Perceived storm clouds over Jersey.
What is it with the New York Times and these bloody violins in New Jersey? By my count, the paper has published at least twenty articles in the last three years on the subject of Herbert Axelrod's sale of Stradivarius and Guarneri string instruments to the New Jersey Symphony and that gentleman's subsequent legal difficulties. I don't think that any recent development in the American orchestral sphere has received such aggressive and exhaustive coverage. The saga was interesting up to a point, but I doubt it's still being "closely followed by the classical music world," as Dan Wakin states in his latest piece (and this post is not intended as a slur on his characteristically deft reportage). What struck me were these lines somewhere toward the end: "On the bright side, ticket revenue is expected to rise 10 percent over last year. Subscriptions are up as well." Now that's news. How did a "struggling," "troubled" orchestra manage to do that? Why are so many American orchestras reporting a similar rise in attendance? Dan? Anyone?
Reader Jake Wunsch writes in reply to the above: "Not sure what's driving everyone else to the symphony, but for me and my friends (late-20's, little background in classical music) those cheap "Discovery Concerts" at Carnegie have been near ideal. The lectures are entertaining without being corny or simplistic; it's useful to hear some of the main themes in the first half so they're in our heads for the second; and the modern music they program is in some ways easier to relate to (and, let's face it, cooler to name-check) than the older stuff.... Educate us on what we're hearing, play modern music, and take down ticket prices to where they're comparable to rock shows."