Making The Music The Star

For small, regional orchestras, the challenge of drawing a significant audience to concerts is considerable, and many resort to booking “superstar” performers like Itzhak Perlman or Yo-Yo Ma in order to sell tickets. The trouble with that strategy, of course, is that such soloists command exorbitant fees, which tend to wipe out most of the profit gained from the full hall. But not every orchestra is trapped in the star cycle. “The simple idea of giving the music itself top billing has kept the Las Vegas Philharmonic in the black for its first four seasons, without having to prop up its main-stage offerings with pops concerts or big-name guest artists.”