Published: Aug. 30, 2011

Entrepreneurship Center for Music Director Jeffrey Nytchas quoted extensively in a article by Lewis Whittington entitled “Can the symphony be saved?”

However, Jeffrey Nytch, the director of the Entrepreneurship Center for Music at the University of Colorado-Boulder, says he sees “precious little” evidence of new ideas and predicts more bankruptcies to come.

He argues that the adversarial relationship between orchestras and their musicians needs to change. Musicians, meanwhile, need to become arts ambassadors in their communities, while orchestras battle a graying audience and perceived elitism with more accessibility and newly designed venues.

“Orchestras fool themselves into thinking they have a market willing to pay for their product because they have folks who are willing to pay high ticket prices,” he said. “But that’s only a narrow sliver of their market.

“How does the community value what the orchestra is doing? Do they support the orchestra with their personal donations? Do they insist that the city support the orchestra with underwriting or subsidies of things like venue? Do they support educational initiatives? The orchestras that are doing relatively well [L.A., San Francisco] are finding ways to do just that. The ones that are foundering [Detroit] are resisting these trends.

“Because these are all big issues with no easy solutions (and solutions will, by definition, vary from community to community), the inertia of large organizations tends to set in: Most orchestras are just trying to hold on, with another spiffy marketing campaign or another plea to their big donors to bail them out.”

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