Leading Orchestra to “Push the Boat In” for 50th Anniversary Season

The Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra have announced plans for their 50th Anniversary Season, with a celebratory focus on familiarity, conservatism, convenience and conformity.


You’ve heard it all here before

“When we started thinking about how best to celebrate this special anniversary, our music director Cauze Perdue originally suggested we “push the boat out” with a season of memorable commissions and ambitious artistic projects” said MSO Executive Directore Piere Gruppedenken. “However, we soon realised this was the last thing on earth any of our patrons wanted us to do. We realised the best way to celebrate our 50th anniversary was to push the boat in: to offer the safest, most conservative, least “interesting” series of concerts we possibly can.”


More of the Same Old


“We’ve done a lot of market research to find out what our listeners want, and what they want is the “same old, same old”. What they want is conformity. We’re celebrating this milestone in the orchestra’s history by committing ourselves to be the most conservative orchestra this country has ever seen. ”


No Surprises. No shit.


“This isn’t just a one-off celebration,” said Gruppedenken. “This is a vision for a new kind of orchestra. A new kind of orchestra which will always be the same old orchestra. We are going to pick the 20 most popular symphonies, the 20 most popular overture’s and the 20 most popular concertos, book the 20 most popular soloists, and we’re going to cycle through those pieces and artists every 12-18 months for as long as the orchestra stays in business. Gone are the days when one of our listeners bemoans the fact that he or she has missed Scheherazade or the New World Symphony, because now we’ll be playing them again in just a few months. We used to strive to make every concert we did an unmissable event. It turns out people hated that. Our new advice to our patrons is “come or don’t come- it’s no big deal! That’s true visionary programming for the modern lifestyle.”


Come or don’t come- it’s no big deal

The MSO will also be changing the way they program the mini-festivals and single-composer cycles which have been such a mainstay of the orchestra’s programming in recent years. “We took a hard look at last year’s 8-concert Tchaikovsky  Festival and realised it was chock full of shit that absolutely nobody wanted to hear. Manfred? Give me a break! And the Second Piano Concerto? Do you think there are even three people in Metropolitana who have any idea there is more than one Tchaikovsky piano concerto? No. Let’s face it, even the Pathetique is a morbid, miserable piece of shit. This year’s Tchaikovsky Festival will also be 8 performances, but only two programs. We’ve got one with the Fourth Symphony, the Violin Concerto and Romeo and Juliet, and one with Cappriccio Italien, the Nutcracker Suite and the Fourth Symphony. That way, nobody has to worry about missing the Fourth Symphony, which research says is the piece most likely to result in a standing ovation in the repertoire. All of our concerts from now on are going to end with standing ovations. It’s going to be great- no more soft endings to anything, ever.”


The only real innovation left is to stop innovating

The orchestra has also replaced “Explorations,” their well-regarded series of pre-concert talks with a series called: “Narrowing the Focus.” “The new pre-concert talk series will be a great way to help our listeners understand our approach to programming. Listeners will discover why the only Mozart symphony we play is the Jupiter, why the only Brahms work anyone wants to hear is the Academic Festival Overture and why we’re better off without Schumann.”


No Schumann. Ever.

The financial benefits of the new approach to programming are already being felt at MSO headquarters. “We’ve closed our accounts everywhere- all the rental places like Boosey and Hawkes and all the music suppliers like Lucks and EMS. We’ve also laid off our library staff. We’ve got all the music we’ll ever need in our library, and it’s all been bowed. We’re never again going to spend money on printed music at the MSO. If we don’t already have it, our audience doesn’t want it”


The best vision is no vision

The new artistic strategy has been warmly welcomed by the musicians of the MSO. “I’ve seen the list of the 60 pieces that will form the orchestra’s repertoire from now on, and I’ve known all of them backwards since I was 24” said principal trumpet player Lance Shredwell. “This new vision for the orchestra means I’ve been able to convert my practice room at home into a multimedia man cave. I don’t even have a shelf for my trumpets at home any more. I just leave them here at the hall, because I can’t see any reason why I’ll ever have to practice outside rehearsal again. It’s a life-changing thing for all of us.”

The MSO Musicians

We already know how it goes

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at www.kennethwoods.net

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