Episode 5.04 Stuffy, Boring, Old, Lame

Positive / Visible / Social (Organized):
orchestras and the question of “public goods”

Show Notes

We talk about orchestras, ask whether financial viability is a guide to the health or importance of particular institutions (hint: Betteridge’s Law), and look at how orchestras and other such institutions can be real markers of cultural health even for the people they don’t directly affect.

  • An article in The New York Times, in 1903, referenced in The Perilous Life of Symphony Orchestras, by Robert J. Flanagan:

    The permanent orchestra season has, as usual, been financially a bad one all over the country. With the end of April… come the bills for those who pay the piper…. There is always a deficit, which public-spirited guarantors are called upon to pay year after year. A permanent orchestra, it seems pretty welle stablished by American experience, is not at present a paying institution, and is not likely immediately to become so…. [Neverthless,] the prevailing note of the guarantors of the America Orchestras is one of hopefulness. Things are coming on; the public is being educated; it will support the orchestras in larger and larger numbers till they are finally… self-supporting.

  • Stephen’s top three Dutch minimalist recommendations:
    • “Canto Ostinato” by Simeon Ten Holt
    • Joep Franssens, whose best known work is “Music of the Spheres”
    • Jeroen van Veen
  • Prog rock Chris likes:
  • Other music mentioned on the show:
  • A few of Chris’ composed works



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  • Andrew Fallows
  • Kurt Klassen
  • Jeremy Cherfas
  • Jeremy W. Sherman

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