Sunday, November 11, 2007

'Industry perspective'

Anthony Tommasini profiles Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, in The New York Times:

The title of the article, "A One-Woman Vanguard," reinforces the meme on Alsop as the first female conductor in the international front rank. (A "really silly epithet," Alsop says of her professional gender distinction.)

When she secured the Baltimore appointment, Alsop was widely described as the first woman to lead a major American orchestra. Whereupon, Tommasini writes, "there were howls of protest from loyal supporters of JoAnn Falletta, the music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic" – and, he fails to mention, music director of the Virginia Symphony of Norfolk.

"But with all due respect to Ms. Falletta and her adventurous orchestra, from an industry perspective — in terms of budget, location, schedule, touring, recording and other factors — the Baltimore Symphony is generally viewed as a major American orchestra while the Buffalo Philharmonic, however fine, is not quite."

The "industry perspective" reflected in the article brings to mind Saul Steinberg’s "View of the World from 9th Avenue":

In Virginia (under the H in "Washington, DC" on Steinberg's map), Norfolk's Falletta is one of three female music directors of orchestras. The others are Kate Tamarkin of the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra and Janna Hymes of the Williamsburg Symphonia. Victoria Bond is the former music director of the Roanoke Symphony. The Richmond Symphony has had three female associate conductors: Alsop, Sarah Hatsuko Hicks and the currently serving Erin Freeman.

However . . . as they say in the industry.