The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: PBS report shows that some important American symphony orchestras are in rough shape – which should make us grateful for the long success of the Madison Symphony Orchestra on the weekend of its season-closing concert. Plus, check out additions and changes to the performances on Sunday and Monday by Classical Revolution Madison. | April 6, 2013

ALERT: There have been additions and corrections to the programs by Classical Revolution Madison (below at the Fair Trade Coffee House in a photo by Tori Rogers) on Sunday and Monday. Here is a link to the revised blog post:

Classical Revolution Madison at Fair Trade Coffeehouse CR Tori Rogers

By Jacob Stockinger

As you may recall, this is the weekend when the Madison Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of music director John DeMain closes the current season with three performances.

The unusual and very intriguing program features the Madison Symphony Orchestra Chorus (bottom top) and the MSO concertmaster violinist Naha Greenholtz (below bottom) in a program of Handel, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn and Vaughan Williams.

Here is a link to the post that will refresh your mind:

Naha Greenholtz [playing

And here is a link to the MSO’s website about the concert:

We should realize how lucky we are in Madison not only to have the quality of the MSO under John DeMain (below in a photo by Greg Anderson), but also to be spared – at least so far – some of the major money problems and internal disputes that have plagued other American orchestras, many of them bigger and more established.

John DeMain full face by Prasad

A recent story about the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and its celebrated music director Michael Tilson Thomas (below), and its labor problems – including a bitter strike that led to the cancellation of a major East Coast tour including a concert in Carnegie Hall – was done on PBS’ “Newshour.”

Michael Tilson Thomas

It is worth a look and listen. Here is a link:

By mid-week the strike by the SFSO (below, celebrating its recent centennial) had been solved. But the questions about musicians wages versus administrative wages and about shrinking audiences continue to be pertinent to symphony orchestras in the US.

san francisco symphony turns 100


  1. Madison is fortunate to have an orchestra that is apparently on sound financial footing and that has such gifted talent as we heard last night. Naha Greenholtz’ performance of the Mendelssohn was sublime. Bruce Croushore

    Comment by Bruce Croushore — April 6, 2013 @ 8:52 am

  2. It’s not all that difficult to be a competent administrator; to be a fine musician takes not just education and training from a young age, but for the rest of one’s life. Who should be paid most?

    Comment by Susan Fiore — April 6, 2013 @ 7:22 am

  3. When America’s greatest orchestras like Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Francisco wind up striking over wages/benefits, it’s simply beyond the pale. Pro athletes make millions while professional musicians of such world class caliber have to strike. It clearly shows what our society values. I’m ashamed.

    Comment by Larry Retzack — April 6, 2013 @ 12:39 am

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