Apropos to my previous musings, this article in the Omaha Herald discusses the notion that conductors bring musical benefit to their orchestras by conducting more than one orchestra and/or taking many guest conductor jobs--a sort of cross-pollination effect.
Makes sense. But do the benefits outweigh the benefit that might be gained by having a conductor who identifies so strongly with a single orchestra that he or she is around town enough to truly represent the orchestra in the community? The answer, of course, will vary from place to place.
As much as I hate to say it, I doubt that orchestras will retain and build audiences in the 21st century on the strength of their musicality alone. It will also be their education programs, their advertising approaches, their special events or concerts... their collective "personality" as perceived by their city/audience. A conductor needs to be in one place at least enough to really "get" how the orchestral organization as a whole is working on this.
(Thanks, Clarke Bustard at Letter V for the link.)