Just in: Second US orchestra cancels Europe tour

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra has called off a six-city tour of Spain next May. The news broke as Dallas, a much richer orchestra, cancelled a much bigger tour of Europe, allegedly on security grounds.

The reasons Fort Worth is giving sound closer to the truth. They say the falling Euro and the poor Spanish economy have made the venture economically non-viable.

This was to have been FWSO’s first Europe trip in 25 years and its Peruvian music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya was much looking forward to greeting audiences in Alicante, Madrid, Murcia, Oviedo, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zaragoza in his mother tongue.

miguel harth-bedoya

 

‘We are heartbroken that it is not coming to fruition,’ says FWSO president Amy Adkins.

FW’s honest explanation may help to shed light on Dallas’s tawdry equivocations.

 

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  • It’s very expensive for orchestras to tour these days. Unless there is significant underwriting it is a money-losing venture. The main reason for touring is to enhance the orchestra’s cachet with donors and patrons at home.

  • Layoffs in the energy industry thanks to the low price of oil may have made a European junket by these Texas orchestras appear extravagant in their local markets. I expect many of the traditional donors are hurting.

  • The reasons given are just stupid. First the economic situation of Spain is not poor at all; yes, Spain has had some problems with one of its larger banks, and there’s a serious unemployment problem among young people, but even with that the situation is much better than in other European countries such as Ireland, Portugal, Poland, Czech Republic and even Italy.

    Let’s be honest: the Fort Worth Symphony is not a major Orchestra, and it is unlikely it would attract audiences to make such tour profitable for private concert promoters or worth the expense for public institutions (concert halls, theatres…).

    • Ireland and the Czech Republic (along with Malta and Luxembourg) have the highest GDP growth rates in the EU; Czech GDP growth in 2015 will be around 4.5%, and GDP per-capita (PPP) is almost as high as Spain’s. We don’t see many visiting orchestras in Prague, unfortunately, but don’t lump them in with the depressed economies of Europe.

  • The excuses are far from honest. The falling Euro? Nonsense! Six months ago the rate hovered around €1 = $1.06 and €1.12. Today it is $1.09. So how come the decision is made now?

    Why don’t they just be honest and stay they are afraid?

      • Perfectly understood. But were they really expecting the € to rise back up again? No-one else was! So why wait till now to announce what should have been inevitable last summer.

  • To clarify: the Fort Worth Symphony cancelled the tour after several of the venues withdrew, saying that the most recent round of funding cuts they suffered meant they could no longer afford to present the FWSO.

    I believe the orchestra’s CEO said that they needed at least five concerts for the tour to be financially viable, and there were only six in the first place, so if more than one withdrew, that’s it.

    The issue with the exchange rate is that the orchestra’s performance fee for the tour is in euros, so they’d be making less than they expected when they planned the tour, which was probably more than a year ago.

    • Oh, and the FWSO announced that it was canceling the tour to Spain the day before the Dallas SO announced its cancellation, for whatever that’s worth.

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