The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: How much do top symphony orchestra CEO’s get paid? Is ASCAP biased in favor of describing member composers as “adventurous”? The New York Philharmonic cancels summer parks concerts. And how do you write down sounds? | June 18, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

I admit it. The news roundup today is a mish-mash with some gossip appeal for trivia fans.

If there is a common thread, it is probably the way summer affects classical music and how one’s attention towards away from repertoire and regular season concerts to other matters, including public service and money.

ITEM: Art is business too, and leading a big symphony orchestra can be like leading a Fortune 500 company. So, how much do some orchestra CEOs like the Los Angeles Philharmonic‘s Deborah Borda (below, who leads the list, I suspect, for landing Gustavo Dudamel) – NOT the “maestro” conductors or music directors – make? Wanna find out? Be sure to click on the second page at the bottom:

ITEM: Is there any connection between the top paid CEOs of orchestras and groups and their programming “successes” as pioneers? Which individuals and groups won ASCAP’s (the American Society of Composers and Publishers) awards for adventurous programming? And what is “adventurous programming”? Could it be for groups that programmed contemporary composers that ASCAP might represent? Take a look for yourself and decide:

ITEM: Hot town, summer in the city! The New York Philharmonic (below) has canceled Concerts in the Parks for this summer. Makes you appreciate your own local orchestras and groups that will perform outdoors in the hot weather:

ITEM: But there is more to the indoors story: The New York Philharmonic, under its director Alan Gilbert, will record the complete cycle of symphonies by Danish composer Carl Nielsen (below), even though it is NOT for a major label:

ITEM: Want to celebrate the 100th anniversary of “Petroushka” and the legacy of modernist pioneer Igor Stravinsky (below):

ITEM: There are more kinds of music notation than you might imagine (below, an autograph of Schubert‘s song cycle “Winterreise”):

Posted in Classical music


  1. […] Classical music news: How much do top symphony orchestra CEO’s get paid? Is ASCAP biased in fa… ( […]


    Pingback by Omaha Symphony Maestro Thomas Wilkins and His Ever-Seeking Musical Journey « Leo Adam Biga's Blog — July 4, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

  2. Hmmm… ASCAP represents about half (give or take) of all the living/copyrighted composers that U.S. orchestras could theoretically perform (BMI representing approx. the other half). More likely than not, if an orchestra programs a substantial amount of new music, from a variety of composers, they will be playing some representees of ASCAP and/or their international partner PROs.

    Performing Rights Organizations like ASCAP exist to support composers, so ASCAP’s agenda is neither mysterious nor are its adventurous programming awards a conspiracy, as you imply. They simply recognize “adventurous programming,” which, yes, absolutely means at the very minimum doing music from (cringe) now, and/or (shudder) the last several decades.

    Thanks, anyhow, for helping to publicize those orchestras’ efforts, even if it was meant to be a dig.

    Jeff Stanek (ASCAP composer)


    Comment by Jeff Stanek — June 18, 2011 @ 8:14 am

    • Hi Jeff,
      Thanks for reading and commenting with a thoughtful reply.
      No, I did not mean to imply a conspiracy, just to point out a biased euphemism. To me, “adventurous programming” is NOT synonymous with programming new music — no matter what ASCAP or BMI thinks.
      New music is a part of it.
      But exploring neglected composers and works from the past — from 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th or 20th centuries — is also adventurous.
      Perhaps the awards should be given for “new music” or “living composers” and not just “adventurous music.”
      That really is the only point I was trying to make.
      It is a little bit like lobbyists who cloak their own private interests in words that suggest the general public’s interest. It’s not that it is conspiratorial as much as inaccurate or misleading.
      But other than that, I certainly did not mean to offend either ASCAP or BMI or even living composers, who deserve to have their intellectual property rights protected as well as recognized.
      Hope that clarifies things.


      Comment by welltemperedear — June 18, 2011 @ 10:45 am

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