Posted by Rick Denney on April 29, 2002 at 06:37:16:
In Reply to: Re: Re: BSO - a related note posted by Richard on April 26, 2002 at 23:17:48:
I've been reading with some amusement all the talk about the Boston Symphony. In my own line of work, open advertisements for the top positions are rare. I have not competed in open competition for a job since 1986, when I won a job against good competition, and from which I was fired 18 months later. I've had several jobs since then, all obtained in private consultation with the decision-maker, and in every case as a result of getting a call from somebody.
Even so, there is a question of good faith. The BSO advertises that they will hold auditions on such-and-such date, and require an extensive process for those who wish to attend. This process is expensive for the applicants, and undertaken in good faith with the expectation that a choice will be made of those who wish to apply, assuming there is someone qualified. When no choice is made, repeatedly, despite what are clearly highly qualified candidates, the the assumption of good faith comes under question.
Good faith is as strong a legal and moral principle as the legal right of the orchestra to hire whom they please.
If they paid the expenses of the auditioners (as they did in my profession for soon-to-be college graduates--they were called "plant trips"), then they would relieve themselves of this good-faith requirement because they will have removed the cost of the applicant.
Why damage the assumption of good faith by not making a selection? There are three possibilities:
1. None of the applicants are qualified. This is just plain balderdash. If the BSO audition committee really believes this, then they are extremely arrogant. (This fits with the anal-retentive possibility that Richard mentioned.) This can also result because the members of the audition committee have a combined set of expectations that are mutually exclusive such that no one musician can meet all the requirements. If that is the case, then they should abandon consensus, remove the "nobody" choice, and follow a numerical ranking system or a series of eliminating votes.
2. They have someone in mind, who wasn't an auditioner. If this is true, then their call was in bad faith at the outset.
3. They like two or three candidates, and can't decide between them (the only scenario that fits with Richard's "fairness" possibility). If they believe both are qualified, and can find no objective reason to select one over the other, then they should flip a coin. I mean this quite literally.
At this point, I believe it could be argued that they owe some compensation to the auditioners based on the bad faith that they have demonstrated, even though they probably claim to reserve the right to select nobody. I wonder what a judge's take on the bad faith vs. "reserving the right" would be, but the answer is not at all obvious to me.
They risk other and worse things, it seems to me, with various guvmint agencies that watch over such things from various perspectives.
It seems to me that they believe they "deserve" a prodigy who is clearly the best player in the world. I wonder if they have compared their salary with the prices of houses in Boston lately to support those expectations. From the outside, it looks like my first possibility is the most likely.
Rick "glad for more reasons than lack of talent that he isn't trying to be a pro" Denney