Thursday, February 24, 2011

Perlman Leaves Westchester Phil

Itzhak Perlman, whose contract was up in June, resigned today as music director of the Westchester Philharmonic.

The orchestra is facing serious financial troubles, and is late with their paychecks to both Perlman and orchestra musicians. Clearly, having Perlman didn't help the bottom line: he started in 2007, and contributions fell 31% between 2008 and 2009.

There is no replacement conductor for the April 16 and 17 concerts; Jaime Laredo will step in to conduct on May 14 and 15.

Back in November, I took the family to hear the orchestra at Purchase College with Chelsea Tipton. Tipton's not famous, but the orchestra sounded crisp and spirited with him, and the program was stimulating. The Westchester Philharmonic can't afford big names anyway; building on the strength of the orchestra and interesting programing is probably the way to go.