When a US orchestra went on strike or was locked out by its employers, the convention used to be that the music director said nothing. One maestro explained to me that, since he would have to work with both sides after the eventual settlement, diplomatic silence was the safe option.
That convention, however, has been broken twice in the past decade – first by Osmo Vanska siding with the locked-out musicians in Minnesota, and more recently by Riccardo Muti backing the strikers in Chicago.
That leaves Baltimore’s music director Marin Alsop in a tight spot.
Through the past year of tense negotiations she has said nothing. Does she break silence now? And at what cost? It’s an unenviable dilemma for a decent and thoughtful musician.