Orchestral Acoustics 102: Orchestra vs. Hall

In a recent blog post, Washington Post music critic, Ann Midgette, posed questions concerning:

  1. what influence a hall’s acoustic response has on orchestral performance technique, and
  2. what effect the 1997 renovation of the Kennedy Center Concert Hall had in improving acoustics onstage and in the audience.

In response to the first, I can report conclusively that orchestras have great flexibility in adapting their playing to different environments. I offer a few anecdotal observations here supporting this contention and also comment on the effect of recent acoustical adjustments at Kennedy Center Concert Hall…

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Apparently, Philadelphia Is Out Of Alignment

Since next week features the 2009 Orchestra Website Reviews, it makes sense to fit in some time to examine the news out of Philadelphia about that orchestra’s new chief administrator. According to statements made by Philadelphia Orchestra board chair, Richard B. Worley, Allison Vulgamore will be taking over as the executive administrator on or about February 1, 2010…

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When It Rains, It Pours

Reports of heavy rain and floods aren’t the only news coming out of Atlanta. The 9/22/2009 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article by Pierre Ruhe that reports Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) president and CEO, Allison Vulgamore, announced she will not renew her contract after it expires in June, 2010…

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The Dynamic Consequences Of Leadership Vacuum

It isn’t unusual for a music director search to last more than a year but eyebrows ascend when it takes that long to find a new CEO. No, there’s no double standard going on here and the reality is that it is much easier for a professional orchestra to appoint interim artistic leadership that can maintain or even improve an ensemble’s artistic standard (think Chicago and Haitink) as compared to installing interim executive leadership capable of the same feats for the administrative side of the coin. Recently, Peter Dobrin examined this very issue at his Arts Watch blog…

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A Cultural Military-Industrial Complex?

Adaptistration People 023

The 7/23/2008 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article by the ever sharp Peter Dobrin which revealed that former Philadelphia Orchestra President, Joe Kluger, continued to receive compensation from the organization after his departure. Although deferred compensation and severance pay are nothing new, Dobin noted that Kluger’s compensation focused more on consulting fees… “After stepping down as president on Aug. 31, 2005, Kluger continued to draw a salary from the …

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