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God Knows Why. What made him throw over the biggest job in his life? Rodzinski's answer was that God had told him to: "God leads me. I don't know how He does. Through so many little coincidences I know the Big Boss is working through me. He tells me so clearly, like a bellthis time it rang like Big Ben. Gosh, He is smart!"
The command had certainly not come from Mammon. From at least $85,000 a year in New York ($60,000 salary, the rest from records and radio), Rodzinski would be getting less than $50,000 in Chicago.
Wherever the command had come from, Rodzinski was also moved by a strong negative reason. New York is a big place, in a sense, but it cramped Rodzinski's style; the town was not big enough to hold both him and Arthur Judson. "You cannot play music with one ear on the box office," says Rodzinski. And the box office means Judson. He is not only the man behind the Philharmonic, but the man who conies nearest to controlling classical music in the U.S. The 30-man Philharmonic board, a collection of socialites, Wall Streeters, amateurs of the arts and a few musicians, stand greatly in awe of Judson. They respect his judgments; and they have bought and paid for them. And Arthur Judson would not let Rodzinski run the Philharmonic the way he wanted it run.
King Arthur. Music is not only one of the highest arts, it is also a pretty tough business. In the music business, austere, unapproachable Arthur Judson has the making or breaking of scores of careers. James Caesar Petrillo sets the minimum wages for U.S. musicians; it is Judson who often gets the maximum for the best ones. Judson was once a professional violinist, but he learned early that there is more money in managing artists than in being one. The money he gets from the Philharmonic is peanuts to him ($15,000 a year) but the prestige and power count. Today his Columbia Concerts Inc. grosses $5 million a year, keeps Lily Pons, Jascha Heifetz and $250-a-concert unknowns circulating through 540 cities & towns.* Judson, remote from lesser musicians, has close friends among his top clients, looks like a Lord Calvert whiskey Man of Distinction (and in fact is one).
All but a stubborn handful of U.S. conductors (some exceptions: Toscanini, Koussevitsky, and for the past year Rodzinski) are under contract to Judson. Conductors are glad to pay his stiff commissions (up to 20%) simply as unemployment insurance; if they need a new job they will need his help. There are only 24 major symphonies in the U.S., and Judson alone has some 50 conductors on his rolls.
The Philharmonic's board of busy New Yorkers looks to Judson and his assistant, Bruno Zirato (once secretary to Enrico Caruso), to handle such things as conductors' contracts. Judson & Zirato have done so much handling, say their critics, that in 20 years the Philharmonic has had 20 conductorswhile in the same period Boston has had one, and Philadelphia two. This winter Rodzinski demanded a three-year agreement, and no strings.