While Blackburn and Wigler point to the Orchestra’s board as the culpable party in the organization’s current financial debacle, Carol wishes to see Philadelphians step in and support the Orchestra more.
“I would like to see more of a reaction, either pro or con from the Philadelphia people. After all, it is their orchestra,” Carol says. “I just think … everything about [the bankruptcy] shows the negativity on the part of Philadelphia. A city is only as good and as important as what they produce culturally. To me, the Orchestra has always been the No. 1 playboy in the cultural activity.”
Carol emphasizes the shame of such a prestigious organization being the first of its kind to be brought low by bankruptcy. He adds that the Philadelphia Orchestra has had a lot of firsts. “The first to be involved with a movie, the first to be on television, the first to go to China … the first to do an awful lot of things. It’s unfortunate they had to take a negative step and be the first major orchestra to declare bankruptcy.”
Wigler also frets over the Orchestra’s reputation. “I think bankruptcy is just disgraceful,” he says. “What about Europe, what will they think?”
Wigler, who fought in Germany during WWII, recalls listening to broadcasts from the Berlin Philharmonic on the battlefield. “They kept on playing even though they were surrounded on all sides,” he says. “That’s how much music meant to these people.”