A new low: This maestro has to sell a sponsor’s specs

This is Ward Stare, new music director of the Rochester Philharmonic. Watch what they make him do.

ward stare

One  musician thinks this is a good idea. Your views?

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  • Rather than representing a “new low” this commercial spot is a good example of how to debunk the myth of classical music as stuffy and elitist, performed by stuffy self-important people who live an an institutional ivory tower. Rochester has a new dynamic and yes, attractive new music director. This is light hearted and fun and in no way demeans the players, the orchestra or the art form.

  • I’m with Timothy Judd here–it says something about a town if the local maestro is an effective pitchman. Here in Chicago, I’m not sure enough people would recognize Muti to make the attempt worthwhile, while even c-list athletes get a fair number of commercials.

  • I agree with the other two posters. This is a great way to help break down barriers and to build up a brand: the Music Director being in front of more people in this kind of way can only help when so many orchestras are struggling just to make payroll anymore. The staid, hands-off I’m only conducting the orchestra and doing nothing more approach of the past has been pure fantasy for most orchestras for a long time now, especially when we are talking about getting real by being more creative in developing new ways to market and even reinvent ourselves. How great it will be if people out about town at the eye doctor’s office see the Music Director and say “hey, I know you–you’re our symphony conductor. I think I’ll come see a concert.” Nothing to lose, and it’s by no means a “new low” in my opinion.

  • Agree with all of the above – not that many places who have a Music Director whose profile would be big enough to sell on TV. Very cheesy jingle though……
    I’m off to change my first name (by deed poll) to Ron – just think, a conductor that “does exactly what it says on the tin”?!

  • This is yet another SD melodramatic title. I can’t see why the clip is ‘a new low’.

    It’s helping to establish the band in their community. Good for them

  • But isn’t it a ‘low’ because this commercial is incredibly banal… especially with the insufferable pop music accompanying it? Would it not give the impression that ‘classical music’ is, after all, not THAT serious? If classical music performers are used in a commercial, couldn’t that have been done better, and with some more imagination and genuine irony? This is just tasteless and puerile.

    For instance, one could envisage an image of a conductor in rehearsel, peering over an immense modern score, trying to decypher the scribbling, also with the extra help of a magnifying glass, getting desperate and sending the orchestra in an acoustical chaos, until he and the orchestra are delivered from their suffering by an orchestral player handing him a decent pair of spectacles after which the sound suddenly becomes – yes, what? Let’s say: pure Messiaen.

  • Our 3 year cycle of Shostakovich quartets is sponsored by a local optician (Currie & Quirk) – ‘helping the West End [of Glasgow] to see inside the music’.

    Hopefully it’s not a low. It’s a way of funding the performances, involving the local community in the festival, introducing people to some seriously good music…as long as the gimmicks stop at the start of the concert, is there a problem?! Hopefully not…

  • I viewed the commercial, and I think it represents the orchestra very well. It gives the impression of the musicians as being both classy and fun-loving. It does not strike me as being low at all.

  • Not seeing a low here; perhaps my specs are rose-colored, but I concur with those who think it’s fresh to do this.

  • I don;t think Chicago is the only place where a conductor would be unrecognised in a commercial without specific identification. Rochester seems to be well engaged in its orchestra — when the controversy over Remmeit was raging, it divided the community and lots of locals weighed in. Let’s hope Maestro Stare has a less turbulent term, but one that engages his community as much. This seems a good start.

  • Absolutely agree with the 3 foremost answers above.
    This in no way degenerates our art form, and does a great deal to promote it on a regional level. If, as may or may not be the case, this advert serves to glamorise the conductor to some extent within the local community, I’m sure that it won’t have done anything to harm ticket sales and, in fact, might have quite the opposite result.
    Bravo Ward, the RPO and Eye Openers for bringing an exceptional classical musician to the forefront of the local community.
    Noman, it’s time to wake-up to the twenty-first century.

  • It’s not a message from the Orchestra, but uses the Orchestra as celebrity, which in my book is a win.

  • I keep forgetting! Classical musicians are golden children who exist outside the bounds of time, space, and commercialism.

  • In cities like Rochester, it’s important to partner with local businesses, of any kind. While the jingle is irritating, and the production quality not great, I agree with many that this is a good decision. Clever partnership, since he does wear glasses himself, so there’s no fake-authenticism for sake of opportunity.

  • Put me in the “agin” column.

    It could have been great but it’s an lame execution of ‘musicians at work’ and the jingle is just awful.

  • I don’ t find any problem with some humor to promote the Maestro. I only wish the background music is actually orchestral music. Is the producer not interested in promoting the genre, for which the Maestro is to serve?

  • It was cute. I agree that it would have been nicer to have had at least some of the music be orchestral or chamber music instead of the jingle.

    In this age of jet setting conductors, it’s nice to see a conductor featured locally.

    Heck, if the eyeglasses guy wants to donate enough money, let him conduct a Sousa march or some such at a benefit concert!

  • The conductor is just doing what will keep him in the business of putting
    bread and butter on the table,he’s
    making a living .The orchestra is at
    best a “community orchestra ” and
    dumbs down to whatever level audience it can get ,the Kuppers
    of the world for an example .

    • We have “community” orchestras in Rochester, Milka. The RPO is distinctly not one of them. Your pompous and patronizing characterization of an orchestra you know nothing about is shameful.

      • Alas Jules ! I have heard the RPO and
        to me it came across as a
        fairly competent “community ” orchestra . That you interpret an innocent observation to be pompous and patronizing is your problem . It is
        obvious we have different standards
        as to excellence when listening to an orchestra of whatever calibre.

  • European musicians get to earn extra money endorsing products, so why shouldn’t we here? It shows respect and brings in much-needed income (or not-needed, perhaps).

  • I live in the Rochester area. The video was removed, but if it’s the commercial I think it is, it’s one in a long series of incredibly irritating ones presented by this eyeglass business on Rochester TV. I can’t get through a Perry Mason rerun without having to race to the mute button two or three times to kill the sound on them. I suspect the proprietor is sincerely trying to support local culture and civic pride is his own trying-to-be-cute way. Adding Ward Stare is just the latest variation. So, ultimately, the Rochester Philharmonic is recognizable in town and has admirers. Things could be worse.

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