Monday morning at 9 AM, three members of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra sat before microphones and tried to explain to their community why the HSO is in such trouble. I was one of those three. And none of us were truly able to explain why we are where we are.
The radio program was courtesy of WNPR, the Hartford NPR affiliate. Producer Lydia Brown approached the three of us about appearing on a program, “Where We Live,” with guest host Ray Hardman, who has often covered arts events for WNPR. (Thanks to Tech Director Chion Wolf as well.)
The guests were:
- Anne Midgette – Chief Classical Music Critic at The Washington Post
- Michael Pollard – Principal 2nd Violinist of the Core for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; member of the HSO for 40 Years
- Ann Drinan – Executive Director of CONCORA, Senior Editor of Polyphonic.org, and violist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; member of the HSO for 36 years
- Stephen Wade – Assistant Principal Oboist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; former member of the Coast Guard Band; member of the HSO for 19 years
- Polly Kahn – Principal of PK Art Solutions/PK Orchestra Solutions; former Vice President for the League of American Orchestras
The question remains: why is there such a serious problem in Hartford. Steve Metcalf and Robert Levine have posted comments here on Polyphonic about this situation earlier. And Steve had a second post as well.
The HSO today is obviously not the organization it was some 20 years ago, in terms of collaboration, when we came back from a 14-month lockout and decided to do things a bit differently. For a bit of clarification, I point you to this audio of our 50 minute radio program; I think we did very well in presenting our concerns. Management declined to participate, and our two “national experts” offered interesting insights into not only our situation, but what’s happening across the country.
Please take a few minutes to listen to our conversation.
The HSO is not that different from other regional orchestras. Not that different at all.