As I write this introduction to my Editor’s Choice for this month, at top of mind for me is the former Director of the Eastman School of Music, Robert Freeman. In 1972 he was named director of Eastman, a position he held for 24 years. He returned to Eastman this week to be formally honored for his exemplary stewardship of the School during his tenure. He received an honorary doctorate and the atrium of the Sibley Music Library, Eastman’s world famous music library, was named in his family’s honor.
During his tenure Bob was always talking about orchestras and how the different stakeholders—management, musicians, conductors, boards—were more often than not looking after their own interests rather than seeing the big picture. I remembered an article he did for Harmony in 1996. As I re-read it I commented to myself that not much has changed in the 19 years since this article was published. It’s worth looking at again, so here it is, an Editor’s Choice-On the Future of America’s Orchestras.