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Classical 101

Henry Fogel and Orchestra Music Director Searches

As you likely know, the Columbus Symphony's search for a new music director is underway.  A recent post on former Chicago Symphony Orchestra executive director and American Symphony Orchestra League head Henry Fogel's Arts Journal blog, "On the Record," may be of local interest here in C-town.

An excerpt: You might think that this only happens in bad fiction, but in the past year alone I have encountered it in real life a handful of times. A small or mid-sized orchestra is in a music director search, and someone, either a board member or a major donor, makes one of the following offers: "If you hire XXX, I'll donate enough to cover his salary for the next three years." "I'm not asking you to hire XXX, but if you at least make her one of the finalists, I'll donate a significant amount of money over and above what I've been contributing."

To be clear: having no first-hand knowledge about how the Columbus Symphony's music director search has been proceeding, I am not leveling any accusations.  Fogel's post does, however, cast a long shadow over all such searches. Let's hope Columbus' music director search will go forward without the ethical problems Fogel has apparently seen in other locales.