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

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300171935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300171938
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This it not a book that will be of interest to anyone who in not in the music business. That said, as someone who writes about music and about orchestras professionally, I found this very valuable reading. I learned things that are virtually essential for me to know. For anyone who works as a professional classical musician or in arts administration, serves on the board of an arts organization, or writes about orchestras, I recommend this very highly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Plenty of food for thought accompanied by copious graphs and charts although the sampling is limited. Best not to read it on a Kndle if you want to see the charts. The author is somewhat tendentious and repetitious in his earnestness to make everything clear - which indeed he does.
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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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