneapolis figuratively break his foot off in Touchi-Peters’ ass by weighing in on this topic.
Paging Bill Eddins; Mr. Bill Eddins, please pick up the white courtesy phone.
In the meantime, I urge you to not think this is just some meaningless effort launched by an elitist snob and instead note the amount of mainstream press Touchi-Peters is gathering, especially within the tech networks. It isn’t like that industry has a great deal of love for the nonprofit performing arts in general and now they have something to laugh at and justify unwarranted low levels of involvement and philanthropic concern. Frankly, the more people outside the field see those inside the field making fun of something like this and dismissing it as the efforts of an individual apparently infatuated with living the life of the Maestro Mystique, the better.
To that end, kudos to Norman Lebrecht for getting the ball rolling via one of his posts from 9/18/14.