Is Texas falling to pieces

First Dallas Symphony loses its COO, Paul Stewart. No comment all round.

Two weeks later the incoming chief executive, Bill Lively, quits. Health problems, apparently.

Today the music director of the Dallas Opera, Graeme Jenkins, resigns unexpectedly. He says he’s too busy elsewhere. Hmmm.

Just a little local difficulty?

Well, over in Houston, the general director of the opera, Anthony Freud, has upgraded to Chicago.

And in Austin today the director of the Lyric Opera Kevin Patterson has quit, leaving a million-buck hole in the budget.

What the heck’s going on down in musical Texas?

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  • I am not a Texas native, nor a “Texas aficionado”, but I do live in North Texas since 2000 (am professor of violin at University of North Texas). With all my deep respect toward Mr. Lebrecht, whom I admire and read often, I do not think it is fair to lump all these events into one Texan basket, and proclaim that “Texas is falling to pieces”. Dallas Symphony sounds better than ever these days. I mean, they sound seriously good, especially when their chief Jaap van Zweden is on the podium. Perhaps, I am naive and not adept in politics (I will admit to both of those, with a degree of pride). Until there are some real Musical signs that musical life is actually suffering in Texas – beyond the assumptions of what might be going behind the closed doors of some board meetings – would it not be healthier to just… wait and see?

  • I have no doubt that the musicians sound wonderful and are fulfilling their part of the ‘deal’. On the other hand, there is cause for concern about orchestra administration boards in light of the current turmoil in American symphonies which, in the case of the Detroit Symphony for example, seems to have some pretty strong links to American Symphony Orchestra League’s new ‘Plan’ for orchestras these days.

    Why are these people making these moves? It seems very likely that there will be some common thread. Drew McManus writes well on this topic. I suggest that as a good starting point for more reading on the topic.

  • The estimable Paul Krugman at the New York Times has chronicled the ceaseless decline of the State of Texas into fiscal catastrophe, lowering taxes left and right, ok mostly right, even to the point of reducing taxes on yachts, while simultaneously slashing expenditures regardless of efficaciousness or need. Sounds almost like a third world country. Now the governor is whining because the E-V-I-L Federal gummint isn’t parceling out enough dough to the victims of wildfires in the western part of the state. They’re even resorting to prayer, which never fails.

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