It's easy to tick off Fleischmann's accomplishments, from the reinvention of the Hollywood Bowl as a musical venue of consequence, to the development of chamber-music and new-music concerts away from the Music Center as an extension of the orchestra's identity. (It's worth noting that Pierre Boulez, in his time with the New York Philharmonic, also tried the same kinds of off-site projects, without anything like the success of Los Angeles ventures.) Fleischmann's capture of Salonen was one of his triumphs; so was the subtle cajoling that brought us Giulini. When I did some backstage interviews last summer for a Philharmonic cover story, several other American orchestras were out on strike, or had recently been so. Everyone I asked pointed to Fleischmann as the bulwark against labor instability at the Music Center. Why? "Because he's one of us," the answer usually ran, "a manager but also a musician."
Out of diverse elements - show biz, the purity of music's supreme classics, a sense of youthful innovation - Fleischmann has constructed an orchestra that stands alone, apart from and above the competition. Under whatever title he may choose, he will continue to leave his mark on the Philharmonic and, for that matter, on the future (if any) of the institution of the symphony orchestra as an entity worth any and all efforts to preserve.