I am surprised to find the IBJ [April 22 editorial] calling something bad business without having done any real research to find out if the action it scorns is really bad business. Thousands of Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra patrons regularly attend concerts in seats other than the few that Maestro Urbanski has asked to be held empty. I will trust the maestro’s judgment that he finds having folks in those seats distracting. His opinion is very important.
However, only those thousands who sit in the seats facing the orchestra can answer the business question the IBJ tries to address. Do they find it distracting having those seats occupied? Do they agree or disagree with the maestro? Is it even possible to consider that the greater audience might grow without the distraction? Has the distraction driven some attendees away? Good business is to determine the full range of facts before rushing to judgment as the IBJ has done in this case.
I have never publicly expressed my opinion on this subject. I have often hoped the practice could be stopped. Having people squirming about behind the stage can be as distracting as having your seat neighbor carry on a phone conversation. Neither is a good experience during a concert. Either is a disservice to both artists and audience.
ISO chairman 2004-2006