Music: Symphony of Dissonance

A blast at orchestra musicians raises rancor in the ranks

Today's U.S. orchestra musicians are better trained, more accomplished, better paid and more widely applauded than ever before. Hence, as they sit onstage performing the masterworks of music history, it follows that they must be serenely happy. Right? Wrong, says Composer-Conductor Gunther Schuller. Symphonic players are "embittered, disgruntled, bored" and "have come to hate music," Schuller maintains. Traveling around the country as a guest conductor, he finds not joy but "apathy and cynicism" abounding in orchestral ranks; despite their high technical competence, the...

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