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Life Imitates Art
James Strong evidently didn't see the humour. In today's Australian , Strong is reported as former Qantas CEO. There are rumours that he wasn't very good at his job, hence the former status. Strong is best known for his bow ties and his physical presentability.
Given that Mr Strong had time on his hands, he appears to have been given a consultancy by Arts Minister, Rod Kemp, to look at the nation's orchestras. That's Rod Kemp of the useless Kemp brothers who appeared to have reached the stellar heights of the Ministry because their father was a scion of the Liberal Party.
Mr Strong recommends that the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra be cut from 47 to 38 musicians, the Adelaide Symphony from 75 to 56 and the Queensland Symphony from 85 to 74.
These loss-making orchestras will be trimmed of their fat and move into the future con brio. A master stroke from Mr. Strong's baton.
All those violins duplicating work constitute a huge waste. Most of the percussionists sit around right through the performance. A post-Fordist age needs post-Fordist work practices. Flexibility and multi-skilling. With some judicious rationalisation of the scores, the trumpets and trombones can share jobs, halving the numbers needed; ditto the clarinets and the oboes.
The orchestras are just the beginning.
The string quartet is a fruitful field for rationalisation. Note the new improved Alexander Quartet in the photo. One of the two violins was obviously ready for the chop. But why stop there? The viola or the cello? It's a toss-up. Violas are ugly and inconsequential. On the other hand, the cello takes up too much space and space is money. And the cello plays those low status low notes which just drone on and on. A bass drum with a foot pedal would probably make do when gravity is called for. The cello gets the chop.
You cut five, ten players here and there. But Australians keep pricing themselves out of the market. Ultimately, the next step is to outsource to a low wage clime. Subcontract the lot to Naxos and its Eastern European work for the smell of an oil rag crowd.
Then we can sit around and listen to the imported CDs. And concentrate on what Australians have a comparative advantage in - property development, that kind of thing. Brilliant.
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