What’s The Point Of An Orchestra Tour?

The San Francisco Symphony is off to Europe on tour. Robert Commanday wonders why? “A decade or two ago, the received rationale was that such tours were necessary for the promotion of record sales. Whatever truth there was in that — and no convincing evidence was ever offered — that reason certainly doesn’t hold today in today’s marginalized record market. It was also argued that the orchestra as collective instrument benefitted from the repeated performances. Again, that might have been true 20 or 30 years ago, but the current level of today’s orchestral ensemble is not going to be significantly heightened by touring.”