There's no denying the entertainment value of high-level classical music competitions. They come pre-loaded with a 24/7 soundtrack of the most 50 Shades of Grey, romantic music ever written. Sure, competitions are barbaric but so is the Super Bowl.
Classical music participation rates have held steady for the last five years, stopping a steady decline through 2008. Orchestras have been keeping their feet to the pedals as they innovate at unprecedented rates to develop audiences.
What is especially exciting is that the rationale for the Center has little to do with the millions of people who travel to Las Vegas every year to enjoy the hotels, gambling and shows for which Las Vegas has become famous.
It was supposed to be the "Eat Your Heart Out" tour, with guest appearances by Gustavo Dudamel leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic in major U.S. cities. Very quickly, it became the "Sour Grapes" tour.
I am completely sympathetic with the current plight of my fellow arts managers. I do believe there are times when programming and marketing must be sacrificed but I believe this should be a last resort, not a first resort.