The Empty Space
September 8, 2010
The current sorry state of the arts journalism profession was made very visible last night at the San Francisco Symphony's home base, Davies Symphony Hall.
Before the season opener kicked off with a program that included Michael Tilson Thomas conducting Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture, Copland's In The Beginning for a cappella chorus and solo mezzo-soprano (Jessye Norman), a bunch of Duke Ellington standards (also sung by Norman) and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 2, the organization's media relations department laid on a lovely party for the media.
The Davies Symphony Hall press room was remarkably packed and the atmosphere extremely convivial. It was nice to see so many familiar faces there.
But it wasn't until I took my seat for the concert that I realized that there had actually been precious few members of the press in the press room. It was largely populated by public relations people, funders and other assorted arts professionals and hangers-on. Out of a crowd of about 100 people, I counted maybe 10 journalists. Not an encouraging state of affairs.