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THE MAGAZINE OF
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Contemporary Composers at Orchestras
Is the New Cool Again?
Pops in Focus Cuban Overtures Adapting Concerts for People with Autism Rethinking Subscriptions
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Apply by November 4 for the 2016 season of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, which brings together America’s finest young players ages 16–19 for an intensive summer that includes training, coaching, and an unforgettable concert tour of Europe.
Free | Summer 2016
carnegiehall.org/nyousa email@example.com | 212-424-2024 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America Founding Sponsor: Founder Patrons: Blavatnik Family Foundation; The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; Ronald O. Perelman; Robertson Foundation; Robert F. Smith; Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon; and Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation. Major Tour Sponsors: Sir David Tang; Wailian Overseas Consulting Group, Limited; and PwC Additional funding has been provided by the Jack Benny Family Foundation for Music Education; and Andrew and Margaret Paul.
Also, check out the inaugural season of NYO2, an all-scholarship training program for young instrumentalists ages 14–17. carnegiehall.org/nyo2 Chris Lee
VO LU M E 6 6 , N U M B E R 4
symphony FA L L 2 0 1 5
n a perfect summer afternoon in July, when anyone who could get away was lazing around at a beach, the teenage musicians in the National Youth Orchestra of the USA were deep in rehearsal, forging through Beethoven. The dedication, the skill, the care and smarts of these young musicians were palpable. Just as impressive, however, was their artistry. On the podium, Charles Dutoit—yes, Charles Dutoit—paused mid-passage, asked for a shift in accent, made a few spare, evocative gestures. The musicians started again, and what had been perfectly fine, entirely accomplished Beethoven, suddenly sprang to life. The National Youth Orchestra of the USA brings together young musicians from across the country for a few weeks, via Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. Though it has the glamour of Carnegie and the imprimatur of Dutoit, the group is just part of a broad-based youthorchestra movement, and the scene at that July rehearsal is one that happens all the time at youth orchestras, with comparably fierce energy and commitment from the young players. This summer, extraordinary numbers of American youth orchestras are touring, bringing uniquely American spirit to concerts throughout Europe and Asia. It’s a heady time for these young musicians, and though you can’t help wondering where the jobs will be should they choose music as a career, there’s a definite sense that these kids can do anything they put their minds to. In this issue, we look at an orchestra field that is in flux, where people are experimenting with new approaches without abandoning the great traditions. Orchestras are embracing new music and more diverse audiences; perspectives are shifting; and an important study looks at how subscriptions are adapting to current consumer expectations. It’s a dizzying, complicated, inspiring time.
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THE MAGAZINE OF THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS
2 Prelude by Robert Sandla 6 The Score Orchestra news, moves, and events 18 Board Room How can nonprofit boards become more diverse? by Tivoni Devor 22 Opinion Violinist Catherine Arlidge offers her perspective on orchestras’ business and artistic models.
24 Critical Questions Thoughts on the Minnesota Orchestra’s historic visit to Cuba in May. by Jesse Rosen PhotoObjects.net/Thinkstock
30 At the League A major new study provides a comprehensive, data-based analysis of trends in orchestra subscriptions. by Heidi Waleson
Eyes Wide Open What to watch at orchestra concerts—besides the musicians. by Chester Lane
Change in the Air Are orchestras making new music cool again? by Molly Sheridan
Retuning Classical Radio Orchestras adapt to the new broadcasting environment, with digital formats increasingly replacing “terrestrial” radio. by John Fleming 44 2015 Guide to Symphony Pops Advertisers 77 Advertiser Index
Stu Rosner/Boston Pops
New Notes on the Autism Scale Orchestras respond to a pressing social need with custom-designed concerts. by Brian Wise
80 Coda Bass-baritone Eric Owens maintains a hectic singing schedule, while keeping an eye on the big picture and never forgetting his orchestral roots.
78 League of American Orchestras Annual Fund
about the cover Throughout this issue, text marked like this indicates a link to websites and online resources that can be accessed by visiting SymphonyOnline l at symphony.org.
Reno Philharmonic Music Director Laura Jackson works with Sean Shepherd during his composer residency at the orchestra. Photo credit: Reno Philharmonic Association. See story, page 54.
SCORE News, moves, and events in the orchestra industry THE
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© Nannette Bedway
ore than 1,000 orchestra staff, musicians, board members, volunteers, and business partners explored “The New Work of Orchestras” at the League of American Orchestras’ Conference, May 27-29, 2015 in Cleveland. The Conference was hosted by The Cleveland Orchestra, which performed Strauss’s seldom-seen opera Daphne at Severance Hall, and the orchesAt the opening session of the tra’s staff and musicians participated in Conference sessions League Conference this May, that demonstrated their commitment to artistic excellence, Leonard DiCosimo (at left), collaboration, and audience building. In his keynote address, president of the Cleveland League President and CEO Jesse Rosen (bottom photo) dis- Federation of Musicians, Local cussed the ways in which “the imperatives for the performing 4, and Gary Hanson, executive director of the Cleveland arts in the twenty-first century are coming into focus. The Orchestra, greeted the crowd. battles between ‘protect and preserve’ versus ‘embrace the future’ are giving way to a more holistic view, one that fuses excellence and engagement; that understands repertoire as a continuum of new and old, a point on a spectrum of genres; and that defines purpose as both fostering creativity and creating community value.” National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu further underscored the Conference theme with a speech highlighting the power of the arts to build communities. A large number of research reports previewed at the Conference included a League-commissioned analysis of subscription trends, as well as studies on digital strategy, audience development, donor relations, and changing concert Performances included the formats. Other sessions focused on such timely topics as Cleveland Orchestra’s lavish diversity, governance practice, and sustainability. concert staging of Richard Two community-based panels bookended the Conference: Strauss’s Daphne. In photo: Music Director Franz Welserin the opening session, government, business, community, Möst, musicians, and cast at and artistic leaders shared perspectives on how orchestras Severance Hall. can develop relationships with their communities and use music to address social needs; the closing session explored community impact from an artistic perspective, with a panel of creative minds showcasing community-connected projects that expanded beyond chamber-scale encounters and utilized the full orchestra. The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO), conductor Brett Mitchell, and cellist Alisa Weilerstein, a COYO member from 1992 to 1994, were also featured in the opening session. The League’s highest honor, The Gold Baton Award, was presented to Anne-Marie Soullière, retired president of the Fidelity Foundation, by Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for her “lifetime of passionate support for music, enlightened leadership of the Fidelity Foundation, and wise, sympathetic counsel to numerous musical leaders.” Jennifer Boomgaarden, executive director of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, received the Helen M. Thompson Award for her exceptional leadership, dedication, and accomplishment as an executive director. Conference Resources
Check out the videos, presentations, toolkits, and additional resources from the League’s 2015 Conference on the League’s website: americanorchestras.org/conferences-meetings/conference-2015.html. Jesse Rosen
MUSICAL CHAIRS The Chicago Sinfonietta has appointed SANDRA BAILEY principal bassoon. has been named managing director of Cleveland Orchestra Miami, the orchestra’s annual Florida residency. MONTSERRAT BALSEIRO
Arts Consulting Group has appointed vice presidents for five of its regional offices: MICHAEL BLACHLY (Tampa); ELISABETH GALLEY (Dallas); NICKI GENOVESE (Los Angeles); REBEKAH LAMBERT (Portland, Ore.); and JONATHAN S. MILLER (Boston). has been named principal bassoon at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. KEITH BUNCKE
has been appointed assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and conductor of the CSO’s affiliated youth orchestra. JONATHAN GUNN has been named principal clarinet in the CSO. GENE CHANG
Orchestra Iowa, in Cedar Rapids, has named JEFFREY COLLIER executive director.
The Amarillo (Tex.) Symphony Orchestra has appointed COREY COWART executive director.
has been appointed vice president of marketing and communications at the San Diego Symphony. JOAN CUMMING
Alberta’s Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has named PAUL DORNIAN president and CEO.
NETANEL DRAIBLATE has been appointed concert-
master of the Lake Forest (Ill.) Symphony Orchestra.
At Georgia’s Symphony Orchestra Augusta, ANSLEY EASTERLIN has been named development director for the Miller Theater Campaign. has been appointed director of education and community engagement at the Portland (Me.) Symphony Orchestra. JOHN ELLIOTT
Fayetteville (N.C.) Symphony Orchestra Music Director FOUAD FAKHOURI will step down from that post at the end of the 2015-16 season.
and FRANCESCO LECCE-CHONG have been appointed assistant conductors at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. STEVE HACKMAN has been named creative director of the orchestra’s new FUSE@PSO series.
has been appointed artistic director of Oklahoma Youth Orchestras, music director of the Oklahoma City University Orchestra, and associate professor at OCU. ERIC GARCIA
Orchestra Iowa has named DAWN GINGRICH concertmaster. The Cleveland Orchestra has named ANDRE GREMILLET executive director, effective in October 2015.
has been appointed principal bassoon at the Jacksonville JOSEPH GRIMMER
(Fla.) Symphony Orchestra.
The Grand Rapids Symphony, led by Music Director David Lockington, performs at LiveArts.
The West Australia Symphony Orchestra, based in Perth, has named LAURENCE JACKSON concertmaster, effective in January 2016. Cellist and conductor ERIC JACOBSEN has been appointed music director of Florida’s Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. The Detroit-based Sphinx Organization has named ROBYNN JAMES senior advisor to the president on leadership gifts, and LAUREN MCNEARY manager of institutional partnerships. has been appointed executive director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. The Pacific Symphony in California’s Orange County has named ROGER KALIA assistant conductor.
LiveArts’ Big Splash
At the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, JAMES T. KELLEY III has been appointed vice president of development, and MATTHEW SPIVEY promoted to vice president and general manager.
When people talk about a “cast of thousands,” it’s usually a bit of forgivable hyperbole. But when the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan presented LiveArts on April 24, it was entirely true. LiveArts, described as an “epic storytelling adventure,” brought together more than 1,500 musicians, dancers, and community members at Van Andel Arena with the orchestra. The program celebrated performing arts in the community, and incorporated the Grand Rapids Ballet, Opera Grand Rapids, Broadway Grand Rapids, Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, and students from 20 schools. Directed and designed by Jeffrey Buchman, LiveArts drew an audience of 7,000, and set the stage for collaborations among the orchestra, arts groups, and the community. Musical highlights included Saint-Saëns’s “The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals; selections from Orff’s Carmina Burana; Sean Ivory’s “I Will Rise”; and the finale from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The event was part of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 85th-anniversary celebrations, and wrapped up David Lockington’s tenure as music director; he now becomes music director laureate.
has been named vice president and provost at the New World Symphony, the orchestral academy in Miami Beach. JOHN KIESER
The Bakersfield (Calif.) Symphony Orchestra has appointed STILIAN KIROV music director.
Tennessee’s Nashville Symphony has appointed MARYE WALKER LEWIS chief financial officer.
has been appointed vice president of education and community engagement, and FRANK TERRAGLIO vice president of marketing and public relations, at California’s Pacific Symphony. SUSAN MILLER KOTSES
The Wichita (Kans.) Symphony Orchestra has named MARK LAYCOCK conductor of the Wichita Youth Symphony. has stepped down as music director of the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Symphony following a sixteen-year tenure. DAVID LOCKINGTON
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has appointed AHMAD MAYES director of community engagement and learning. has been named music director of the Rochester (N.Y.) Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. JAMES MICK
The Portland (Me.) Symphony Orchestra has announced that ROBERT MOODY will step down as music director following the 2017-18 season.
It was an unusually peripatetic spring and summer for the nation’s youth orchestras. The Santa Rosa Youth Symphony, pictured here in Beijing, embarked on a weeklong tour to China on June 17, and within days of their departure three other groups—the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, and the San Diego Youth Symphony—headed for China as well. Meanwhile, under Music Director Joshua Gersen the New York Youth Symphony undertook the first foreign tour in its 52-year history: a trip to Argentina accompanied by violin soloist Elena Urioste. In addition to playing concerts, most of these orchestras engaged in side-by-side activities with their youthful counterparts in the countries visited.
has stepped down as executive director of the Spokane (Wash.) Symphony to become executive director of Rhode Island’s Newport Opera House and Performing Arts Center. BRENDA NIENHOUSE
The San Antonio (Tex.) Symphony Orchestra has appointed KATHY NIX orchestra personnel manager. has been named principal clarinet in the Houston Symphony. MARK NUCCIO
New York City’s Orchestra of St. Luke’s has appointed GARY PADMORE director of education and community.
has been named music director and conductor of the Port Angeles (Wash.) Symphony. JONATHAN PASTERNACK
The San Diego Symphony has announced the appointment of SAMEER PATEL as assistant conductor, and KENSHO WATANABE as conducting fellow. Rhode Island Philharmonic Music Director LARRY RACHLEFF will step down from that post in 2017
MUSICAL CHAIRS following his 21st season with the orchestra. The North Carolina Symphony has appointed ELIZABETH RANSOM assistant vice president of philanthropy, principal gifts. has stepped down as music director of the Knoxville (Tenn.) Symphony Orchestra following a twelve-year tenure. LUCAS RICHMAN
Iowa’s Des Moines Symphony has appointed DUSTIN R. ROSS director of development. has been named music director of the Greater Buffalo (N.Y.) Youth Orchestra. STEFAN SANDERS
The San Diego Symphony has appointed TODD SCHULTZ to the newly created post of vice president of institutional advancement. Arizona’s Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra has announced that Artistic Director and Conductor ELIZABETH SCHULZE will step down at the end of the 2016-17 season. has stepped down as music director of the Minot (N.D.) Symphony Orchestra to become music director of California’s North State Symphony. SCOTT SEATON
The Youngstown (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra has appointed RACHEL STEGEMAN concertmaster.
has been elected chair of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, based in Hampton Roads. STEPHEN TEST
has stepped down as executive director of New York City’s Orpheus Chamber Orchestra to become chief executive at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Glasgow. KRISHNA THIAGARAJAN
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has appointed CAEN THOMASON-REDUS to the post of catalyst/ director of community programs.
has been named Kravis Emerging Composer at the New York Philharmonic. ANNA THORVALDSDOTTIR
Florida’s Artis-Naples, home of the Naples Philharmonic and the Baker Museum, has appointed ERIC TILLICH vice president of development. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has appointed MELIA PETERS TOURANGEAU president and CEO.
Guess No More
South Bend (Ind.) Symphony Orchestra Music Director TSUNG YEH will step down at the end of his 27th season, 2015-16, and serve as artistic advisor in 2016-17.
organizations can use audience research to attract
and retain new audiences or deepen engagement with current ones. Written for arts organization leaders, marketing and education staff members, and arts
management students, the guidebook provides examples and practices drawn from case studies of 10 different
arts organizations that used research to support multiyear audience-building efforts. Step-by-step guidelines are provided on using research to learn about current
and prospective audiences, create effective promotional materials, and track and assess the results of audiencebuilding initiatives. To read the case studies, as well as
other publications about building arts audiences, please visit www.wallacefoundation.org.
The Wallace Foundation 5 Penn Plaza, 7th Floor New York, NY 10001 212.251.9700 Telephone firstname.lastname@example.org www.wallacefoundation.org
A GUIDE TO USING RESEARCH
B O B H A R LOW
The Los Angeles Philharmonic has announced that Principal Clarinet MICHELE ZUKOVSKY will retire in December 2015. She has been a member of the orchestra since 1961.
Taking Out the Guesswork shows how arts
A GUIDE TO USING RESEARCH TO BUILD ARTS AUDIENCES
The Erie (Pa.) Philharmonic has appointed STEVE WEISER executive director.
The Wallace Foundation has released a free guide to help Wallace Studies in Building Arts Audiences arts organizations use market research to forge meaningful connections with different audiences. Taking Out the Guesswork: Using Research to Build Arts Audiences draws on evidence gathered from ten organizations across the United States, including theaters, dance and opera companies, and visual arts institutions. The guide provides detailed guidelines on how to learn more about TA K I N G O U T T H E current and potential audiences, create effective proGUESSWORK motional materials, and track and assess the results of audience-building initiatives. The book is written by market-research expert Bob Harlow, who presented a session on effective practices for building arts audiences at the League’s 2015 Conference. For more information—and to download the free report—visit www.wallacefoundation.org. TA K I N G O U T T H E G U E S S W O R K
has been named executive director of the Princeton (N.J.) Symphony Orchestra. He succeeds MELANIE CLARKE , who has stepped down following a 25-year tenure. MARC UYS
In July, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced that it finished its 2014-15 season in the black, following eleven years of deficits. The Woodruff Arts Center, parent organization of the ASO, was due to release final fiscal figures in late summer, with a surplus expected to be in the six-figure range. The ASO’s Musicians’ Endowment Campaign also raised $13.3 million in seven months, halfway toward a $25 million goal. The news follows a two-month lockout of ASO musicians in 2014 that ended with a four-year agreement between the musicians and Woodruff. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has raised $26 million in its current endowment drive, with a goal of hiring fourteen new players over five years. Musicians and management signed a five-year agreement, providing musicians a 1.5 percent pay increase per year. In July, the CSO and University of Cincinnati CollegeConservatory of Music received a $900,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for graduate-level opportunities for under-served musicians, especially minorities. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra ended the 2014-15 season with a balanced budget, following a $3.6 million deficit in 2013-14. Indiana’s Fort Wayne Philharmonic will use interest from its endowment to pay off $2.85 million in debt, as it undergoes a broader business transition. Shortly after returning from its trip to Cuba in May (see page 24), Minnesota Orchestra management and musicians signed a contract that will increase weekly minimum salaries 8.4 percent by the end of the contract in mid-2020. The agreement was signed 21 months before the current contract was to expire. In June, Virginia’s Richmond Symphony announced that it was on course to post a six-figure operating surplus. The Utah Symphony | Utah Opera reports that its musicians have ratified a new contract through 2018 that includes an average 3.5 percent increase in base salary each season. Among orchestras with ticket news is the Austin Symphony in Texas, which reported a 36 percent increase in sales for its Masterworks series in 2014-15, and an increase of 20 percent in ticket sales for all presentations. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra reported that the number of subscription packages sold in the 2014-15 season rose by 24 percent over 2013-14. The ISO also reported that 9,014 student tickets were sold, a record for the orchestra. Nebraska’s Omaha Symphony reported an increase in season subscriptions, with paid attendance up by 23 percent since 2011. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra reported a 4 percent drop in ticket revenue for 2014-15; however, subscription renewals for 2015-16 classical concerts were higher than at the same time last season. Missouri’s Springfield Symphony Orchestra reported that it ended its nine-concert 2014-15 season with record-high single-ticket sales. At press time, contract negotiations were ongoing between musicians and management at Connecticut’s Hartford Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, the HSO and the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts formed a two-year strategic collaboration, through which the two remain independent nonprofits but Bushnell provides office space, financial reporting and management, marketing, and other services.
At the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, EDWARD MANNO SHUMSKY has succeeded ROSE ELLEN MEYERHOFF GREENE as chairman of the Board of Trustees.
On the Financial Front
TO BUILD ARTS AUDIENCES BY BOB HARLOW
“Each time I think back on the ten days, I am more and more amazed to have been privileged to be part of something so significant and memorable. My orchestra is already benefitting from the things I learned.” “Such an impressive and prestigious faculty!” At the Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar in July, faculty Those are just some members included (from left) Essentials co-director Deborah F. Rutter (president, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Scott Faulkner of the comments (principal bassist, Reno Philharmonic, and former executive director, Reno from participants Chamber Orchestra), Deborah Borda (president and CEO, Los Angeles Philharmonic), and Essentials co-director Brent Assink (executive director, in the League’s San Francisco Symphony). Kenneth Foster (not pictured), the director of 2015 Essentials of USC’s Arts Leadership Program, consulted on Essentials. Orchestra Management course, which ran July 7-16. Thirty-one participants from a wide range of careers joined some of the orchestra field’s most innovative leaders for the acclaimed professional development seminar, held for the first time in Los Angeles. The curriculum delved into fundamentals as well as the evolving work of orchestras, programming, community relevance, and audience engagement. Essentials was presented in association with University of Southern California’s Arts Leadership Program and hosted by USC Thornton School of Music. The program was sponsored by the Association of California Symphony Orchestras. Essentials of Orchestra Management is made possible by generous grants from The James Irvine Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Wells Fargo.
100 Years, 100 Cellos The Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra, serving Iowa’s Davenport and Bettendorf and the Illinois cities of Moline and Rock Island, highlighted its centennial season last May with a community-centered project that was both colorful and financially successful. One hundred cellos purchased unfinished by the orchestra were painted by local and nationally known artists, displayed in locations throughout the metro area, and brought together for an exhibit at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport (right). Many of the cellos were then auctioned off at a “Party of the Century” and online, grossing more than $100,000 for the orchestra’s education programs. The QCSO opens its 2015-16 season on October 3 under Music Director Mark Russell Smith with a re-creation of its first concert on May 29, 1915. americanorchestras.org
Jennifer Kessler/League of American Orchestras
Essentials Heads West
Two Hours of Comedy and Music! Two Mime Superstars Dan Kamin— as The Classical Clown. Charlie Chaplin— in two film classics. See for yourself at www.dankamin.com
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A C O M PA N Y O F G R E AT E N T E R TA I N M E N T REPRESENTING: Broadway Back Together • Christine Ebersole • Mandy Gonzalez • Clint Holmes Linda Lavin • Telly Leung • Maureen McGovern • Trevor McQueen • Jarrod Spector Jarrod & Kelli: This Is Dedicated: Music’s Greatest Marriages
212 396-2666 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.rjprod.com
In 2011, scientist Lina Almeida-Silva was at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall when she got the idea to name a species of spider after Joshua Bell, who was performing that evening. This spring, Dr. Almeida-Silva, a postdoctoral fellow in arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences, published a study with her colleague Charles Griswold in the journal Zootaxa. AlmeidaSilva and Griswold have identified a new subfamily of spider and named it Emmenomma joshuabelli, part of the Macrobuninae subfamily, based in southern Chile. Almeida-Silva, who grew up playing violin, says Bell “has been an inspiration for me even after becoming a biologist.” Fittingly, the male of the species can produce vibrations that allow the spiders to communicate with one another. What they Emmenomma joshuabelli, a new are saying is the subject spider named by entomologist Lina Almeida-Silva of further study.
Hacking the Concert Hall
aul Freeman, who broke new ground as an African-American conductor in the symphony world, died July 21 in Victoria, British Columbia, where he lived. Freeman was 79. He founded the Chicago Sinfonietta in 1987 and led it for 24 years, establishing it as a model of ethnic diversity. During a career in which he conducted more than 100 orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, Freeman held posts as music director of the Victoria Symphony and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra; as associate conductor of the Dallas and Detroit symphony orchestras; and as principal guest conductor of the Helsinski Philharmonic. He amassed a discography of some 200 releases, including a nine-LP series in the 1970s documenting the history of black symphonic composers and a threevolume African Heritage Symphonic Series with the Chicago Sinfonietta. Born in Richmond, Virginia, he earned a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, studied in Berlin as a Fulbright scholar, and was awarded top prize in the Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition. Freeman is survived by his wife, Cornelia, and a son, Douglas.
Meet “Emmenomma joshuabelli”
The Kitchener-Waterloo region of Ontario, Canada is home to many start-up tech companies. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in May, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony held a 36-hour “Orchestra Hackathon,” inviting members of the public to propose ways to enhance the concert experience using technology. The hackathon was open to students and seasoned software and hardware developers, who worked with Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony musicians, Music Director Edwin Outwater, guest conductor Carlos Izcaray, Assistant Conductor Daniel BartholomewPoyser, and others to complete their proposals. A panel awarded prizes to three winners, whose ideas will be demonstrated at the orchestra’s September 25 and Bénédicte Lauzière, concertmaster of the 26 Beethoven Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (left), with concerts. Regina Leung, who participated in the orchestra’s recent Hackathon.
CLASSIC CONCERT PRODUCTIONS
POPS • BROADWAY • CHRISTMAS PATRIOTIC
Steve Amerson — known as America’s Tenor and the voice of the Medal of Honor Foundation — and Broadway Star (Phantom of the Opera) Laurie Gayle Stephenson perform as soloists or as a dynamic duo. They own their charts and no rental required.
Video excerpts available at www.classiccp.com
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Be Counted! All year, the League’s Knowledge Center is hard at work collecting and aggregating key data from hundreds
© Nannette Bedway
of member orchestras. The data is reported back to participating orchestras in the form of reports about critical areas such as revenue, expenses, participation, and audience. Members must participate in the surveys to read the reports, so here are a few important dates to remember. The deadline is October 30, 2015 to participate in the 2014-15 Youth Orchestra Survey. Participating orchestras will receive the full Youth Orchestra Report when it comes out in December. Contact Tse Wei Kok with any questions at (646) 822-4019 or twk@ americanorchestras.org. The Knowledge Center’s Orchestra Statistical Report (OSR) annually collects information from North American orchestras of every size and budget. The 2013-14 OSR is now being compiled and will be distributed in November. Those who participated in the 2013-14 survey will receive the OSR for orchestras in their own budget category and adjacent categories. The next OSR survey period, for 2014-15, will open this winter. The 2015-16 Administrative Staff Salary Survey will open in late fall. Also keep an eye out in 2016 for Orchestra Facts, the Knowledge Center’s analysis of OSR data from 2003-04 through 2013-14, and the Center’s upcoming report on the subscription model in orchestras, being prepared together with management consulting firm Oliver Wyman (see story on page 30).
Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter and Washington Performing Arts President and CEO Jenny Bilfield announce the orchestras chosen for SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras, at the League Conference this May.
SHIFTing into Gear A highlight of the League’s Conference in May was the announcement of the four orchestras selected for the inaugural SHIFT Festival in spring 2017. Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter and Washington Performing Arts President and CEO Jenny Bilfield stated that the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic, the Brooklyn-based Knights ensemble, and North Carolina Symphony will appear at the Kennedy Center during the weeklong festival of orchestras. The orchestras were chosen not only for artistic excellence but for their close relationships with their communities, and in addition to concerts at the Kennedy Center, each orchestra will interact with the Washington, D.C. community through educational and engagement activities, symposia, and public events. Mainstage concerts will be priced at $25, alongside ticketed and free events throughout the city. The participating orchestras will perform works by nine living composers, two world premieres, and numerous D.C.-area premieres. SHIFT is presented in cooperation with the League of American Orchestras.
Katie Wyatt, executive director, Kidznotes
Invest in one, invest in many Through our leadership programs, the League invested in Katie, who now invests in nearly 300 kids annually from Title-1 schools in Durham and Raleigh, N.C. Supporting the League means investing in people, their communities, and the future of classical music. Donate now at americanorchestras.org.
Courtesy of G.R. Lindblade & Co.
The Sioux City Symphony and Music Director Ryan Haskins, April 2015
Sioux City Symphony Turns 100 Back in 1915, founding an orchestra in Sioux City, Iowa—then with a population of just 50,000—was a clear vote of confidence in the city’s cultural future. What began as a 30-member collegiate ensemble is now the Sioux City Symphony, a 90-member professional orchestra with seven season programs. The season-opener on September 19, led by Music Director Ryan Haskins at the Orpheum Theatre, will be a gala performance with six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald. Other season highlights: a program chosen entirely by the musicians, and a “Musical Homecoming” concert welcoming back musicians who are Sioux City natives. A May program will include the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, with soloist Gil Shaham, followed by classical and electronic dance music outside the Orpheum, curated by composer/DJ Mason Bates.
Earliest known photo of the Sioux City Symphony, ca. 1916.
P R E S E N T S
ERICH KUNZEL Conductor, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
Principal Pops Conductor,
Principal Pops Conductor,
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Baltimore Symphony Orchestra National Arts Centre Orchestra Naples Philharmonic Orchestra Symphonic Pops Consortium
The New York Pops
Principal Pops Conductor,
Principal Pops Conductor for Conductor, • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Symphony/Pops Atlanta Symphony Orchestra • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Houston Symphony • National Arts Centre Orchestra
National Symphony Orchestra Toronto Symphony Orchestra Houston Symphony (designate)
Music Director, National Memorial Day Concert & A Capitol Fourth on PBS
Peter Throm, President 14
J A C K E V E R LY
Tony DeSare singer/pianist
Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
The Philly Pops
Principal Pops Conductor for • Modesto Symphony Orchestra • Long Beach Symphony Orchestra Associate Conductor, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
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Rachel Ford, executive director, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra
Invest in one, invest in many Through our leadership programs, the League invested in Rachel, who now invests in the healing power of music â€“ exactly when patients need it the most. Through live performances in healthcare facilities, the KSOâ€™s awardwinning Music & Wellness Program helps the healing process of more than 4,500 patients every year. Supporting the League means investing in people and their communities. Donate now at americanorchestras.org.
Louisiana Philharmonic Music Director Carlos Miguel Prieto at the restored Orpheum Theater
Home at Last
Since 2005, when floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina damaged the historic Orpheum Theater in New Orleans and forced its closure, the Louisiana Philharmonic’s fans have attended concerts in alternate venues. The LPO returns to the 3,500-seat Orpheum on September 17, when Music Director Carlos Miguel Prieto will lead the LPO’s season-opening concert in the renovated auditorium: Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”), with the New Orleans Vocal Arts Chorale, soprano Susannah Biller, and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. In addition to features such as the restored terra-cotta ceiling in the lobby, the 1918 Beaux Arts hall now includes an adjustable orchestra floor, new audio and lighting systems, refurbished dressing rooms and green rooms, six bars, and additional restrooms.
LACO’s Disney Fun Raiser
A June concert by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in LA’s Theatre at Ace Hotel was a fundraiser with a difference. Led by Emmy Award-winning composer Mark Watters, LACO accompanied nine shorts from Walt Disney Animation Studios, most of them dating from the 1920s and 1930s and largely unknown to today’s audiences. The program included an 80th-anniversary screening of Music Land, a “Silly Symphony” send-up of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (above); its live musical accompaniment was the world premiere of Watters’s own adaptation of the 1935 score by Leigh Harline. The event raised more than $215,000 for LACO’s artistic, community engagement, and education programs.
Mei-Ann Chen, music director, Chicago Sinfonietta
Invest in one, invest in many Through our leadership programs, the League invested in Mei-Ann, who now invests in connecting the diverse cultures of Chicago by expanding the boundaries of classical music. Supporting the League means investing in people and their communities. Donate now at americanorchestras.org.
The Face of Nonprofit Boards: Addressing a Network Problem As the demographics of society change, nonprofit boards are recognizing the need to become more diverse themselves, in order to represent the communities their organizations serve and to advance their own missions. How can nonprofit boards become more diverse? by Tivoni Devor
A Network Problem
Board recruiting is hard. It’s personal and requires a fair amount of trust. Mostly, board members are recruited from within the board’s social network, maybe going
studied people’s social networks by race, and the results showed that social networks are largely racially homogeneous. In fact, 91 percent of white Americans’ social networks are other white Americans, and this is the racial group that dominates nonprofit board and CEO positions. Further, board members tend to be older and wealthier populations, and their social
ithin BoardSource’s 2014 governance index, “Leading with Intent” (leadingwithintent.org), there lies an interesting paradox when it comes to board diversity. Forty-five percent of the boards and 69 percent of the CEOs surveyed are dissatisfied with their board’s diversity. Not only that, but 71 percent of boards and 75 percent of CEOs think a more diverse board would make them better at fulfilling their mission. Yet since 2010, board diversity has only grown 4 percent. Ninety percent of board chairs, 80 percent of boards, and 89 percent of CEOs are of a single race: white. So, the lack of board diversity is an established and recognized problem, one that hurts mission effectiveness, but boards are doing little about it. If boards are so dissatisfied with their racial makeup, why is so little being done to improve these numbers? These survey results lead one to think it must be at least partially connected to how board members are recruited.
out as far as second-ring people who can be vouched for (friends of friends). We’ve all gotten an email from a friend asking if you know anyone who would be good to join a board. Unless tied to a major source of funding, it is rare that someone with no social ties to anyone on the board joins said board. If board recruiting is primarily done through the board’s social networks, what is the racial makeup of these social networks? The 2013 American Values Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute
The best benefit of actively recruiting individuals from outside of your social network is that you are growing your social network exponentially, bringing entirely new potential connections, donors, and insights to your organization. networks also tend to be majority white. These factors explain and perpetuate the problem of board diversity. If we tie the American Values Survey and BoardSource’s governance index together, we can start to see why we have this problem—a problem perceived by boards and CEOs to be a hindrance in advancing their missions. Most people, including board members, simply don’t
This article originally appeared at the Nonprofit Quarterly’s website, nonprofitquarterly. org, in March 2015 and is reprinted by permission. symphony
PEOPLE: BOARD COMPOSITION & STRUCTURE Figure 5. Nonprofit Leadership Demographics (Q2.3, 3.2. 3.3, 3.4, 1.14, 1.15, 1.16 CEO)
know many people outside their own race, and if they do, those individuals may not be a good fit for the board. Granted, this assumes that a predominance of board recruitment is via social networks. Organizations that use other organizations and consultants for board matchmaking may
Unless tied to a major source of funding, it is rare that someone with no social ties to anyone on the board joins said board—which helps explain the problem of board diversity. be making faster strides in this area, but the numbers show actual investment is either low or poor. The Need to Diversify
Nonprofits compose 5 percent of the U.S. GDP ($805B) and employ 10 percent of the U.S. workforce. If any other industrial sector of the economy were of this size, and this white, it would not be acceptable. It may be hard to get your board members to expand their social networks, so unless your organization doesn’t mind poaching board members from other organizations, new mechanisms must be developed to grow the available pool of diverse board members. One example in Los Angeles is the African American Board Leadership Institute (aabli.org/aabli/), whose mission is to “strengthen nonprofit, public and private organizations through recruiting, preparing, and placing African Americans on a broad range of governing boards.” Established in 2011, this local effort is one example of a proactive solution to this issue. There are other board development programs across the country, but few specifically tackle racial diversity. The best benefit of actively recruiting individuals from outside your social network is that you are growing your social network exponentially, bringing entirely new potential connections, donors, and insights to your organization. Think of every board member as a node of his or her own network, with its own hubs and constituents. Intra-network recruiting is what happens when a node reamericanorchestras.org
LEADING WITH INTENT Chair
90% Practices 80% ARace/ National IndexWhite of Nonprofit Board Ethnicity
On boards, people of color increased from 16% in 2010 to 20% in 2014. But 25% of boards remain all White.
People of Color
More than 65% of small and 75% of medium organizations have female CEOs, but only 37% of large organizations do.
Board members under 40 years of age increased from 14% in 2010 to 17% in 2014.
PEOPLE: BOARD COMPOSITION & STRUCTURE Figure 6. Importance of and Satisfaction with Diversity (Q3.1, 3.2 Chair; Q5.1, 5.2 CEO) How satisfied are you with your board’s current level of diversity? Chair Dissatisfied or Very Dissatisfied
Gender Persons with a Disability LGBTQ
Dissatisfied or Very Dissatisfied
LEADING WITH INTENT
To what extent would expanding diversity increase your ability to advance your mission? Chair
A National Index Not of Nonprofit Board Practices Important Some Extent
CEO Great Extent
Persons with a Disability
PEOPLE: BOARD COMPOSITION & STRUCTURE Figure 7: Functional Inclusion Practices (Q5.3, 7.1 CEO) 2012
Incorporated diversity into the organization’s core values
Modified organizational policies and procedures to be more inclusive
Have a written diversity statement
Actively recruited board members from diverse backgrounds
Discussed the values and benefits of expanding diversity of the board
Evaluated and modified recruitment efforts specifically to reach members with more diverse backgrounds
Conducted diversity training for staff
Conducted diversity training for board members
BoardSource’s governance index, “Leading with Intent: A National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices,” gathers information from chief executives and board chairs on their experiences in the boardroom, and reveals much about the composition of nonprofit boards, relative satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with the progress boards are making toward diversity, and the prevalence of inclusion practices. The above charts are from the “Leading with Intent” survey covering 2014; for more information, visit leadingwithintent.org. BoardSource has been collecting and analyzing trends in nonprofit board practices since 1994 through its Nonprofit Governance Index, which was recently reintroduced as “Leading with Intent.” (Charts used with permission; BoardSource retains the rights to “Leading with Intent” survey and data.)
League Governance and Diversity Resources cruits a member of his or her own hub to join the board. This methodology doesn’t bring in many new people to the board or the organization; based on the American Values Survey, individuals have only so many connections. When boards traditionally recruit out of their existing social networks (hubs and constituents), they limit the new connections the new board member can bring to the table, because many of the new recruit’s connections are
After you successfully get the first few diversity recruits onto your board, it becomes easier and easier to diversify. The League of American Orchestras offers multiple resources for orchestra board members concerning diversity. Through distance learning, seminars, peer-to-peer discussions, and other tools, the Noteboom Governance Center helps board members address the issues their organizations are facing now, while taking steps toward a stronger future. Other resources and information at the Noteboom Governance Center include articles and recommended reading, assessment tools, a guide to ethics, orchestra governance grants, webinars, and newly developed regional seminars for board chairs, orchestra CEOs, and development staff. The Diversity and Inclusion Resource Center provides League members with practical insight, advice, and a path to greater diversity and inclusion in every part of their organizations. Since many types of diversity bring value to the boardroom, Board Diversity in Action, a new assessment tool created by BoardSource, focuses on age (multi-generational), gender, and racial/ethnic diversity. It covers five areas to determine what phase of development a board is in with respect to diversity and inclusion: 1. Overview of diversity and inclusion 2. Perception and value of diversity 3. Policies and Practices 4. Recruitment Practices 5. Board Culture and Dynamics League members can register for a Diversity in Action Assessment Tool designed for board members at the discounted price of $99. For more information, visit the Noteboom Governance Center and the Diversity and Inclusion Center at americanorchestras.org and click on “Governance and Volunteerism.” The League’s Noteboom Governance Center is supported by leadership gifts from Richard and Kay Fredericks Cisek, The Clinton Family Fund, Marcia and John Goldman, and the Sargent Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by generous grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
already on the board or supporting the organization. They are recruiting hubs, not nodes. However, by bringing in “outsiders” (new nodes) to the board, you also get an entirely new social network (hubs and constituents) that will learn about your organization, go to your gala, and grow and sustain your organization. Active and aggressive recruitment of diverse candidates of any ilk to join your board is going to be fundamentally awkward at first, as it brings up national and historic tensions. Successful individuals who would make ideal board candidates and just happen to fulfill your diversity goals know that it’s one of the reasons that you are talking to them. Don’t tiptoe around it. The awkwardness lasts only for a short time, though, because after you successfully get the first few diversity recruits onto your board, it becomes easier and easier to diversify; the hubs and constituents of the diverse nodes you recruit themselves contain higher levels of diversity that you can now more easily tap. TIVONI DEVOR, MBA, has spent his career in the nonprofit sector. While working for diverse institutions in many roles, Devor has developed earned-revenue models and designed strategic partnerships. Devor is currently the manager of Partnerships and Outreach at the Urban Affairs Coalition, where he helps social entrepreneurs leverage fiscal sponsorship to jumpstart their nonprofit endeavors.
A GREAT FUNDRAISING EVENT FOR YOUR ORCHESTRA
This FUNDRAISING GALA will attract audiences of all ages — fans of cinema, dance, silent film, and theater. Guests are encouraged to come in costume, and the entire evening is perfected by the gourmet gala dinner that follows the live performance. Delight dedicated fans and win new subscribers. Your Orchestra performs the music for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Our live performance is done in front of the Orchestra.
Raise funds with this unique event!
• Interactive dance performance from contemporary to carnival! • Live original orchestral score played by your home orchestra! • Featuring interactive projected backdrop “scenery” and side screens with dialogue, just like the title cards in classic silent films.
Learn more at: astradancetheatre.com/ symphony.
Voted “Best New Theatre Company” in Los Angeles, 2 years running, by LA Weekly. Specializes in immersive, full service fundraising events. Tailored to fit your stage, our dancers and the orchestra enthrall the audience in shared space. ADT specializes in immersive, full-service fundraising events.
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Orchestral Musicians: “Evangelists for Our Art” or “Violin Operators”? Should orchestras reconsider their business and artistic models by offering musicians greater involvement in programming, education, fundraising? Should orchestral musicians expand their roles to include serving as passionate advocates for their art form? A British musician offers her own perspective.
write in support of orchestras. In the United Kingdom we boast many world-class orchestras that regularly punch well above their weight internationally. Our orchestras are held up as examples of good practice around the world, principal conductor positions are fiercely contested, and critics regularly affirm the true qualities we are lucky enough to have in abundance. However, simply discussing our qualities is tantamount to only practicing the pieces we can already play, ignoring those trickier passages and not raising the bar to challenge ourselves further. In recent years there has been much evidence and talk of orchestras in economic crisis, much discussion of the inherent structural deficit within our sector, the “cost disease” that produces the conundrum that it can sometimes be cheaper to pay an orchestra to stay at home than to actually perform! With declining public investment in the arts, the fundraising departments in our great orchestras are now running flat out, in order that our institutions have even a hope of standing still. This of course begs the question: do we need orchestras? And possibly even more uncomfortably: do we need full-time, fullsize, “employed” orchestras?
Why not use musicians as and when we need them? As and when we can find work for them? As and when we can find an audience that is interested in listening? There is, after all, no shortage of fabulous musical talent. This way of working would be financially less of a burden and possibly ensure that these flagship institutions live to fight another day. This is misguided thinking. The primary function of an orchestra is to be an evangelist for the art of music. We have the wealth of our huge inter-
We may need to call our orchestras “businesses,” to call the art form a “sector,” to have business plans and strategic visioning—but we must never lose sight of our primary functions: to excite, to challenge, to entertain, to illuminate, to provoke. national heritage behind us and an even more exciting potential wealth of new music to look forward to. We may need to call our orchestras “businesses,” to call the art form a “sector,” to have business plans and strategic visioning—but we must never lose sight of our primary functions:
Richard Battye, River Studios
by Catherine Arlidge
Catherine Arlidge, violinist with England’s City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
to excite, to challenge, to entertain, to illuminate, to provoke. No musician ends up in an orchestra by accident. Our players are there because they have excelled throughout a hugely demanding training and they continue to excel night after night, with immense drive, dedication, and a healthy dose of self-doubt. I know that on top of what our musicians already do, within our orchestras there is a huge pool of untapped talent. Our musicians have the potential to be passionate advocates, potential to develop in public speaking, in educational roles, in artistic visioning, in arranging and composing, in progressing the art form—in essence, they have the potential to lead from within. At present there is a lid on that talent. What would happen if we gently lifted that lid? Could we not include them more, challenge them more, support them more? symphony
Maintaining a stable “player body” is essential to an orchestra’s identity, its sound, its style, its individual qualities. At the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, where I am sub-principal second violin, in the past three years we have had five musicians who have passed their 40-year anniversary of “membership” of the CBSO. Of our players, 59 percent have been with the CBSO for over ten years. And we are not alone; this is not untypical. Orchestras must surely have the most stable workforce of any business model—a powerful reason to invest in that workforce. Like great conductors and soloists, if our musicians are supported and challenged well, we could have a resource of excellence, where true distinction could be handed down from generation to generation. The Changing Scene
As orchestras diversify in styles of music they play, in audiences they play to, in how they use digital technology, in cross-arts collaborations, in increased work off the concert platform, in connecting to new audiences and funders, we are asking ever more of our players. So are our musicians truly “members” of their orchestras—do they share the vision of their employers and managements, who are asking more and more of them? And do employers and managers articulate that vision powerfully enough? In many instances would it not be more accurate to say our musicians are instrument-operating employees (in the case of contract orchestras) or instrument-operating freelancers with one main income stream (in the case of self-governed orchestras)? Provocative, I know! I suggest that in many instances our players, boards, and managements are not truly united behind the idea that we all need to be evangelists for our art. I have studied with fascination the literature discussing the pros and cons of governed and self-governed orchestras. I have experienced both structures in operation from the inside and out. And there are great examples of both models at americanorchestras.org
work, where the balance among musicians, music director, management team, board, audiences, and investors are finely tuned yet flexible. However, could there be a third way, a “John Lewis” vision of our U.K. orchestras following the example of the successful John Lewis retail chain, where players and staff are employed and are members? There may not be profits to share, but there would be a vision to share and a collective sense of ownership. If we could combine the best qualities of both orchestral governance models, we could create a structure that serves our art better. Looking to the future, one key factor of sustained solvency for our orchestras will be “invest-ability.” Creating a workforce of evangelists is surely the most effective way to inspire investment. Imagine our U.K. orchestras as 90-plus individual
Like great conductors and soloists, if our musicians are supported and challenged well, we could have a resource of excellence. cultural entrepreneurs—unique musicians who, with their own distinctive voices, challenge each other to find an ever-more compelling vision for their art! In a “John Lewis” model, our governed orchestras could benefit from empowering the players to take more responsibility and artistic ownership. The self-governed could benefit from contracts that deliver reliable salaries, pensions, and sick pay, while still retaining the leading voice in artistic matters. An offer that delivers all these things would also allow us to recruit and retain some of the best U.K. and international talent. To ensure our orchestras are evangelists throughout their structures, employers may need to relax the desire for control, properly including and empowering musicians at all levels—really hearing them, not just listening—and making their individual artistic well-being essential to the success of every orchestra. For players it will mean increased responsibility, greater buy-in to the company vision, greater flex-
ibility—all hand-in-hand with maintaining the highest standards of playing on the platform. It is a big ask. And it may be tricky. But in that change process, for every negative there is a positive: • More and more is being demanded of our orchestral players vs. there are more and more opportunities for them. • “I didn’t join an orchestra to play in schools” vs. engaging with new audiences is often a far more rewarding and meaningful musical encounter than performing on a lauded concert platform. • “Our players aren’t interested in the biggest picture” vs. “How could we be more inclusive and persuasive with our vision?” • “There is no money to support this kind of vision” vs. “How can we use the creativity of our players to generate income and make us more invest-able?” If we are to change, for me that change is not about prolonged negotiation to change contracts, working credits, reduced contracts, or flexible work rules. The change is about governance and ownership as well as a more ideological change: what does it mean to be an orchestral musician? If we can all embrace the vision of being true evangelists for our art, then I firmly believe that as a sector we will be invincible. Classical music has endured for 400-plus years because it has something to say that is worth listening to. We need to ensure all our orchestras are telling its story in the best possible way. CATHERINE ARLIDGE is sub-principal second violin in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. A Fulbright Scholar and Masters graduate from the Eastman School of Music, she has worked as a violinist for 25 years. In 2013 she was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society and Association of British Orchestras’ Salomon Prize, which celebrates outstanding contributions of orchestral players to the musical life of the United Kingdom. She is currently a board member of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Association of British Orchestras.
Cuban Overtures: On the Road with the Minnesota Orchestra
ultural diplomacy is what the policy wonks call it. On the ground in Havana with the Minnesota Orchestra, Marilyn C. Nelson, the orchestra’s vice chair and tour underwriter, calls it love. There is no better way to describe the affection, admiration, generosity, appreciation, and sharing that took place between this impassioned orchestra and a joyous Cuban public. In an action-packed three days the orchestra gave two sold-out concerts at Teatro Nacional de Cuba, coached eager and admiring high school and college students, played a sideby-side concert with the Youth Orchestra of the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory, jammed with Cuban musicians into the wee hours in a night club, and performed
at the residence of Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Chief of Mission of the U.S. lnterests Section. The itinerary hardly does justice to the euphoria that typified each event and the beaming faces that lit up the entire tour. The promise of normalization following President Obama’s December 17 announcement made every interaction even more poignant, this being the first visit of a U.S. orchestra since that historic date. For Principal Trombone R. Douglas Wright, and no doubt many of his colleagues in the Minnesota Orchestra, the highlight of the tour was the interaction with Cuban students. An all-female trombone quartet from the Instituto Superior de Arte left him speechless, their performance being at such an accomplished level. Their fancy footwork made them even more
When the Minnesota Orchestra visited Havana this May, it became the first U.S. orchestra to perform in Cuba since the start of renewed diplomatic relations between the two countries. What does the visit say about the role of orchestras as cultural ambassadors? League President and CEO Jesse Rosen, who accompanied the orchestra on the May 13-17 tour, files a report. Jesse Rosen, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras
astonishing. Wendy Williams, the Minnesota Orchestra’s second flute, was initially frustrated with the language gap but then quickly adopted the language of smiles and hugs. As Music Director Osmo Vänskä explained, we learn by playing for each other. And he meant in both directions. Vänskä shared the podium at the side-by-side session with Cuban composer Guido López Gavilán, who taught the Minnesotans a rhythm that came to life not from a precise reading of the printed notes but from a more primal feeling of time. The exchanges continued as the Minnesotans handed off boxes of mouthpieces, strings, slide oil, and reeds to the students, most of whose instruments were in need of serious repair.
The Minnesota Orchestra on the tarmac in Havana in May.
A photo of the Minnesota Orchestra from its 1929 trip to Cuba, when it was still known as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. From left: violinist and personnel manager Max Schellner, music director Henri Verbrugghen, violinist Jenny Cullen, orchestra manager Arthur J. Gaines, trombonist Fred Molzahn, cellist Chris Erck and violinist Russell Barton.
The concert programs were cleverly designed to showcase music of the Americas (Caturla’s Danzón and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story) and, to fit the Russian theme of the Cubadisco festival, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite, also a nod to Cuba’s deep ballet tradition. The Beethoven Choral Fantasy united the orchestra with Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez and the National Chorus of Cuba, and the “Eroica” anchored the all-Beethoven program. Spontaneous performances of the Cuban and U.S. national anthems opened the second night’s concert, both works getting full-throated performances by the audience and orchestra, all on their feet and cheering at the end.
A trombone student at the Minnesota Orchestra’s brass seminar at Havana’s Instituto Superior de Arte, May 2015
The Minnesota musicians play like their lives are at stake, with urgency, immediacy, and drama. The string sound is deep and rich, woodwinds nimble, and brass dark and powerful while well-blended into the overall color. The principals had plenty of chances to shine and they were dazzling. It took guts to play a mambo in Cuba, its country of origin, and the Minnesota
Euphoria typified each event, and beaming faces lit up the entire tour.
percussion section more than held their own in Bernstein’s “Mambo” from West Side Story. The Minnesota Orchestra may seem unlikely ambassadors, having experienced a most undiplomatic sixteen-month lockout that ended a little over a year ago. But from all signs, that tear in their cultural fabric is mended with an unusually high esprit de corps among the musicians, board, and staff, all of whom could be seen together over meals, on the buses, and on the dance floor. For Kevin Smith, the Orchestra’s CEO and originator of the idea to tour Cuba, the orchestra is not only back, but they are committed to renewed focus on their artistry with more tours and recordings ahead.
Music Director Osmo Vänskä leads a sold-out concert by the Minnesota Orchestra at Havana’s Teatro Nacional de Cuba, May 2015.
The Minnesota Orchestra enjoys evening dinner outdoors at Cathedral Square in Old Havana
Marilyn Nelson astutely observed that great things can happen when attention goes to something larger than ourselves. There are many ingredients that go into the successful running of a major symphony orchestra, but these May days in Havana strongly indicate that standing for something or someone is not only the right thing to do, but it also electrifies the music-making and ramps up the satisfaction and joy. As policy leaders question the relevance of orchestras in serving basic human needs, I am more convinced
Minnesota Orchestra bassoonist Chris Marshall talks reeds and bassoon technique with his standmate from Amadeo Roldán Conservatory at a side-by-side session.
The Minnesota musicians play like their lives are at stake, with urgency, immediacy, and drama.
A Cuban violist works with Minnesota Orchestra violist Gareth Zehngut at a side-by-side session with Amadeo Roldán Conservatory students in Havana, Cuba.
While the Minnesota Orchestra’s Havana visit might herald a new era in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the Minnesota Orchestra had a lot of good news on the home front to share. On May 19, just a few days after returning from Cuba, the orchestra announced a new agreement with musicians that will increase weekly minimum salaries
than ever of the capacity of orchestras to improve lives and communities. The Minnesota Orchestra is an orchestra that matters. It merits our pride and creates the public value that earns arts groups and all nonprofit organizations the charitable tax policies that are their lifeblood. Associate Principal Flute Greg Milliren works with a student from Amadeo Roldán Conservatory.
Minnesota Orchestra Principal Trombone Doug Wright works with a young trombonist at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, May 2015. โผ Photos by: Travis Anderson
Minnesota Orchestra First Associate Concertmaster Susie Park with a violin student at a side-by-side session in partnership with Amadeo Roldรกn Conservatory in Havana, Cuba.
8.4 percent by mid-2020. Musicians and management had been discussing the contract since early 2015, and it was signed 21 months before the current contract is to expire—which says much about the collegial atmosphere that prevails at the orchestra these days. The contract increases the number of full-time musicians to 88 in the final year of the contract, from 84 in the 2016-17 season, and includes modified
work rules that permit more flexibility in schedules, tours, and engagement activities. The same day that the agreement with the musicians was announced, the Minnesota Orchestra broke the news that Music Director Osmo Vänskä had extended his contract through August 2019. Meanwhile, in the months following the Minnesota Orchestra tour, embassies opened in Havana and Washington, D.C.,
“ Working with Marcus Roberts is always filled with surprise. It gives me so much pleasure and the deep satisfaction of making music.” – Seiji Ozawa, Musical Director
and further cross-cultural exchanges are in the works: in July, it was announced that Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, will lead the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba in Havana this October. If further evidence were needed about the role of orchestras as cultural ambassadors, one need look no further than the extraordinary number of American youth orchestras that are visiting China this summer. This June and July alone, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of the USA, San Diego Youth Symphony, and Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra toured China, performing in multiple cities. What’s
The orchestra is committed to renewed focus on their artistry, with more tours and recordings ahead.
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noteworthy here is that these youth orchestras are not just presenting concerts, but carrying out side-by-side rehearsals and concerts with Chinese youth orchestras and similar engagement activities. And along with traditional Western repertoire, they are performing works by Chinese composers: the Santa Rosa Youth Orchestra played a piece by Beijing Symphony composer-in-residence Wang Xilian, and the National Youth Orchestra of the USA offered a world premiere by Tan Dun, whose works exemplify the blending of Eastern and Western musical traditions. This column originally appeared in the Huffington Post on May 20, 2015.
be Mo Lynn @marcusro e lmoor
Music Director Osmo Vänskä answers reporters’ questions at a Havana press conference.
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Reimagining the Orchestra Subscription Model A major new study by the League and Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm, provides a comprehensive, data-based analysis of trends in orchestra subscriptions—and offers strategies for revitalizing subscriptions to meet current expectations. by Heidi Waleson
hen Alan McIntyre and Namita Desai of the management consulting firm Oliver Wyman were asked to undertake a study of subscription trends for the League of American Orchestras, they knew what the concern was: anecdotal evidence across the field indicated that subscription sales were declining, particularly at larger orchestras. Indeed, subscriptions, once the cornerstone of all kinds of performing arts institutions, had been on shaky ground for at least a decade. But exactly how shaky was that ground—and why? And what could be done to reverse the trend? In “Reimagining the Orchestra Subscription Model,” a data-driven study conducted over eight months in partnership with the League, the Oliver Wyman team came up with some findings that surprised them. Yes, subscription revenues were indeed declining. But the main reason for the decline was not that fewer people are interested in classical music, but because the way in which subscriptions have traditionally been packaged and sold no longer meshes with how consumers like to purchase entertainment. Subscription, the researchers concluded, is still a
viable tool, but it needs to be rethought. If brought into line with more contemporary marketing practices, as pursued in other industries, subscriptions can appeal to contemporary consumers—connecting with those who have purchased concert tickets in the past and attracting those who have not.
A survey of orchestra attendees tested hypotheses about why subscription purchases were falling. For the most part, the cause was not dissatisfaction with the product.
“We’ve long noticed a lack of substantive research around this critical issue of subscriptions, and launched this study in order to better understand this landscape—and to seek strategies to help orchestras revitalize subscriptions,” says League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “Many of our members have shared concerned about drops in subscriptions, as audience members changed their buying patterns or were drawn to the myriad other entertainment options available now. Of course, some orchestras are doing quite well with traditional subscriptions,
but declines in subscriptions are occurring throughout the performing arts sector, not only at orchestras, and we knew we had to begin to examine this issue in a data-driven fashion in order to give our field the tools they need to counteract the trend.” The “Reimagining the Orchestra Subscription Model” study recalls a previous orchestra research project by Oliver Wyman: the Audience Growth Initiative, or “Churn Study,” which focused on barriers that keep first-time classical music ticket buyers from becoming regular concertgoers. Results from the Audience Growth Initiative were unveiled at the League’s 2008 Conference, and Symphony reported on the application of the findings at orchestras that implemented recommendations of the churn study. “Industry-wide, data-based studies like these are the kinds of initiatives that the League, working with partners like Oliver Wyman, can undertake to help the field,” says Rosen. Several members of the Oliver Wyman team worked on this study. “We are grateful to the entire Oliver Wyman team for the tremendous amount of pro bono time, resources, and effort they dedicated to this initiative, and we can’t thank them enough.” Building a Fact Base
The first task for the subscription-study team was to investigate the existing data. Using the League of American Orchestras’ annual Orchestra Statistical Report, which gathers and analyzes data provided by League member orchestras in multiple operational areas, they undertook the first industry-wide, longitudinal study of ten years of data on revenue and sales trends. The team also used transactional data on 4 million customers from 45 orchestras of all sizes to look at a decade of purchasing trends and patron behavior. Although the team was able to build symphony
determines the program mix and dates, were down by 17% over the ten years, but customized subscriptions were up by 67%. Fewer than half of the orchestras that provided data offered customized subscriptions, but across the subset of those that did, 26% of Alan McIntyre, a senior partner at Oliver Wyman, their subscriptions were customand Namita Desai, a consultant at Oliver Wyman, ized. What is more, new patrons the management consulting firm that conducted the new subscription study for the League of American tended to choose customized Orchestras. packages. For McIntyre, this was a key what they believe to be the largest reposidiscovery. “I was surprised that the growth tory of data concerning the American in customized subscription was as strong orchestra audience, they had to focus on as it was,” says McIntyre, a senior partner key factors affecting subscriptions in order at Oliver Wyman and a member of the to draw meaningful conclusions. Other League’s Board of Directors. “This sugfactors such as the experience within a gests a real shift in buying patterns. It also concert hall, repertoire selection, pricing suggests that the subscription model is not optimization, the ideal hall size and seadead, it just needs to be rethought.” Desai, son length, donor strategy, and orchestra a consultant at mission and vision were only studied Oliver Wyman, adds, when they intersected directly with sub“When we started scription issues. the work, we found The big picture confirmed the team’s that the orchestras original expectations. Overall ticket treated subscriptions volumes had declined from 2005 to 2014, as one product with with larger drops in subscriptions (-3.6%) different flavors— than in single tickets (-2.1%). Subscripfull, mini, fixed, flex, tion revenues were also declining, having ‘Choose Your Own,’ fallen by 1.8% from 2005 to 2014. The holiday, etc. The subscription revenue decline was concencustomized subtrated in larger orchestras; smaller ones scription was viewed actually showed some growth. McIntyre as a very small part believes that is because the smaller subof the space.” When scriptions found in orchestras with shorter the researchers seasons are an easier sell today than the broke customized much bigger packages of orchestras with subscriptions out of year-round performances. Some of the the whole, however, revenue decline had been masked: because a different pattern of ticket price increases, actual overall emerged, which revenue had increased in the last several indicated that the years, but there were fewer people in different types of the concert halls, each one paying more subscriptions are trumoney than before (top chart, right). ly separate products But in a surprising finding, one kind of with distinct value subscription product was actually growing: propositions (bottom the customized subscription, in which right chart). buyers can put together their own series McIntyre and from available programs, as well as choose Desai caution that their own dates. Traditional, “curated” because the customsubscriptions, in which the orchestra ized subscription is americanorchestras.org
a fairly recent phenomenon, they based their extrapolations about its future and potential on only a few years of data. That said, they project that if customized subscriptions continue on their current robust trajectory, by 2017 customized subscribers will be one-third of all subscribers, and traditional curated subscribers will decline by 50%. Understanding the Drivers
The next phase of the study focused on figuring out the cause of these trends, and how orchestras can use that information in adapting their operations. The team conducted a survey of 4,000 people who had attended an orchestra concert in the last five years, asking questions about their reasons for purchasing and for allowing their subscriptions to lapse, and gauging their interest in unconventional features.
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Next, they conducted a study that simulated purchase decisions, using several variables. In this study, the 1,000 “purchasers” were people chosen from a larger pool of market research subjects who described themselves as classical-music listeners. This orchestra attendee survey allowed the team to test several hypotheses about why subscription purchases were falling overall, and why single-ticket buyers were not converting into subscription purchasers. They found that for the most part, the cause was not dissatisfaction with the product. Survey respondents said that they liked their orchestras, and were satisfied with the quality of their offerings. Nor were they transferring their purchasing dollars to other entertainment options. The number one reason cited for lapsing or not converting was price. The second was flexibility, and the inability to commit to dates far in advance. In 19% of the cases, the reason for lapsing had to do with programming, which was significant. However, the larger causes for dissatisfaction were more practical. Armed with that information, the researchers constructed a simulated buying exercise, with roughly 1,000 potential consumers making over 10,000 purchase decisions between various offers, to test what kinds of variables influence buying decisions. The results suggested that orchestras need to bring their subscription model into line with more contemporary ways of approaching customers. Key changes include customization—allowing the customers more freedom to choose their own programs, since more than half of the orchestras surveyed do not offer any kind of “flex” product at all, and diversifying the kinds of packages offered, i.e., adding small curated series and large customized ones. Tackling the Price Barrier
To address the price barrier, the responses suggested that orchestras need to improve the value proposition of their current offerings. This could include a monthly payment schedule rather than a single, large up-front payment as well as automatic yearly renewal to reduce subscriber attriamericanorchestras.org
tion. Introducing flexibility with buy-nowchoose-later offerings can also improve the perceived value of the package and address scheduling issues, which are among the top reasons for attrition and reluctance to trade up. The study’s investigation of price—and audience resistance to it—uncovered information that suggests the need for change is particularly urgent. “The rise in ticket prices has cushioned the impact of declining attendance on the bottom line,” McIntyre says. “But this means that there are fewer people in the halls, and that they are paying more than they used to. Our simulations suggested that we are now reaching the breaking point with regard to
“I was surprised that the growth in customized subscription was as strong as it was,” says Alan McIntyre. “This suggests that the subscription model is not dead, it just needs to be rethought.” price, and if the prices rise much further, people will start walking away in big numbers. The data suggest that for average ticket prices we are within a few dollars of that point.” Orchestras that might take heart from the ten-year data, which shows that the subscription decline is leveling off, and that revenue is up, should beware. “If you think that you can just keep hanging on, increasing your prices a little more, you need to know that the tradeoff breaks down at some point,” McIntyre says. “One other piece of data is that for people who are orchestra subscribers, their orchestra spend is now over 50% of their arts-andentertainment wallet. That doesn’t leave a lot of headroom.” There is, however, some good news. McIntyre and Desai say that the research suggests that there is actually more demand for classical music than is exhibited in current concert-buying patterns. “The potential audience is a lot bigger than the actual audience,” McIntyre says. “People are listening to classical music. They are just not paying money to sit in a hall and listen to it live.”
Attracting those potential concertgoers involves changing the subscription product and tailoring outreach and acquisition strategies for Millennials (those born between 1980 and the mid-2000s). Methods include expanding the use of social media, apps and “bring-a-friend” programs and implementing online recommendation tools, as Netflix and Amazon do. In fact, the team found that Millennials are less price-sensitive than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations, indicating that discounting (one of the primary outreach strategies to this cohort) may be leaving money on the table. Millennials are used to paying premium prices for live rock and pop music, and they view classical music as a premium product where they should expect to pay for excellence. An even more effective approach today— both for attracting new acquisitions and for keeping existing ones—is to appeal to the modern consumer’s desire for connectedness with new types of membership programs that are separate from transactions an individual might have with the orchestra, yet offer a feeling of belonging. Orchestras have long pursued such strategies with donors, offering them special perks and events. McIntyre and Desai suggest that such a strategy should be extended to include subscription ticket buyers, offering tiered options that confer a sense of exclusivity. The Emotional Connection
Would strategies that work for Netflix and American Express translate to orchestras? “In orchestras, the level of engagement with the audience is low,” McIntyre says. “If you are a subscriber, you get a brochure in the mail in April or May, you check a box, write a check, and send it back. Later in the summer, your tickets arrive, and you’re done. There’s no other
Subscription-Model Webinar Stay tuned for details about an upcoming webinar by the League and Oliver Wyman that examines “Reimagining the Orchestra Subscription Model.”
real contact. No one asks, ‘Did you enjoy the concert? Or not? Would you like to come to something similar?’ Compare that take-it-or-leave-it model—in which there is no real dialogue, and no attempt to learn about the audience—to modern marketing techniques that ask, ‘Let me help you.
Why don’t you rate what you bought on Amazon so I can give you better recommendations?’ This kind of engagement, which asks you to react to what you’ve seen, puts technology in the service of the transaction. It gets you to buy more— from Amazon. In this way, you get audience members to use the orchestra as the way
they get music.” The recommendations about membership programs, McIntyre says, respond to the contemporary consumer’s desire to feel an emotional connection, to feel part of a community, and to have a sense that they are getting something special. “There’s an
appetite for a sense of belonging,” he says. “People want to be told they are special, that they are a platinum member. Millennials and Gen Xers don’t see themselves as traditional donors, but they do want to be part of a community and are willing to pay to get that sense of connection. Orchestras need to make them feel attached to the organization beyond the concert, to be part of a group that gets special treatment. Perhaps they get member lounges, meet-and-greets with artists, or digital downloads of concerts that are only available to members. People are willing to pay for those things, which all enhance the core concert experience.” The data indicate that putting all of these ideas into practice—diversifying
Learn More For more complete information, visit the Knowledge Center at americanorchestras.org.
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available subscription combinations in terms of size and customizability, improving the value proposition of current offerings, and creating new membership programs—could significantly improve revenue, and potentially increase the overall number of patrons by up to 20%. Outreach to Millennials offers additional potential for gain (chart, opposite page). The whole picture posits a different relationship between orchestras and their customers. As McIntyre puts it, “One way to look at the traditional subscription model is that it’s paternalistic, as in, ‘Let us tell you what’s good for you.’ ” The modern consumer, by contrast, wants to feel involved, as though he or she is making choices, but with appropriate guidance. It is possible to create that environment, even in the context of an orchestra’s season, which is a fixed entity. One method that McIntyre suggests is “educational curation. For example, ‘Here’s a program of six
concerts, and there’s a theme that connects them—all American composers, say, or a mini-festival; there’s a reason for buying these six programs.’ That’s as opposed to a subscription that is whatever is playing on Friday night, because that is orchestra night—though there is still scope for that type of schedule.” McIntyre stresses that it is extremely important for orchestras to view the findings of the report in the context of their own community. “One market might be more robust than another,” he says. “You have to think about where you are with respect to trends, and how to customize the information for your situation. One size does not fit all.” When McIntyre and Desai presented their research at the League Conference in May of this year, they found that attendees at the standing-room-only session were interested to see the data and understood the need to move in a new direction. But
Special thanks to the working group of orchestra executives and to Stefan Read, Adam Mehring, and Kristen Nehls, who formed the rest of the Oliver Wyman team.
they also expressed anxiety about how it was possible to change without facing big losses in the short term. “It’s a classic innovator’s dilemma,” McIntyre says. “You know the old product isn’t working that well. But if you change, you lose revenue in the short term. You want to change when you’ve got a little leeway, not when you are in a panic situation and you have already lost your audience. Now is the time to create a new model and transition gradually. You don’t want the old to collapse and then try and create something new.” HEIDI WALESON writes about the performing arts and is the opera critic for The Wall Street Journal.
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by Chester Lane
OPEN At some orchestra concerts, the people to watch may be the ones who arenâ€™t playing or singing, but enhancing the stage picture with artistic talents from another realm.
Cirque Musica’s Veronica Gan hits the high notes in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto at a Midland-Odessa Symphony concert led by Christopher Walls, as Cirque artists perform a balancing act below. Inset photo: Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops in a Cirque de la Symphonie concert at Symphony Hall, May 15, 2014; photo by Stu Rosner.
hat is it that makes an audience want to sit through a movie or read a book but not be so interested in a concert?” asks Dan Kamin, reflecting on his role as a theatrical performer in the symphony world. “I realized the answer was that in a movie or a book—in any kind of dramatic storytelling—you’re always asking what’s going to happen next. That’s what drives you through the experience. It’s inherent in every piece of music, but in many symphony concerts today everything is out of context. We hear the overture, but not the opera. We listen to the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story but don’t see the show. We’re hearing Handel’s Water Music, but we’re not floating down the river with people serving cocktails.” In a symphony concert featuring Dan Kamin, “what’s going to happen next” is the compelling question. As a mime and actor, Kamin neither plays an instrument nor sings onstage, but he enlivens masterworks from the classical canon—RimskyKorsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, Grieg’s “Hall of the Mountain King,” the Waltz and Polka from Stravinsky’s Orchestral Suite No. 2, Britten’s Simple Symphony, the “Swan” and “Elephant” from Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals—with his comedic antics, and with scripts that bring the conductor into the action, both on and off the podium. Kamin manages to command the stage visually and/or verbally, recasting the concert as theater, while simultaneously drawing attention to high-quality symphonic music and to the orchestra itself. Concerts that present orchestral music using guest artists with theatrical, narrative, and other extramusical talents are a special breed. In education and family concerts, they are designed as teaching opportunities and include collaborations with such organizations as Magic Circle Mime Co. and a troupe called Really Inventive Stuff, which bills itself as “animateurs & purveyors of exceptional storytelling.” Another educational offering is Classical Kids Live, which visually introduces children to the lives and music of Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, and Handel, and whose latest show, “Gershwin’s Magic Key,” debuted in April with the National Symphony Orchestra. This article, however, looks at concerts in which the non-musicians onstage are more in the service of entertainment and audience engagement, providing visual focus to the concert through activities that complement the music. Such shows include not only what Kamin calls his “Comedy Concertos,” but concerts in which eye-popping circus acts choreographed to live symphonic music are performed in front of or even above the orchestra. Yet another form of extramusical talent is now cropping up in orchestral concerts: an onstage painter whose artwork
is inspired by the musical selections on the program, and takes shape in real time as the audience looks on. Buffoon Soloist
“I joke about being the ‘buffoon soloist,’ ” says Kamin. “But you can’t upstage the orchestra.” He says that when the orchestra is playing and he is clowning around, he’s not competing with the music but “doing something to physically react to or embody it; I’m making the music tangible.” His current orchestra shows include “The Lost Elephant,” which was originally commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for its children’s concerts in the early 1990s, and which Kamin performs in partnership with actress Susan Chapek except in places where the script must be rendered by a native speaker. (At a concert with the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, for example, it was the conductor and a Chinese actress who spoke, with Kamin uttering a few words in pidgin Chinese.) Another show, “The Classical Clown,” utilizes Kamin’s skills as a mime and gives all the lines to the conductor. In “Charlie Chaplin at the Symphony,” the first half of the concert is an abbreviated version of “The Classical Clown”; the second half is a screening of two of Chaplin’s early silent films, Easy Street and The Immigrant, accompanied by the orchestra in tailor-made contemporary scores by
Mime/actor Dan Kamin mock-battles West Virginia Symphony Music Director Grant Cooper in a “Charlie Chaplin at the Symphony” concert, whose second half features Cooper’s own scores for two Chaplin films.
Grant Cooper, who often conducts the show himself. The films are introduced by Kamin, a Chaplin expert who has authored two books on the legendary moviemaker and master of silent comedy. Because the two-part “Charlie Chaplin at the Symphony” is actually a sophisticated look at the art of mime, and Easy Street and The Immigrant deal with serious issues, it’s presented as a pops offering, not a children’s show. Concerts like “The Lost Elephant” and “The Classical Clown” require significant non-musical effort on the part of the con-
At the Cleveland Orchestra's “Haunted Orchestra” concert last October, “buffoon soloist” Dan Kamin interacted with kids to Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours. Perry So led the concert.
ductor. Daniel Hege, music director of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, is “strong at this kind of thing,” says WSO Executive Director Donald Reinhold, who engaged Kamin for a week of “Classical Clown” young people’s concerts plus “Charlie Chaplin at the Symphony” on Popular Classics concerts. For kids, Reinhold says, what Kamin brings is more “edutainment” than education, but it’s valuable in that it “introduces them to the sounds of the orchestra. For the adults, it’s an evening of light entertainment.” In a “Classical Clown” concert by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in May, on its Children’s Corner family series, all of the lines were delivered in French by the Canadian guest conductor, Marc David. “What I find really interesting about this program is that the repertoire is all classical,” David says, “music that these young audiences will probably hear in concert series when they become adults, and they’re hearing it in a context where there’s visual support to keep them interested. I got quite a bit of feedback after ‘Classical Clown,’ with some people saying it was the best concert the Children’s Corner series has had in the last few years.” Conductor David Amado, who did Kamin’s show “The Haunted Orchestra” during his early years as music director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, and more recently brought Kamin to the DSO for “The Lost Elephant,” says that with such shows “the conductor is usually the straight man. He’s trying to do a concert, but keeps getting interrupted by this thing from the outside. It creates an alternate context that keeps infringing and getting in the way. It’s especially effective with kids—they don’t want to feel like they are the alternate context—and it works for adults too, for people who aren’t entirely familiar with a symphony concert, don’t want to be the person who claps in the wrong place or somehow stands out. Dan takes that pressure away, because Dan is that guy. Suddenly everyone is comfortable.” In “The Lost Elephant,” Amado says, “There are a fair number of lines to learn. But I’m comfortable with this kind of thing, actually really enjoy it. What’s great about Dan’s programs is that the music is generally familiar. That provides an element of mental relief after you’ve been doing all those lines—it’s not like you’re trying to symphony
conduct Stockhausen and also act.” Do Kamin’s stage antics—dodging an oversized “bee” that has emerged from a flowerpot in Flight of the Bumblebee; scratching his back with a baton in time to the Beethoven scherzo he’s “conducting”—draw attention away from the music? “I think they add to it,” Amado says. “They provide context for the music. With kids, we’re not just exposing them to this music but to the concert narrative. That’s an extremely important thing for them to witness.”
Cirque de la Symphonie’s Vladimir Tsarkov juggles rings at a February 2015 Allentown Symphony Orchestra concert led by Music Director Diane Wittry.
Must a concert of high-quality music have something visually exciting or amusing or provocative happening onstage to be appealing? “Classical music aficionados might say it’s unnecessary,” says the Wichita Symphony’s Reinhold. “But I think that for sustainability, and for building a consortium of audiences, we need to appeal at times to people who are visually oriented.” Reinhold has witnessed firsthand the audience appeal of watching highly skilled circus artists perform onstage with a symphony orchestra, in daredevil acts closely choreographed to the music. In 2014 he engaged Cirque de la Symphonie, a production company and circus troupe that is now celebrating its tenth anniversary, for two Popular Classics subscription concerts and a standalone Bluejeans concert. “We also did six performances in an abbreviated version for our young people’s concerts,” says Reinhold. “With the children we didn’t do any of the aerial acts, because they require pullers”—Cirque de la Symphonie aerialists are lifted by hand, not with a machine—“and that would have been too expensive. But we gave them all of the floor acts. It was a tremendous success: six soldout shows for more than 12,000 children. With the other three performances we exceeded 5,100—far more than our normal classical attendance. It made quite a lot of money, and also brought in a lot more firsttime patrons than we normally get. “On the basis of that,” Reinhold continues, “we decided there was an endless market for this kind of thing, so in 201415 we brought in performers from Cirque Musica”—a second company, launched about five years ago by Stephen Cook, americanorchestras.org
president of The Cooking Group—“for a different look: different kinds of acts, a different perspective. Some of their music is written specifically for them and is quite well done. That show was also popular.” To a large extent, Cirque de la Symphonie and Cirque Musica dictate the repertoire for these concerts, but for any given circus act the orchestra may have several musical alternatives. In June, for example, Cirque de la Symphonie’s gold-painted strongmen Jarek and Derek (aka Jaroslaw Marciniak and Dariusz Wronski) concluded their Boston Pops program with a Herculean balancing act choreographed to the Bach-Stokowski Toccata and Fugue in D minor; on the Wichita Symphony’s
2014 program, the duo’s equally majestic accompaniment was Sibelius’s Finlandia. Programs are designed so the orchestra can shine on its own in certain works. Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart opened his program without circus performers, with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, and began the second half with an orchestraonly rendition of the “Carousel Waltz” by Richard Rodgers; also performed without Cirque acts were David Raksin’s theme from Laura and the Pops’ own orchestral arrangement of a Frank Sinatra standard, David Mann’s “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” Cirque de la Symphonie’s floor acts provide opportunities for impromptu interactions between the circus artists and the musicians or spectators. At the Boston Pops concert I attended in June, Vladimir Tsarkov and Elena Tsarkova performed a “disappearing jacket” trick on an unwitting audience member, to the “Dance of the Little Swans” from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Diane Wittry, music director of Pennsylvania’s Allentown Symphony Orchestra, says the jacket trick is often done on the maestro. “Sometimes they actually disable the conductor,” she says. “That’s part of the joke—that the orchestra doesn’t really need a conductor. But they’d never tried it with a woman conductor, and the trick requires a tuxedo jacket.” So for this Allentown Symphony concert, it was the principal cellist who became the “victim.” Orchestra Iowa, in Cedar Rapids, brought in Cirque Musica this past May for a concert led by Music Director Tim Hankewich, who found it both musically rewarding and technically challenging for the orchestra. “It’s really difficult, especially for orchestras of our size, to find music for pops programs where the symphony is an important if not equal partner to what’s going on onstage,” Hankewich says. “With a lot of programs the orchestra is just window-dressing. To find a program that can appeal to both symphony lovers and novices—to build loyalty and create new audiences—is very difficult. In my view, Cirque Musica fit the bill perfectly.” Was it nerve-wracking for him to conduct the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with “at least two people” (as he recalls) suspended over the orchestra? Or to watch Cirque Musica violinist Veronica Gan perform the Tchaikovsky Concerto as she’s
lifted twenty feet into the air? “I was blissfully ignorant,” Hankewich laughs. “That was all happening behind me or above my head. It was spectacular for the orchestra, although due to the difficulty of the music it was a test for their concentration.” Bill Allen, Cirque de la Symphonie’s executive director and producer, says he spends about 80 percent of his time choosing the music. “I match Cirque artists to the music more than I do the music to the artists. We do full works, except for a few things like Capriccio espagnol, where it’s just parts 4 and 5. With Boléro and Firebird Suite, I might edit it down to eight and a half minutes. But I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. I feel a sobering responsibility not to fool around with somebody’s masterpiece.” Allen has confidence in his ability to rig just about any concert hall for the aerial acts. Dennis Alves, director of artistic planning at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, says the BSO’s Symphony Hall is “one of the most challenging halls in the country” in which to do that. “Most halls are to some
Aerialists from Cirque de la Symphonie perform with the Wichita Symphony in 2014 under Music Director Daniel Hege.
extent multi-purpose, but ours was built purely as a concert venue. One reason we didn’t bring in Cirque de la Symphonie before last year was that we wondered if it could be done well here. But our technical people finally determined that we were indeed capable of flying the show. We put
up a superstructure.” For Cirque de la Symphonie’s May 2014 performance in Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops under Lockhart, “we kind of went in with our fingers crossed,” Alves says. “But it couldn’t have been more successful. The Cirque de la Symphonie people knew exactly what
they were doing, and the orchestra trusted them immediately.” The company made its second appearance on the Pops’ Symphony Hall season this year, and performed with them again in August at Tanglewood. “What’s great about this show,” says Lockhart, “is the ease of putting it together. For the standard repertoire, they choreograph to a specific recording, therefore a specific tempo. They send a tape in advance. I compare it against our materials, make any necessary changes, and learn their tempos. But outside of that, basically we play the piece and the coordination comes from their end.” And how was this intrusion into the orchestra’s performing space greeted by the people making the music? “The first time we did it,” says Lockhart, “I think there was about five minutes where the musicians were apprehensively looking upwards. But this year everybody couldn’t wait for them to come back. I have rarely seen a program so enthusiastically greeted by the orchestra—because of the quality of what’s going on above and in front of them, and because all we had to do was play great music. The biggest challenge for me in conducting this is getting people’s attention back after their sixteen-bar rest. It’s obviously very stimulating—I’m the only one who doesn’t get a good view of the show.”
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A Brush with the Music
“Watching paint dry” is a standard metaphor for tedium. But what if the paint is being applied in full view of an audience, by a brush moving to the music and creating, in real time, a visual representation of what everyone is hearing? That was the scene last May when Dan Dunn, a Houston-based portraitist, illustrator, and “speed painter,” came to Jones Hall for the world premiere of “The Paintjam Concert Experience”: three Houston Symphony concerts led by Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski on the orchestra’s pops series. “The orchestra was very far back on the stage, because we needed about fifteen feet of space across the downstage area,” says Lesley Sabol, the Houston Symphony’s director of popular programming. “We angled Dan’s paintings so the audience could see them and the artwork could be caught on camera in the best view possible. We sent him recordings ahead of time to make sure his timings would line up with americanorchestras.org
Jami Greenberg, President
firstname.lastname@example.org 646.504.8084 41
Speed painter Dan Dunn with the Houston Symphony and Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski at the world premiere of “The Paintjam Concert Experience,” May 2015
the repertoire. During the concert he was mostly painting, but he would sometimes turn to the audience. Specific brushstrokes were choreographed in time to the music.” Dunn’s canvases gave concrete expression to such musical selections as “The Great Westerns Suite,” an arrangement by Jeff Tyzik; music from “The Sound of Music” (Richard Rodgers/Robert Russell Bennett); Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite; and Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator film score. But it wasn’t just paint that Dunn was pushing around onstage: “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Freddie
Mercury (of the British rock band Queen) inspired him to fashion a work of sand art. Dunn’s onstage apparatus for that, Sabol says, was a combination of light table and overhead projector. “He puts sand on the table and uses his fingers to draw pictures with the light. The design doesn’t get preserved—it’s kind of like what you do with an Etch-a-Sketch—but people really liked watching him do it.” What did get preserved were Dunn’s paintings, and audience members were invited to bid on them in the live auctions that
followed each of the three evening performances, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Houston Symphony. Aside from raising more than $14,000 for the orchestra, Sabol says, the auctions had the effect of “capturing the emotional energy of the concerts and inviting people to take home a little part of history—a tangible part of what their orchestra had created.” While Dunn had speed-painted to music before, he’d never done it with an orchestra. One organization, The National Symphony Orchestra, has already engaged Dunn for a pair of family concerts next April, and Dunn’s agent has been talking up his work with other orchestras. Does “The Paintjam Experience” have legs as a new form of artistic synergy in the concert world? Could it work in a concert of serious repertoire, with a master painter showing us, in twelve minutes, what he thinks of The Chairman Dances by John Adams or, in fourteen, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s monumental Russian Easter Overture? Stay tuned. CHESTER LANE is senior editor of Symphony.
The productions of Cirque Musica CLIENT: THE COOKING GROUP
ASSIGNMENT: CIRQUE MUSICA: HOLIDAY
ROUND: FINAL CONCEPT: 1
2016 - 2017 SYMPHONY ROSTER A Night of Symphonic Rock | Blockbuster Broadway | Brenda Russell Cirque Musica presents Crescendo Cirque Musica presents Heroes & Villains Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular Cash’d Out-Tribute to Johnny Cash | Eclipse | Engelbert Humperdinck with Symphony Faithfully-A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Journey | Full Moon Fever - A Tribute to Tom Petty | Kenny G with Symphony | Landslide- A Tribute to the Music of Fleetwood Mac | Mandy Barnett-A Tribute to Patsy Cline | Macy Gray | Mark Verabian Mercy Me Holidays | Music of the Knight: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Elton John, and Sir Paul McCartney | A Night of Symphonic Rock | One-The Power of Unity Peter Cetera | Randy Bachman’s Symphonic Overdrive | ReImagined-The Music of the Beatles | REWIND-Celebrating the Music of the 80s | The Spy Who Loved Me with Sheena Easton | Starship | Starlets - The Women of Song | Stayin Alive-One Night of the Bee Gees The King-The Music of Elvis | The Police Experience | U2 Symphony Country Artists w/ Symphony - Kenny Rogers, Sara Evans, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers
Contact Joseph Castellano at email@example.com or 216-862-7835 www.TCGENT.com
Guide to Symphony’s Pops Advertisers
The following paid listings have been supplied to Symphony by League of American
Orchestras business partners who represent pops attractions and conductors in the
areas of pops performance. What follows does not imply endorsement by the League of American Orchestras or Symphony. It is not intended to be fully comprehensive, but to be a reference point for orchestra professionals charged with pops programming.
Steve Lippia in “100 Years and Beyond! The Life and Music of Frank Sinatra” Andersen and Associates, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.andersenreps.com
David Arkenstone’s Symphonic Adventure Victoria Paige Meyerink email@example.com www.thesymphonicadventure.com
Ann Hampton Callaway’s ‘Ella and Frank’ Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com
Country Artists with Symphony – Kenny Rogers, Sara Evans, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Millsap, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers TCG Entertainment email@example.com www.tcgent.com
Count Basie Orchestra Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com
Steve Lippia in “Simply Swingin’ with Sinatra and Friends” Andersen and Associates, Inc. email@example.com www.andersenreps.com
Duke Ellington Orchestra Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com
Maureen McGovern rj productions email@example.com www.rjprod.com
Dukes of Dixieland “Celebrating New Orleans Legends” Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com
Sax, Drums & Rock n’ Roll Ingenuity Productions LLC Matthew@IngenuityPro.com www.IngenuityPro.com
Country Legends John Such Artists’ Management, Ltd. email@example.com www.johnsuchartists.com IN THE MOOD, a 1940s musical revue Gurtman and Murtha Associates GMArtists@aol.com www.inthemoodlive.com Touring 21 years worldwide, IN THE MOOD complete with full orchestral arrangements - is now available for Symphony Pops events. Bring the1940s alive! Singers/dancers and a sensational big band orchestra. Eileen Ivers Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenbergartists.com Music City Hit-Makers JRA Fine Arts email@example.com www.jrafinearts.com
Geoff Gallante Andersen & Associates, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.andersenreps.com IN THE MOOD, a 1940s musical revue Gurtman and Murtha Associates GMArtists@aol.com www.inthemoodlive.com Touring 21 years worldwide, IN THE MOOD complete with full orchestral arrangements - is now available for Symphony Pops events. Bring the1940s alive! Singers/dancers and a sensational big band orchestra.
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Steve Lippia in “Simply Sinatra” Andersen and Associates, Inc. email@example.com www.andersenreps.com
Doc Severinsen Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenbergartists.com Byron Stripling Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com
Broadway David Arkenstone’s Symphonic Adventure Victoria Paige Meyerink firstname.lastname@example.org www.thesymphonicadventure.com Behind The Mask TM The Music of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Schwartz, Kander & Ebb, and more! Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com
The Best Of Classic Broadway TM Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com
Fascinating Gershwin TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com
Bravo Broadway! John Such Artists’ Management, Ltd. firstname.lastname@example.org www.johnsuchartists.com
Mandy Gonzalez rj productions email@example.com www.rjprod.com
Broadway A to Z… Abba to Les Miz! TM Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com
Kern Tribute Featuring Show Boat in Concert TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com
Broadway at the Symphony Gewald Management firstname.lastname@example.org www.gewaldmanagement.com Broadway By Request TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com Broadway Gentlemen TM Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com A Broadway Romance Ingenuity Productions LLC Matthew@IngenuityPro.com www.IngenuityPro.com The Broadway Tenors Ingenuity Productions LLC Matthew@IngenuityPro.com www.IngenuityPro.com Julie Budd’s “Broadway ShowStoppers” Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway’s “West Side Story to Wicked: Broadway with The Callaways” Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Christine Ebersole rj productions email@example.com www.rjprod.com Christine Ebersole, two time Tony Winner, stars in “Big Noise,” featuring Broadway & Pop hits from “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to Grey Gardens. Also available: Great American Songbook standards and more.
Telly Leung rj productions firstname.lastname@example.org www.rjprod.com Maureen McGovern rj productions email@example.com www.rjprod.com My Fair Broadway! The Hits of Lerner & Loewe TM Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com Now Playing On Broadway TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com Will & Anthony Nunziata– Broadway, Our Way! Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Sandi Patty JRA Fine Arts email@example.com www.jrafinearts.com Shalom Broadway TM Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com
Jarrod Spector rj productions email@example.com www.rjprod.com Star of Jersey Boys and Beautiful:The Carole King Musical in “A Little Help From My Friends” – salute to tenors featuring songs by Queen, Caruso, U2, Billy Joel, Frankie Valli. The Spy Who Loved Me with Sheena Easton TCG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org www.tcgent.com Laurie Gayle Stephenson and Steve Amerson Classic Concert Productions email@example.com www.classiccp.com Dynamic Duo — Sensational Soloists! An inspiring “Broadway Loves” concert or a patriotic Broadway Salute to the Troops, performed by America’s Tenor (voice of the Medal of Honor Foundation) Steve Amerson, and Broadway star (Phantom of the Opera) Laurie Gayle Stephenson. Artists’ own charts. No rental cost!
Lisa Vroman Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenbergartists.com
Conductors, Pops Michael Berkowitz Ingenuity Productions LLC Matthew@IngenuityPro.com www.IngenuityPro.com
Something Wonderful TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Bob Bernhardt Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenbergartists.com
Stuart Chafetz Peter Throm Management, LLC email@example.com www.peterthrom.com
Jack Everly Peter Throm Management, LLC firstname.lastname@example.org www.peterthrom.com
Let’s Dance! Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com Let’s Dance combines the classic and popular dance styles including Waltz, Cha Cha, Tango, Swing, Jazz, 50s Pop and Dirty Dancing. Includes dancethemed orchestral show pieces, seven competitive professional dancers and two vocalists.
Michael Krajewski Peter Throm Management, LLC firstname.lastname@example.org www.peterthrom.com Steven Reineke Peter Throm Management, LLC email@example.com www.peterthrom.com Jeff Tyzik Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenbergartists.com
Tango Caliente! Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com Be transported by the sultry, sizzling and seductive sounds of the dance of romance. Fiery Tango classics by Astor Piazzolla, Carlos Gardel and others performed by four Argentinean tango dancers, vocalist and bandoneón artist. Let’s Tango Caliente!
Dance/Movement Astra Dance Theatre Gewald Management firstname.lastname@example.org www.astradance.com/symphony Forever Tango Harmony Artists Contact_Us@HarmonyArtists.com www.forevertango.us
Marilyn Rosen Presents In the SpotlIght
wiLL & anThony nunziaTa
new york VoiCes
BLooD, sweaT & Tears feaTuring
ann haMpTon CaLLaway
CLassiCaL nighT feVer
The Von Trapps
BesT of 70s DisCo
CounT Basie orChesTra
Duke eLLingTon orChesTra
Dukes of DixieLanD
MariLyn rosen presenTs TeL: 617-901-9580 MariLyn@MariLynrosenpresenTs.CoM
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Family Concerts David Arkenstone’s Symphonic Adventure Victoria Paige Meyerink email@example.com www.thesymphonicadventure.com Ethan Bortnick David Belenzon Management, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.ethanbortnick.com With over 1,500 PBS TV airings, 14-year-old music sensation Ethan Bortnick’s live concerts are packed with energy, excitement, and entertainment. Ethan conducts educationaloutreach opportunities tied to “Ethan’s Music Room” on PBS. Circus at the Symphony Gewald Management email@example.com www.gewaldmanagement.com Cirque Musica (“Crescendo,” “Heroes and Villians,” “Holiday Spectacular”) TCG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org www.tcgent.com Gershwin’s Magic Key Classical Kids Live! email@example.com www.classicalkidslive.com Dan Kamin Dan Kamin’s Comedy Concertos firstname.lastname@example.org www.dankamin.com Lights, Camera... the Oscars! TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com Magic at the Symphony Gewald Management firstname.lastname@example.org www.gewaldmanagement.com Dick Van Dyke Celebration, Put on a Happy Face! TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com The Willis Clan JRA Fine Arts firstname.lastname@example.org www.jrafinearts.com
The Great American Songbook A Broadway Romance Ingenuity Productions LLC Matthew@IngenuityPro.com www.IngenuityPro.com The Broadway Tenors Ingenuity Productions LLC Matthew@IngenuityPro.com www.IngenuityPro.com Julie Budd sings The American Songbook Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com Ann Hampton Callaway’s “Gershwin Live!” Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Ann Hampton Callaway’s Streisand Songbook Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com Judy Collins Sings Sondheim The Agency Group firstname.lastname@example.org www.theagencygroup.com Dee Daniels Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com Christine Ebersole rj productions firstname.lastname@example.org www.rjprod.com Christine Ebersole, two time Tony Winner, stars in “Big Noise,” featuring Broadway & Pop hits from “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to Grey Gardens. Also available: Great American Songbook standards and more. The Garland Magic Ingenuity Productions LLC Matthew@IngenuityPro.com www.IngenuityPro.com Gershwin’s Magic Key Classical Kids Live! email@example.com www.classicalkidslive.com
Mandy Gonzalez rj productions firstname.lastname@example.org www.rjprod.com
Lisa Vroman Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com
Great American Songbook TM with a special tribute to Marvin Hamlisch! Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com
Telly Leung rj productions email@example.com www.rjprod.com Steve Lippia in “100 Years and Beyond! The Life and Music of Frank Sinatra” Andersen and Associates, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.andersenreps.com Steve Lippia in “Simply Sinatra” Andersen and Associates, Inc. email@example.com www.andersenreps.com Steve Lippia in “Simply Swingin’ with Sinatra and Friends” Andersen and Associates, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.andersenreps.com
David Arkenstone’s Symphonic Adventure Victoria Paige Meyerink email@example.com www.thesymphonicadventure.com The Broadway Tenors Ingenuity Productions LLC Matthew@IngenuityPro.com www.IngenuityPro.com Julie Budd’s “Home For the Holidays” Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Ann Hampton Callaway’s “Making Spirits Bright” Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com Melinda Doolittle JRA Fine Arts firstname.lastname@example.org www.jrafinearts.com
Maureen McGovern rj productions email@example.com www.rjprod.com
Telly Leung rj productions firstname.lastname@example.org www.rjprod.com
Mark Nadler KMP Artists email@example.com www.marknadler.com
Steve Lippia in “Simply Sinatra Christmas” Andersen and Associates, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.andersenreps.com
Molly Ringwald KMP Artists email@example.com iammollyringwald.com Molly Ringwald earned a Golden Globe nomination at age thirteen, went on to star in numerous films, and in the revival of Cabaret (Broadway); & When Harry Met Sally (West End). Spider Saloff KMP Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.spidersaloff.com James Torme Alkahest Artists & Attractions, Inc. email@example.com www.alkahestartists.net
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Maureen McGovern rj productions firstname.lastname@example.org www.rjprod.com New York Voices “Swingin’ Christmas” Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com Will & Anthony Nunziata– A Broadway Holiday! Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Doc Severinsen Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com
Laurie Gayle Stephenson and Steve Amerson Classic Concert Productions firstname.lastname@example.org www.classiccp.com Dynamic Duo — Sensational Soloists! An inspiring “Broadway Loves” concert or a patriotic Broadway Salute to the Troops, performed by America’s Tenor (voice of the Medal of Honor Foundation) Steve Amerson, and Broadway star (Phantom of the Opera) Laurie Gayle Stephenson. Artists’ own charts. No rental cost!
Lisa Vroman Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com
Jazz/Rock/Blues Herb Alpert & Lani Hall The Agency Group firstname.lastname@example.org www.theagencygroup.com
Pops Swinging Holiday Celebration! TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com Tenore JRA Fine Arts firstname.lastname@example.org www.jrafinearts.com
David Arkenstone’s Symphonic Adventure Victoria Paige Meyerink email@example.com www.thesymphonicadventure.com
Patti Austin’s “Ella, Ellington and More” Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Randy Bachman’s Symphonic Overdrive TCG Entertainment email@example.com www.tcgent.com
Blood Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Classical Night Fever – The Ultimate Symphonic 70’s Disco Tribute Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com Dee Daniels Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenbergartists.com Tony DeSare Peter Throm Management, LLC email@example.com www.peterthrom.com Dukes of Dixieland Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.dukesofdixieland.com Grammy-nominated Dukes of Dixieland have been active on the New Orleans scene and internationally since 1974, when they performed their first pops concert with Chicago’s Grant Park Symphony. They performed most recently with the Boston Pops and the Richmond Symphony, and will perform with the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra and the NW Florida Symphony in the months to come. Eliane Elias The Agency Group email@example.com www.elianeelias.com Faithfully – A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Journey TCG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org www.tcgent.com Mike Farris’ Soul of America: From Motown to Memphis to Muscle Shoals JRA Fine Arts email@example.com www.jrafinearts.com The Four Freshman Alkahest Artists & Attractions, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.alkahestartists.net
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Kenny G with Symphony TCG Entertainment email@example.com www.tcgent.com Geoff Gallante Andersen and Associates, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.andersenreps.com Glory! Songs of Praise & Worship TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com
Ronnie Kole Ronnie Kole firstname.lastname@example.org www.ronniekole.com “No one can express the talented pianist and entertainer you are. What an outstanding solo performance you gave with the Gulf Coast Symphony in the Beau Rivage Resort/ Casino’s theater” —CEO of the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, Biloxi, MS.
Landslide – A Tribute to the Music of Fleetwood Mac TCG Entertainment email@example.com www.tcgent.com Telly Leung rj productions firstname.lastname@example.org www.rjprod.com
Mandy Gonzalez rj productions email@example.com www.rjprod.com Wycliffe Gordon Brumfield & Associates Music, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.wycliffegordon.com Considered by many to be the best jazz trombonist in the world, Wycliffe brings his acclaimed charts and hard-swinging bluesy, soulful sound (soloist or quintet) to the symphony stage, paying homage to Louis Armstrong and Muhammad Ali, among other great programs. Macy Gray with Symphony TCG Entertainment email@example.com www.tcgent.com Ellis Hall Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenbergartists.com Jan & Dean Harmony Artists Contact_Us@HarmonyArtists.com www.jananddean.com Jazz at the Symphony Gewald Management email@example.com www.gewaldmanagement.com Jeans ’N Classics Peter Brennan, Founder firstname.lastname@example.org www.jeansnclassics.com
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Mambo Kings Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com Manhattan Moonshine TM Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com Maureen McGovern rj productions email@example.com www.rjprod.com New York Voices “Swing and Jazz Romp” Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com A Night of Symphonic Rock TCG Entertainment email@example.com www.tcgent.com One – The Power of Unity TCG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org www.tcgent.com ReImagined – The Music of the Beatles TCG Entertainment email@example.com www.tcgent.com REWIND – Celebrating the Music of the 80’s TCG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org www.tcgent.com Marcus Roberts Marcus Roberts Enterprises email@example.com www.marcusroberts.com Sax, Drums & Rock n’ Roll Ingenuity Productions LLC Matthew@IngenuityPro.com www.IngenuityPro.com
Jarrod Spector rj productions firstname.lastname@example.org www.rjprod.com Star of Jersey Boys and Beautiful:The Carole King Musical in “A Little Help From My Friends” – salute to tenors featuring songs by Queen, Caruso, U2, Billy Joel, Frankie Valli. Starlets – The Women of Song TCG Entertainment email@example.com www.tcgent.com Stayin’ Alive – One Night of the Bee Gees TCG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org www.tcgent.com Byron Stripling Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com Supremes at the Symphony Gewald Management firstname.lastname@example.org www.gewaldmanagement.com Brian Wilson The Agency Group email@example.com www.theagencygroup.com The Stevie Wonder Songbook Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenbergartists.com The ultimate song collection from STEVIE WONDER performed by the multi-talented superstar Ellis Hall. Hits including “You Are The Sunshine of My Life,” “Superstition,” “Isn’t She Lovely,” all expertly arranged by Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik and produced in association with G. Schirmer, Inc.
Robert Michaels’ “Via Italia” Andersen and Associates, Inc. email@example.com www.andersenreps.com
Nostalgia/Tribute The Beat Goes On: Liz Callaway Sings the 60’s Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Julie Budd’s “You & The Night & The Music (Songs From the 1930’s)” Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway – “Sibling Revelry” Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Ann Hampton Callaway’s Streisand Songbook Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com Classical Night Fever – The Ultimate Symphonic 70’s Disco Tribute Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com Philip Fortenberry KMP Artists email@example.com www.kmpartists.com “Hands of Liberace!” Before candelabra there was the music. Celebrated pianist from the HBO film and respected Broadway arranger enlivens the musical legacy of Liberace in this loving tribute.
Pops Snarky Puppy The Agency Group firstname.lastname@example.org www.snarkypuppy.com
Robert Michaels’ “Flamenco Fire” Andersen and Associates, Inc. email@example.com www.andersenreps.com
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I Hear A Symphony, Motown’s Greatest Hits! TM Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com I Heart the 80’s! TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com
IN THE MOOD, a 1940s musical revue Gurtman and Murtha Associates GMArtists@aol.com www.inthemoodlive.com Touring 21 years worldwide, IN THE MOOD complete with full orchestral arrangements - is now available for Symphony Pops events. Bring the1940s alive! Singers/dancers and a sensational big band orchestra. The King – The Music of Elvis TCG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org www.tcgent.com Steve Lippia in “100 Years and Beyond! The Life and Music of Frank Sinatra” Andersen and Associates, Inc. email@example.com www.andersenreps.com Steve Lippia in “Simply Sinatra” Andersen and Associates, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.andersenreps.com Steve Lippia in “Simply Swingin’ with Sinatra and Friends” Andersen and Associates, Inc. email@example.com www.andersenreps.com Mancini and Moonlight TM Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com New York Voices “Baby Boomer Bash – Music of 60’s & 70’s” Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com
Jaimee Paul Alkahest Artists & Attractions, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.alkahestartists.net “For those who prefer their music shaken, not stirred” JAIMEE PAUL brings a new twist to the timeless style and themes of our favorite spy, JAMES BOND. The Piano Music of Floyd Cramer Alkahest Artists & Attractions, Inc. email@example.com www.alkahestartists.net The Rat Pack! 100 Years of Frank! TM Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org www.broadwaypops.com
Nikolai Massenkoff Sandra Calvin, Artists’ Representative email@example.com www.nikolaimassenkoff.us Nikolai Massenkoff, world celebrated singer, features Russian balalaikas and folk ballet with the Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival. Performances are worldwide with major symphony orchestras. Outreach and residency programs are specialties. Robert Michaels’ “Flamenco Fire” Andersen and Associates, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.andersenreps.com
Boheme To Broadway! TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com
Robert Michaels’ “Via Italia” Andersen and Associates, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org www.andersenreps.com
The Merry Widow in Concert TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com
Quartango Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com
Operation Opera with Orchestra G&W Entertainment Amber@GandWLLC.com www.Operation-Opera.com This is the show that NYC critics have compared to Victor Borge. Acclaimed baritone Adelmo Guidarelli and your orchestra can bring an evening of music and laughter to delight your audience!
Pops Oh What A Night! Billboard Hits of the 1960’s TM Broadway Pops International email@example.com www.broadwaypops.com
Pink Martini Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com
Cathie Ryan Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com The von Trapps Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org www.marilynrosenpresents.com
Eileen Ivers Greenberg Artists email@example.com www.greenbergartists.com Mambo Kings Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenbergartists.com
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“I attended half a dozen music events connected to orchestras over the past year where audience members asked for more new music,” says composer Jennifer Higdon.
Donato Cabrera is bringing his enthusiasm for new music to the California Symphony (pictured below) and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, where he serves as music director.
CHANGE in the Air by Molly Sheridan
When it comes to contemporary classical music, attitudes seem different than they did even a few years ago.
old two images in your mind for a moment: your own orchestra and a living composer with a new piece of music. Did your heart rate just kick up a little? Was it out of excitement—or terror? Stereotypes die hard, and perhaps one of the most entrenched is that new music and the orchestra have a fraught relationship. However, recent programming and flourishing relationships among orchestras and composers and audiences seem to show that it’s also an outdated misconception. “Music by living composers is faring well” was the headline of an April article by Josh-
ua Kosman in The San Francisco Chronicle, which went on to highlight a swath of composers—many in their 20s and 30s—and the orchestras that are embracing them. Kosman’s suggestion of “a new golden age of orchestral composition” made for some pretty thrilling reading. Only a few days later on the opposite coast, Alex Ross wrote a piece in The New Yorker celebrating the “vitality and variety of recent orchestral writing,” though he painted a somewhat more sober picture of the landscape on the audience side. Kosman and Ross are not the only ones noticing the trend—others include John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune, Justin David-
son (New York magazine), Anthony Tommasini (New York Times), and Mark Swed (Los Angeles Times). “I definitely think that there is ‘something going on’ in terms of orchestras re-investing in new music,” says musicologist Will Robin, a passionate advocate of contemporary orchestral repertoire and current scholarin-residence with the North Carolina Symphony. In his opinion, administrators “are reawakening to the idea that new music might be a potential draw to audiences.” It’s possible that some of the media attention might reflect journalists more interested in discussing the “new” than another symphony
Composer Loren Loiacono (right) at a rehearsal during the 2015 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, with Institute Director Kevin Puts.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra—pictured above at Carnegie Hall with Music Director Marin Alsop, percussionist Colin Currie, and composer Steven Mackey—will perform works by 22 living composers to celebrate the orchestra’s 100th anniversary in 2015-16.
Is the new cool again? Beethoven cycle, but with so much discussion in the air it is fair to ask: Are orchestras increasingly embracing new music as a desirable programming option in a way they haven’t in previous decades? And if it really is happening, well, why? The Plural of Anecdote Is Not Data
Here’s a brief snapshot of statistics about orchestras and new music. This is more than a story about data, but a view of the numbers is not without utility. The League of American Orchestras’ 2009-10 Orchestra Repertoire Report, based on data submitted by 137 orchestras, showed that americanorchestras.org
8 percent of pieces performed that season were by a living composer. A recent picture of orchestras and new music comes from Ricky O’Bannon, a journalist serving as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s writer in residence. He looked at 2014-15 season brochures of 21 large-budget American orchestras and found that 11.8 percent of the total number of pieces performed were by living composers. Just over a quarter of concert programs—27.6 percent— included a piece by a living composer. The Baltimore Symphony itself is celebrating its 100th anniversary with premieres of commissioned works by 22 liv-
ing composers in the 2015-16 season. The Eugene and San Antonio symphonies are also celebrating their respective 50th and 75th anniversaries with new commissions, and Carnegie Hall is going all in with 125 world premieres for its 125 years, over a five-year span. Official numbers or no, what is apparent to any veteran observer is that there is a big batch of new works on the horizon for 2015-16. To cite just a few, California’s Santa Rosa Symphony will premiere Daniel Brewbaker’s Dances and Dreams of Dionysus and Mohammed Fairouz’s Pax Universalis, while the National Symphony Orchestra will present new works by Tobias Picker and Sean Shepherd. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s seven world premieres this season include works by Jonathan Bailey Holland, Kristin Kuster, T.J. Cole, Sebastian Curry, Thierry Escaich, and Gunther Schuller. The North Carolina Symphony will perform premieres by Sarah Kirkland Snider and the orchestra’s resident conductor, William Henry Curry. The Detroit Symphony’s six world premieres in 201516 include meaty works by composer in residence Gabriela Lena Frank, Music Director Leonard Slatkin, Tod Machover, Mohammed Fairouz, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. All of this new activity is taking place against the backdrop of the many ongoing orchestral programs that showcase new music, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series; the Albany Symphony’s American Music Festival; the Minnesota Orchestra’s Composer Institute; the Toronto Symphony’s New Creations Festival; the Juilliard School’s FOCUS! festival; the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music; and multiple programs presented by the American Composers Orchestra. “Something Going On”—All Over
Conductor Donato Cabrera is currently music director of the California Symphony, the New Hampshire Music Festival, and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, as well as resident conductor with the San Francisco Symphony, and so brings a broad national perspective to the topic. He has found that audience reaction to new works really varies depending on where you are and what orchestra you are working with. While audience members have expressed to him their fear of the “screechy-scratchy” music
of the European avant-garde, the American repertoire that he favors, marked by distinct rhythmic propulsion, tends to win them over. “Anyone that’s willing to spend money on a ticket, they’re willing to have an experience that they’ve never had before,” he says, whether “new” means Mozart or John Adams. “If you present it in an engaging and passionate way without any sense of ‘you need to like this,’ I think the experience of trying something new is always exhilarating.” The level of interest in new work within a given community can depend on a number of factors, but it’s definitely not restricted to a short list of major metropolitan zip codes. In fact, if you go to a larger pool than just the 21 American orchestras that O’Bannon looked at, the number of performances of new works increases dramatically. For example, the number of performances of Jennifer Higdon’s music actually jumps from 18 to a total of 85 during the 2014-15 season, when her popular blue cathedral alone was played 42 times. Lush and tonal, this thirteenminute work, first performed in 2000, has a natural drive and soaring emotional narrative that ensembles and audiences across the country have embraced. Higdon says she has seen not only her own work but that of many colleagues welcomed by new audiences. “I have repeatedly spoken with folks who have stopped going to orchestra concerts because they’ve expressed tiredness of hearing the same things over and over again. I attended half a dozen music events connected to orchestras over the past year where audi-
the composer in the community. Audiences love to have a person to interact with, not just the music.” Sean Shepherd is a young composer much in demand with orchestras stretching from his hometown Reno Philharmonic, where he was the first-ever composer in residence, to the Cleveland Orchestra, where he recently completed his tenure as the Daniel R. Lewis Composer Fellow. He feels that top-tier orchestras often have a way of presenting new work “that fits into the big picture with galas and pops and summer and concertos and Yo-Yo Ma’s schedule.” But he says that “with regional and even mid-budget orchestras, I think it’s possible for the living composer’s interactions with an audience to be both more intimate and more shocking than when one is presented at [big venues like] Lincoln Center. I find myself both encouraged and invited to put more effort into making direct connections with players and listeners. The payoff can be greater, but it can backfire if the piece presents too many technical or aesthetic challenges.”
ence members got up in front of microphones and asked for more new music. I also had an orchestra performance several years ago in which the entire program was music written in the 21st century. The administration didn’t anticipate much of an audience. But lo and behold, the place was packed—I saw no empty seats—and the majority of the audience was young.” Orchestras are bringing audiences along, redefining the “composer in residence” experience. Michigan-based composer Kristin Kuster, who will have premieres with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra this season, is a fan of the Detroit Symphony Less Fear of an Atonal Planet Orchestra and its efforts to make the inSeveral recurring themes among composvolvement of the composer more than a ers, conductors, and orchestra administradrive-thru experience. Comtors emerged from conversaposer Gabriela Lena Frank tions about the place of new is now in residence with the Composer Aaron repertoire in the ecology of orchestra through the Music Jay Kernis says today’s orchestras and why Alive program (see sidebar what is “most they may be putting out the page 57), and she is interfac- visible” in the new- welcome mat more frequently ing with the administration music landscape now. One of the most promiand the community in myrinent was the fact that comright now is “the ad ways. This sort of connecpositional styles among contion is essential, according to passion that many temporary composers have Kuster. “There is perhaps a music directors expanded to a great degree. misconception that new mu- have toward new However narrow the window sic is a risk,” she acknowledg- music.” of musical language may have es. “But I would say that new once seemed, it’s now clearly music is an investment in been thrown wide open. your community. If you look Still, it’s interesting how at places that are doing new powerful the experience of a music and have composers in work of art can be and how residence, they’re doing great! loudly it can resonate down People love it and embrace it, through the decades. “For particularly when you can put some reason we are stuck reRichard Bowditch
At the Eugene Symphony in Oregon (pictured here with Music Director Danail Rachev), recent concerts featuring new works by Avner Dorman and Branford Marsalis got dramatically higher student-ticket sales.
Resources for Orchestras and Composers The League of American Orchestras actively supports composers and orchestras through several ongoing programs and initiatives. EarShot: The National Orchestral Composition Discovery Network. EarShot is a partnership among the League of American Orches tras, American Composers Orchestra, American Compos ers Forum, and New Music USA. EarShot helps orchestras around the country to identify and support promising composers in the early stages of their careers. EarShot advises organizations on the programs that would best suit their new-composer needs— from new-music readings to composer residencies and competitions—and assists with planning, identifying composers through its extensive nationwide calls, and program design and execution. To learn more about EarShot, visit earshotnetwork.org.
Music Alive, a partnership program by the League and New Music USA, creates orchestra composer-inresidence opportunities that foster the commissioning and performance of contemporary music and connecting with communities. Since the program’s inception in 1999, Music Alive has awarded approximately $4.2 million to support composer residencies at orchestras across the U.S. Music Alive comprises two parts: • Music Alive Residencies are extended, multi-year composer residencies at orchestras. Current orchestra residencies are underway with Gabriela Lena Frank at the Detroit Symphony; Trimpin (Seattle Symphony); Narong Prangcharoen (Pacific Symphony in California); Stella Sung (Dayton Performing Arts Alliance); and Sleeping Giant
Kristin Kuster will have a new work given its world premiere by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2015-16, one of seven season premieres by that orchestra.
membering these things about new music being terrifying even though I imagine that at least 70 percent of experiences have been positive,” Robin points out. Eugene Symphony Executive Director Scott Freck says that he has observed a striking turn from “art for art’s sake to americanorchestras.org
Collective (Albany Symphony in New York). • Music Alive: New Partnerships focus on one-week residencies to develop new relationships between composers and orchestras who have not previously worked together. Partnership residencies are currently underway at twelve U.S. orchestras. To learn more about Music Alive, visit americanorchestras.org and click on the “Conducting, Composing & Performing” tab. League Initiative Supporting Women Composers. This League program is administered by New York’s American Composers Orchestra and made possible by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Launched in 2014, the program aims to increase opportunities for women composers through mentoring opportunities, orchestral
art for the people’s sake” during his career. Acknowledging that there was a time in the 20th century when many artists were making personal statements through their music that didn’t always sit well with the audience, Freck now finds that “there are a lot of artists working today who want to make sure that [their music is] part of a conversation and part of a community and that it is relevant to the people around them, not just themselves.” While Kuster used to fear that if she didn’t write in a certain style and have a certain amount of dissonance in her music that it wouldn’t be taken seriously, she says she now feels free to “add a little beauty to the world.” Still, she is quick to clarify that it’s not about any one particular stylistic language but rather providing a diversity of sonic experience. “Detroit audiences are not afraid of new music, in part because Music Director Leonard Slatkin has laid such a great foundation of consistently bringing in interesting new music,” she
readings, and commissions as part of EarShot. The first recipients, selected in 2014, are Julia Adolphe and Melody Eötvös, who were each awarded $15,000 and are writing works to be premiered by the American Composers Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
EarShot is made possible with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. Music Alive is made possible with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund, and The Amphion Foundation.
says. “It’s eclectic, and audiences are really excited about it.” Higdon also points to the great diversity of stylistic inclinations as a force for change across the board. “The music has changed, and audiences have changed, and orchestras play the new stuff better than ever,” she notes, “not to mention the fact that as young conductors get to helm their own orchestras, they tend not to think twice about programming new music.” The Sweet Smell of Innovation
So the composers are writing it. But the second piece of getting the audience to experience it requires the palpable conviction of the orchestra presenting it. “You must rehearse and perform with as much passion and engagement as your standard symphonic pieces,” insists Cabrera. “That’s the most important thing.” He says resources, staffing, and location “fall into place” when “it’s an obvious priority and you can tell it’s a priority—from
the musicians and conductor on stage.” Achieving that commitment can be a multi-step process. In Las Vegas, where he’s only just getting started, Cabrera has begun by programming shorter works to spark interest and excitement about what’s possible. At the California Symphony, he can dig in deeply, thanks to the orchestra’s long-running Young American Composer-In-Residence program—composer Dan Visconti is currently in residence, through 2017—which allows for the development of a much deeper relationship between a single composer, the orchestra, and the community over a three-year period. Composer Aaron Jay Kernis, who directed the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute for a decade and now oversees the Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab and Workshop, observes that both large orchestras and a growing number of midlevel ones are entering into commissioning partnerships, giving more prominence to new-music events, and finding compelling intersections between what many composers are writing and what will appeal to
interested subsets of their audiences. It’s a leading-by-example situation that Kernis suspects may affect the broader industry. Kernis notes that what is “most visible” in the new-music landscape right now is “the passion that many music directors have—San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Nashville, Buffalo, Grant Park, and others—toward new music.” He also comments on the increasing importance being placed on new work “through appointments of composers in residence or of artistic administrators that hold similar enthusiasm—Chicago, New York, South Carolina, Boston, Grand Rapids, etc. Hopefully the increased visibility in such places all adds up to a ramping up of programming and enthusiasm for new work among more orchestras around the country.” Dan Visconti, who counts Kernis as a mentor, agrees that “new music is less of an outlier with a great many orchestras today” than it used to be, noting with particular excitement that it’s appearing on programs of some smaller orchestras. The
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In 2014, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra embarked on an annual collaboration with the MusicNOW festival, which has featured indie bands alongside music by composers such as Nico Muhly and David Lang. Above, guitarist and composer Bryce Dessner, who founded MusicNOW in 2006, takes a bow with CSO Music Director Louis Langrée.
Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra in northeastern Minnesota, for example, was one of several orchestras that recently gave a performance of Visconti’s crossover concerto BEATBOX. He feels one of the most successful of his own projects was a percussion concerto for Silk Road percussionist Shane Shanahan with the chamber orchestra CityMusic Cleveland, which was part of Roots to Branches, a project that engaged Cleveland-area refugees. Featuring percussionist and narrator, the work was built from the many experiences collected from the refugee community. It’s not just new music, but new approaches to new music, says Visconti. He cites fellow composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, who has successfully brought a new civic-practice model to his residencies at orchestras. This summer, Roumain’s oratorio Meditations on Raising Boys was premiered by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. The commission was part of Chautauqua’s week-long examination of issues affecting boys and young men that wrapped in lectures, workshops, masterclasses, and chamber concerts. Visconti suggests that ensembles ignore these examples at their own peril. Some composers feel strongly that not enough is being done to support new music, and Visconti is among them. He says that “smaller, more symphony
Kurt Heinecke / Nashville Symphony
The Nashville Symphony premiered Michael Daugherty’s Cello Concerto “Tales of Hemingway” in April 2015. Taking a bow with the orchestra are Daugherty, cellist Zuill Bailey, and Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero.
nimble groups,” rather than “major orchestras,” are taking the lead when it comes to innovation. The Eugene Symphony’s Scott Freck notes that there was an “urgency to assess and revitalize and diversify coming out of the recession” that bred opportunity. “There are good things that can come out of tough times, and that’s one of them. We
need to look hard at what we’re doing, because doing it the same old way probably isn’t the answer.” As a result, Freck has found that “you’re seeing a lot of emphasis on doing interesting, creative things that are different from previous experiences because the next generation of audiences doesn’t know that they’re not supposed to like it. And in
fact they might like it more than the standard experience.” In Eugene, that strategy has been working, with concerts featuring works by Avner Dorman and Branford Marsalis doubling and tripling, respectively, student ticket sales. “That energy shows up in the lobby,” Freck says, “and most of my donors are really happy to see that.” Of course, the complex dynamic for artists and administrators at all levels and budget sizes is how to keep your current audience happy while attracting a new one—without disenfranchising either. For composer Kristin Kuster, the key is to examine the success stories out there and see how they are being built on to gain ground—in terms of audience, artistry, and relevance. “What we need are the people in positions of management and programming at symphony orchestras to look at the systems already in place and ask themselves what more can they do to revitalize them, give them a B-12 shot,” she says. She cites the Detroit Symphony’s building excitement through the presentation of new music, streaming those concerts
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The Short Answer to the Big Question
So wait—are orchestras increasingly embracing new music? “Yes and no.” “I think it depends on where you are.” “I think so, but I’m not sure.” “I hope it’s true, but it’s hard to gauge.” If there is any field-wide analysis to be made at this point, it seems to settle more around the idea that there are orchestras—many orchestras, in fact— that are incorporating new music and the
online, and engaging in social-media conversations about it. She says these innovations have not distracted but energized the ensemble, and the “orchestra is just sounding amazing.” Freck shares a similar excitement. “You do this by doing it really well, and then telling the story,” he says. “It’s not just trial and error; there’s a fair amount of faith, but with it comes a fair amount of conviction. You have to believe that it matters.”
Daniel Bernard Roumain is among composers successfully bringing a new approach to residencies with orchestras.
composers who write it into their strategic thinking, and that audiences have largely been engaged, not alienated, by that inclusion. Administrators are working diligently to introduce their audiences to new work and widen the audience for what they present. Conductors are on board as well with these experiences and with their personal repertoire choices. Ideas are spreading. Many composers, too, are feeling more welcome in the nation’s orchestra halls. Several noted when we spoke that while they feel much more embraced by the symphonic world these days than they have in past decades, they wonder if it’s because they write music that is more “populist.” Composers understand that they need to be pragmatic about rehearsal requirements and must produce scores that can fit certain programming parameters. Still, the takeaway from these conversations with composers, conductors, and orchestra administrators suggests that things really do “feel different” lately when it comes to orchestras and new music, and that there is an increasing embrace of new work. Composers and ensembles and audiences are interacting, having conversations through words and music about their lives, their work, and the world that surrounds us all. It’s helping to revise previous assumptions about the experience new music has to offer, demystifying both the living composer and the exciting new sounds they can bring to our ears. Doing new things is a risk, but doing new things well is generating vital rewards. MOLLY SHERIDAN is a writer, editor, and producer specializing in classical and experimental music. She is executive editor of NewMusicBox and Counterstream Radio, both programs of New Music USA. Her March-April 2006 article “Start Small, Think Big” in Symphony, about the Ford Made in America commissioning project, won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award.
New Notes on the Orchestras across the country are meeting a pressing social need with concerts customized for people with autism.
t wasn’t the kind of concert that receives glowing press coverage, national recognition, or even a sellout crowd, but the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s June 27 performance was deemed an auspicious success by its organizers. This was the Pittsburgh Symphony’s first sensory-friendly performance—a concert designed specifically for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which involves, among other things, a hypersensitivity to light and sound, as well
as for those with sensory sensitivities and other disabilities. The single event—of mostly pops-style pieces including Rossini’s William Tell Overture and RimskyKorsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee—drew $75,000 in funding. Pre-concert materials designed to familiarize concertgoers with the experience in advance included a story about attending performances at Heinz Hall, a musical playlist on Spotify, and introductory videos. Some $5,000 worth of free tickets were distributed through a variety of support organizations for families in need. symphony
While attendance was a relatively modest 850 patrons, symphony officials noted that it was comparable to other arts organizations’ sensory-friendly events, and bad weather may have kept some concertgoers away. An orchestra spokesman said feedback from board, staff members, musicians, and some 50 volunteers had been overwhelmingly positive, and a similar event is planned for next year. The Pittsburgh Symphony is one of a growing number of American orchestras that have responded to calls from autism advocates to provide sensory-friendly americanorchestras.org
concerts. Many orchestras see these as a way to connect with overlooked segments of their communities and become more inclusive. The concerts also mirror a belief that people with disabilities can be better served overall: while disabled adults comprise nearly 12 percent of the U.S. adult population, they represent just under 7 percent of all adults attending performing arts events, according to the National Endowment for the Arts.
At the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s June 27 sensory-friendly concert, Principal Contrabassoon James Rodgers and Principal Oboe Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida interact with a young audience member.
by Brian Wise
Erie Chamber Orchestra
Seminars and presentations for therapists and educators were part of the Erie Chamber Orchestra’s weeklong festival this April focusing on music therapy for children with autism. Here, Dr. Martha Summa Chadwick gives a presentation at Gannon University entitled “Biomedical Music Techniques and the Brain.” Festival events were also presented at the Barber National Institute, a school for children with mental disabilities.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s June 27 sensory-friendly concert included a customized instrument petting zoo that was shaped to the abilities of the audience members. The pre-concert activities and concert were staffed by 50 volunteers, a quarter of whom were specialists donating their time to help with activities.
Parents of children on the autism spectrum have welcomed these new opportunities because they otherwise shy away from public outings for fear that their child’s idiosyncratic behaviors—including sounds and movements—will be disruptive. A 2014 review of ten academic studies showed that music therapy may help children with autism-spectrum disorder to improve their skills in social interaction and communication. Further, as the nonprofit organization Music for Autism notes, these concerts can “fill a major psychosocial void, enabling children to enjoy enriching activities that are inclusive and to experience the joy and power of music as a family.” Shaping Specialized Concerts
To make a performance autism-friendly, several aspects of the concert experience are modified. House lights are typically
ert Accordino, a physician who in 2007 founded the U.S. branch of the nonprofit organization Music for Autism. “Catering to these families is in some ways the most challenging. It’s not a one-size-fits-all model. This challenges us to think differently.” Music for Autism organizes about 35 concerts annually in New York, Maryland, California, and Texas, using professional musicians. The organization’s mission is to enhance quality of life and raise public awareness through autism-friendly, interactive concerts developed for individuals with autism and their families. It is one of several nonprofits with which arts groups have partnered to develop targeted programming; other organizations include Autism Friendly Spaces and The Musical Autist. “There isn’t a blueprint or a set of guidelines that we’ve figured out are best practices,” says Jessica Swanson, manager of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ disability programs. In developing programs with the National Symphony Orchestra and other constituents, the Kennedy Center relies heavily on feedback from its patrons and institutional partners (the Kennedy Center also works with Music for Autism). “We’ve been able to identify what families are telling us are the most important things,” says Swanson, “but not to the degree where we know it can’t be any louder than X or any brighter than Y.” kept on at 30 to 50 percent of their full Beyond determining how to develop power, and music is modified to temper sensory-friendly concerts lies a more funloud sounds. Concert halls often are set damental question of why. Kennedy Cenup with a quiet area ter officials regard these adjacent to the lobby concerts as critical to its for audience memextensive menu of dis“Disability-friendly bers who are overability programs, parprogramming goes stimulated and need a ticularly as the national beyond wheelchair break. Some also set autism rate climbed entrances,” says Robert aside open space at in 2014 to one in 68 the front of the house, people, according to Accordino, a physician where patrons are the Centers for Disease who founded the U.S. encouraged to move Control and Prevenbranch of Music for about freely as needed. tion. This reflects a 30 Autism. “It’s not a oneStill, guidelines are a percent rise in just two work in progress, and years, though it is unsize-fits-all model.” some arts groups have clear exactly how much grappled with how to the increase is due to a serve a wide spectrum of people with aubroader definition of ASD and better eftism. forts in diagnosis. “Disability-friendly programming goes Not surprisingly, orchestras are more beyond wheelchair entrances,” says Roblikely to embrace sensory-friendly consymphony
in Rockville, Maryland. Swanson, of the Kennedy Center, sums up the concerts as “no-shushing shows and no-judgment zones.” Held “Rapt” by Orchestras
Ever After Images
Perhaps the most extensive autism-friendly orchestra series takes place at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, which also serves a state with the highest reported rates of autism, at one in 45 children. The New Jersey Symphony launched a series of chamber music concerts in 2012 that now involves seventeen performances at ten partner schools and community centers. Last season, it reached 1,600 people across two counties, according to Marshell Jones Kumahor, the New Jersey Symphony’s vice president of education and community engagement. This reflects the orchestra’s mission to serve the entire state, she says, and to develop stronger ties with other arts and community groups. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s program started with a request from a longtime subscriber who said that her autistic son was held “rapt” by the sound of an orchestra. After some exploration of the topic, the orchestra formed an elevenmember advisory group to study the issue, and it raised seed money through a
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra musicians (left to right) Susan Gellert and Ann Kossakowski perform at Eden Autism Services in Princeton, New Jersey. americanorchestras.org
Pennsylvania’s Erie Chamber Orchestra held a weeklong festival this April focusing on music therapy for children with autism. The festival concluded with a concert, led by Music Director Matthew Kraemer, at Church of the Covenant featuring works by Beethoven, Wolf, and Schumann; also performing were Martha Summa Chadwick and the Slippery Rock University Concert Choir, under the direction of Stephen Barr.
Fred Stucker/New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
certs when a musician or staff member has a personal commitment to the cause. Holly Hamilton, a violinist in the National Symphony Orchestra who also works with Music for Autism, initiated the Kennedy Center’s efforts after taking her son, Clark Patterson, who has an intellectual disability as well as visual and hearing impairments, to her own performances at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Virginia. Hamilton recalls how the outdoor amphitheater at Wolf Trap allowed Patterson to sit in the back and applaud or playfully conduct along without causing a disturbance. This convinced her that such conditions could be replicated in more traditional concert venues. She also believes that music can have positive behavioral effects. “What surprised me is how open the kids are to the music,” she says of the concerts. “Some of them are nonverbal but their eyes light up. You can always get a good reaction from them.” The Kennedy Center launched its sensory-friendly performances in 2012 and now presents five such events annually, one of which features the NSO. Hamilton also takes chamber groups from the National Symphony Orchestra to special-education schools including the Ivymount School
$15,000 Getty Education and Community Investment Grant from the League of American Orchestras (funding is now provided by the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and Johnson & Johnson). Jones Kumahor says the orchestra regularly surveys its audiences through its partner organizations, which include schools and learning centers in Newark, Irvington, and Montclair, New Jersey. Unlike some arts groups, which have focused on the most “high-functioning” end of the autism spectrum, Jones Kumahor notes that the NJSO has sought “to serve as wide a range as possible on the spectrum,” which makes for a greater challenge as the lowerfunctioning listeners tend to have little or no language, greater mental challenges, and little awareness of people or social expectations. So far, 26 out of 53 members of the orchestra have given chamber music concerts at schools and learning centers as part of the program.
Taken as a whole, there’s a considerable variety of approaches in autism-friendly programming, even as certain parameters remain constant. During a tour to China in 2013, a group of musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra performed for some 20 children with autism at a youth center in Shanghai. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on a “version of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ on trumpets and a surprisingly inventive ‘Amazing Grace’ by a young man whose left hand played piano while his right played a battery-powered organ.” During the orchestra’s 2014 China tour, Philadelphia musicians worked with students from the Sound of Angel Salon, an orchestra that trains children with autism to engage with their surroundings through music. The young musicians also performed for an audience that included Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who conducted the students in an impromptu performance.
Some see sensoryfriendly events not simply as entertainment but as platforms for self-advocacy, a notion closely tied to neurodiversity—the theory that people with autism shouldn’t be forced to fit into society, but that society should change to accept them.
The Kennedy Center launched its sensoryfriendly performances in 2012 and now presents five such events annually, one of which features the National Symphony Orchestra. Empty seats in the concert hall are one of the accommodations made, to give children with characteristics on the autism spectrum greater range of movement.
Orchestras often consult with occupational therapists to learn how to structure concert formats, yet repertoire for sensoryfriendly concerts often differs little from traditional children’s events. “We’ve found a little bit of everything to work the best, because it gives [listeners] something to hold onto,” said Ryan Gardner, a trumpet player and coordinator for Music for Autism. “Stories have gone really, really well. Keeping the communication brief is crucial. But it’s also essential that we have that communication because without it, it doesn’t really give them anything to think about.”
National Symphony Orchestra violinist Holly Hamilton on first experiencing sensory-friendly concerts for children with autism: “What surprised me is how open the kids are to the music. Some of them are nonverbal but their eyes light up.”
More recently, and on a different scale, Gannon University’s Erie Chamber Orchestra in Pennsylvania held a weeklong festival in April dedicated to music therapy, with a special focus on children with autism. The festival featured workshops, lectures, and an orchestral concert, “Burden of Genius,” led by Erie Chamber Music Director Matthew Kraemer and consisting of works by composers with neurological issues (including Beethoven, Schumann, and Hugo Wolf ). Events included therapy sessions and in-service presentations for therapists/educators at Barber National Institute, which is based in Erie and serves symphony
people with disabilities; a radio broadcast on Erie-based NPR affiliate WQLN; and a science-and-music presentation at Gannon University. The festival was part of an ongoing partnership between ECO and the Barber National Institute established in 2013. Elsewhere, the Madison (Wisconsin) Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra are among
the orchestras to explore autism-friendly programming. Other corners of the classical music field have taken notice. The Boston Conservatory in 2014 announced a graduate-level music education program dedicated to providing training in music education and autism, believed to be the first of its kind, and leading to a master’s degree and a graduate certificate. And Lincoln Center’s educa-
Jan Regan/Philadelphia Orchestra
During its 2013 China tour, Philadelphia Orchestra musicians engaged with autistic children at the Huangpu District Youth Science and Technology Center in Shanghai. Principal Percussion Christopher Deviney and Associate Principal Timpani Angela Zator Nelson worked with one student as he tried his hand at playing the drums.
tion department has commissioned Up and Away, its first original work specifically for young audiences on the autism spectrum, featuring the Trusty Sidekick Theater Company. Loosely inspired by Jules Verne’s book Around the World in 80 Days, the musical theater piece had a run of previews in the spring and is slated to premiere at Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio Theater this fall. These efforts come at a time when some campaigners see sensory-friendly events not simply as entertainment but as platforms for self-advocacy, a notion closely tied to neurodiversity—the theory that people with autism shouldn’t be forced to fit into society, but that society should change to include and accept them. C. J. Shiloh, the director of the Musical Autist organization, has gone so far as to describe sensory-friendly performances as a form of “social justice” for a badly marginalized population. Some parents, however, are simply pleased to be out as a family among likeminded audience members. Attending an autism-friendly performance at the New Victory Theater in Manhattan in March, Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, said she had long shied away from taking her nineyear-old autistic son Norrin to a theater. “It’s always been difficult to navigate a regular show just because I don’t want to disturb other people,” she said. “It can be stressful, it can be overwhelming for him.” Nearby, a family relaxed in a “calming corner.” Quinones-Fontanez praised the theater’s presentation—everything from the ability to preview seats beforehand to family bathrooms, which allow parents and children to remain together. During the New Victory show—by Flip FabriQue, a circus company from Quebec—children squirmed and giggled at the troupe’s slapstick humor, but they were also noticeably quiet during high-flying aerial routines. Gabriela Cassas, an usher, described the atmosphere as less hectic than a typical children’s show. “Being in an autism-friendly show, the environment is a lot safer,” she said. “Everyone is comfortable with each other. It’s a much more relaxed environment.” BRIAN WISE is an editor at WQXR Radio, New York’s classical music station. He writes about classical music for BBC Music Magazine, Listen, and other publications.
CLASSICAL RADIO In
The partnership between symphony orchestras and radio has always been a big deal. Today, industrywide shifts mean digital formats are increasingly replacing “terrestrial” radio. 70
the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, the NBC Symphony aired weekly concerts on its national radio network, and it was one of the world’s most popular orchestras, with Arturo Toscanini as principal conductor. On the CBS radio network, Leonard Bernstein burst to prominence when, substituting at the last moment for an ailing Bruno Walter, he made his debut conducting the New York Philharmonic in a Sunday afternoon concert broadcast live in 1943. He landed on the front page of The New York Times the next morning, and a star was born. The days are long gone when classical music radio was a staple of the airwaves,
a result of changes at both commercial and noncommercial radio stations that started decades ago and continue today. “Classical music used to be the No. 1 format in public radio in terms of number of hours devoted to it, and that’s not the case anymore,” says Brenda Barnes, president of USC Radio, which operates two of the country’s most listened-to classical stations, KUSC in Los Angeles and KDFC in San Francisco. “News and information has surpassed classical music.” As orchestras adapt to the new broadcasting environment, they are turning to new ways to share their music, often symphony
by John Fleming
At Houston Public Media, “The big dollars are on the news station,” not the classical station, says Glenn Taylor, Houston Symphony’s chief marketing officer.
The San Francisco Symphony has been on the radio more or less continuously since 1926. Pictured: Gaetano Merola leads the symphony and vocalists in a 1944 broadcast from San Francisco for the weekly NBC Radio series “Standard Hour.”
Adrian Michaelis Collection at the Museum of Performance and Design, San Francisco
The Houston Symphony at Jones Hall with music director Andrés OrozcoEstrada and piano soloist André Watts. The suspended microphones are used for recording by radio station KUHA.
Actor Alec Baldwin serves as host for the New York Philharmonic’s weekly radio broadcasts.
via free or paid websites, low-power stations, or HD channels devoted to classical music. To cite just a few recent examples, concerts by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra have been offered as free streams through a partnership with medici.tv; Boston Baroque has launched its own internet radio station, Boston Baroque Radio; all three of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchesamericanorchestras.org
tra’s popular LumenoCity outdoor concerts were carried live at lumenocity2014. com through partnerships with CET and WGUC; and a free on-demand webcast of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Verdi’s Macbeth attracted 130,000 listeners to the CSO website. (A traditional broadcast was also offered on the WFMT Radio Network.) In Seattle, KING-FM recently launched Second Inversion: Rethink Classical, a streaming channel devoted to new music, with Joshua Roman, a former principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony, as artistic advisor and on-air voice. Younger people in particular are less likely to tune in to “terrestrial” radio, instead turning to services like iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody, Pandora, and SiriusXM satellite for music they access on smartphone, tablet, or other devices. Classical music stations— about 200 remain in the United States, mostly noncommercial—have responded to this change in listening habits by developing apps, podcasts, downloads, audio streaming, and other digital products. “We’ve invested heavily in the expansion of our digital footprint over the last five
years,” says Graham Parker, general manager of WQXR, the classical station in New York City. The online audience has grown, with visits to wxqr.org up 34 percent between fiscal years 2013 and 2014. When the station was purchased by New York Public Radio from The New York Times in 2010 it moved up the dial to a frequency with a weaker signal. From an antenna atop the Empire State Building, its over-the-air broadcasts now reach a weekly audience of about 625,000— down from the 800,000 listeners who tuned in when the station was at its old frequency. “We’ve more than made up for the difference between the old and current signals in the growth of our digital audience,” says Parker. But since the online audience for classical music is still relatively small, he adds, “The bulk of our audience listen on FM radio.” (The station doesn’t disclose the number of visitors to its website.) WQXR’s transformation from commercial to noncommercial public station is similar to what has taken place at other major-market classical stations such as San Francisco’s KDFC, KING in Seattle, and WCRB in Boston. It’s part of a trend in
WSMR Radio former on-air host Coleen Cook, who also has done voiceovers for the Florida Orchestra’s TV spots.
“We’ve invested heavily in the expansion of our digital footprint over the last five years,” says Graham Parker, general manager of New York’s WQXR. Though the online audience has grown, Parker notes, “The bulk of our audience listen on FM radio.”
which many public stations have dropped traditional mixed formats, which typically combined classical music programming with flagship National Public Radio news shows such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered, for all-news formats. Many markets have been affected by broader coverage shifts at NPR. Since 9/11, the network’s goal has been to become, as USC Radio’s Barnes puts it, “a global breaking-news organization that could stand alongside CNN or any other news organization, requiring a huge investment and a cultural change within the organization.” Many NPR affiliates have followed suit and beefed up their local and regional news operations. “Generally, audiences don’t want mixed formats, they want one or the other,” says WQXR’s Parker. In Georgia, Atlanta’s public radio station WABE went all-news during the day early this year and moved classical music programs to an HD channel. Texas’s Houston Public Media also separated the two formats, with the classical station moving to a frequency with a weaker signal. Changes
in radio-signal strength are also part of the story in St. Louis, where a new classical music station, Radio Arts Foundation, took over the format in 2013 from KFUO. RAF broadcasts on a 250-watt signal that is much weaker than KFUO’s 100,000 watts. Another common theme is cutting back programming by local radio hosts—as Houston Public Radio did—and airing more programs from nationally syndicated music services, such as Classical 24, produced by Minnesota Public Radio and Public Radio International. How are symphony orchestras adapting to the changes in radio formats? Some of
tra is exploring digital alternatives for marketing and developing a mobile app. And in Houston, though classical music now is aired over a channel with a weaker radio signal, Houston Public Media has upgraded recording-booth equipment used for the Houston Symphony’s two-hour Wednesday broadcasts. In California, the San Francisco Symphony’s broadcasts are carried not just on KDFC but also self-distributed through the SFS’s extensive streaming and online media outlets. In March, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra announced a new weekly radio program, “Sunday Night with the TSO,” in partnership with Toronto-based
St. Louis Public Radio’s broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony draw more than 10,000 listeners a week. Co-hosting the broadcast are Adam Crane (left), the orchestra’s vice president for external affairs, and Robert Peterson (right), SLPR’s director of programming and operations.
the largest, such as the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony, have sophisticated arrangements with their hometown classical radio stations that include not only longstanding weekly concert broadcasts over the air and online, but also on-demand performances streamed on the stations’ websites. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s free #DSOLive webcasts from Orchestra Hall are considered a strong factor in the DSO’s rising ticket sales and donations. The Kansas City Symphony anticipates adding streamed alternatives to its on-air radio coverage. The Philadelphia Orchestra has a partnership with WRTI, Temple University’s classical music and jazz station, which produces weekly broadcasts of pre-recorded concerts. In Florida’s Tampa Bay area, public radio station WUSF changed its format to allnews, spun off classical music to a separate channel, and moved its broadcast tower to a location farther from Tampa and closer to Sarasota. The Tampa-based Florida Orches-
commercial station The New Classical FM, hosted by TSO President and CEO Jeff Melanson and musician Kathleen Kajioka. Content is created jointly between the orchestra and ZoomerMedia, the media company that owns the radio station. Each episode is aired on the radio, streamed live on the TSO’s mobile app, and can be heard via podcast. Beginning in early 2015, a new agreement between Chicago’s WFMT Radio Network and the Shanghai East Radio Company meant that New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony concerts are now being broadcast weekly in Shanghai; the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival programs are to be broadcast on U.S. radio stations. St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is a market where changes on the radio have led to an unusual marriage between a leading all-news station and the symphony orchestra. In 2010, when 62-year-old Classic 99 KFUO-FM was symphony
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sold and flipped its format to Christian pop music, listeners were left without a classical music radio station—a gaping hole in the cultural life of a city with illustrious musical organizations like the St. Louis SymphoPROGRAM NOTES ny Orchestra and Opera Theatre of Saint Informative and entertaining, with Louis. “There was a real sense of loss when accessible discussion of the music KFUO went away,” says Adam Crane, vice itself, as well as lively historical and president for external affairs at the St. Louis cultural background information. Symphony and a native of the city. “When I was growing up during the [former music Program book editing and layout director Leonard] Slatkin years, the St. Lou Special program book articles is Symphony was on the radio all the time. Understandable musical analysis KFUO had a large reach, a large following, Text translation and a lot of history.” 24-hour turnaround on rush jobs Today in St. Louis, the Radio Arts Foun Notes for chamber ensembles dation, a new station managed by the for Audio examples for web sites mer program director at KFUO, has a weak See samples at: signal: the startup FM station can be heard in just a portion of the metro area, and it www.wordprosmusic.com doesn’t have live broadcasts by the orchestra. Elizabeth A. Kahn, Ph.D. Joseph S. Kahn, Ph.D. Happily for the St. Louis Symphony, St. Louis Public Radio still airs 23 Saturdayphone: 919 851-2410 email@example.com night subscription concerts, plus the orchestra’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration, live from Powell Hall. Other U.S. radio stations have regularly scheduled live broadcasts of Symphony Ad 12004 9/4/05, 12:21 theirPMlocal symphony orchestras, including WCRB in Boston and WCLV in Cleveland. What makes the two-hour program in St. Louis distinctive is that it represents the only classical music on the all-news station, except for the syndicated From the Top and SymphonyCast programs. Today, St. Louis Public Radio’s orchestra broadcasts draw more than 10,000 listeners a week, according to Crane, who cohosts them with SLPR Director of Programming and Operations Robert Peterson. Because Powell does not have a large enough broadcast booth in the concert hall, the pair, along with a producer, work from a seventh-floor lunchroom space (“the most soundproof room we could find,” Crane says), following the performance through headphones and on video monitors. Music Director David Robertson “listens when he’s not here, and he’ll text me comments that I’ll share with our listeners on the air,” Crane says. “It’s pretty cool.” Last October, the broadcast itself made news when a group of protesters staged a peaceful demonstration during a concert to protest the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. “We were doing the Brahms Requiem, coming out of intermission—the tuning had occurred and the
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conductor had walked out onstage—and all of a sudden, these protesters started singing,” Crane recalls. The roughly 50 protesters sang “Which Side Are You On,” then left the hall. “We were on the air, and had to go into breaking-news mode, which was interesting. We had it documented on the radio, really live,” says Crane. Houston, Texas / Tampa Bay and Sarasota, Florida
“The message here is that digital is replacing what traditional media used to provide,” says Sherry Powell, marketing director of the Florida Orchestra.
Houston is another market where classical music lovers— and the Houston Symphony— have had to cope with changes on the radio. In a reorganization over the past four years, Houston Public Media has separated its radio programming between a news station (KUHF) and a classical station (KUHA). With its weaker signal, the classical station reaches an average weekly audience of 150,000 on the air, half that of the news station. On the plus side, classical programming is also live-streamed online, and Houston Public Media has helped to upgrade the Houston Symphony’s two-hour broadcast on Wednesday nights from Jones Hall. “They invested about $50,000 in new equipment in our recording booth, and that spurred new investment from a donor in new microphones,” says Steven Brosvik, the orchestra’s former general manager. (This spring, Brosvik became chief operating officer for the Nashville Symphony.) Amid the changes, most of the classical music station’s staff was laid off in 2013. Now virtually all programming comes from Classical 24, the syndicated service that has become ubiquitous on classical radio since its inception 20 years ago, with hosts working from studios in St. Paul, Minnesota and has an average weekly audience of more than 2 million. Many in the Houston arts community lament the loss of local announcers and productions like The Front Row, an on-air arts magazine. “People were loyal to the DJs who had been so involved for many years in attending and promoting concerts,” says Glenn Taylor, the Houston Symphony’s chief marketing officer. “The loss of The Front Row was big.” Ultimately, Taylor thinks changes on the radio have hurt the symphony
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The Vermont Symphony Orchestra, pictured here at a summer concert at Shelburne Farms, is featured on statewide VPR Classical.
The Kansas City Symphony, led here by Music Director Michael Stern, self-produces recordings of concerts at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
orchestra. “The story can be woven that classical music is so important in Houston that we have a station only for it, but that’s a little like putting lipstick on a pig. Yes, the station is totally devoted to classical music, but the signal doesn’t reach the entire city. The classical station clearly doesn’t have the same resources behind it as the news station. The big dollars are on the news station.” In the Tampa Bay area, a similar scenario began playing out in 2010 when Tampabased NPR affiliate WUSF, a mixed news/ classical/jazz station, went all-news (with jazz overnight). Because WUSF didn’t want to give up classical music, which it had aired for 40 years, it spent $1.3 million to acquire WSMR, a religious broadcaster, and turned it into a classical station, retaining the public broadcaster’s staff of on-air hosts. However, the new station’s tower is in Sarasota County, well south of the Tampa-St. PetersburgClearwater area, where the signal is spotty. The classical station has less than half the news station’s audience of 230,000. The Florida Orchestra, which performs in the Tampa Bay area, continues to buy promotional underwriting spots on both the news and classical stations but has also been exploring digital alternatives for marketing. Last summer, the orchestra made a regional ad buy on the music-streaming service Pandora to announce its 2014-15 masterworks
season, and it is developing a mobile website app on InstantEncore, a digital platform used by performing arts organizations. “I’d prefer being able to communicate to our market on a classical radio station, but that’s a limited option for us now,” says Sherry Powell, marketing director of the Florida Orchestra. “I think the message here is that digital is replacing what traditional media used to provide.” The Sarasota Orchestra, on the other hand, couldn’t be happier about the change, because WSMR is in the heart of its market. The station opened a broadcast and performance space in Sarasota, though the classical hosts continue to do their shows from the Tampa studios. “WUSF’s decision to go news/talk resulted in them downsizing their classical footprint, but it was wonderful for us because now the new classical station is right here in the epicenter of our community,” says Joe McKenna, CEO of the Sarasota Orchestra. “I feel like we won the lottery.” Vermont / Atlanta, Georgia / Kansas City, Missouri
Other radio markets have been going through changes that have affected orchestras, with varied outcomes. In central Vermont, commercial station WCVT dropped its seventeen-year commitment to classical music and switched to a pop format last June, but fortunately for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra moved to Vermont Public Radio without missing a beat in the fall and now is featured in a weekly series as well as concerts aired on statewide VPR Classical. Concerts by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra have been carried over NPR affiliate WABE for 41 years, but in January the station went all-news during the day, moving classical music programs to an HD channel, including the popular long-running Second Cup morning show with host Lois R eitzes, who has been with the station for 35 years. Reitzes’s program on the HD channel WABE Classics is two hours longer, and she also hosts a weekday arts program on the FM channel. WABE continues to broadcast classical music programming in the evening and overnight, with nineteen recorded ASO concerts from 2014-15 scheduled on Tuesday nights. Georgia Public Broadcasting also carries ASO concerts, hosted by Sarah Zaslaw, on stations around the state. The Kansas City Symphony self-produc-
es recordings of concerts at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, where it has performed since the facility opened in 2011. “Now that we have this magnificent new hall we’re getting some spectacular recordings,” says Frank Byrne, the orchestra’s executive director. Recorded performances are heard year-round on a weekly one-hour show on local NPR outlet KCUR, a mostly news station that carries only twelve hours of classical music a week. (The other eleven come from Classical 24.) “At present the agreement with our musicians only allows for local broadcast,” Byrne said. That stands to change under an integrated media agreement negotiated by 72 orchestra managements and the American Federation of Musicians to govern compensation to musicians for performances in electronic media. The new agreement, reached in December, includes an option to stream local broadcasts over the internet without additional payment to musicians. To state the obvious, having media agreements with orchestra musicians is essential in order for broadcasts to be carried on the radio—and elsewhere. San Francisco
For orchestras around the country trying to come to terms with changing radio formats and the digital revolution, the San Francisco Symphony is something of a role model. The orchestra has made electronic media a priority, and it helps that Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas is such a charismatic communicator. “We have a music director who is great on media, and the partnership he has with this orchestra goes across the footlights,” says John Kieser, who served for three decades as director of operations, director of operations and electronic media, and general manager, before moving to the New World Symphony in July. San Francisco has been on the radio more or less continuously since 1926, when it was first featured on the Standard Hour, a weekly NBC Radio series heard on the West Coast until 1955. Today, the orchestra’s offerings on KDFC include Tuesday-night concerts, recorded earlier, mostly from the current season. On average they draw an over-theair audience of 25,000 and are streamed live on the station’s website. Beginning in 2013 concert broadcasts have also been archived and are streamed on demand for 21 days after the original air date. “It’s all part of the package of rights that symphony
Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation
we deliver to our broadcasters,” says Kieser. “The orchestra musicians get something called an audio exploitation fee that covers all the rights. It’s something we work out together with our musicians and KDFC.” The station has some flexibility in how it can use material from the orchestra, such as allowing hosts to drop individual works from concert broadcasts into their programs. “Let’s say someone wants to use our performance of the Adagietto from Mahler Five on their show. Sure, that can be done,” Kieser says. “In a summer series that KDFC does, they take our programs and mix and match pieces from various broadcasts.” Kieser notes that San Francisco’s flexibility over performance rights is a credit to the musicians. “They are very interested in giving the orchestra that competitive edge,” he says. “They understand how important audio broadcasting has been to the brand of the symphony.” After the 1987-88 season, the SFS faced a change in local radio formats, when its thenbroadcast partner, the mixed classical/news KQED, went to all-news. In Kieser’s analysis, that experience is what led the orchestra to take control of its own radio and TV production. As part of the multimedia Keeping Score series, it made acclaimed radio documentaries, such as American Mavericks, a series on iconoclastic composers like Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison, and Meredith Monk; The MTT Files, eight 60-minute episodes hosted by Tilson Thomas that explore a wide range of music topics; and Thirteen Days When Music Changed Forever, a series of 13 documentaries on musical revolutions, such as the April 7, 1805 premiere of Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony. “We designed these radio documentaries to play on the news-and-information stations, which have far greater listenership than ones just doing classical music,” Kieser says. These days, the San Francisco Symphony devotes much of its media effort to the world of internet streaming, but the orchestra acknowledges the importance of traditional radio. “We get a tremendous response both locally and nationally for our radio concerts,” he says. “There are a lot of people out there who still consume their culture from these broadcasts.” JOHN FLEMING is a music journalist in Florida. He contributes to Opera News, Musical America, Classical Voice North America, and other publications. americanorchestras.org
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Andersen & Associates, Inc................... 42 David Arkenstone’s Symphonic
ArtsVue Marketing............................... 35 Astra Dance Theatre.............................. 21 BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.)................ 61 Broadway Pops International................ 53
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JRA Fine Arts....................................... 58 Dan Kamin Comedy Concertos.............. 9
KMP Artists.......................................... 48 Ronnie Kole.......................................... 49
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Marcus Roberts Enterprises.................. 28 Marilyn Rosen Presents........................ 46 0
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558 14,202 99
Young Concert Artists........................... 59 CORRECTION The article “Local Heroes” on page 48 of the summer 2015 issue of Symphony misstated the age of composer Ben Goldberg. He is 39 years old. We apologize for the error.
LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS With the support of our valued donors, the League continues to have a positive impact on the future of orchestras in America by helping to develop the next generation of leaders, generating and disseminating critical knowledge and information, and advocating for the unique role of the orchestral experience in American life before an ever-widening group of stakeholders. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the following donors who contributed gifts of $600 and above in the last year as of June 30, 2015. For more information regarding a gift to the League, please visit us at americanorchestras.org/donate, call 212.262.5161, or write us at Annual Fund, League of American Orchestras, 33 West 60th Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10023. $150,000 and above
Booth Ferris Foundation, New York, NY Bruce and Martha Clinton, on behalf of The Clinton Family Fund, Coral Gables, FL Peter D. and Julie Fisher Cummings, Palm Beach Gardens, FL † The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Grand Rapids, MI Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, San Francisco, CA The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, NY Sargent Family Foundation Cynthia Sargent, Chicago, IL
$50,000 – $149,999
Dr. and Mrs. Malcolm Brown, Winston-Salem, NC John and Marcia Goldman Philanthropic Fund, San Francisco, CA Shirley Bush Helzberg, Kansas City, MO † Mrs. Martha R. Ingram, Nashville, TN Daniel R. Lewis, in honor of Lowell J. Noteboom and Bruce Clinton, Coral Gables, FL † The Curtis and Pamela Livingston 2000 Charitable Remainder Unitrust, Boston, MA National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC The Negaunee Foundation, Northbrook, IL Walter P. Pettipas Revocable Trust, Jersey City, NJ Sakana Foundation, San Francisco, CA Rick Prins and Connie Steensma, New York, NY † Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, New York, NY The Wallace Foundation, New York, NY
$25,000 – $49,000
American Express Foundation, New York, NY Richard and Kay Fredericks Cisek, North Oaks, MN The Edgemer Foundation, Inc., West Hartford, CT The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, New York, NY Catherine and Peter Moye, Spokane, WA New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York, NY Steve and Diane Parrish Foundation, Westport, CT
$10,000 – $24,999
Mr. David C. Bohnett, Beverly Hills, CA Hal and Diane Brierley, Plano, TX Mrs. Trish Bryan, Cincinnati, OH † Melanie Clarke, Princeton, NJ The Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland, OH Cornell Family Foundation, New York, NY The Fatta Foundation, Buffalo, NY † The John & Marcia Goldman Foundation, San Francisco, CA Douglas and Jane Hagerman, Milwaukee, WI JPMorgan Chase Bank, Chicago, IL Mark Jung, Wellesley Hills, MA Camille and Dennis LaBarre, Cleveland Heights, OH Ellen and James S. Marcus, New York, NY Alan and Maria McIntyre, Darien, CT Lowell and Sonja Noteboom, Minneapolis, MN
Mary Carr Patton, Orange Park, FL Robert A. Peiser, Houston, TX Patricia A. Richards, Salt Lake City, UT David Rockefeller, in memory of Peggy Rockefeller, New York, NY Barry Sanders, Beverly Hills, CA Drs. Helen S. and John P. Schaefer, Tucson, AZ † Mrs. Helen P. Shaffer, Houston, TX Penelope and John Van Horn, Chicago, IL Geraldine Warner, Cincinnati, OH Wells Fargo, Los Angeles, CA Robert Wood Revocable Trust, Grover Beach, CA The Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation, Conshohocken, PA
$5,000 – $9,999
Burton Alter, Woodbridge, CT Brent and Jan Assink, San Francisco, CA Mr. and Mrs. William G. Brown, Hobe Sound, FL Ms. Nicky B. Carpenter, Wayzata, MN † Margarita and John Contreni, Greenville, ME Phillip William Fisher Fund, Detroit, MI John and Paula Gambs, Tiburon, CA Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, New York, NY The CHG Charitable Trust, Philadelphia, PA † Jim Hasler, Oakland, CA The Hyde and Watson Foundation, Warren, NJ The James Irvine Foundation, San Francisco, CA Stephen H. Judson, New York, NY Lori Julian, Chicago, IL Kulas Foundation, Cleveland, OH Dr. Hugh W. Long, New Orleans, LA Kjristine Lund, Seattle, WA Jim and Kay Mabie, Northfield, IL † Shirley D. McCrary, Mooresville, AL † John P. Murphy Foundation, Cleveland, OH Michael Neidorff and Noemi Neidorff, Saint Louis, MO New York State Council on the Arts, New York, NY Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Houston, TX Steve Turner, Nashville, TN
$2,500 – $4,999
Alberta Arthurs, New York, NY The Amphion Foundation, New York, NY Richard J. Bogomolny and Patricia M. Kozerefski, Gates Mills, OH The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston, TX Laurie and Richard Brueckner, Bedminster, NJ NancyBell Coe and William Burke, Santa Barbara, CA Martha and Herman Copen Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, New Haven, CT Bruce Coppock, Mendota Heights, MN Gloria dePasquale, Narberth, PA D.M. Edwards, in honor of Patricia Richards and Jesse Rosen, Tyler, TX Drs. Aaron and Cristina Stanescu Flagg, West Hartford, CT James M. Franklin, Inverness, IL †
NOTEBOOM GOVERNANCE CENTER The League of American Orchestras’ Noteboom Governance Center was created in recognition of former League Board Chair Lowell Noteboom, honoring his longstanding commitment to improving governance practice in American orchestras. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the following donors who have made commitments to support the Center. Alberta Arthurs, New York, NY Dr. and Mrs. Malcolm Brown, Winston-Salem, NC John and Janet Canning, Westport, CT Richard and Kay Fredericks Cisek, North Oaks, MN Melanie Clarke, Princeton, NJ Bruce and Martha Clinton, on behalf of The Clinton Family Fund, Chicago, IL Gloria dePasquale, Narberth, PA The Edgemer Foundation, West Hartford, CT Marcia and John Goldman, San Francisco, CA Marian A. Godfrey, Richmond, MA Daniel R. Lewis, Coral Gables, FL Dr. Hugh W. Long, New Orleans, LA Steve and Diane Parrish Foundation, Westport, CT Mary Carr Patton, Orange Park, FL Daniel Petersen, Seattle, WA Sakana Foundation, San Francisco, CA Barry Sanders, Beverly Hills, CA Sargent Family Foundation Cynthia Sargent, Chicago, IL Sewell Charitable Fund, Minneapolis, MN Penelope and John Van Horn, Chicago, IL Tina Ward, Saint Louis, MO The Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation, Conshohocken, PA Anonymous (2) Marian A. Godfrey, Richmond, MA The George Gund Foundation, Cleveland, OH Lyndia and C.Y. Harvey, Denver, CO A.J. Huss, Jr., Saint Paul, MN James D. Ireland, Cleveland, OH * Paul R. Judy, Northfield, IL IMN Solutions, Inc., Arlington, VA John A. and Catherine M. Koten Foundation, Hinsdale, IL † A. Michael and Ruth C. Lipper, Summit, NJ Ohio Arts Council, Columbus, OH Jesse Rosen, New York, NY The Alfred and Jane Ross Foundation, New York, NY Ms. Deborah F. Rutter, Washington, DC † Richard P. Simmons, Sewickley, PA Alan D. and Jan L. Valentine, Nashville, TN Kathleen M. van Bergen, Naples, FL Doris and Clark Warden, Sausalito, CA † Sally and Nick Webster, New York, NY
$1,000 – $2,499
Douglas W. Adams, Breckenridge, CO Tiffany Ammerman, Marshall, TX Ms. Cathy Barbash, in memory of Seymour Rosen, Ardmore, PA • Beracha Family Charitable Gift Fund, Ladue, MO William P. Blair, III, Canton, OH † Deborah Borda, Los Angeles, CA † Fred and Liz Bronstein, Baltimore, MD • Wayne S. Brown and Brenda E. Kee, Detroit, MI † The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Chicago, IL Leslie and Dale Chihuly, Seattle, WA Conn-Selmer, Elkhart, IN Robert Conrad, Cleveland, OH Trayton M. Davis, in honor of Bob Wagner, Montclair, NJ Aaron Dworkin, Detroit, MI Marisa Eisemann, Albany, NY Susan Feder and Todd Gordon, Irvington, NY Courtney and David Filner, Naples, FL • The Fleischmann Foundation, Cincinnati, OH † Henry and Fran Fogel, River Forest, IL † Michele and John Forsyte, Long Beach, CA • David V. Foster, New York, NY † Catherine French, Washington, DC † Dr. and Mrs. Hiroyuki Fujita, Pepper Pike, OH Laurence Mills-Gahl and Karen Gahl-Mills, Cleveland Heights, OH Adele and Willard Gidwitz Family Foundation, New York, NY † Edward B. Gill, La Jolla, CA † Gary Ginstling and Marta Lederer, Carmel, IN Joseph B. Glossberg and Madeline Condit, Chicago, IL Gordon Family Philanthropic Fund, Laguna Beach, CA Margot and Paul Grangaard, Edina, MN Nancy Greenbach, Atherton, CA André Gremillet, Melbourne, Australia Patty Hall, Seattle, WA Mark and Christina Hanson, Houston, TX • Daniel and Barbara Hart, Amherst, NY • Ian Harwood, Milwaukee, WI • Howard Herring, Miami Beach, FL Dr. and Mrs. Claire Fox Hillard, Albany, GA Patricia Howard, Cazenovia, NY + Laura Hyde, Tyler, TX † The Jurenko Foundation, Madison, AL Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley Foundation, Shaker Heights, OH Mr. Michael Kerr, Corona Del Mar, CA Douglas W. Kinzey, Plano, TX Peter T. Kjome, Grand Rapids, MI Joseph H. Kluger, Gladwyne, PA Robert Kohl & Clark Pellett, Chicago, IL Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred J. Larson, Naples, FL † Robert Levine, Glendale, WI Stephen Lisner, New York, NY Sandi Macdonald, Raleigh, NC Alex Machaskee, Cleveland, OH Stacy and Lee Margolis, Brooklyn, NY Jonathan Martin, Dallas, TX Steve and Lou Mason, Dayton, OH † Mattlin Foundation, Columbus, OH Debbie McKinney, Nichols Hills, OK Paul Meecham, Baltimore, MD Zarin Mehta, Chicago, IL † Mrs. LaDonna Meinders, Oklahoma City, OK americanorchestras.org
David Alan Miller, Slingerlands, NY Steven Monder, Cincinnati, OH † Michael Morgan, Oakland, CA † James Nicholson, Detroit, MI Aaron J. Nurick, Boston, MA John and Farah Palmer, Tucson, AZ † Anne Parsons and Donald Dietz, Detroit, MI • Mr. Michael Pastreich, St. Petersburg, FL • Peter Pastreich, Sausalito, CA † Daniel Petersen, Seattle, WA Henry Peyrebrune and Tracy Rowell, Cleveland Heights, OH The Rice Family Fund, Rochester, NY Barbara S. Robinson, Cleveland, OH Susan L. Robinson, Sarasota, FL Stanley Romanstein, Atlanta, GA Barbara and Robert Rosoff, Queensbury, NY Don Roth, Davis, CA † Mary Jones Saathoff, Lubbock, TX Roger Saydack and Elaine Bernat, Eugene, OR † Jo Ellen Saylor, Edina, MN Fred and Gloria Sewell, Minneapolis, MN Rita Shapiro, Executive Director, NSO, Washington, DC Dr. Gordon and Carole Mallet, Zionsville, IN Thomas and Dee Stegman, Cincinnati, OH Linda S. Stevens, Kansas City, MO + Susan Stucker, Mountainside, NJ Mr. David Tierno in honor of Melanie Clarke, Princeton, NJ Melia and Mike Tourangeau, Salt Lake City, UT Rae Wade Trimmier, Mountain Brook, AL † Marylou and John D. Turner, Kansas City, MO Dr. Jane M. Van Dyk, Billings, MT † Matthew VanBesien and Rosie Jowitt, New York, NY • Allison Vulgamore, Philadelphia, PA •† Linda Weisbruch and Craig Weisbruch, Charlotte, NC Jane and Dobson West, Minneapolis, MN Paul R. Wiggin, Chicago, IL Camille Williams, Little Rock, AR Donna M. Williams, Oakland, CA Simon Woods and Karin Brookes, Seattle, WA Anonymous (1)
$600 – $999
Gene and Mary Arner, Boise, ID Sandra Sue Ashby, Jacksonville, FL Janet F. and Dr. Richard E. Barb, Indianapolis, IN Nancy Blaugrund, Albuquerque, NM David R. Bornemann, Scottsdale, AZ Dr. Misook Yun and Mr. James William Boyd, New Orleans, LA • Mrs. Judy Christl, Bonita Springs, FL † Katy Clark, Brooklyn, NY • Scott Faulkner and Andrea Lenz, Reno, NV † Mrs. John Fazli, Indianapolis, IN David C. Ferner, Ponte Vedra, FL Jack M. Firestone, Miami, FL Rachel and Terry Ford, Knoxville, TN + GE Foundation, Fairfield, CT Bill Gettys, Weaverville, NC Richard and Mary L. Gray, Chicago, IL Ms. Janice Hay, Philadelphia, PA HGA Architects and Engineers, Minneapolis, MN Marilyn P. and Joseph W. Hirschhorn Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Cincinnati, OH
HELEN M. THOMPSON HERITAGE SOCIETY The League of American Orchestras graciously recognizes those who have remembered the League in their estate plans as members of the Helen M. Thompson Heritage Society. Janet F. and Dr. Richard E. Barb Family Foundation, Indianapolis, IN Wayne S. Brown and Brenda E. Kee, Detroit, MI John and Janet Canning, Westport, CT Richard and Kay Fredericks Cisek, North Oaks, MN Martha and Herman Copen Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, New Haven, CT Myra Janco Daniels, Naples, FL Samuel C. Dixon, Morrow, GA Henry and Frances Fogel, River Forest, IL Susan Harris, Ph.D., Ann Arbor, MI Louise W. Kahn Endowment Fund of The Dallas Foundation, Dallas, TX The Curtis and Pamela Livingston 2000 Charitable Remainder Unitrust, Boston, MA Nina C. Masek, Sonoita, AZ Steve and Lou Mason, Dayton, OH Lowell and Sonja Noteboom, Minnetonka, MN Charles and Barbara Olton, New York, NY Peter Pastreich, San Francisco, CA Walter P. Pettipas Revocable Trust, Jersey City, NJ Rodger E. Pitcairn, Rockville, MD Robert and Barbara Rosoff, Glens Falls, NY Robert J. Wagner, Boonton, NJ Tina Ward, Saint Louis, MO Mr. and Mrs. Albert K. Webster, New York, NY Robert Wood Revocable Trust, Grover Beach, CA Anonymous (1) Marguerite Humphrey, Gates Mills, OH Helena Jackson and Doug Dunham, Duluth, MN Donald Krause and JoAnne Krause, Brookfield, WI † David Loebel, Lebanon, NH Evans Mirageas and Thomas Dreeze, Cincinnati, OH J.L. Nave III and Paul Cook, Fort Wayne, IN • Ms. Brenda S. Nienhouse, Spokane, WA • Tresa Radermacher, Dyer, IN Jane B. Schwartz, Augusta, GA Richard L. Sias, Oklahoma City, OK † David Snead, New York, NY Barbara J. Smith-Soroca, Stamford, CT Mary Tunstall Staton, Charlotte, NC Laura Street, Amarillo, TX Jeff Tsai, Geneva, IL • Gus Vratsinas, Little Rock, AR Robert J. Wagner, Boonton, NJ Tina Ward, Saint Louis, MO •† Mark and Terry White, Amarillo, TX Melinda Whiting Burrows and John Burrows, Riverton, NJ Paul Winberg and Bruce Czuchna, Chicago, IL
† Directors Council (former League Board) • Orchestra Management Fellowship Program Alumni + Includes Corporate Matching Gift * Deceased
Bass-baritone Eric Owens is on stages seemingly everywhere these days, from playing Alberich in the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring cycle and Nekrotzar in the New York Philharmonic’s Le Grand Macabre to appearing in the Berlin Philharmonic’s St. Matthew Passion. Somehow he manages to balance a hectic schedule, all while keeping an eye on the big picture and never forgetting his orchestral roots.
was born and raised in Philly, and I will forever have a soft spot for the Philadelphia Orchestra—it is my hometown orchestra. I was in the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra with Peter Smith, who is the Philadelphia Orchestra’s associate principal oboe; I studied with Louis Rosenblatt, then the orchestra’s English hornist; I have known Dick Woodhams, the principal oboist, forever. I grew up going to concerts where every member of that orchestra was a rock star. I will always remember my first experience of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Philadelphia Orchestra: I was fourteen or fifteen, and my school had tickets for a Friday matinee performance. Erich Leinsdorf was conducting, and the singers were Kathleen Battle—before she got riproaringly famous—Katherine Ciesinski, John Aler, John Cheek, and Terry Cook. The Passion starts in E minor, and then all of a sudden, the E pedal breaks out and starts an ascending scale as if it were a rose opening up and blossoming right in front of the audience. I just sat there, transfixed and transfigured throughout the performance. At that point in my life, I had no designs of being a singer, and I consider myself so lucky to have sung with many amazing orchestras here the in States—Philly, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, Houston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, among others. As a community ambassador for Lyric Opera of Chicago along with soprano
Ana María Martinez, we have the opportunity to go out into schools together and introduce opera to students. The first minute or two, we are listening to giggling and laughter—the world of opera singing is not terribly familiar to children—but we speak about it from a place of love, and that is what makes it successful. I have gone several times with the Chicago Symphony’s music director, Riccardo Muti, to perform concerts in juvenile detention centers, which I find incredibly important and rewarding. Being a consumer of classical music, and maybe even someone who performs, is not something that should be foreign to young people. Maestro Muti has an uncanny ability to talk to these young people without dumbing anything down, but without talking over their heads. It is inspiring. A few years ago, I was in St. Louis during the League of American Orchestras Conference. I crashed a Development and Marketing meeting, and one orchestra administrator talked about a program called Surprise and Delight, where if a major donor was coming to a concert, they would greet them at their seat before the concert to make them feel welcome. I said, “You have a resource that is not fully tapped— people like me, the artists ourselves. If there is a soloist who is performing with you that week, and if they are willing, take them to the donor’s seat with you.” Or send them an individualized, heartfelt video or card. These things can be person-
Eric Owens in the Berlin Philharmonic’s St. Matthew Passion, staged by Peter Sellars and conducted by Simon Rattle during Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, 2014.
alized. It does not cost anybody anything, and it only takes a few minutes. I think anybody who is a part of any arts organization is an ex-officio member of the development department. I am a lover of music, and the organizations to which I give range from the very small to the very big. I am no millionaire, by any stretch, but when we as a community speak about thinking outside the box, that includes us artists as well. I have been trying to inspire other people to give— whether it be small or large—to their hometown orchestra or opera company. It is all hands on deck. Because that is what it is going to take: it is not going to take a few people working a lot harder, it is going to take everybody working just a little bit harder. It is imperative that everybody be a part of the solution. No matter how fine the Rolls Royce is, if it does not have gas in it, it is not going anywhere! ERIC OWENS performs frequently with orchestras in the U.S. and internationally. He is the New York Philharmonic’s Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence for the 2015-16 season, and he will take on his first Wotan at Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2016. He studied oboe with Lloyd Shorter of the Delaware Symphony and Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra, prior to switching to voice at Temple University and the Curtis Institute of Music. He has also studied conducting with Robert Spano at Aspen Music Festival and School.
2015 Conference The League of American Orchestras would like to thank the following sponsors and program funders for their support of the 2015 Conference. AEA Consulting Akustiks American Express Foundation Artsmarketing Services, Inc. Boomerang Carnets | CIB Broadcast Music, Inc. CCS Fundraising The Cleveland Foundation Colbert Artists Management Columbia Artists Management, Inc. Concert Artist Guild Conn-Selmer The Aaron Copland Fund for Music David Arkenstoneâ€™s Symphonic Adventure DCM, Inc. Destination Cleveland Fisher Dachs Associates The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts The George Gund Foundation InstantEncore
JRA Fine Arts Kulas Foundation Magusa Logistics The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John P. Murphy Foundation The Music Paradigm National Endowment for the Arts Ohio Arts Council Oliver Wyman Patron Technology SD&A Teleservices, Inc. Sultans of String Symmetrica TALASKE | Sound Thinking Threshold Acoustics TRG Arts Uzan International Artists Video Ideas Productions The Wallace Foundation
We look forward to seeing you in Baltimore! To inquire about sponsorship opportunities for the 2016 Conference taking place June 9 â€“11, 2016, please contact Steve Alter at 646 822 4051 or firstname.lastname@example.org.