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Wednesday, September 10, 2008


posted by on September 10 at 14:33 PM

From the Times:

After more than two decades at the helm of Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz announced today that he will step down when his contract expires in 2011.

Schwarz, 61, is among the longest-tenured musical directors in America and has been a towering figure on the Seattle arts scene during a period of unprecedented growth.

That’s right, Seattle Times, give him that goodbye blow job.


Fact is, Schwarz is one of the more reviled conductors/musical directors in the country. And while his charm with the richie-riches basically built Benaroya Hall, his massive ego and death-grip on his baton have hurt the city’s music culture.

He should’ve stuck around as a fundraiser, conducted every once in a great while, and handed the reins to younger, more capable hands many, many years ago.

But don’t take my word for it. Trust the New York Times, which did a little more reporting on the story:

“I’m ecstatic,” John Weller, a violinist, said minutes after Mr. Schwarz made the announcement to the players at the end of a recording session. “I’m on top of a cloud right now.”

“There is a God,” he added, saying that it felt like a “crushing burden” had been lifted.


The players’ leadership committee carried out a survey of the musicians that amounted to a resounding vote of no confidence in Mr. Schwarz. They voted 61-8 in favor of new artistic leadership, and 61-12 for the formation of a search committee.

I can’t imagine why the Seattle Times wouldn’t print that well-known fact. What’ve they got to lose?

But whatever. Schwarz is leaving. We get a new conductor/music director in a couple of years.

If Seattle isn’t under water by then.


I just remembered why the Seattle Times is doing a half-assed job with this story: Because their classical music critic took a buyout six months ago and they didn’t replace her.

This is what you get when you don’t have dedicated critics: crappy coverage.

RSS icon Comments



Posted by About effing time. | September 10, 2008 2:41 PM

What I love most about this post is the beaming, hopeful tone. Heh.

Posted by Carollani | September 10, 2008 2:43 PM

Take the goddamn French Horn section with ya on your way out, willya Jerry?

Posted by NapoelonXIV | September 10, 2008 2:45 PM

18 years too late.

Posted by scary tyler moore | September 10, 2008 2:55 PM

jesus, not until obama's re-election campaign?

Posted by max solomon | September 10, 2008 3:38 PM

On the one hand: yay!

On the other hand: 2011... that's three freaking years from now!!!

Posted by James | September 10, 2008 4:09 PM

Hard to celebrate what should have happened 10 years ago.

Posted by Polka Party | September 10, 2008 5:17 PM

Josh Roman for Music Director!!

Posted by kinaidos | September 10, 2008 5:27 PM

I quit three seasons ago after 62 years as a season ticket holder. Beethoven, Brahms and then Brahms and Beethoven followed by Beethoven and Brahms. Oh! Yes! There were a few others but no John Adams, no Lou Harrison, there was no ... Hell he couldn't spell their names so we didn't hear them.

Posted by CoeTug | September 10, 2008 7:49 PM


Posted by Will in Seattle | September 10, 2008 11:14 PM

Brendan - thanks for also reminding us about the unfortunate and ever-increasing depletion of dedicated critics in this town. I'm glad you're still out there grinding for theatre coverage.

Posted by hollabrendan | September 10, 2008 11:40 PM

Given the shakey financial and organizational situation at SRO, surely this is welcome news. But, as others have pointed out above, three years is still a LOOOOOOOONG time.

Still, Schwarz has effectively turned himself into a lame-duck, which hopefully means the musicians will gain some additional leverage, both over selection of content, as well as the selection of a new Head Conductor, which in turn will bring back many of the Symphony's defecting subscribers and donors back into the fold - they could sure use the financial shot-in-the-arm right about now.

Posted by COMTE | September 11, 2008 11:45 AM

Three years is enough time to come up with ways to punish Mr. Weller, Mr. Storey and any other of those who stray from the party line.

Mao tse Tung pulled a stunt similar to this when he invited criticism of the party solely to out "enemies" of "the people"

Call the cops on ME, will they?

Posted by Doug Palmer | September 11, 2008 5:28 PM

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