Musical boat struggling to keep afloat

Got USD2m to spare? Then why not buy an oddball concert hall. Point Counterpoint II, a concert hall boat that was built in the ’70s, is looking for a new home.

At present it is owned by 90-year-old conductor Robert Boudreau, who can no longer afford the upkeep on the craft. Designed by architect Louis Khan – who was known for his monumental, monolithic buildings – the boat may be scrapped if a new owner is not found.

The boat has been home to Boudreau’s American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO) since 1976. It has travelled all over the world with the orchestra, hosting performances from New York City to Saint Petersburg. Point Counterpoint II is 60 metres long, 12 metres wide and looks rather like a science fiction spaceship.

In June 2017 cellist Yo-Yo Ma wrote a letter to the New York Review of Books highlighting the boat’s plight and calling for potential owners to come forward.

“Anchoring in large cities and small towns, in busy shipping lanes and at public parks, the barge opens like a clamshell to reveal a glittering concert stage,” said Ma. “Audiences on shore delight in the music, much of it specially composed for maestro Boudreau and his AWSO … it sails as a powerful, living testament to American creativity and to the elemental role that culture plays in human life.”

The boat, which completed its final AWSO tour earlier this month, is currently in a Louisiana scrapyard. However, the boat may now end up in Kingston, New York, with town officials due to meet Boudreau on 4 August to discuss a potential offer.