This is the conclusion of an opinion piece by a musicologist – usual cautions apply – in the Philadelphia Inquirer today:
A right-wing fantasy tour of Israel; a glaring absence of women’s voices; an artistic vacuum when it comes to contemporary music; all hiding behind a romantic notion of the sanctity of classical music. These problems are all connected, and speak to the Orchestra’s anxiety at its own status in this city, and in the larger world. For generations the Philadelphia Orchestra was one of few institutions in this town that could claim a world-class status, and even for the many citizens who could care less about classical music, this was a source of pride. Today, it’s hard to find similar pride in an organization so attached to a nostalgic, often reactionary vision of its own history. There is room for lots of different kinds of music in our big city, and maybe it is for the best if the Philadelphia Orchestra is no longer at its center.
Philip Gentry is a musicologist at the University of Delaware, and author of the recent book What Will I Be: American Music and Cold War Identity (Oxford, 2017). [email protected]
It could be the newspaper is trying to shrink its subscriber base.