Being Good is no Longer Good Enough in the Music Industry

“If you build it, (they) will come.”

In the film Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hears a voice whispering this phrase, encouraging him to build a baseball diamond…that if he builds it, some of baseball’s greatest player will return from the great beyond to play, eventually attracting huge crowds of fans.

Oh, were it that simple.

At one time, it really was.  If you assembled a group of talented musicians, the concert hall would fill with music lovers.  Now, with so much competition for our discretionary entertainment dollars, and much less emphasis on the arts in our schools, putting even a world-class orchestra on stage is no guarantee of success.  

All one has to do is look at the current state of affairs in Minnesota…they’ve not played a note this season, (at least not officially), the highly-regarded Osmo Vanska has resigned as conductor, and nothing makes me believe that any changes on the horizon.  Meanwhile, the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have staged their own performances, which shows their determination to keep this institution alive, with or without management’s help.

In contrast, the Metropolitan Opera and the LA Philharmonic seem to have found what it takes to grow and prosper.  Both organizations have made their performances readily available to people everywhere with live simulcasts and HD presentations in movie theaters.  Seeing them is affordable and non-threatening to those who might be a bit uncomfortable with the trappings of a formal concert setting.

Arts organizations continue to look for ways to make/keep their product relevant and interesting to 21st century audiences.  In Columbus we are blessed to have so many opportunities to visual arts, music, dance, and theater.  I tip my hat to those who make it happen.

Read More: Lessons in a Year of Crises (New York Times)

You could own the Field of Dreams

Watch the LA Phil rehearse for one of it’s live HD Simulcasts

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