I attended the recent CSO performance at the Gailliard Auditorium and was shocked by how ragged the "new" orchestra sounded. Yes sir, I showed up and saw and heard a significant difference in quality. I'm hoping this coming Saturday will be different - but can't imagine how that could be since consistency is the basis for improvement in artistic endeavors. Having attended years of performances the quality difference was, unfortunately, hard to miss.
Ah, Mr.Koob's love affair-from-afar with oboist Mark Gainer can once again continue.....and there's nothing wrong with that, except that it may be one of the reasons that Koob can do little other than fulsomely praise whatever he hears, no matter what he hears. It's too bad that Charleston neither wants, nor deserves for that matter, a music writer who can call the shots and lay the chips down where they may fall. For Charleston, symbols (just the picture of the orchestra onstage brings a lump into his throat) and gestures will always be more important than substance and sustained achievement. Too bad......
That said, Ms. Anthony is a treasure, and it is precisely soloists of this caliber that the orchestra should be bringing (and should have brought with greater consistency in the past), and if the orchestra can continue to bring them, so much the better. But it won't be long before the wider world of agents and managers will know what the score is, so to speak, so time is short for the orchestra's new management to lift the orchestra out of the ragged place it was in during this concert. And for Mr. Koob to finally treat his home town with the honesty it deserves, not to mention his own self-respect.
Bravo! a celebration of the sturdy core. What better fitting music than that of Don Juan?
I disagree. I was at the concert and thought it was very well-performed. As Mr. Koob pointed out, there are areas of the Gaillard that have crappy acoustics, so it's possible you were sitting in one of these sections. "Don Juan" is a beast to play and I thought the symphony did quite a nice job with it. "Nimrod" was touching. That's not to say the CSO plays like the NY Phil, but after their long absence and all of the turmoil, I (and I'm sure I'm not alone in this) just wanted to see them put on a good, solid performance and I believe they did so.
I do, however, hope they spice up the programming for the next two concerts. Adele Anthony did a wonderful job, no doubt, but the Brahms Violin Concerto is kind of a snoozer as far as concertos go (in my opinion). It would be nice to see something from the 20th century, maybe some Prokofiev or Bartok if they're afraid of upsetting the old-fashioned listeners.
Perhaps Mr. Koob was at a different performance Friday evening than I was. After attending years of performances by the CSO I was bitterly disappointed by the lack of clarity. Throughout the program the strings were a mess, sounding as if they had never played together. Looking at the stands of violins, I saw four players who were previously members of the CSO core. Similar could be said for the other string sections. It was somewhat bittersweet seeing the familiar faces of a few of the musicians who were laid off this season and I'm sure it was difficult for them to perform under the circumstances.
The CSO is not the same - and I'm disappointed that apparently Mr. Koob couldn't hear the obvious difference in quality. While I've got the subscription I purchased in the spring, I'm not sure I will renew for next season. I'll have to see whether the CSO gets its act together enough to be able to hire back some of those laid off, but from what I hear, that's unlikely.
What a joke, or should it be jokes: both the situation and this article. Ms. Jackson finesses the question of Legasy's resignation very adroitly, although not without revealing what a bunch of weak willies the union folks are. Legasy's "statement" (oh yes, let's put the past behind us, even though failing -- or is it refusing -- to learn from the past is precisely what has put the CSO in its present position) is pathetic. And as for Mr. Edwards' oh-so-righteous indignation: be careful how you wail and moan; you bear as much responsibility for the current mess as anyone else.
The sad part about all of this is that nothing has changed in the way the CSO is run. The significant change is that the artistic product is mutilated. Fundraising will likely remain irregular. Donors won't get properly acknowledged. In April or May there will be another urgent cry for help. This cycle has become business as usual for this group.
Cautiously optimistic- from attending those community forum discussions we learned this isn't the first set of recommendations which have been ignored or swept under the carpet.
Like many, I try not to throw good money after bad.
Why is the CSO resuming concerts so soon? Did anyone read the report of the CSO steering committee which recommends securing one year of unearned income before restarting public performances? Why can't the 24 core members form small ensembles and perform at key fundraising events over the next six months in order to allow time for the administrative staff to build up excitement for the relaunching of the "new and improved" CSO? The public needs to know that change really has taken place.
The difference in keeping all the musicians in the core or to throw them under the bus as happened to 8 or so was only $90,000. I hope Charleston enjoys its Cannibalized Sympathy Orchestra (CSO)
Kudos to citadel57!! The CSO board leadership has been asleep at the switch for years and nothing short of reorganization and re commitment by dedicated members who are willing to put their money where there mouth is will work. A "stunningly superficial knowledge" of the Artistic commitment of the musicians has been missing. Let's get this fixed once and for all.
After turning a blind eye to years of grossly incompetent management and absent artistic leadership in Charleston the destructive CSO board has repeatedly dumped the resulting mess on the musicians! The problem in Charleston has never been the musicians, yet again the musicians have stepped up to the plate and made additional significant sacrifices in order to try to right this sinking ship.
The CSO needs a board who will actively recruit new competent managerial leadership – and allow them the leeway to do their jobs effectively.
I am glad to know that I was able to see him perform on more than one occasion. You were incredible, David. See you in the next life.
Just came across this one:
Terribly sad news. He gave me tickets to a couple performances a few years back, just because he was a cool guy.
It's hard to understand why this concert will
"remind one and all" of what Charleston will be missing, since this was clearly not the CSO that would be playing in any resuscitated future: it was a "small core" of musicians who have formerly played or do presently hope to play with the CSO, plus a large number of "freelance" players who will probably never appear on the Gaillaird stage again. And based on this review, it is almost impossible to tell how this group played (loudly, one must assume) since the reviewer was so busy telling us about the music itself that he never got around to an actual assessment of the performance. Not that it matters, for this was not an occasion on which any real critical evaluation would be appropriate or welcome. The mayor is to be commended for coming in person to put in a word for the CSO, but in fact it's very much a case of too little too late. The CSO has been in grave trouble, even crisis, for nearly two decades now; the time for an honest appraisal of the situation and an aggressive stance on doing something about it passed long ago. And what the community has done since the present crisis erupted has been more or less more of the same, not the least of the same being the familiar list of folks who say the city can't live without its very own orchestra - something that is clearly not the case since the city has gotten along just fine now for months. And the long-awaited results from the "community forums" clearly contain nothing that will really help, or otherwise the committee's findings (or whatever it - the committee or the powers-that-be or whatever) would have been summarized and released a long time ago. Clearly the folks pulling the levers can't quite decide just what the results are "supposed" to say. Let the poor CSO rest in peace, let the dead past bury its dead, and get on with that most rare of events in Charleston: actually looking the present reality clearly in the face, being honest about the facts as they present themselves about the level and intensity of support for a symphonic-sized orchestra in this community, and the very exciting possibilities that would/could emerge when the musical life of the state and region as a whole is examined with a view toward creating an orchestra that could play a viable, exciting vibrant life in an extended region/state community.
Quick question- did the players have benefits, like health? Not that this is any excuse for the low pay and the way they have been treated, but benefits are helpful. In my regular old job, I pay a portion of my health insurance (about 1/4 of the monthly premium) but the company pays for the rest which over a year is a huge chunk for me alone and something not often thought of when discussing these types of issues. If they did have health benefits, what has happened to them now that operations have ceased? This might not just affect the players but their families as well.
My best wishes to the players of the orchestra, and to the city of Charleston. I hope something can be worked out, and if it is, that the city and patrons can look past the troubles and step back on board to support the orchestra by buying tickets and through donations.
Charleston management should take a look at the Greenville Symphony's management if they want to learn how to effectively run an orchestra.
The board may be forced to take a closer look at its own shortcomings in bankruptcy court. Any expert who looks at the CSO's books will quickly see where the excess expenditures are. The contract that the board approved three years ago implicitly relies on their ability to raise money for the orchestra, and a monkey could see that they haven't done it. Bankruptcy proceedings will be necessary if the musicians don't go quietly into a state of unemployment (and hopefully they won't); they will bring to light what the real problem is.
I agree with eleckshorty...except David "The Blusterer" Stahl isn't leaving quite yet. He is slated to continue his podium watusi for the next 2 years. It isn't just the lack of executive and development directors its the never-ending catering to a self-important music director. Mr Leveille makes an excellent point in pointing out that a search for a new music director is pointless in the face of the state of economic affairs. Why not say goodbye to Stahl now and save the $85K? Scratch the current Board and restructure with a competent exectutive director instead of someone with no experience in the job whatsoever. What the CSO needs is an executive director with a concise plan based on reality and not the self-aggrandizing schemes of a self-serving music director.
The symphony lacks both a development director and an executive director. How, with such blantant mismanagement, is this symphony supposed to raise money? Maybe the board should take a closer look at their own shortcoming before cutting personnel. Ticket sales for 2010 have exceeded their projected targets; the community has come out in droves; musicians continue to do their job perfectly; and David Stahl (who is scheduled to conduct four concerts in the 2010-2011 season and earns more for blustering his way through one concert that an average CSO musician earns in an entire year) is finally leaving. There is no excuse for this symphony not to excel in a town so culturally rich and financially wealthy as Charleston.
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