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The Perilous Life of Symphony Orchestras: Artistic Triumphs and Economic Challenges Hardcover – January 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300171935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300171938
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This important and readable volume demonstrates the underlying disconnect between artistic achievement and economic reality facing the professional symphony orchestra.  Its careful analysis, based on extensive data, lays out the ground, including relentlessly rising costs and ageing audiences, for concern for the future of this vital cultural activity in the U.S. and elsewhere. It is a volume not to be missed by anyone concerned with tomorrow’s state of the arts.”—William Baumol, The Cost Disease
(William Baumol 2011-07-26)

"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
(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
(Michael Quinn Classical Music 2012-06-16)

“Valuable reading for those interested in the survival of symphony orchestras.”—Choice
(Choice)

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Parfrey on February 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A book like this -- important as it definitely is -- will never land on any best-seller lists. If a publisher anticipates sales in the millions, it's easy to price it downward. But this is a book for professionals in the field, for libraries, and a small niche market of people interested in this particular subject. The publisher undoubtedly knew this and -- knowing that it would never sell in any high volume -- priced it in a way they could bring back some return on their investment.

I'm reading my copy from the Denver Public Library right now and it is really a very worthwhile book on a subject of importance to people who are concerned about the future of symphony orchestras and the arts in general. And as it turns out, I might be one of those small niche market people who ends up buying his own copy.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karl F. Miller on January 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book sadly points out that the symphony orchestras all over the world are having a tough time getting younger members on their boards.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nativescape on August 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As others have pointed out, the selling price for what appears to be an interesting and valuable read here, seems rather exorbitant. As an economist, I'm certain that Mr. Flanagan will appreciate that this chosen price-point clearly falls on the extreme right-end of the demand-curve tail for this product and as such, must not expect many copies to be sold.

As a fortunate and gainfully employed professional, it is beyond my willingness to pay -- I can only imagine that most aspiring young artists, whom may be curious of, and potentially benefit from, Mr. Flanagan's research and insights, fall even further to the right of myself on the demand-curve for this product. This is quite regrettable, coming from someone with Mr. Flanagan's position; one would expect a noble academic to desire his/her teachings to be more broadly promulgated and shared. Evidently, greed on the part of the author and/or publisher will prevent the actualization of such a pursuit.
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful By DC Tenor on January 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'd love to read this, but not at $50, and not when the thesis could probably be reduced to a well edited essay, as Greg Sandow regularly demonstrates. Could Yale explain the price?
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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Booksnmusicfan on January 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am trying to understand why Yale University Press is charging $45 for a hard copy and $40 for a KINDLE e-version of a 240pp book. This is not a rare or out-of-print book, after all. An explanation from either Yale or the author would be most welcome. Until then, I would hope customers hold off this one until the price comes down lest we encourage this kind of price gouging in the future.
Accusations leveled at symphony orchestras and University textbook publishing houses for being elitist or opportunistic are only confirmed by this kind of commerce.
All that said, this book reveals the very important research commissioned and funded by the Mellon Foundation Orchestra Forum of the fundamental economic challenge faced by American symphony orchestras.
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