Trouble at Till
Maestra Irina Legova, now entering her fourth season as Music Director of the Thrupiece Philharmonic Orchestra, is at a crossroads. Well-known for her adventurous programming [ie advocacy of the irredeemably meretricious] as well as her passion for diversifying the TPO's traditional audience base, her policies do not appear to be taking the orchestra in the direction envisaged when the bold decision to appoint the Russian nymphette was first taken. Indeed it has often seemed to the more conservatively-minded that she is willing to drive the orchestra onto the rocks and do almost anything to bring the TPO to the attention of a new public even if that means alienating the old [its core audience, a 2015 survey suggested, was white, upper-middle-class and 70+].
During her tenure, seasons of unknown and unsellable Russian composers [Русская Одиссея Сейрес The Russian Odyssey Series] were "balanced" by forays into "nonclassical" or "populist" repertoire [concerts featuring orchestrations of songs by The Boners, The Shites and even The Dorset Folk Five] through which it was hoped to square the circle of allowing room for self-indulgent and tendentious intellectual experiment whilst continuing to pay the orchestra enough to keep playing. It hasn't worked. Whilst critics of her recent programming acknowledge that something needed to be done after the drab predictability of former Music Director Addinsell Threadbone's twilight years with the orchestra, most feel that the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction as to make a TPO ticket the hardest sell in town. According to reports in today's Mappowder Mirror, the orchestra is on the verge of bankruptcy and hasn't paid any of its players for over five weeks.
In a recent interview, Ms Legova has not shied away from the consequences of her artistic decisions. "When you drive away old farts by telling them: listen to something different, you make big risk. Old farts maybe have not good taste but they have money and orchestra needs money to survive. This I know from many times in Russia as well as in Dorset. But orchestra cannot play in museum. You know. It must play in present century or at least in last 50 years. Young people they are tired of old man's music. They want different. Maybe not the different I give - maybe not old woman's music too - but different." The TPO is currently facing a £1 million deficit, whilst attendance at several concerts this season has been as low as 15% of the Thrupiece Philharmonic Hall's 1,000 seat capacity. Online subscriptions to its steaming service currently stands at 35.
All this is a very far very from the optimism with which the orchestra's tenure in the new and purpose-built Thrupiece Philharmonic Hall was marked only a little over a year ago, as a recent private and highly confidential video demonstrates.
Top secret video filmed in the Thrupiece Hall as part of a "case against Ms IL". Sources
will not confirm whether it was filmed during a rehearsal or a concert, but such few attendees as there were insist it was the latter.
No one from the TPO management team was available to comment on today's newspaper article, but a member of the orchestra who wishes to remain anonymous tweeted a simple message today. #"Basically we are fucked".
Born in Optimism: Video of the TPO's opening concert in the brand new purpose-built Thrupiece Philharmonic Hall. The concert featured a rousing performance of
Hedwig van Bonepiece's Symphony No 9, the so-called "Ode to Roy".