One really should have ones ducks in a row before marching them off into the ether, there to hang about forever and ever, amen. The gist of my last piece was questioning the wisdom of letting the Harrington String Quartet go as principals (not principles as I typed over and over and over) and asking how much the symphony is really saving by doing so.
It has been brought to my attention that the $80,000 stipend I mentioned comes to the HSQ not from the Amarillo Symphony but from the Harrington Trust. This annual sum was given to WTAMU to help fund the quartet, I'm told.
That begs the question, if the symphony is not saving $80k, why the split? It is fact the members of HSQ were paid as principals by ASO. How much?-- $500 per performance?-- I don't know, that's just a figure I dreamed up. One might reasonably assume the musicians filling those spots as principals this season are being paid as well. The same "$500"-- maybe, maybe not, I don't know. But I do know this, money isn't everything and to quote my old pal Willie Gates, "it only costs twice as much to go first class". Pony up for any "savings" and bring the HSQ back!
Here's another thought. Say the rift between the symphony and the quartet remains. Why not promote from within the symphony? Why bring musicians in from outside to fill the principal chairs? Without a doubt even the musicians sitting in last chair are quite accomplished. First chair material, perhaps not, but why not give the violinists, the cellist and the bassist sitting second chair a shot? Given the opportunity to rise to the occasion, who knows?
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I have to say again the Amarillo Symphony has done its reputation no favor by bailing on its long term association with the Harrington String Quartet. Both entities are better for that association and for that reason alone steps should be taken to restore it.
Is Henry Kissinger still alive?