For those who have been following Detroit Symphony over recent months, the news is pretty grim. The two sides are locked in a bitter labor dispute with management proposing pay cuts of about 30%. Base salaries would shrink from $104,650 to $73,800. That's correct. You read those figures right. And even the mighty Philadelphia Orchestra is battling ways to avert bankruptcy after announcing an eight million dollar operating deficit: "In the coming months, a committee will fashion a new strategic plan for covering everything from what the ensemble plays, to where, for whom, and how often."
New York Times: Boeing Plans to Fly Tourists Beyond Earth. The flights, which could begin as early as 2015, would most likely launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida to the International Space Station. All it takes is just a bit of forward thinking to shuttle a symphony orchestra into orbit. I admit, with Boeing connections here in Seattle, and a local billionaire cosmonaut who donates millions of dollars to a falling meteorite, this community might have the upper hand. If an orchestra has a vision and a mission, why not ear-mark those campaign dollars for a concert series in space? Granted, it might need to be a chamber orchestra at first, or smaller crew to fit into the International Space Station. Naturally, the performances would need to be transmitted back to Earth in both audio and video.
Of course, nothing prevents überwealthy donors from constructing an orbiting concert hall. Launch those musicians, please, but warning: due to the necessary low air pressure, a conductor full of hot air might burst. What could be more ideal than performing "The Planets" on a space adventure? There's plenty of space music available already. How about commissioning a new work entitled "Symphony for the Planet of Apes?"
illustration from wired.com