Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The critic testifies, the blogging choreographer fights back, Pittsburgh Symphony suffers

By Barry Johnson

From time to time, Arts Dispatch will corral a few stories that seem somehow to bear on subjects under consideration. Or just because they get our goat one way or another. Such as the first item below.

Donald Rosenberg, the former Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic, who sued his paper and the Cleveland symphony after he was removed from his position, testified against both yesterday. He's exactly the sort of guy you'd want writing about the orchestra in your city, whether it's Cleveland, Portland or New York. I've written before about this syndrome: A journalist becomes expert in a field and then is re-assigned because the ever-better descriptions of the issues in the field start to look like bias.

Chicago choreographer Zachary Whittenburg blogs about his process, among other things, at Trailerpilot, so when he read an excoriation of choreographer blogging by Wendy Perron, the editor of Dance Magazine, he took umbrage. In a nice but conclusive way, I thought.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has a great reputation, not Top Five but in the next tier. Its budget is more than twice that of the Oregon Symphony ($31 million to $14 million). But now it's struggling with large deficits as revenues have plunged.

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