On Conducting 4

Iván Fischer: Will the Symphony Orchestra Survive?

I thoroughly recommend this video discussion between Iván Fischer in a new talk for the Hanns Eisler Institute moderated by the articulate Kirill Gerstein. Fischer’s remarks need to be taken seriously as the future of orchestral music as a viable artform in an increasingly trivialized music industry intent on short-form experience is only going to become increasingly pervasive.

As conductors, we have a responsibility to collaborate in finding solutions to protect the human experience of performing, and being receptive to, Classical Music across all generations – and especially for the young – to whom it will be synonomous with the behaviours of “old people” (if it is not already so) and alarmingly irrelevant in, and to, their lives.

And that means change at the top of the orchestral management industry and the cartel of agent managers controlling the roster of a very limited number of reputable conductors (and also a number of charletans) associated with major orchestra managements and artistic administrators.

And yet, even more importantly, is the realization that conductors must drive the search, and championship of, contemporary composers so as to inject some lifeblood into a moribund repertoire consisting of an overly concentrated diet of Mahler and Strauss. Listen to maestro Fischer’s thoughts especially about this.