A Celebration for Women Everywhere
All of this ugliness was duly reported in the media, thus casting a pall on what should have been an exhilarating time for Baltimore.
The ramifications could have been severe. For example, would a subscriber or donor renew knowing the new conductor was an unpopular choice and that the musicians were sullen and resentful?
By causing the musicians--"the people who get things done"--to feel disenfranchised, James Glicker and his board exhibited a massive failure in leadership.
In business--and it must be remembered that Glicker was out of the corporate world--employee dissent seldom makes it into the media. What's more, nobody gives a damn so long as the quarterly financials meet expectations. In business, unhappy employees can resign and troublemakers are fired.
Saved by a gutsy move
Glicker and his board had set Alsop up for failure and she knew it, telling the press, "I was getting e-mails from all over telling me, 'Run from this place.' But… I really understood that it was not personal. It got blown out of proportion."
After five days of disgraceful media brouhaha, Alsop came to Baltimore and went into a closed-door meeting with the orchestra members, acknowledged that problems existed and asked for their support.
"It was my idea," Alsop told the media. "I didn't meet them so I could tell the press. I did it for myself. I wasn't comfortable signing a contract until I could look them in the eye and see if we can make it work."
It worked. The head of the orchestra's player's committee, Jane Marvine, reportedly told Alsop the musicians would always give 110 percent. "She reached out, and we reached out," Marvine said.
Alsop signed the contract to conduct for 14 weeks beginning with the 2006-2007 season.
Baltimore Sun music critic Tim Smith reported that later in an interview she said, "If you have 90 players, you have at least 180 opinions. Musicians are very strong-minded and opinionated people. For me, conducting has never been a popularity contest. If I ever got to the point where I was beloved, I should probably quit."