When the League of American Orchestras' annual meeting kicks off in Seattle on June 6, the almost 1,000 conventioneers will have more than classical music on their minds. American symphony orchestras are thinking about survival in an era where potential audiences have the world available at the tap of a smart phone.
Classical musician and radio host Dave Beck of Seattle's KING-FM jokes "there are lots of people in classical music audiences whose hair is even grayer than mine."
The only people inhaling at Seattle Symphony concerts will be the wind-instrument players. The Symphony says it has no plans to follow the lead of the Colorado Symphony and hold marijuana-friendly concerts.
The great outdoors is a perennial theme in classical music, usually expressed through bucolic or picturesque works. But the Seattle Symphony knew that to appear on Spring for Music — an annual festival of adventurous programming by North American orchestras — it required a more unusual, daring take on this theme.
Members of the Seattle Symphony and Opera Players' Organization (SSOPO) voted October 15 to authorize a strike. In a statement on its website, SSOPO representatives say the latest contract offers from both organizations call for 15 percent reductions in pay and benefits for the 2012-2013 season. That's on top of concessions the musicians have already made. The union says its membership can't take further cuts.