The Symphony Strikes a Chord

The Pittsburgh Symphony has replaced Mariss Jansons with a three-person staff: an "artistic advisor," a "principal guest conductor," and an endowed "guest conductor." I don't know anything about symphonic music, so I'm in no position to comment on the artistic merits of the decision. But not only is this an unusual step for a major symphony, it's a step that was taken specifically at the urging of the players themselves. (The New York Times report suggests that in giving more authority to the musicians, Pittsburgh is moving towards the Viennese model.) In a town where we have too much centralized control over things that should be decentralized (such as economic development), and too little centralized control over things that should be centralized (so many little municipalities!), maybe the Symphony offers an example of the right structure for the right institution. Let's hope it works.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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