NY Philharmonic Music Director To Be Renamed David Geffen

Funny and witty, yes; gram of truth, scarily so. US hospitals, universities and arts organizations benefit greatly from the generosity of the ultra wealthy (who are themselves subsidized by substantial tax advantages funded by all taxpayers). The $100 million naming gift was the best deal of the century (for Geffen) or the worst (for LC) depending on who is evaluating it. That major arts institutions are better because of the largesse of the .001 percenters there is no doubt; whether the $100 million was worth the naming rights in perpetuity, particularly since it was taken away from Avery Fisher whose $35 million also guaranteed his name in perpetuity, is questionable as I demonstrated recently.

As with the best parodies, the danger this blog post reveals is worth noting. When a few “pipers call the tune” the danger is the art may be sacrificed. Jaap Van Zweden is not changing his name, nor would he change his programming sensibilities if David Geffen or any other individual paid his salary. Yet, since we all pay his salary (the NY Philharmonic is a nonprofit and we all, each of us, own it), then Jaap and the NY Phil, and all arts organizations, no matter who is supporting them, must remain relevant to the entire community.

James Abruzzo, Consultant, Consulting, Executive Search, Nonprofit Compensation, Expert Witness, NY Philharmonic

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