What's this? A substantial blog post? I actually have time to write one because CCM is on spring break (woo!) and therefore have lots of time to think about the relation between my future orchestra piece and local Cincinnati news items.
If you haven't heard, the City of Cincinnati "is preparing to sell Music Hall to a private group that will assume responsibility for a $165 million renovation of the historic building." I'm sure this is a step in the right direction (Music Hall needs to be renovated, and renovation does not come cheap); however, a few locals are worried "that [the private group] could see the name change through a naming rights deal." Here is the QOTD from this article.
“I’d hate to see a big sign on the front of Music Hall saying, ‘Frito-Lay Hall,’” said City Councilman Cecil Thomas.
So wait: you wouldn't be okay with "Enron Hall" now known as "Minute Maid Hall" or "Pac Bell Hall" changed to "SBC Hall" known known as "AT&T Hall" or whatever they call it now?1 I guess you aren't because historic Music Hall's sale has been delayed.
I know I don't live in a country that has state-sponsored art and music, so we artist-capitalists might have to turn corporate. But how far do we go? Does corporate sponsorship soil "pure art" and compromises artists' ability to speak freely and provocatively on society because their funding might potentially direct what art says?
Thankfully the Medici Family figured this one out for us.
Oh look! It's the Magi adoring the new Sweet Baby Jesus! And…they happen to look like members of the Medici family. Or, hey, Maria de Medici is getting married! Let's write an opera where Orpheus and Euridice end up happily ever after because we want to celebrate and have a few cold ones.
Actually, the Medici had it right—their artists produced good art. Sometimes you can sell out too much that you end up with this.
As a satire, my new orchestra piece pushes into that “too far” place with a purpose to explore not only the limits of the commercialization of the world’s oceans, but also with a subtext of this broader question of corporate influence in American art. In this piece I quote Debussy and Chevron, Britten and Royal Dutch Shell, Jacque Cousteau and ExxonMobil in making my updated version of La Mer.
1. I take pride in knowing the Dodgers play at Dodger Stadium. Suck it, Giants.