Section II Reading Comprehension
Read the following four texts. Answer the questions below each text by choosing [A], [B], [C] or [D]. Mark your answers on ANSWER SHEET 1. (40 points)
The decision of the New York Philharmonic to hire Alan Gilbert as its next music director has been the talk of the classical-music world ever since the sudden announcement of his appointment in 2009. For the most part, the response has been favorable, to say the least. “Hooray! At last!” wrote Anthony Tommasini, a sober-sided classical-music critic.
One of the reasons why the appointment came as such a surprise, however, is that Gilbert is comparatively little known. Even Tommasini, who had advocated Gilbert’s appointment in the Times, calls him “an unpretentious musician with no air of the formidable conductor about him.” As a description of the next music director of an orchestra that has hitherto been led by musicians like Gustav Mahler and Pierre Boulez, that seems likely to have struck at least some Times readers as faint praise.
For my part, I have no idea whether Gilbert is a great conductor or even a good one. To be sure, he performs an impressive variety of interesting compositions, but it is not necessary for me to visit Avery Fisher Hall, or anywhere else, to hear interesting orchestral music. All I have to do is to go to my CD shelf, or boot up my computer and download still more recorded music from iTunes.
Devoted concertgoers who reply that recordings are no substitute for live performance are missing the point. For the time, attention, and money of the art-loving public, classical instrumentalists must compete not only with opera houses, dance troupes, theater companies, and museums, but also with the recorded performances of the great classical musicians of the 20th century. There recordings are cheap, available everywhere, and very often much higher in artistic quality than today’s live performances; moreover, they can be “consumed” at a time and place of the listener’s choosing. The widespread availability of such recordings has thus brought about a crisis in the institution of the traditional classical concert.
One possible response is for classical performers to program attractive new music that is not yet available on record. Gilbert’s own interest in new music has been widely noted: Alex Ross, a classical-music critic, has described him as a man who is capable of turning the Philharmonic into “a markedly different, more vibrant organization.” But what will be the nature of that difference? Merely expanding the orchestra’s repertoire will not be enough. If Gilbert and the Philharmonic are to succeed, they must first change the relationship between America’s oldest orchestra and the new audience it hops to attract.
21. We learn from Para.1 that Gilbert’s appointment has
22. Tommasini regards Gilbert as an artist who is
23. The author believes that the devoted concertgoers
[A]ignore the expenses of live performances.
[B]reject most kinds of recorded performances.
[C]exaggerate the variety of live performances.
[D]overestimate the value of live performances.
24. According to the text, which of the following is true of recordings?
[A]They are often inferior to live concerts in quality.
[B]They are easily accessible to the general public.
[C]They help improve the quality of music.
[D]They have only covered masterpieces.
25. Regarding Gilbert’s role in revitalizing the Philharmonic, the author feels
When Liam McGee departed as president of Bank of America in August, his explanation was surprisingly straight up. Rather than cloaking his exit in the usual vague excuses, he came right out and said he was leaving “to pursue my goal of running a company.” Broadcasting his ambition was “very much my decision,” McGee says. Within two weeks, he was talking for the first time with the board of Hartford Financial Services Group, which named him CEO and chairman on September 29.
McGee says leaving without a position lined up gave him time to reflect on what kind of company he wanted to run. It also sent a clear message to the outside world about his aspirations. And McGee isn’t alone. In recent weeks the No.2 executives at Avon and American Express quit with the explanation that they were looking for a CEO post. As boards scrutinize succession plans in response to shareholder pressure, executives who don’t get the nod also may wish to move on. A turbulent business environment also has senior managers cautious of letting vague pronouncements cloud their reputations.
As the first signs of recovery begin to take hold, deputy chiefs may be more willing to make the jump without a net. In the third quarter, CEO turnover was down 23% from a year ago as nervous boards stuck with the leaders they had, according to Liberum Research. As the economy picks up, opportunities will abound for aspiring leaders.
The decision to quit a senior position to look for a better one is unconventional. For years executives and headhunters have adhered to the rule that the most attractive CEO candidates are the ones who must be poached. Says Korn/Ferry senior partner Dennis Carey:”I can’t think of a single search I’ve done where a board has not instructed me to look at sitting CEOs first.”
Those who jumped without a job haven’t always landed in top positions quickly. Ellen Marram quit as chief of Tropicana a decade age, saying she wanted to be a CEO. It was a year before she became head of a tiny Internet-based commodities exchange. Robert Willumstad left Citigroup in 2005 with ambitions to be a CEO. He finally took that post at a major financial institution three years later.
Many recruiters say the old disgrace is fading for top performers. The financial crisis has made it more acceptable to be between jobs or to leave a bad one. “The traditional rule was it’s safer to stay where you are, but that’s been fundamentally inverted,” says one headhunter. “The people who’ve been hurt the worst are those who’ve stayed too long.”
26.When McGee announced his departure, his manner can best be described as being
27. According to Paragraph 2, senior executives’ quitting may be spurred by
[A]their expectation of better financial status.
[B]their need to reflect on their private life.
[C]their strained relations with the boards.
[D]their pursuit of new career goals.
28.The word “poached” (Line 3, Paragraph 4) most probably means
29.It can be inferred from the last paragraph that
[A]top performers used to cling to their posts.
[B]loyalty of top performers is getting out-dated.
[C]top performers care more about reputations.
[D]it’s safer to stick to the traditional rules.
30. Which of the following is the best title for the text?
[A]CEOs: Where to Go?
[B]CEOs: All the Way Up?
[C]Top Managers Jump without a Net
[D]The Only Way Out for Top Performers