The Perilous Life of Symphony Orchestras Artistic Triumphs and Economic Challenges Robert J. Flanagan

Publication date:
24 Jan 2012
Yale University Press
240 pages: 235 x 156 x 22mm
14 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

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This book analyzes the economic challenges facing symphony orchestras and contrasts the experience of orchestras in the United States (where there is little direct government support) and abroad (where governments typically provide large direct subsidies).

Robert Flanagan explains the tension between artistic excellence and financial jeopardy that confronts most symphony orchestras. He analyzes three complementary strategies for addressing orchestras' economic challenges - raising performance revenues, slowing the growth of performance expenses, and increasing nonperformance income - and demonstrates that none of the three strategies alone is likely to provide economic security for orchestras.

Robert J. Flanagan is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of International Labor Economics and Policy Analysis, Emeritus, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He lives in California.

"Read the book, no matter how much you may not like what it has to say. Orchestras can't afford to ignore the issues it raises."--Jesse Rosen, Symphony Magazine

"The Perilous Life of Symphony Orchestras provides a crucial discussion of international models of financing and supporting orchestras, drawing vital comparisons between America’s preference for private philanthropy and the state funded models elsewhere… Flanagan delivers informed commentary on the challenges facing labour-intensive, productivity-limited symphony orchestras with a straightforward 19th century institution in a 21st century economy with unflinching clarity… fascinating and insightful…" Michael Quinn, Classical Music