Music, Money and the Future of the Baltimore Symphony | WYPR

Music, Money and the Future of the Baltimore Symphony

Jun 4, 2019

Credit Graphic courtesy BSO

As of last Wednesday, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra was one of 17 American symphonies who hire their players for a full 52 weeks each year.  As of last Thursday, that is no longer the case. 

After 8 months of negotiations with the players, BSO management has abruptly shortened its season, cutting all of the events they’d announced for this summer. 

Does it matter if the BSO plays for 40 weeks each year instead of 52?  Does a world class orchestra have to be full-time?  How should the BSO balance the aspiration for excellence with the realities of the marketplace for classical music? 

What’s going on with the state’s largest arts organization? 

To find answers to those questions, Tom talks first with Baltimore Symphony Musicians' Players Committee co-chairs Brian Prechtl and Greg Mulligan, and a little later, with the Symphony's President and CEO Peter Kjome. Then, Nicholas Cohen, the Executive Director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts, joins Tom to discuss the BSO funding crisis, the prospects for continued public support for the arts, and plans for this week's first-ever Maryland Arts Summit.

This conversation was livestreamed on WYPR' Facebook page, and you can watch the video here.  You can view the segment with Brian Prechtl and  Greg Mulligan from the beginning to about 19:00 into the feed; Mr.  Kjome's conversation with Tom begins at 21:00 and continues until about 39:30; Mr. Cohen's segment runs from 41:00 until the feed ends at 51:30.