Perlman replaces Fleming in Baltimore gala fiasco

Perlman replaces Fleming in Baltimore gala fiasco


norman lebrecht

July 22, 2019

The Baltimore Symphony, which has locked out its musicians, today cancelled its September gala.

The event was previously billed as follows:

Recipients are invited to purchase tickets at Diamond, Emerald, Platinum, Gold, or Silver Level, ranging from $50,000 (table for 20) to $500 (person). ‘The courtesy of your reply is requested by Monday, August 26, 2019. For your money, you get valet parking, creative food stations and cocktails, VIP dessert reception—and yes, a concert.’

Now the BSO says:  Against the backdrop of ongoing orchestra contract negotiations (sic), the BSO determined that the spring was a more appropriate time to host this event. 

More appropriate? Well Renee Fleming is unavailable, so they have replaced her with Itzhak Perlman.

“We are grateful to our many individual and corporate donors who have already pledged their support for this year’s Gala, and who care deeply for our institution and our musicians,” said BSO President and CEO Peter Kjome.  “Just as these generous supporters are committed to the Orchestra’s success, we are committed to presenting an outstanding Gala.”  Kjome continued, “We are thrilled that the world-renowned Itzhak Perlman will be the featured artist for the Gala and look forward to welcoming Renée Fleming at a future date. We also look forward to expressing our gratitude to our community by launching our new season with free concerts featuring our extraordinary musicians.”


Our extraordinary musicians whom we have locked out and no longer pay.




  • Nijinsky says:

    I wonder what was more important to make Ms. Fleming unavailable.

    There’s something strange when one of the five soloists that in America can fill a hall, and earn more money each year than most regional orchestras, many of which who are folding…

    When she cancels what would have been a fund raiser that with her in 2012 earned almost $900,000

    First one of such is hired and on schedule, then she’s off and another of the five is scheduled, three of the yearly seasons later. In the meantime there’s the lock out with possible lack of funding the whole time unless something is done in the interim besides. And this isn’t even one of the regional orchestras that tries to subsist on the same amount Ms. Fleming or Mr. Perlman make each year.

    And don’t mention that there are other performers than such ambitious personalities, performers who might not perform as often, and might attract another crowd than the current small world media-celebrity craze, which doesn’t seem to be increasing the classical music audience rather than decreasing it from before the craze took hold. Sorry, I meant hype, not craze…

    That there might be other types of performers (more like the composer-performers that created the whole repertoire currently exploited from the past, who really didn’t give 8 or more concerts a month all over the planet), this is then calling the ambitious ones gig whores, of course. Although one is simply talking about a different personality that’s even it would seem discriminated against.

    And sorry but I REALLY don’t see that encouraged.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    The elegant invitation to the September Gala arrived in my mailbox last week. Then five days later, the email “moving” it by eight months.

    The invitation names 21 “chairs” and “committee” members, besides Peter Kjome. Surely some of these people must be clued in by now to what they are being associated with.

  • Wladek says:

    Hopefully he doesn’t play the movie dreck that he seems to
    favor .Speaking of pay….the world renowned of course will
    be donating their time for this great event ,if not why not ?

  • Mick the Knife says:

    With Perlman as the guest artist, it will be a big event. One can only hope that the musicians will be in a better place at that time.

  • PaulD says:

    The city’s new Deputy Police Commissioner and his wife were robbed at gunpoint on Friday. It’s not exactly the safest city to go for a stroll for after-concert drinks.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      He was robbed a long way from Meyerhoff.

      • The View from America says:

        Patterson Park is 3.1 miles/5.0 kms. from the Meyerhoff.

        Both locations are near to some relatively safe areas … and equally close to some gawd-awful ones.

  • aNOn says:

    The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette wrote an article called, “People are upset when an orchestra closes. If only they went to the concerts,” and has a very interesting take on what’s happening in that region that encompasses Baltimore

    “Thousands of people have already read about the National Philharmonic’s plight on our website. How many have read reviews of the National Philharmonic’s concerts in the past few years? A few hundred. Cumulatively.”

    1) Clearly, the people of that region cannot sustain so many orchestras.
    2) People from across the globe like to chime in on why a community they’ve never been to or even locate on a map should not shut down their orchestra.
    3) But who goes to enough concerts even in their hometown to say “my annual purchase of tickets really makes a difference to my orchestra”?

  • Moishezmom says:

    What kind of bass ackward ploy is this????

  • LydiaWahlberg says:

    She can’t sing anymore. Just remember John McCains funeral.

  • M2N2K says:

    Perfect substitution: a formerly superb soprano who is over a decade past her prime replaced by a formerly superb violinist who is nearly two decades past his prime. If he cancels, I suggest Plácido Domingo as the ultimate savior.

    • The View from America says:

      Perhaps Marin Alsop would like to step in.

      • M2N2K says:

        Too early for her: conductors are rarely over the hill before well into their 80s: Maestro Herbert Blomstedt, on the other hand, appears likely to keep going strong even while getting pretty close to entering his triple digits. Go HB!