To the editors:
I was quite interested in Lewis Lazare's Cultural Page [Culture Club] in the September 20th Reader on the current strike at the Chicago Symphony.
I support the striking musicians, I believe they deserve all the "crumbs" they can get. Especially when the "star" conductors and soloists as a class pull millions of dollars out of the city.
It was also curious to read where Henry Fogel, the Manager of the Chicago Symphony, had allocated an extra $200,000 to help finance the performance of John Corigliano's "First Symphony" for the orchestra's next European Tour, which the musicians objected to.
As an active member of the new-music scene in Chicago, all I've heard for the past year is "cutbacks in music," "austerity measures," "recessionary spirals hurts the arts."
But the Chicago Symphony seems to have all they need, an extra $200,000, how about an extra $400,000.
$200,000 could be 200 $1,000 honorariums to 200 Chicago composers for the mere fact that you contribute to the culture of the city.
$200,000 could launch a new 35-member chamber orchestra and staff to present never-heard-before works. Or it could mean quite literally hundreds of concerts given all over Chicago.
$200,000 could mean consecutive new music festivals, workshops, seminars, and exchanges with other countries. Also it means reading sessions, so that a composer might once hear his/her work. Or how about subsidized studio time, at 15.00 per hour equals 133,333 hours, hundreds of hours of rehearsal time, copyist fees for 100 new works, local tours, new music publications, educational services to schools and colleges in new music, lectures, and collaborations.
Let's take a vote right now on how to better allocate this extra $200,000.
The arts funding system stinks, it has no obligation to the real living music culture of the city, despite what we may read about charitable foundations' goals. Instead of helping those artists who really need that extra $200, or $300, instead foundations give millions to offer million-dollar contracts to their music directors.
I thank Mr. Lazare for his continuing information on arts, money, who gets what.