One-woman pop-music phenom Taylor Swift gave $50,000 to the Seattle Symphony last week. Fifty thousand? Talk about hush money. What dirt do they have on her?? No sane person donates to orchestras anymore.
Sure, the “official” reason was that Swift simply “appreciated” the Seattle Symphony’s work with John Luther Adams and his tour de force piece Become Ocean. Assuming Swift was telling the truth (and I have no reason to believe she is) this “donation” signals something big. When your orchestra is willing to play, record, and promote good new music — to cultivate a reputation as the go-to outfit for experiments like this — then you’ll reap handsome rewards, although not always monetarily.