symphony FALL 2019 n $6.95
THE MAGAZINE OF
THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS
Orchestras nationwide are marking the iconic composerâ€™s 250th birthday. But what does he mean for us today?
Who, What, and Why of Pops
New Sounds for the Transcontinental Railroad
Chamber Concerts: Orchestras Up Close
Change Comes to the Conservatory
PRESENTS A STUNNING NEW CONCERTO BY CELEBRATED AMERICAN COMPOSER
C H R I S T O P H E R T H E O FA N I D I S : DRUM CIRCLES FOR THE PERCUSSION COLLECTIVE AND ORCHESTRA
“...a phenomenally exciting world premiere performance of Drum Circles...” James Bash, Northwest Reverb March 2019, Carlos Kalmar with The Oregon Symphony
Commissioning consortium: The Oregon Symphony, The Aspen Music Festival and School, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Curtis Institute of Music, The Colorado Symphony, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Designed by kjellissey.com
“A work of rare authenticity and directness” — Los Angeles Times
Peter Boyer’s Grammy-nominated
Ellis Island THE DREAM OF AMERICA
Bows for Ellis Island with Pacific Symphony, Music Director Carl St.Clair and actors; photo by Joshua Sudock, courtesy of Pacific Symphony
“A sweeping opus… Boyer’s masterwork” — The Buffalo News
Celebrating more than 200 performances, and Peter Boyer’s 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Stunning new full-length visuals available through Pacific Symphony As televised nationally on PBS’ Great Performances series Composer Peter Boyer
VO LU M E 70, N U M B E R 4
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f Beethoven were a candy, how would he taste? A goofy question, admittedly, but at airport duty-free shops everywhere, Mozartkugeln turn Mozart into a confection: an orb of marzipan and dark chocolate enrobed in a flattering foil portrait. The candies shape and mirror popular perceptions of what a classical composer should be: elegant, edible, decorous. Iconoclastic Beethoven broke every kind of mold, and though there is probably a Beethoven-themed treat somewhere, one can’t help wondering what Beethoven-as-candy could be. It would taste of Sturm und Drang and genius. We’re heading into what would be the composer’s 250th birthday, and orchestras everywhere are performing Beethoven, with announcements of Beethoven performances, festivals, traversals, and tributes nearly every day. Since there’s usually no dearth of Lovely Ludwig Van, what’s behind the fixation? Is the composer a convenient canonic hook, a brand name that sells tickets? His scowling visage has become the visual trope for the tortured, titanic classical composer—and he looks good on marketing materials. Or is there something more at work, something more compelling to do with music and meaning? In this issue we look at what makes Beethoven great, and we take up new questions about what has long been framed as the composer’s “universality.” As concerns are being raised about the cultural specificity of Western classical music—and the orchestras that play it—the idea of classical music as so ineffably transcendent that it crosses all boundaries is being reconsidered. Some of that reconsideration is being done by orchestras and composers themselves. In new music that works “in dialogue” with Beethoven’s, they are thinking about how to align the complicated urgencies of today with the traditions that got us here in the first place.
THE MAGAZINE OF THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS
symphony®, the award-winning quarterly
magazine of the League of American Orchestras, discusses issues critical to the orchestra community and communicates to the American public the value and importance of orchestras and the music they perform. EDITOR IN CHIEF Robert Sandla
MANAGING EDITOR Jennifer Melick
PRODUCTION AND DESIGN Michael Rush
ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Stephen Alter ADVERTISING ASSOCIATE Joseph Matthews
PUBLISHERS Jesse Rosen
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THE MAGAZINE OF THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS
2 Prelude by Robert Sandla
6 Platt Photography
6 The Score Orchestra news, moves, and events
16 Report: Hong Kong Protests by Ken Smith 18 Report: What Brexit Means for Orchestras by Mark Pemberton
22 Board Room Strategies for raising your orchestra’s largest gifts. by Trine Sorensen
26 Seen and Heard: Conference 2019 Highlights from the League’s 2019 National Conference in Nashville.
Beethoven: A 250-Year Odyssey Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020 has unleashed a torrent of Beethoven mania at orchestras. But does his music remain “universal” in the 21st century? by Ben Finane
Sound Tracks Thirteen orchestras along the route of the Transcontinental Railroad have joined forces to commission Zhou Tian’s Transcend. by Jeff Lunden
Head of the Class Amid new cultural and economic forces, conservatories are redefining and expanding their roles. by Brin Solomon
Up Close and Personal Chamber music and orchestras: new directions. by Chester Lane
48 2019 Guide to Symphony Pops Advertisers
68 Advertiser Index 70 League of American Orchestras Annual Fund 72 Coda A new multi-national South Asian orchestra that aims to promote peace is the brainchild of diplomat Nirupama Rao. Text marked like this indicates a link to websites and online resources.
about the cover
Orchestras around the world are celebrating the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth. Just how did Beethoven become the symbol of symphonic greatness? Are the composer and his message still universal? Ben Finane delves into Beethoven#250 on page 30. Cover design by Michael Rush.
South Asian Symphony Orchestra
Pops Evolution What makes pops … pops? Conductors at orchestras offer insights, perspectives, trend-spotting, and more. by Steven Brown
Jen Schmidt Photography
SCORE News, moves, and events in the orchestra industry THE
MUSIC CentriCITY: Conference 2019
The League of American Orchestras’ 74th National Conference placed music, musicians, and community at the heart of its programming. Hosted by the Nashville Symphony, the Conference took place June 3-5, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Conference highlighted field-wide advances in equity, diversity, and inclusion and focused on the centrality of music, culture, and collective action in orchestras. “Orchestras are reimagining mission, meaning, and the future of the art form,” said League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “With the theme MUSIC CentriCITY, this year’s Conference is inspired by Nashville’s historic role as Music City and reflects the vital role our host, the Nashville Symphony, plays in the cultural fabric of the city.” Approximately 1,000 orchestra stakeholders—managers, musicians, trustees, volunteers, and business partners—attended the Conference, which took place at the Omni Hotel and at the Nashville Symphony’s home, Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Keynote speakers reflected the 2019 Conference’s focus on music, musicians, and community. At the Opening Plenary, Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero shared his personal and artistic journey, leading delegates on an exploration of what it means to be an orchestra in America today. At the League’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon, Phoenix Symphony Principal Clarinet Alex Laing, a thought leader in the orchestra field, examined the nature of Composer Joan Tower received the League’s highest honor, the art form and the dialogue between musicians and audiences. Composer Joan the Gold Baton, from League President and CEO Jesse Tower received the Gold Baton, the League’s highest honor, given annually for Rosen at the 2019 National Conference in Nashville. distinguished service to America’s orchestras. At the Closing Plenary, composer and conductor Tania León, founding artistic director of Composers Now, discussed the progress orchestras have made supporting equity for composers and how the interplay of cultures expands creative possibility. Orchestra musicians were recognized for their positive impact on their communities when the League presented Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service to Victoria Griswold, violin, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Jeff Handley, principal percussion, Chicago Sinfonietta; Rebecca Patterson, principal cello, New Haven Symphony Orchestra; Donna Parkes, principal trombone, Louisville Orchestra; and Rebecca Young, associate principal viola, New York Philharmonic. The awards are supported by Ford Motor Company Fund. Conference sessions highlighted innovative thinking and timely relevance, with topics including Preparing the Orchestra Culture for Lasting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Work, Creating a Culture of Respect in the Era of #MeToo, Going Beyond Sensory-Friendly Concerts: How to Represent Your Audience on Stage, and Engaging the LGBTQ+ Community. Other sessions highlighted best practices and emerging trends in marketing, new music, philanthropy, volunteerism, board membership, and tax policy. Some sessions took a multifaceted approach: New Strategies for Success in Audience Research and Development, for example, combined research from The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative with a report from Aubrey Bergauer, then executive director of the California Symphony, about how that orchestra successfully rethought its engagement Phoenix Symphony Principal Clarinet Alex Laing (at center) delivered the keynote address at the League’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon. Before he with audiences. spoke, Laing and colleagues performed Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Quintet For more on the League’s 2019 National Conference in this for Clarinet and Strings. From left, Caitlin Edwards, violinist, Chicago issue of Symphony, see page 26. For Conference videos, resources, Sinfonietta; Stephanie Matthews, violinist, creative director, StringCandy / and presentations, visit https://www.leagueconference2019.org/ Re-Collective Orchestra; Laing; Derek Reeves, principal violist, Fort Wayne conference-overview. Philharmonic; and Ryan Murphy, section cello, San Antonio Symphony.
LA Phil Names New CEO
At press time, the Los Angeles Philharmonic announced the appointment of Chad Smith as chief executive officer, replacing Simon Woods, who stepped down in September after two years in the job. Smith began in his new position immediately, moving from his role as the orchestra’s chief operating officer. He was appointed chief operating officer in 2015, responsible for artistic oversight and coordination of programming, as well as marketing, communications, and public relations, production, operations, media, and learning initiatives. The orchestra stated that Smith’s tenure has been defined by his close relationships with Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel and Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen; artistic initiatives including the launch of new orchestral series, multi-disciplinary projects and festivals; and a commitment to the composers and music of today. americanorchestras.org
Ohio’s Akron Symphony Orchestra has named CHRIS ALBANESE as director of the Akron Symphony Chorus and KAREN NÍ BHROIN as assistant director of the chorus. Virginia’s Richmond Symphony has appointed JENNIFER ARNOLD as director of artistic planning and orchestral operations, and WALTER BITNER as director of education and community engagement.
has been named assistant conductor at the Nashville Symphony. NATHAN ASPINALL
MARY STEFFEK BLASKE , the
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra’s longtime executive director, will retire at the end of 2019. The Memphis Symphony Orchestra has appointed assistant conductor.
has been named principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
CONNOR GRAY COVINGTON , the Utah Symphony’s associate conductor, has been named principal conductor of the orchestra’s Deer Valley Music Festival through the 2020 season.
Gerry Szymansk Largei
Maryland’s Annapolis Symphony Orchestra has appointed JOSH COTE as principal French horn, JAKE FEWX as principal tuba, and SHANE ILER as associate principal French horn.
The Mobile Symphony in Alabama has Covington named IVÁN DEL PRADO music director of the Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra. DANIELA PARDO has been appointed Mobile Symphony’s education director. New England Conservatory, based in Boston, has appointed ELIZABETH DIONNE as vice president for finance and MICHAEL SARRA as vice president for communications.
AARON C. DOTY is the new vice president and general manager at the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan. CHRISTOPHER DRAGON has been named music director of the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra. He will retain his position as resident conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has chosen ELENA for the newly created position of chief artistic officer.
The Eugene Symphony in Oregon has named JENNY ESTRIN concertmaster.
Florida’s Jacksonville Symphony has appointed GONZALO FARIAS as associate conductor.
The League of American Orchestras announced in June that President and CEO Jesse Rosen has extended his contract through September 2020, at which time he will retire from the League. “By September 2020, I will have been at the League for twenty-two years and CEO for twelve,” Rosen said in his remarks to delegates during the League’s 74th National Conference in Nashville. “I’ve had an enormously fulfilling experience, but it’s time to begin thinking about the next chapter. The orchestra community has been a source of deep satisfaction and joy, and I’d like to remain a part of it in some new and different way.” He added, “The League is in very good shape thanks to its strong staff and its wise and engaged board.” Rosen has used his platform as League CEO to advocate passionately before policy-makers, the media, and funders for the relevance and public value of orchestras while challenging League members to authentically engage with their communities. “Jesse uses his keen insights about orchestras’ roles in their communities to anticipate future challenges so we can prepare for them,” stated Douglas M. Hagerman, Chair of the League’s Board of Directors. “He shows us how to ‘see around corners.’ ” Hagerman and the Board have formed a recruitment and selection committee, which intends to select a new CEO by September 2020. Rosen joined the League in 1998 as Vice President, Professional and Artistic Services, and was subsequently appointed Chief Program Officer, Executive Vice President and Managing Director in 2006, and President and CEO in 2008. He previously served as General Manager of the Seattle Symphony, Executive Director of the American Composers Orchestra, and Orchestra Manager of the New York Philharmonic. Under Rosen’s leadership, the League has advocated for: orchestras’ deeper engagement with communities; efforts to address equity, diversity, and inclusion; greater discipline in relation to fiscal health; increased use of data to inform decision-making; stronger governance practices; and innovation and experimentation. Rosen oversaw major field research and publications and launched national initiatives supporting composers, conductors, and instrumentalists, including Ford Made in America, the largest-ever orchestra commissioning consortium; the Music Alive composer residency program; the Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service; the Women Composers Readings and Commissions Program; and the American Conducting Fellowship Program. In the past year, Rosen was instrumental in the launch of two new League programs that support orchestras’ efforts to become more inclusive: The Catalyst Fund, a three-year program of annual grants to orchestras that aims to advance their understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and to foster effective EDI practices; and the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS), a national initiative to increase diversity in American orchestras. NAAS is a partnership with the Sphinx Organization and the New World Symphony.
League President and CEO Jesse Rosen to Step Down in September 2020
The Curtis Institute of Music has elect- Estrin ed DEBORAH M. FRETZ chair of the board of trustees, and CHRISTOPHER MOSSEY has been named Curtis’s vice president for institutional advancement.
has been appointed music director of the Mid-Texas Symphony. She retains her position as associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra.
New Jersey’s Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts has named PETER H. GISTELINCK executive director.
League’s Catalyst Fund Advances Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Orchestras
MUSICAL CHAIRS The Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale in Texas has appointed ALEJANDRO GÓMEZ GUILLÉN and SARAH CRANOR , who are married, to the shared positions of concertmaster and principal second violin. HAN DEWAN has been named principal viola, and JOHN E. ELIZONDO is the orchestra’s new principal trombone.
Virginia’s Alexandria Symphony has named GEORGE HANSON executive director. The Savannah Philharmonic has tapped KEITARO as music director, effective in 2020-21.
JIM HIRSCH , the longtime executive director and CEO of the Chicago Sinfonietta, will step down on July 1, 2020.
will join the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as vice president of development.
Sonic Moon Landings
ROGER KALIA has been named music director of Symphony NH, based in Nashua, New Hampshire.
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has named MEREDITH KUFCHAK principal viola, and GEORGE NICKSON principal percussion.
has been named music director of Washington’s Spokane Symphony Orchestra.
Texas’s Texarkana Symphony Orchestra has named music director.
KEN-DAVID MASUR has been appointed principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, effective with the 2019-20 season, when he also begins as music director of the Milwaukee Symphony.
Michigan’s Traverse Symphony Orchestra has named KEDRIK MERWIN executive director.
has been named music director of Ohio’s Lakeside Symphony Orchestra.
The Cape Conservatory in Hyannis, Massachusetts has named MARK MILLER music director of the Cape Youth Orchestra.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra have announced new participants in their fellowship programs. Flutist SHANTANIQUE MOORE has been selected for a two-year fellowship with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s EQT Orchestra Training Program for African American Musicians. The Moore Fort Worth Symphony has appointed ALEX AMSEL and STEPHANIE RHODES RUSSELL
JUAN FELIPE MOLANO has been appointed music director of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra.
This summer, Americans celebrated the 50th anniversary of the day Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon—and so did orchestras all around the country. A very partial list includes the Houston Symphony’s July 4 program, which saluted NASA and the moon landing with music including Johns Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Bill Conti’s music from the film The Right Stuff. Boston Landmarks Orchestra presented “A Symphonic Space Odyssey,” featuring orchestral music inspired by space paired with visuals from the planetarium at Boston’s Museum of Science. Also Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the marking the landing were the Colorado Symphony’s moon, July 20, 1969. “Lunar Landing 50th Anniversary Celebration,” with music by John Williams; the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “America in Space” program; Carnegie Hall’s music and multimedia presentation “We Chose To Go to the Moon” with Mark and Kali Armstrong, Neil Armstrong’s son and granddaughter; the Pacific Symphony’s world premiere of Michael Daugherty’s To the New World; the National Symphony Orchestra’s presentation with NASA, “Apollo 11: A 50th Anniversary Celebration—One Small Step, One Giant Leap” at the Kennedy Center with singer/songwriter Pharrell Williams and a new commission by Michael Giacchino. From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond, a new work by James Beckel, was performed by multiple orchestras including the Boston Pops; the San Francisco Symphony’s “Out of This World—A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing,” featured film music by John Williams and a “moon songs” medley, hosted by retired NASA astronaut Leland D. Melvin; and the Florida Orchestra offered “One Giant Leap” interactive family concerts. The Cincinnati Pops released a recording of space-themed works including Holst’s The Planets, Michael Giacchino’s Voyage, and sci-fi and television music by John Williams, Justin Hurwitz, and David Newman. symphony
Conductor and actor DAMON GUPTON has been appointed principal guest conductor of the Cincinnati Pops. In addition, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has appointed WILBUR LIN assistant conductor for the Cincinnati Pops and conductor for the Cincinnati Gupton Symphony Youth Orchestra Philharmonic, and FRANÇOIS LÓPEZ-FERRER assistant conductor for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival.
PATTI GRAETZ has been named artistic director and principal conductor of ProMusica Arizona Chorale and Orchestra.
The League of American Orchestras has awarded grants to 23 U.S. orchestras to help deepen understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and to foster effective EDI practices. Ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 each, the one-year grants comprise the first round of The Catalyst Fund, the League’s new three-year, $2.1 million grant-making program made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation. The Catalyst Fund grants enable orchestras to engage skilled EDI practitioners to strengthen their knowledge of the issues pertaining to EDI and to create strategies that are relevant to their communities. The 2019 Catalyst Fund recipients are: Albany Symphony, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Handel and Haydn Society, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, New Jersey Youth Symphony, New World Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Oregon Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and Virginia Symphony Orchestra. The League is accepting applications from member orchestras for the 2020 Catalyst Fund through December 6, 2019. Visit americanorchestras.org for information.
RADU PAPONIU has been promoted from assistant to
associate conductor of Florida’s Naples Philharmonic.
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra has hired GLENN PARIS as vice president of development, and BRUCE ROBINSON as vice president of patron loyalty. CASSIE PILGRIM is the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s new principal oboe.
has been named executive director of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra has appointed ANNA RAKITINA assistant conductor.
Every other summer, musicians from around the country gather in Rochester, New York for the Gateways Music Festival, which aims to increase the visibility of and opportunities for classical musicians and composers of African descent. This August’s festival launched with a free discussion about efforts to make the classical music field more diverse and inclusive. The discussion was moderated by Garrett McQueen, a professional bassoonist and radio host, with panelists including author Robert L. Watt, Gateways Music Festival Ora retired French hornist with the Los Angeles Philharmon- chestra violinists Kyle Dickson (in white shirt), Jason Pooler ic; Jennifer Arnold (viola, Oregon Symphony); freelance (black hat), and Jalisha Boyd violinist Jessica McJunkins; Herbert Smith (trumpet, during rehearsal. Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra); and Titus Underwood (principal oboe, Nashville Symphony). The six-day festival featured recitals, film screenings, and other events at the Eastman School of Music and elsewhere in Rochester. The Gateways Music Festival Orchestra concert led by Michael Morgan, the festival’s music director, included music by Olly Wilson, Florence Price, and Carlos Simon.
North Carolina’s Winston-Salem Symphony has named TIMOTHY REDMOND music director.
STEPHANIE ROSENBAUM has been appointed executive director of the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra in Minnesota.
has joined Florida’s Palm Beach Symphony as music director.
The Charleston Symphony has named RYAN as conductor of its new Charleston Symphony Youth Strings. SILVESTRI
The San Juan Symphony, based in Durango, Colorado, has appointed SAYRA SIVERSON music director of the San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra. Trombonist WESTON SPROTT has been named dean of the Juilliard School’s Preparatory Division. ROSALIE CONTRERAS becomes the Juilliard School’s vice president of public affairs.
has been appointed Sprott manager of several programs for the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory and Continuing Education division.
Arizona’s Chandler Symphony Orchestra has appointed VANJA GJUMAR NIKOLOVSKI music director.
In 2018, 58 new art museums and cultural institutions were constructed in North America, according to the Cultural Infrastructure Index, which tracks worldwide investment in museums and arts institutions, including concert halls. Many of the new concert spaces have been designed to appeal to new audiences, enrich the classical-music experience for existing audiences, increase accessibility, and create areas for music education. In June, the Boston Symphony Orchestra opened its Linde Center for Music and Learning (below), a four-building complex at its Tanglewood campus, in Lenox, Massachusetts. The all-season buildings, designed by William Rawn Associates, comprise three studios that can accommodate audiences, plus a café. The Tanglewood Learning Institute hosts programs and events year-round, including master classes, receptions, and films. One benefit is added rehearsal space for the BSO, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Music Center musicians. The Linde Center’s first summer “immersion” weekends curated by Director Sue Elliott provided deep dives into Wagner, contemporary music, film scores by John Williams, and artist Georgia O’Keeffe. In Washington, D.C. is the brand-new Reach complex, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ $250 million expansion designed by Steven Holl Architects. The spaces include classrooms, studios, rehearsal rooms, a plaza, and lobbies designed to encourage audience-performer interactions. Reach opened in September with a free sixteen-day festival. In July, the San Francisco Symphony performed its first concerts in the newly renovated outdoor Frost Amphitheater at Stanford University, conducted by Gemma New. The Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois has been opening components of its 9,500-square-foot RaviniaMusicBox Experience Center during the past two summers. A Lawn Bar opened last summer, and this summer featured the new Ravinia Associates Board Gallery, whose inaugural exhibit spotlighted Leonard Bernstein, who made his Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducting debut at Ravinia in 1944. Exhibits are free and open to Ravinia concertgoers. In La Jolla, California, the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, new permanent home to La Jolla Music Society and presenter of other soloists and ensembles, opened in April. In Manhattan, the Shed performing arts structure at Hudson Yards opened in April with a series celebrating African-American music heritage; a performance and exhibit by artist Gerhard Richter and composers Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt; and pop musician Björk’s Cornucopia2.
as conducting fellows for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship program of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has selected as its next fellows violinists MAGDIELL ANTEQUERA and JORDAN CURRY, violist CRISTIAN J. DIAZ , bassist MICHAEL MARTIN , and cellist DENIELLE WILSON .
has been appointed music director of Wisconsin’s Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.
California’s Festival Mozaic has appointed LLOYD TANNER executive director. SABINA THATCHER has joined the Minnesota Orchestra as associate principal viola. VLAD VIZIREANU has been appointed music director of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony in Galesburg, Illinois.
California’s La Jolla Symphony & Chorus has named STEPHANIE WEAVER executive director.
has been named principal timpani of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
NAOMI WOO has been named assistant conductor at Canada’s Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
is the new vice president of development at the Seattle Symphony.
MARIA KANAKIS YANG
Have Van, Will Travel The North Carolina Symphony has a new van, custom-designed for the orchestra’s music-education programs throughout the state. The van, purchased with a $59,400 grant from the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation, transports orchestra musicians, instruments, and staff members for interactive programs such as Ensembles in the Schools; pictured left are a woodwind quintet from the orchestra at Randall David Shughart Elementary School in Fort Bragg. The van also is used for the orchestra’s Music Discovery music and literacy program for preschoolers, and the Instrument Zoo, through which children try out orchestral instruments. The programs travel to areas of North Carolina that otherwise would have little or no access to music education. Owning the vehicle is more cost-efficient than renting, the orchestra says, allowing the orchestra to reach 1,000 additional students each year.
#MeToo Classical Update
“Whole Lotta Shakin’: Swing to Rock” Hold onto your seats as multi-instrumentalist Dave Bennett rocks the stage saluting music from Swing and Rock-n-Roll to Country, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and his Billboard charting release Blood Moon. “The Show had the audience leaping out of their seats” Philly Pops A powerful concert that thrilled both the orchestra and audience.” “A brilliant Pops concert beyond compare.” Kingston Symphony “The whole show rocked, and the whole audience, comprised of all ages, dug it.” Danville Symphony Booking Info: Marilyn Rosen Marilyn Rosen Presents 617-901-9580 email@example.com www.marilynrosenpresents.com
In an Associated Press article this August, nine women accused tenor/conductor Plácido Domingo of sexual harassment, beginning in the 1980s. Several other women came forward in September with further allegations. Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo was general director since 2003, launched an investigation, while organizations including the Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera replaced Domingo with other performers. Subsequently, Domingo and the Metropolitan Opera announced that they were severing their ties, after five decades, and Domingo stepped down from the Los Angeles Opera. The American Guild of Musical Artists, the union representing opera singers, launched an investigation into sexual harassment concerning Domingo, centering its inquiry on “systemic failures within the industry that could have allowed this conduct, if substantiated, to continue unchallenged for decades.” In July, violinist Lara St. John alleged that she was repeatedly sexually abused by Jascha Brodsky, her teacher at the Curtis Institute of Music when she studied there in the 1980s, and stated that her claims were disregarded. (Brodsky died in 1997.) Curtis is reviewing its policies around sexual assault and harassment. The League of American Orchestras encourages its members to follow best practices in preventing sexual misconduct and in responding to claims. Find League resources for harassment prevention and response in the orchestral workplace at americanorchestras.org. symphony
New Houston Voices
This June, the Houston Symphony and Composer in Residence Jimmy López unveiled music created for the Resilient Sounds project, which paired members of Houston’s refugee community with young composers (from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music) to tell each refugee’s story through mu- Left to right: Filmmaker Erica Cheung; Dayana Halawo, community leader and sic. Under López’s mentorship, each composer created a chamber work with an artistic partner. refugee from Syria; and Victor Rangel, composer, at the Houston Symphony’s Six works were performed by musicians of the performance of To Dream of Jasmines. Houston Symphony on June 11, leading up to Onstage are conductor Christopher RounWorld Refugee Day. The composers included tree and the Houston Symphony. Victor Rangel, whose music told the story of Syrian refugee Dayana Halawo; and Erin Graham, paired with refugee partner Salemu, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Houston Symphony Executive Director John Mangum said, “The Resilient Sounds project is an opportunity for us to bring the orchestra to a different part of the community.” López noted that the project connected composers “with refugees who are Houstonians as well. They are both part of the fabric of this society.”
Phoenix in Orbit
Arizona’s Phoenix Symphony sold out its inaugural May performance at the monOrchid gallery space in downtown Phoenix, in a new series called SYMPHNY: monOrchid. Approximately 200 people attended the concert at the Roosevelt Row warehouse, a landmark building that was transformed into a concert hall for the A Phoenix Symphony string quartet occasion. Patrons arriving could visit a photo performs as patrons arrive at Roosevelt Row warehouse. booth, sample cocktails, hear music performed by a Phoenix Symphony string quartet, and view artwork of Antoinette Cauley. The concert featured Music Director Tito Muñoz conducting music from The Planets and Star Wars.
Two Mime Superstars
Summertime Learning Abigail R. Collins
For ten days this summer, you couldn’t find a group of people anywhere who were thinking more deeply about the health and future of American orchestras. From July 8 to 18 at the University of Southern California, 35 arts professionals participated in Essentials of Orchestra Management, the League of American Orchestras’ course that Participants in the League’s 2019 provides an in-depth understanding of orchestra Essentials of Orchestra Management management, builds career networks, and offers program, on the University of Southern California campus, July 2019. the knowledge and tools to become innovative, successful leaders. The League’s annual seminar drew early-career professionals, musicians, graduate students, career changers, and experienced administrators. They learned how to advance orchestras as inclusive organizations, expanded their knowledge of core business and operating practices in American orchestras, developed leadership abilities to work productively with patrons, musicians, staff, and boards, and participated in sessions on artistic planning, artistic leadership, and building sustainable audiences. Essentials was led by a faculty of orchestra executives, leadership experts, artists, and arts activists with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. americanorchestras.org
Two Hours of Comedy and Music! Dan Kamin— as The Classical Clown. Charlie Chaplin— in two film classics. See for yourself at www.dankamin.com
Comecdeyrtos Con (412)563-0468 firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Maryland orchestras, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the National Philharmonic, dominated headlines this summer. Musicians had been playing without a contract since January 2019 at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, which reported persistent deficits, but months of negotiations failed to produce a new agreement. A key issue for musicians was a proposed reduction in season length from 52 weeks to 40 weeks. A three-month work stoppage began in late May. On September 23, a one-year musicians contract was announced in a joint news conference at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The contract, through September 6, 2020, guarantees a 38-week regular season, with two weeks of summer programming, and includes a 2.4 percent pay increase. Musicians will receive bonus compensation of $1.6 million from a fund established by local philanthropists. The contract mandates the formation of a new Vision Committee, to include musician participation. The season began on September 27, after a two-week delay. The National Philharmonic, based in North Bethesda, announced in July that it was short of funds and might cease operations. A two-week fundraising campaign by the orchestra raised more than $150,000, and a separate fundraising campaign led by Jim Kelly, a violinist in the orchestra, was also successful. The 2019-20 season will go on, under new leadership: Kelly becomes the orchestra’s president and will work in the position unpaid for a year. Several orchestras recently reported new, multi-year contract agreements with annual salary increases for musicians, among them the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, California Symphony, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Las Vegas Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, and Toledo Symphony.
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The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra estimates that 7,500 people attended its free “CSO Look Around” community music event on August 3, curated by singer/songwriter Shara Nova, filmmaker/ director Mark deChiazza, performance poet Siri Imani, and composer/performer Nathan Thatcher. The event spanned two city parks and featured hundreds of local artists and arts groups playing simultaneously in different parts of the parks, flashmob style. Participants ranged from the May Festival Chorus to African heritage drummers Bi-Okoto, the Cincinnati Korean American Chorale, rapper Napolean Maddox, and the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition. In photo: a procession led from 13th Street to Washington Park, where multiple ensembles joined for a performance with the CSO. Cathy Lyons / CSO
CSO Looks Around
League at Forefront in Passing New Policies That Ease Travel With Instruments Thanks to the leadership of the League of American Orchestras, international travel and commerce with certain musical instruments just got easier. Policy requests led by the League, in partnership with others in the international music community, gained approval on August 28 at the gathering of 183 League of American Orparties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered chestras Vice President for Advocacy Heather Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in Geneva, SwitzerNoonan at the August land. New policies will improve the ability of performing artists 2019 Conference of the to travel, redirect enforcement resources to better support Parties to the Convention on International conservation, and advance critical conservation efforts while Trade in Endangered also supporting international cultural activity. The League Species of Wild Fauna participated in the deliberations at the 18th Conference of the and Flora in Geneva, Parties to CITES, as treaty negotiators considered new rules Switzerland. related to items containing rosewood, cedrela, and mammoth ivory, and weighed improvements to the Musical Instrument Certificate used by touring orchestras. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was a leading supporter of the policy improvements, and will partner with the League to produce a webinar about the new rules for musical instruments. Detailed information about the current rules for traveling with musical instruments containing endangered species material is available on the League of American Orchestras website.
Listening to Clara Schumann Piano prodigy Clara Wieck composed her Piano Concerto in A minor when she was just fourteen. Two years later, she performed it at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, with no less than Felix Mendelssohn conducting. Born two hundred years ago, on September 13, 1819, Wieck’s composing career was eclipsed by that of composer Robert Schumann, whom she married the day before her 21st birthday, and with whom she had eight children. Her piano concerto is having a modest resurgence this season, with performances planned by orchestras including the Austin Symphony, Canton Symphony Orchestra (Ohio), Fort Collins Symphony (Colorado), Illinois Philharmonic, Mission Chamber Orchestra (San Jose, CA), Nashville Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Canada), New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony in C (New Jersey). The Minnesota Orchestra presented The Prodigious Life of Clara S., a new play featuring her music, in July.
Report: Hong Kong Protests By Ken Smith
still getting box-office calls that morning,” says Sinfonietta CEO Margaret Yang. The only thing more troubling than cancellations may be having the concert go on, as the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong found on June 26, when its City Hall performance with pianist Philippe Entremont coincided with a rally outside. “I was in the upstairs restaurant nervously watching the crowd grow,” recalls Leanne Nicholls, CCO’s founding director. Her biggest concern was getting the 85-year-old Entremont back to his
eeing media coverage from Hong Kong, where people first took to the streets on June 9 against an extradition bill proposed by the local government, you might think that protests are taking place 23 hours a day, breaking only for commercials. The day-to-day reality is less dramatic, with nearly all disruptions occurring on weekends, and any violence breaking out only late in the evening. This has had a direct impact on the city’s classical music community, whose major events overlap almost precisely with prime protest time. Added to a volatile news cycle—the government formally withdrew the bill on September 4, only a day or so after Chinese troops were gathering across the border—the situation has thwarted schedules, both long- and short-term. Protesters’ complaints have extended to include further instances of China’s encroachment of Hong Kong’s regional autonomy (the formerly British territory became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China in 1997) and showed no signs of abating as of early September. Although the Hong Kong Philharmonic had not opened its season as of press time, Philharmonic Chief Executive Benedikt Fohr says the protests’ “impact on ticket sales was within expectations.” Other local orchestras, though, have felt the effects more directly. The Hong Kong Sinfonietta was forced to cancel an August 31 performance when its venue at Hong Kong City Hall closed its doors at 1 p.m. after a nearby protest had been announced. “We’d love to reschedule this program, since we were already 85 percent sold and
The young musicians of NYO Jazz—the jazz ensemble of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the USA—concluded their Asia tour in Hong Kong on August 11, one day before protestors forced the airport to shut down. Above: NYO Jazz musicians at Repulse Bay in Hong Kong.
hotel unharmed. “Fortunately, he wasn’t afraid,” she adds. “He said, ‘We have protests in Paris every week.’” Classical music has yet to match the offstage drama at a Cantonese opera performance in early July at the Sheung Wan Civic Centre—a short distance from China’s seat of power in Hong Kong— after police started firing tear gas at protestors on the streets outside. “We were monitoring the situation closely,” says Elaine Yeung, director of culture at Hong
Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which controls the city’s sports facilities as well as its cultural venues. “We even tried to get the performers to play faster. But once the gas started coming inside, we had to end the performance.” Older audience members were handed hospital masks as they left the theater. As a threat to Hong Kong’s cultural profile, the protests have yet to equal SARS, the 2003 flu epidemic that by definition discouraged people from enclosed spaces. Rather, Yeung compares the situation—and the LCSD’s current system of monitoring media and maintaining close contact with venues and their renters—to “responding to a Level 8 typhoon every weekend.” While day-to-day concerns are still much less than one might expect from newscasts, a greater fear is that such periodic tensions might become the “new normal.” Local venues have already seen several recent cancellations, mostly ensembles from mainland China. Hong Kong’s own ensembles, though, have reported little drop in ticket sales. Nor had they received many cancellations, though Nicholls remarks that one guest artist from the U.S. requested changes in hotel and transportation to avoid high-risk areas. The young musicians of NYO Jazz—the jazz ensemble of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the USA—concluded their Asia tour in Hong Kong on August 11, one day before protestors forced the airport to shut down. The main casualty in programming so far has been the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s September 19 and 20 program celebrating China’s National Day, this year celebrating the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic. That program originally was to have showcased old and new revolutionary songs by the resident chorus of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The Philharmonic announced the NCPA Chorus’s cancellation on August 14. KEN SMITH divides his time between New York and Hong Kong, where he is the Asian Performing Arts Critic of the Financial Times.
Report: What Brexit Means for Orchestras By Mark Pemberton
rexit—the exit of Great Britain from the European Union—will have profound effects at home and abroad, with wide-ranging repercussions on the economy and international trade whether it’s a negotiated “soft Brexit” or a nodeal “hard Brexit.” What are the implications of Brexit for classical music? The bottom line from my perspective: Brexit is bad news for British orchestras. Of primary concern is the impact on touring. British orchestras are a global success story, touring across the major continents and forging new markets in emerging economies. Europe, however, remains British orchestras’ most important marketplace, with members of the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) reporting 96 visits to 26 different European countries in 2016 alone. Touring is intrinsic to the orchestral business model, and the imposition of work permits, carnets, and other tariffs and barriers after a No Deal Brexit when touring into the European Union will damage British orchestras’ ability to serve as cultural ambassadors for the United Kingdom. Additionally, artistic exchange and cross-cultural musicmaking will suffer. European orchestras and ensembles will face possible delays and additional costs when touring into the UK. And EU soloists wanting to perform in the UK will have to navigate whatever new visa system the British government imposes. Contracts with promoters in the EU
have already been signed for tours by British orchestras taking place beyond October 31, 2019, when Brexit is slated to take effect. Any additional costs following a No Deal Brexit will not be covered by the promoter, meaning UK orchestras
will incur a financial loss. As an example, the London Symphony Orchestra has 38 concerts in EU countries between November 2019 and December 2020, and faces significant extra costs. Particularly important is the A1 form, which prevents the deduction of social security payments when EU nationals work in another EU country. The UK will lose access to the A1 system, meaning irrecoverable social security deductions will be imposed on UK orchestras and their musicians, in addition to the social security contributions they will already have paid in the UK. It is hoped that the UK will be
swiftly able to implement social security coordination agreements with each of the EU27 nations, as the U.S. has. There are also concerns about delays at the border. Orchestras have their own “just in time” model, meaning that the musicians, instruments, and scores have to be in place at the concert venue ready for a specific start. Should the equipment truck be delayed at the border, the concert may well not go ahead, and the orchestra will be in breach of contract. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, better known as CITES, is a familiar topic for American orchestras and musicians. The UK government has announced that it will be imposing controls on the movement of CITES-listed materials between the UK and EU. This means ABO members will need to present Musical Instrument Certificates for inspection at a limited number of designated ports—and these do not include the ports most used by ABO members, such as the Dover-Calais Channel crossing. The good news for American orchestras is that they will see little difference if touring directly into the UK. For example, the visa system will stay the same. But they will need to factor in delays and extra paperwork if arriving in an EU country before travelling into the UK, or departing the UK to tour within the EU. MARK PEMBERTON is the director of the Association of British Orchestras.
THE ULTIMATE SYMPHONIC EXPERIENCE
League Giving Day
Thank you to everyone who helped make our 3rd Annual League Giving Day a success. With your support we raised $82,478! We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of our record-breaking 316 donors who made contributions on League Giving Day: Lester Abberger & Dr. Amanda Stringer Peter Abell Horst Abraham Jennifer Adair Jeff & Keiko Alexander Dan Allcott Burton Alter Tiffany Ammerman Susan Anderson Celia Mann Baehr Caleb Bailey Megen Balda Erin Bardonnay Jennifer Barlament Elizabeth Baroody Aubrey & Ryan Bergauer Karina Bharne Christopher Blair Anne Blomeyer Beth Boleyn Martin Bookspan Brenda Booth James & Melissa Boss Margaret A. Bracken Jonathan Brennand Doris & Michael Bronson Steven Brosvik Lisa Alexander Denise Brown-Chythlook Bryan Symphony Orchestra William Bucher Adair Buckner Carmen Bugay Kim Burgan Sherri Reddick Janet Cabot Daniel Camenga Rosina Cannizzaro Elaine Carroll Ann Cavanaugh
Nancy Chalifour David Chambers Helen H. Cha-Pyo Carol Childress Don & Judy Christl Hanrich Claassen Darlene Clark Heather Clarke Melanie Clarke Doyle Clayburn Jeff Collier Katherine Curatolo Dr. Stephanie Davis Wallace Mary Deissler Gloria DePasquale Michelle Devine Karen Dichoza Brian Dix Scott Dodson Andre Dowell David Dredla Emma Dunch Carolyn Dwyer Kathleen Kane Eberhardt & Jerrold Eberhardt Alison Eckis Marisa Eisemann Linda G. Eisenhauer Audrey Elliott-Risbud Mary Dare Ellis Daniel Els Carol Erwine Charles Evans Scott Faulkner Lynne Fehrenbach Sandra Feldman Leslie Fink Firelands Symphony Orchestra David Fisk Dr. Aaron Flagg
Paula Floeck Ryanne Flynn Rachel & Terry Ford John Forsyte James M. Franklin Catherine French Mrs. Elizabeth Galpin Vanessa Gardner Dr. Stary Garrop Bob Garthwait, Jr. William Gettys Delta David Gier Robert Gilder Amy Ginsburg Gary Ginstling Marian A. Godfrey Eithne Goetz Caroline Greenberg Daniel Grossman Doug Hagerman Brittany Hall Mark Hanson Jennifer Harrell Mollie Harris Byron Harrison Judith Harrison, in honor of Doug Hagerman Daniel Hart Jim Hasler, in memory of Bob Peiser Mieko Hatano Sharon Hatchett Betsy Hatton Linda Haugen Sydney Reid Hedge, in honor of Helen Shaffer Gerard Heise Jennifer J. Hicks Christopher Hisey Eric Hobbs Carol Hodge
Susan G. Hoffman Patricia Hofscher Elizabeth Holub Benjamin Hoyer Rhonda Hunsinger Ann Huntoon & David Hastings Lacey Huszcza Laura Hyde Chantal Incandela Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles Anthea Jackson Eileen Jeanette James Johnson Ellen Jones Russell Jones Alan Jordan Kathy Junek Jonathan Kaledin & Nathalie Touze Caryl F. Kassoy Alyce Katayama Sharon Kavanaugh Sarah E. Kelly Mary Kelsay Melinda Kernc Carolyn Keurajian John D. Kieser Gerri Kirchner Joanna Klett Eska Koester Tse Wei Kok Lee Koonce Arthur Kull Nuri Kye Alex Laing Carl Lam Chester Lane & Marianne Sciolino Larry Lang
George W. Lange Najean Lee Kathleen Leibrand Tania Leon Marylin A. Leprich Rosalind Lewis-Smith Tamara Lindsay David Loebel Hugh W. Long Jacqueline Lorber Susan Loris, in honor of Doug Hagerman Ginny Lundquist Gordon & Anne MacLeod John Mangum Barry Mano Yvonne Marcuse Judith Markovich Christopher Martin Susan Martin Robert Massey Ed Matthew Linda Mawhinney David McClymont Marie McCullough Dwight R. McGhee Debbie McKinney James Medvitz Paul Meecham Nike Mendenhall Julie Meredith Sandra Miklave Courtney Millbrook Anne Miller Ruth Mollman Jennifer Mondie Mr. & Mrs. Alfred P. Moore Amos Moore, Jr. Heather Moore Shirley & Carl Topilow Catherine Moye Harrison Mullins
Sara Mummey Steven Murray Beth Musgrave Jessica Needham Scott Nelson Mark Nielsen Samir Nikocevic Heather Noonan Jonathan Norris Becky Odland Casey Oelkers Kay Olthoff Janie Orr, in honor of Helen Shaffer Beth Outland Howard Palefsky Nikki Palley Victoria Pao Steven C. Parrish Mary Carr Patton Richard Pauls Drs. Mark & Nancy Peacock Mike Peluse Penelope Penland Henry Peyrebrune Karen Philion Chris Pinelo Eloise R. Pingry Thomas C. Polett Mara Prausa Tresa Radermacher Agniesza Rakhmatullaev Alice E. Read Denise Rehg David Renfro Patricia Richards, in memory of Bob Peiser Nancie N. Rissing Barbara S. Robinson Dr. Michael Rogers David Roth Peter Rubardt
Robert Sandla Paul Scarbrough Dawn Schuette Susan M. Schwartz Diana Scoggins Dr. Lee Shackelford Helen Shaffer, in memory of Bob Peiser Pratichi Shah Kathy Sheldon Shiebler Family Foundation Jeanette Shires Elizabeth Shribman Priscilla Slaughter Becca Smith David Snead Dr. Gordon & Carole Mallet ICSOM Ari Solotoff Trine Sorensen Mrs. Elwyn Speir Peggy Springer Joan Squires Maribeth Stahl Jessica Stanfield Lourdes Starr-Demers Linda Stevens Dr. Amanda Stringer David Styers & Chong Ee Stella Sung Robert Swaney Eva Tartaglia Caen Thomason-Redus Sonja Thoms Matt Thueson Melia Tourangeau Jim Tozer, Tozer Family Fund Andrew Tremblay Marylou Turner Betty Tutor, in honor of Helen Shaffer Mary Tuuk
Beth Ulman Dr. Martin Ungar Samara Ungar Marc Uys Alan D. Valentine John Van Horn & Penelope Van Horn Rebecca Vendemo Robert Wagner Betty Jane Wall Marguerite Walsh Jiawen Wang Tina Ward Sarah Weber Sandra Weingarten Kathleen Weir Vale Linda Weisbruch Naomi Welsh Steve Wenig Kenneth Wentworth Carolyn White Mary Rhegan White Allison Whitehall David Whitehill Camille Williams Larry Williams Michelle Winters Theodore Wiprud Elizabeth Wise Karen E. Wix Hank Woerner Randy Wong Lindsey Wood Jo Dee Wright Celeste Wroblewski Karen Yair Steve Yellen Edward Yim Laura Yoo Victoria Young Barbara Zach Lee (1) Anonymous
League Giving Day donations bolster the Leagueâ€™s ability to serve the more than 2,000 organizations and individuals who make up our membership.
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The Transformative Gift
Large gifts from donors can transform an orchestra, affecting everything and anything from launching a concert series to rethinking its mission and mandate. But how to get there? Trine Sorensen, a veteran corporate consultant who serves on the boards of orchestras and other nonprofit arts groups, offers an insider’s perspective on the strategies and tactics that lead to principal gifts.
aising major gifts is a major task for any orchestra. The “Raising Your Organization’s Largest Gifts” session at the League of American Orchestras’ 2019 National Conference in June explored the elements of successful principal and transformative gift programs and the critical roles that organizational leaders—from CEOs to board members to fundraising professionals—play in shaping a culture that supports giving at the highest levels. Speakers at the session, offering multiple viewpoints on what it takes to obtain principal gifts, were Don Hasseltine, senior consultant at the Aspen Leadership Group; Scott Showalter, president and CEO of the Oregon Symphony; and Trine Sorensen. Sorensen brought a unique perspective to the panel as a donor, board member, and former corporate consultant. She serves on the boards of the League of American Orchestras, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, and the San Francisco Symphony, where she is chair of the development committee. She serves on the advisory boards for Stanford Live at Stanford University; Music@Menlo in Atherton, California; the Global Council for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York; and Northwestern University Bienen School of Music in Evanston, Illinois. Prior to her work on nonprofit boards, she spent a decade as a consultant for Accenture specializing in change management and systems and organizational redesign, and was a hospital administrator.
By Trine Sorensen
hile there are some principles that apply for all fundraising levels and activities, principal gifts are different. Principal gifts are defined by a nonprofit organization as the largest transformative gifts. All gifts are impactful and allow an organization to serve its mission, but not all gifts are transformational. Transformational gifts move the needle toward a future that is unimaginable without significant philanthropic support. For example,
the lead one or two gifts that provide 50 percent of the cost for a new music hall are transformational. The donors who give the rest of the funding are impactful. Similarly, if a donor endowed the wind section of an orchestra to recruit the best musicians in the world, this would be transformational. Endowing one position in the orchestra, on the other hand, might be considered impactful and vital but not transformational.
Trine Sorensen at the “Raising Your Organization’s Largest Gifts” session at the League of American Orchestras’ 2019 National Conference.
Examples of transformational gifts at two classical-music organizations where I am a board member come to mind. At the San Francisco Symphony, a $10 million lead challenge gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund led to “Keeping Score,” an ambitious multiyear, multimedia project launched in 2004 aimed at bringing the power of classical music to millions of Americans’ homes and schools via television, radio and the internet. The gift behind “Keeping Score” helped to transform the San Francisco Symphony’s global reach and establish it as a leader in music education and media. In January of this year, the League of American Orchestras launched The Catalyst Fund, a three-year pilot program of annual grants to adult and youth orchestras that aims to advance their understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and to foster effective EDI practices. The Catalyst Fund is supported by a three-year, $2.1 million grant to the League from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation. The Catalyst Fund provides grants orchestras can use to engage EDI consultants to help them create and implement strategies to serve people of symphony
on the 5 percent—and underinvest in building robust and sustainable fundraising programs. Without healthy annual giving and major gifts programs, the number of future principal gift prospects will be diminished. Organizations need to invest enough at the principal gift level, while also building a long-term pipeline of future principal gift prospects. It is a balancing act. Speakers at the “Raising Your Organization’s Largest Gifts” session at the League of American Orchestras’ 2019 National Conference Principal gifts are partnerships and provide included (from left) Scott Showalter, president and CEO of the Oregon Symphony, and Trine Sorensen. mutual shared satisfaction for both the donor and the organization, and they are not donor. This partnership is cultivated and tied to annual need. Principal gifts take facilitated by the organization’s leaders, time and resources and are an organizaartistic staff, and other donors. Dependtional team effort to cultivate, solicit, and ing on the dollar level, annual fund gifts steward. Such campaigns have set goals, milestones, and specific funding areas. The Principal gifts are key elements in obtaining a principal gift partnerships, providing mutual include: a belief and confidence by the satisfaction for the donor and donor in all aspects of the organization’s the orchestra, and they are not mission, vision, values, strategic direction, tied to annual need. financials, leadership, and staff culture. You want the donor to be proud of their organization. are usually solicited by a few fundraising staff depending on the size of the gift and Strategies, Tactics, and are tied into an organization’s annual fund Relationship-Building goals. However, cultivating principal gifts What are the necessary elements to get can involve far more staff and resources. there? First, the orchestra needs to emProper cultivation and stewardship of brace the notion of a partnership with the major gift prospective donors typically involves a couple of staff members or volunteers; building and sustaining relationships with donors capable of transformational “Raising Your Organization’s gifts usually involves a relationship-building team of five or even ten individuals Largest Gifts” including staff members, administrative For more on the “Raising Your Organization’s Largest and artistic leaders, and board members/ Gifts” session at the League of American Orchestras’ 2019 peer donors, in part to ensure that the National Conference, including resources, visit https://www. organization-donor relationship is not leagueconference2019.org/june-5/gifts. The session used disrupted as the result of any one person’s Ronald J. Schiller’s book Raising Your Organization’s Largest departure from the organization. Gifts: A Principal Gifts Handbook as a reference; Schiller is Development staff will identify top the founding partner of the Aspen Leadership Group. Visit donors based on wealth capacity. In adhttps://bit.ly/2Zwv8y4 for more on Schiller’s book. dition to wealth capacity, essential donor
all races, genders, and cultural, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds, while recognizing that engaging authentically and respectfully with diverse communities requires orchestras to examine—and often change—their own values, cultures, and ways of working. Principal, major, leadership gifts, etc., are industry-speak used to organize development programs. When considering principal gifts, we think of a community of donors at the very top of the gift pyramid who will receive the most attention from your CEO, artistic leadership, and board members. As Ron Schiller outlines in his Raising Your Organization’s Largest Gifts: A Principal Gifts Handbook, this number is somewhere between 25 to 40 prospects who are “top of mind,” depending on an organization’s size and budget and year. Major gifts prospects are a tier down from principal gifts and primarily managed by your development team. It is likely that future principal gift prospects will grow from your major gift pool. The dollar amount of these gifts will vary depending on the organization’s budget size and can come from individuals, families, foundations, corporations, and estates. The numbers have shifted in the last couple of decades from 80 percent of donations coming from the top 20 percent of donors to 95 percent of donations coming from the top 5 percent of donors. The biggest challenge in the narrowing of the gift pyramid from 80/20 to 95/5 is that organizations become enamored with these significant gifts and focus their attention and resources
Belief and Confidence Checklist: Potential Donor q Belief in the Importance of
qualities include propensity, inclination, timing, priority, and alignment of goals. Further, development staff need to investigate the donor’s past giving history, so that they understand how the donor makes decisions—and whether it is one person who decides or a joint decision. That way, staff members won’t exclude those in the relationship who are key to the decisionmaking process. And orchestras should seek to understand where their organization stands in terms of the donor’s philanthropic priorities. When there are major organizational leadership changes, which is very com-
After a campaign is over, be sure to remember the donors. Don’t drop them. You never know if they will come back at a later time. mon in the development world, incoming development leaders and staff must read the donor’s file. Donors don’t like to be approached by new leaders with ideas to fund that they had clearly signaled they are not interested in. Engage in conversations with the donor to verify that is the case, as donors can change their minds over a period of time. Staff should do their homework and listen. Develop the relationship. Communicate with the donors. For principal gift prospects, stewardship needs to be built in at the beginning. Engage the donor in your organization’s strategic plan. Offer them opportunities to weigh in. Communication needs to be personalized and frequent. Communicate via phone calls, personalized mail, email. With some prospective and current principal donors, you may need travel to them if they are not able to come to the organization. Share news—good and bad—with them frequently. Organizations blanket donors with email blasts, which is understandable, as it is an efficient process. However, with principal gift prospects and donors, there needs to be a more personalized approach, and executive directors, development chiefs, and key artistic staff should examine this analytically: who do
Giving q Confidence in the present and future personal financial circumstances q Confidence in overall personal circumstances q Belief in the organization's mission
q Confidence in the organization’s leaders q Belief in the Vision and confidence in the organization’s strategy q Confidence in the organization's financial strength and stability q Confidence in the organization’s capacity to raise additional funds from others
in understanding their philanthropic goals, priorities, and interests. Frequently, campaign leadership staff will meet with a donor to assess if they can send a proposal with no discussion about the Belief and Confidence Checklist: donor’s specific areas Organizational Leaders of interest or dollar q Belief that their organization is worthy of philanthropic investment priority. I have seen at levels they are seeking organizations submit q Belief and confidence in each other's leadership, vision, strategy, and planning a generic written q Confidence in their chief development officer and their development proposal to identify program their needs. But if q Confidence in their organization’s capacity to meet fundraising goals there is not enough q Belief in philanthropic partnership front-end donor work done, the one-sided proposal can be a wasted exercise and The session on raising principal gifts at the League’s 2019 National Conference included graphics based on Ronald J. Schiller’s book, serve only to alienate Belief and Confidence: Donors Talk about Successful Philanthropic the donor, whose Partnership, 2016, and Raising Your Organization’s Largest Gifts: A response is, “What Principal Gifts Handbook, 2018. are they thinking? Where did they get they spend their time with and why? that dollar figure from? These are not areas Too often, organizations will contact I am interested in.” the donor only when they want a gift. It is best to discuss donor interests With principal gift prospects and donors, first, before sending a proposal. That way, timing and frequency of communication by the time a written proposal is sent, it and engagement need to be personalized has already been developed over muland ongoing. tiple conversations and is just the formal document. Organizations have done their research and have engaged the donor, and What’s the Big Idea? the donor has signaled areas of interest Organizations have funding priorities and possible dollar commitments. There and are quick to identify what they need; should be no surprises. often, these needs are focused on the On the other hand, some donors may funding crisis of the moment. However, not want to discuss anything in a meetprincipal gift donors fund “big ideas” built ing and instead will want only a written on shared objectives. Funding a need or proposal. The best approach is to ask the dollar goal or campaign does not excite donor their preference, and the timing a potential principal donor. From the should be close to when there is a formal donor’s perspective, such proposals evoke ask so there are no surprises. a “so what?” response. For them, the why is more important than the what, and messages need to be about the big ideas. Maintaining Trust These big ideas need to be developed with Donors work closely with development the donor. Involve them early on in the staff and leadership and become close to planning process; these ideas need to be them and sometimes to their families. shared, not one-sided. Nevertheless, when a staff person leaves Discussion with the donor will result an organization for another nonprofit, symphony
Don Hasseltine, senior consultant at the Aspen Leadership Group, speaks at the “Raising Your Organization’s Largest Gifts” session at the League of American Orchestras’ 2019 National Conference in Nashville.
remember that the relationship is with the organization, not with the staff member. After a campaign is over and some time has lapsed, including staff changes, be sure to remember the donor. Flag the donor in the database. Don’t drop them after a campaign. You never know if they will come back at a later time. I recall the time that my family had given some money to a campaign for an organization as a one-
time gift and did not hear back from them after the thank you. Communications were canned and in bulk mail. When we visited that organization a few years ago, staff did not recognize our name until we pointed to it on a donor wall. It is rarely necessary to say no to a donor who has been properly educated and engaged; donors want their gifts to succeed as much as the organization wants the gifts to succeed. However, there are cases when it is necessary to say no to a donor. I recall an example of a donor who placed front-end restrictions and conditions on a transformative gift by defining organizational leadership changes, strategic direction, and diving deep into operations. This has to do with confidence, mutual alignment and goals, and trust. It has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis if a donor places unrealistic expectations or directions that the organization cannot
fulfill and changes the strategic direction or its mission. In some cases, the organization may have to say “no.” This decision has to be evaluated carefully and involve senior organizational and board leaders on the best course of action. One note on advisory councils and committees that aim to widen the donor base: There needs to be a clear purpose with measurable impact. Volunteers on such committees need to feel that the time is worth spent. Staff can spend a lot of effort giving “show and tell” presentations to these committees. Instead, they should spend time with engagement, conversation, and meaningful discussion. These councils should not have as their primary effort to support fundraising efforts. Only after individuals are engaged and the relationship is developed can there be meaningful conversations about their philanthropy.
NIC’S FINAL SEASON! A COSMIC Notion with world premiere by Caroline Shaw OCTOBER 17–20, 2019
MOZART’S Musings with GRAMMY -winner Jeannette Sorrell NOVEMBER 13–17, 2019 ®
HANDEL’S Judas Maccabaeus
with GRAMMY®-nominated Nicholas Phan DECEMBER 5–9, 2019
The Well-Caffeinated CLAVIER
with Music Director Designate Richard Egarr FEBRUARY 7–12, 2020
Cherubini, Mendelssohn, Schubert MARCH 11–15, 2020
LECLAIR’S Scylla et Glaucus fully-staged French Baroque opera APRIL 15–19, 2020 PLUS THE HIT NYC PRODUCTION OF
HANDEL’S Aci, Galatea e Polifemo with countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo JANUARY 22–FEBRUARY 1, 2020
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Seen and Heard: Conference 2019 less the conductor of a Grammy-winning orchestra in the United States. I came from a completely non-musical family. No one even knew how to read music. My dad loved mariachi, my mom loved Julio Iglesias. Beethoven and Brahms were The Conference was hosted by the Nashville Symphony and took place June nonexistent, because we had no awareness 3-5, 2019. For more about the Conference, including videos, resources, and of it, much less any access to it. There was presentations, visit https://www.leagueconference2019.org/ no orchestra or youth orchestra where I conference-overview. grew up in Nicaragua. And had civil war not broken out between the Sandinistas and the Somoza regime, I might never have begun my journey as a musician. When the war ended in 1981, we hoped that life would go back to normal. “Music is the Humanizing Force There’s a simple reason why music should It didn’t, and there was a mass exodus We Need” be at the center of this conversation—why from Nicaragua. Leaving was difficult. But it has to be at the center of this conversaIn his address at the Opening Plenary my parents made the decision that they tion. Music is the humanizing force we Session of the League’s Conference, wanted to make a better life for us. We need to do this very work, to make all Nashville Symphony Music Director took what we voices be heard Giancarlo Guerrero explored what it could and started and counted, and means to be an orchestra in the America the journey. We to transform the of today, stating that musical convictions were openly welwisdom of those must inform an orchestra’s authentic concomed in Costa collective voices nection to its community and reflect an Rica, and I had into action. Our active cultivation of diverse talent. the privilege that greatest responHere are excerpts from his address. To at least my famsibility to our watch a video of Guerrero delivering the ily was together. communities speech, or to read the complete text, visit Music helped is to channel https://www.leagueconference2019.org/ me make this this profound, conference-overview. transition into a humanizing force new life, starting of music and very single one of us here—whether from nothing. use it to create you are a musician, an administrator, a For my parents, meaningful, lastvolunteer, or some combination of those— it was a way to ing, and growing contributes to the success of our orcheskeep me busy, transformation. tras. And as with the orchestra itself, each but it became a I can’t imagine of us plays an important role; we all have lifesaver, an oblife without mu- Giancarlo Guerrero, music director of the Nashville to work together to shape the outcome. session for me. It sic. I get the very Symphony, speaks at the Opening Plenary Session With the guidance and leadership of the of the League’s National Conference, Laura Turner was as simple as same rewards League, along with the communities we Concert Hall at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, my parents seefrom it today serve, we are all working toward a conNashville, June 3, 2019. ing an ad in the that I got when tinually deepening understanding of our newspaper for I started out at shared mission: to achieve artistic excelthe Costa Rica Youth Symphony Orchesage eleven as a new arrival in Costa Rica, lence, yes, but also, of equal importance, to tra and deciding to sign me up. It was a fleeing the instability in my home country work toward dismantling barriers so that free government program. of Nicaragua. There was no reason to everyone is invited in to the conversation When my parents went to sign me expect that I’d become a musician—much and everyone is served by the work we do. The League of American Orchestras’ 2019 National Conference put music, musicians, and composers center stage—while exploring the ideas and issues that are most relevant to orchestras in today’s changing world. Here’s a look at just four of the highlights from the League’s 74th annual Conference.
up for youth orchestra, they learned that the program was only for Costa Rican citizens. One of the teachers who had done my aptitude test said, “No, this is unfair. This kid is here, and he deserves a chance.” He vouched for me. Without his intervention, I might not be standing here right now. That first year, I learned to read music, and they made us watch rehearsals. We didn’t even get to choose our instruments. But from the very beginning, it was inspiring to see people my age so devoted to something. I still feel the same way when I work with young people: Give a kid an instrument, and that violin, that horn, that mallet gives them a voice. It gives them power. It gives them an identity that transcends the one they were born into. Because of my participation in youth orchestra, I never had to deal with any negative aspects of being a refugee from Nicaragua. When I joined the ensemble, I became a member of the club—a club whose only basis for membership was a love of music. My participation in youth orchestra helped me establish strong roots in my new country. When I had the opportunity to study music in the U.S. on scholarship, I took it. My first experience in America was as a freshman at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. I came over as a percussion major, following in the footsteps of other Costa Ricans. Baylor made a huge investment in us and took an amazing leap of faith. There were teachers and faculty members who put their hands in the fire for us, because they saw possibilities in these young musicians from Latin America. Once again, I found myself in unfamiliar territory, and music became my grounding force. Being surrounded by great musicians—my teachers, my peers—made me realize what was possible; it gave me an idea of what I could achieve through dedication, discipline, and hard work. The problem, of course, is that not everyone has access to the music—a fact that we are getting better at acknowledging and learning how to address more effectively. In the orchestra world, we used to believe that it was simply enough americanorchestras.org
to perform great music. Sell tickets, and people will come. Pipe concerts out on the radio, and just maybe, you might reach the ears of an eager young music student in Costa Rica. We now know that this is not enough. We now are recognizing— decades after the Civil Rights movement in America—that not everyone has the same opportunities, and that race is one of the defining factors in who has access and who does not. This is not a new conversation. But to create diverse, inclusive orchestras, we all have to embrace and fulfill this work. Every day, I am gratified to see that the conversation is growing. But we still have to do better. We have to get beyond thinking that inclusion is special, or unique. This
“Give a kid an instrument, and that violin, that horn, that mallet gives them a voice. It gives them power. It gives them an identity that transcends the one they were born into.” work is at the very core of our mission and our identities as orchestras. When I think about my own role in this process, much of it comes down to the choices I get to make about who and what we put on our stage: Which composers will we champion? Which artists will we invite? I’ve always been musically curious. At the same time, after engaging in conversations with my colleagues and peers, when I look at the repertoire I’ve championed as a conductor, I’ve started to see the gaps. As much as I’ve treasured working with Joan Tower and Jennifer Higdon, I have performed the work of very few female composers. The same thing is true when we talk about composers of color. I have conducted hundreds of pieces from the twentieth century. I have referred to myself and to the Nashville Symphony as champions of American music. And yet Florence Price’s music has never been performed on this stage. I wasn’t even familiar with her until recently—never mind the many other
composers of color who have contributed to our repertoire. Composers like Florence Price, George Walker, Adolphus Hailstork, Gabriela Lena Frank, Hannibal Lokumbe, Jonathan Bailey Holland, and Tania León have been routinely pushed to the periphery. It is time to bring them and their music to the center. As music director, this is within my capacity. And it is my job to do this in a way that is meaningful, that makes it integral to the conversation. To move from a spirit of equity and inclusion to one of belonging. If we want to make room for new voices and diverse perspectives, we have to expand the repertoire, and we can do that not just by commissioning new work, but by continuing to breathe life into these new works through repeat performances. Every orchestra, no matter the size or the budget, has a role to play. Whether we are performing Beethoven for the 250th time, or we are giving a world premiere; whether we are upholding the artistry of old dead white guys or of young, diverse voices—and there is room for both—it’s worth remembering that music is more than beautiful melodies and harmonies and solos. It is emotion. When we are performing and promoting the work of a composer, we are conveying what’s deep inside their souls. And if we’re willing to listen not just with open ears, but also open hearts, we’ll learn that the things that inspire and frustrate them are often the very same things that inspire and frustrate us every day. We need to remember that music is just a tool. It’s the tool we use to do our real job, which is reaching, teaching, serving, healing, transforming, and inspiring. My own journey has taught me that everyone—no matter where they came from, what they look like, what their identity is—deserves that opportunity. MUSIC CentriCITY
istinctive musical performances were integral to the League’s 2019 Conference, with events including a new work performed by a youth orchestra, Carmina Burana danced by a ballet troupe, and a meditative walk to a concert honoring
cipal Pops Conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez led the performance. Accelerando is an intensive music education program that prepares gifted young students from communities underrepresented in today’s orchestras to pursue music at the colAt the Opening Plenary session of the Conference, students legiate level and beyond. from the Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando program were On June 3, the Nashjoined by Nashville Symphony musicians for a new work by ville Symphony and Music Christopher Farrell, led by Enrico Lopez-Yañez. Director Giancarlo Guerrero gave a wide-ranging concert. It began with Joan Tower’s Sixth victims of a mass shooting. And since the Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman in a perConference was in Nashville, live music formance that had special meaning with was pretty much everywhere. the composer in attendance (Tower also At the Opening Plenary Session, received the League’s Gold Baton award students in the Nashville Symphony’s at the Conference). Next came Jonathan Accelerando initiative performed a new Leshnoff ’s Symphony No. 4, “Heichawork by composer Christopher Farrell los,” which the Nashville Symphony had alongside musicians from the Nashville commissioned and premiered in 2018. Symphony. Nashville Symphony PrinLeshnoff ’s score revolves around themes of Jewish survival and spirituality, and in this performance segued into Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Orff ’s familiar Carmina Burana got surprising new twists in a production with Nashville Ballet that featured choreography by Paul Vasterling and evocative multimedia, with choral groups surrounding the audience in Laura Turner Hall. Walk of Love
he power of music and collective action was forcefully illuminated by an extraordinary artistic experience at the League’s 2019 Conference. On June 4, hundreds of Conference delegates and Nashville community members convened at the Conference site to participate in a silent walk to Downtown Presbyterian Church. The meditative
Conference delegates and Nashville community members participated in a “Walk of Love” from the Conference site to Downtown Presbyterian Church for a performance of Hannibal Lokumbe’s Crucifixion Resurrection: Nine Souls a-Traveling, which honored the victims of the 2015 mass shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC.
“Walk of Love” was envisioned by composer and performer Hannibal Lokumbe as an integral part of his work, Crucifixion Resurrection: Nine Souls a-Traveling, honoring the nine victims of the 2015 mass shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. Participants carried banners commemorating the victims as they walked through the city streets. Once the marchers arrived at Downtown Presbyterian Church, Lokumbe’s Crucifixion Resurrection: Nine Souls aTraveling was performed by Intersection Contemporary Music Ensemble, with Artistic Director Kelly Corcoran conducting, in a free concert. The work is scored for jazz ensemble, chorus, narrators, and vocal soloists. Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service
ive orchestra musicians received Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras at the League’s 2019 Conference. The awards, supported by Ford Motor Company Fund, celebrate professional orchestra musicians who provide exemplary service in their communities and make a significant impact through education and community engagement. This year’s awardees work on a variety of initiatives for young people that include introducing very young children to orchestral instruments, teaching hearing- and speech-impaired children new skills, providing music education and engagement to students from underserved communities, connecting with families in outlying communities, and facilitating the creation of new compositions by high school students. This year’s awardees are Victoria Griswold, violin, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Jeff Handley, principal percussion, Chicago Sinfonietta; Rebecca Patterson, principal cello, New Haven Symphony Orchestra; Donna Parkes, principal trombone, Louisville Orchestra; and Rebecca Young, associate principal viola, New York Philharmonic. They received their awards at the League’s Annual Meeting on June 4 symphony
and discussed their work at the Musicians Transforming Communities session that same day. Videos of the musicians doing their award-winning work, along with more information about the Ford Musician Awards and past winners, are posted at https://americanorchestras.org/ conducting-artistic-programs/the-fordmusician-awards.html. The musicians were selected by a panel of peer professionals through a competitive nomination process to receive the awards, which include a $2,500 grant to each musician, as well as an additional $2,500 grant to the musician’s home orchestra to support professional development focused on community service and engagement for musicians. The five award recipients, their orchestras, and projects are: —Victoria Griswold, violin, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra: Teddy Bear
for students from underserved communities. —Rebecca Patterson, principal cello, New Haven Symphony Orchestra: NHSO Harmony Fellowship Quartet/Recording Composition Class, for students from underrepreThe League’s 2019 Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in sented communities. Community Service were presented at the Conference on June —Donna Parkes, prin4. From left, League of American Orchestras President and CEO cipal trombone, Louisville Jesse Rosen; award winners Victoria Griswold, Donna Parkes, Rebecca Patterson, Jeff Handley, and Rebecca Young; and Brian Orchestra: Teaching chilHirst, Ford Credit Customer Service Manager–Nashville. dren at the Heuser Hearing Institute with hearing and speech impairment such Series, introducing young children to skills as singing, clapping with rhythm, orchestral instruments through story, live and dancing. music, and movement. —Rebecca Young, associate principal —Jeff Handley, principal percussion, viola, New York Philharmonic: Very Chicago Sinfonietta: Audience Matters Young People’s Concerts for the youngest and SEED, in-school residency programs music lovers.
Beethoven: A 250-Year Odyssey by Ben Finane
Beethoven is both foundational for orchestras and the great orchestral game changer—an iconoclast who became an icon. He’s been studied, documented, put on the Portrait of the artist as a young man: Ludwig van Beethoven in an 1804–05 portrait by Joseph Willibrord Mähler. silver screen, fictionalized, turned into a trope and a meme. His 250th birthday in 2020 will unleash a torrent of Beethoven mania at orchestras across the U.S. But does Beethoven—despite his place in the Pantheon—remain “universal” in the 21st century? 30
Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of modulations driven time and again off course of his theme, while he developed and plumbed the depths of the symphonic form… [with apologies to Homer]
he epic myth of the scowling, hot-tempered, iconoclastic Ludwig van Beethoven, who this year would have turned 250, continues to loom over the classical arena and its programs. His epic is recited to patrons nightly in the concert hall, namely through his nine most celebrated tales: The Symphonies. Beethoven made strides in every form he put his hand to—notably the pia-
Visible on the title page of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”): the composer’s erasure of the work’s original dedication to Napoleon.
Beethoven at work on his Missa Solemnis, in an 1820 portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler. Art is long, life is short: a circa 1825 autograph manuscript by Beethoven at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City states, “Ars longa, vita brevis.”
no sonata and the string quartet—but it is, then as now, the symphony that he lifted to the Heavens. Let’s begin with the Beethoven Basics, with a focus on how he revolutionized the Symphony. Ludwig van Beethoven’s (~1770–1827) early achievements found him transforming and transcending 18thcentury models, which is to say extending the Viennese Classical tradition inherited from Haydn and Mozart. Whereas those two gentlemen wrote piles of symphonies, Beethoven wrote only nine (the first eight written in a span of thirteen years), united in their individuality, and thereafter nine became a loaded number for any symphonist in his wake, from Schubert to Mahler, if they even managed to crawl out from under his shadow to pen their first. (Brahms, the greatest of orchestrators, miserably pondering his plunge into the
the “Eroica”), he subscribed to that conqueror’s notion of self-made greatness. The composer’s slow churn between the cheerful Eighth and the joyful Ninth yielded expression of high philosophy, spirituality, and ideology. His (successful) journey of exploration and personal expression led to his stature as the dominant classical composer of the 19th—and perhaps the 20th? and the 21st?—century. While the luster of popular music fades with subsequent hearings, a masterwork only gains in brilliance. Yet a masterwork achieves its greatness not through rote repetition but because of a richness of craft and substance that permits it to be viewed from so many angles that a fresh interpretation is always within the realm of possibility. Beethoven’s international appeal: In Japan, Beethoven’s Ninth is frequently performed with thousands of amateur and professional choral singers. In photo: the New Japan Philharmonic performs the Ninth in Tokyo in 2008.
His symphonies, generally unencumbered by programmatic concerns, freed him from any direction other than where his own vision took him. And while Beethoven eventually rejected Napoleonic imperialism (most famously in Symphony No. 3,
form: “You have no idea how it makes me feel to hear the footsteps of a giant such as Beethoven marching behind me.”) As Beethoven’s style grew more and more personal, his work grew increasingly profound; he composed many of his masterworks, including Symphony No. 9, at the end of his life. The rise of the Beethoven Symphony contributed to and paralleled the rise
Beethoven and Cultural Specificity
The interpretative possibilities for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 will be tested in February, when the San Diego Symphony performs composer/conductor Steve Hackman’s Beethoven V. Coldplay (premiered in 2015), “transforming [the] Eroica Symphony into an oratorio, weaving the melodies and lyrics of Coldplay into the original Beethoven and pairing
of the Artist and the rise of Individuality via originality and invention. To wit, Beethoven infected Classical form with Romantic diversion and side trips—famously in the Fifth, where a bursting, outsized Development muscles Theme off the stage, eschewing form for content. His approach contaminated Classical music to the point where we see the genre through Romantic-colored glasses. Beethoven’s radical approach to composition ushered in a new “Symphonic Ideal” that expanded the range of music itself in the form of a goal-directed framework, interrelated movements, and overarching narratives.
North Carolina Symphony
Orchestras across the country are planning all manner of Beethoven celebrations, cycles, and traversals that run reactionary to radical.
This May, the North Carolina Symphony performed Watermark, a new piano concerto by Caroline Shaw, on the same program as its inspiration, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. For his Beethoven/5 commissioning project, pianist Jonathan Biss asked Shaw and Timo Andres, Sally Beamish, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Brett Dean to create new piano concertos in dialogue with Beethoven’s piano concertos. In photo: with the North Carolina Symphony at the premiere are (from left) Caroline Shaw, Jonathan Biss, and Music Director Grant Llewellyn.
In February, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra paired Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with spokenword performances in partnership with the Central Arkansas Library System. After local spokenword artists read pieces related to the score’s themes of joy, unity, and hope, more than 300 singers from eight Arkansas choirs joined the orchestra for the Ninth, led by Music Director Philip Mann. In photo, from left, spoken-word performers Shiseido J. Wells, Brooke Elliott, and Osyrus Bolly.
one for conventional modern orchestra (Nézet-Séguin, Philadelphia Orchestra). And that’s just the tip of the Beethoven iceberg for those navigating the concertizing waters this year.
So, given his everlasting influence and dominance and legacy, what will this chockablock Beethoven season across the country yield? In any given year, Beethoven and Mozart already vie for
them together based on context,” per the press release. If this seems a bold idea, orchestras across the country are planning all manner of Beethoven celebrations, cycles, and traversals that run reactionary to radical. Carnegie Hall will offer two (2) [ii] cycles of Beethoven symphonies, one on period instruments (Gardiner, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique), and
Kelly Hicks Photography
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Marin Alsop, seen here with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, will lead orchestras on five continents in Beethoven’s Ninth for “All Together: A Global Ode to Joy,” a year-long project starting in December to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Each partner organization will reimagine the piece for its own community.
This June, the New York Philharmonic and Music Director Jaap van Zweden gave the world premiere of David Lang’s opera prisoner of the state (in photo), a contemporary retelling of Beethoven’s Fidelio, as part of the orchestra’s three-week Music of Conscience series. Prisoner of the state was co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Rotterdam’s de Doelen, London’s Barbican, Barcelona’s l’Auditori, Germany’s Bochum Symphony Orchestra, and Bruges’s Concertgebouw.
most-performed composer worldwide, so what will an assured #1 ATP ranking in the 2019–20 season do for the street rep of Ludwig on the hardcourts of the USA? Will he score winners beyond the concert hall? Will his music find market penetration beyond the rich, the white, and the established? Does he have a shot at Drake/ Rihanna numbers on YouTube? Will a performance of the Ninth at the Kennedy Center this season pierce a congressman’s heart and move him to take action on immigration reform?
These questions are rhetorical but point toward an actual one being raised at American orchestras about cultural specificity. In the United States of America, per the 2010 U.S. Census, 64 percent of the population self-identified as NonHispanic White—meaning that nearly 40% of the population identifies as another race. How, some cultural critics ask, do we justify organizations receiving disproportionate funding for celebrating Western European high-culture art with mostly all-white orchestras, conducted by
mostly all-white conductors overseen by mostly all-white orchestral board members performing the works of mostly allwhite (and mostly all-dead!) European composers? Beethoven is, for better or worse, the poster boy for the Classical Establishment. In “Are Orchestras Culturally Specific?,” a roundtable conversation published in the Winter 2018 edition of Symphony, Chris Jenkins, associate dean for academic support at Oberlin Conservatory, posed the question: “I’m wondering what this field
Eine Kleine Beethovenmusik Every season brings its share of Beethoven at American orchestras. But the 2019-20 season, which coincides with the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, unleashes an avalanche, a torrent, a tsunami of Beethoven: programming—or entire seasons—centered around the composer; wide-ranging traversals of his symphonies, concertos, chamber works; marketing campaigns prominently featuring his glowering visage; and new compositions that reflect on his relevance today. And that’s not to mention the new books, studies, editions of scores, and exhibits. Some of the Beethoven programming at orchestras in the coming season will hew to tradition; other orchestras will offer more provocative re-considerations of the composer and his music. Here’s a look at just a tiny fraction of what’s in store. The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézét-Seguin will perform all nine Beethoven symphonies—not only at home in Philadelphia but at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan and at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in upstate New York. The concerts also will feature newly commissioned works that explore Beethoven’s legacy by Composer in Residence Gabriela Lena Frank and Iman Habibi, Jessica Hunt, and Carlos Simon. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will traverse the nine Beethoven symphonies with Music Director Riccardo Muti, who is no stranger to this territory (a 2014 performance of the Ninth by the CSO and Muti racked up 14 million views on YouTube). The Phoenix Symphony has tagged nearly all its classics concerts, many led by Music Director Tito Muñoz, with the Beethoven brand: “Beethoven and Saint-Saëns,” “Beethoven and Tchaikovsky,” “Beethoven and Rachmaninoff,” and “Beethoven, Haydn, and Cerrone”— that’s American composer Christopher Cerrone, whose new concerto was commissioned for pianist Shai Wosner by the Phoenix Symphony. In Washington, D.C., Music Director Gianandrea Noseda will lead the National Symphony Orchestra in a three-week festival celebrating Beethoven
and his impact. The nine symphonies will be performed over eighteen days, and recorded for future release. North Carolina’s Charlotte Symphony and Music Director Christopher Warren-Green will play six Beethoven scores on programs with composers who influenced him or were influenced by him. The Reno Philharmonic and Music Director Laura Jackson will perform Beethoven scores on the orchestra’s mainstage series—and offer family concerts that introduce the composer to young audiences. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Marin Alsop will perform a new a new translation of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” by Baltimore-based rapper Wordsmith as well as a new score by Reena Esmail and music from local artists. The concert is part of “All Together: A Global Ode to Joy,” a year-long project in which Alsop will lead orchestras on five continents in Beethoven’s Ninth plus works in which each partner organization reimagines the Beethoven score for its own community. The project wraps up in December 2020 at Carnegie Hall, with which Alsop has frequently collaborated on major creative learning projects. Performances are also slated for Brazil; U.K.; Australia; Austria; South Africa; and New Zealand. Further afield, the New Zealand Symphony will take Beethoven on tour, performing the nine symphonies in Auckland and Wellington, led by Music Director Edo de Waart. In Wellington, listeners can binge on Beethoven when the orchestra plays the symphonies from August 28 to 31—that’s some 350 minutes of Beethoven in four days. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will give the Australian premiere of Nine, a new composition by MSO Artistic Ambassador Tan Dun. The choral work is Tan’s response to Beethoven, co-commissioned by the MSO and the Philharmonic Society of London—the group that originally commissioned the Ninth Symphony in the 1800s. Leading the concert is Melbourne Principal Guest Conductor Xian Zhang, who is also music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. —The Editors symphony
Beyond Beethoven For its BeethovenNOW project this season, the Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned Composer in Residence Gabriela Lena Frank (in photo) and three composers from her Creative Academy of Music to write new works that explore Beethoven’s legacy today. The Philadelphia Orchestra will premiere works by Frank and Iman Habibi, Jessica Hunt, and Carlos Simon in Spring 2020, pairing each piece with a Beethoven score.
will look like if in 50 to 100 years a classical music fan can be someone who says that they like Julius Eastman and William Grant Still and David Baker [all black composers], and they don’t like Beethoven that much—but that’s okay. What if that can be the paradigm of a classical music fan? That is what actual diversity looks like.” In the discussion, Alex Laing, principal clarinet at the Phoenix Symphony, stated: “In performance at the Phoenix Symphony, I’m the only black person on the stage, one of the handful of black people in a room…. What I heard Chris saying was an imagined future whereby other groups could be affirmed culturally, if you’re not white, within this art form and its presentation. The displacement of Beethoven
I came here to praise Beethoven, not to bury him. He has withstood the test of time like few others. There is always something to be gleaned from his symphonies; seek them out and hear them live performed by an American orchestra near you. But be assured there is no shortage of Beethoven symphonies to be heard in a
Beethoven’s radical approach to composition ushered in a new “Symphonic Ideal” that expanded the range of music itself. non-anniversary year. And there are so very many voices, dead and living, to hear. Let’s ask Toni Morrison, America’s own recently departed Homer, to close. Here, in an excerpt from a 1981 interview with The New Republic, Morrison responds to a suggestion from writer and critic Thomas LeClair that white readers will not be able to understand a certain scene in her novel Sula : There is a level of appreciation that might be available only to people who understand the context of the language. The analogy that occurs to me is jazz: it
Beethoven has gotten the cinematic treatment many times. The thuggish antihero of Anthony Burgess’s 1961 novel A Clockwork Orange adored Beethoven—but it was Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film that pitched Beethoven into the pop-culture pantheon, to unsettling ends. The 1994 film Immortal Beloved depicted a charismatic, tortured, and sexy Beethoven (played by Gary Oldman) in the throes of an overheated love affair. Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 (“Moonlight”) keeps popping up in films not only as a soundtrack, but as a central theme. In the 1934 British film Moonlight Sonata, a couple is brought together by the pianistic ministrations of Ignace Jan Paderewski (cast “as himself”). The 2019 film Moonlight Sonata, released this summer, explores the impact of deafness and Beethoven’s music on a contemporary American family, inspired by the sonata that Beethoven wrote as he began to go deaf. americanorchestras.org
In May, Symphony Tacoma gave the world premiere of Hannah Lash’s In Hopes of Finding the Sun, the composer’s response to Beethoven’s Ninth and Friedrich Schiller’s poem Ode to Joy. Symphony Tacoma commissioned the new work, and performed it on the same program as Beethoven’s Ninth. In photo, from left with the orchestra: Symphony Tacoma Concertmaster Svend Rønning, Hannah Lash, and Music Director/Conductor Sarah Ioannides. Symphony Tacoma
Chris is talking about isn’t necessarily a clapback or some sort of reparative act. It’s people just feeling that Beethoven doesn’t resonate with them in the same way as this other music that they’re getting this other thing out of.”
is open on the one hand and both complicated and inaccessible on the other. I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don’t know why I should be asked to explain your life to you.
Morrison acknowledges the potential barrier to entry in her language (and to jazz!) while asserting the impossibility of creating a universal message without specificity, owning that she is writing the particularity and specificity of an AfricanAmerican existence, which is the only one she knows. My fellow Americans, step out of your comfort zone and seek out the voices and stories of those who don’t look or talk like you. Reach out, empathize, and discover the universal in their very particular stories: in Homer’s The Odyssey, in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, in Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Preludes, in Thelonious Monk’s Brilliant Corners, in Melville’s Moby-Dick, in Björk’s Homogenic, in Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, in Joni Mitchell’s Blue, in Berg’s Wozzeck, in Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, in Scott Joplin’s “Solace,” in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, in Amy Beach’s Piano Quintet, in Bright Sheng’s The Nightingale and The Rose, and in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Genius knows neither color nor genre. Freude is universal. BEN FINANE is editor in chief at Steinway & Sons and of the award-winning online music magazine listenmusicculture.com. He is producer and host of Soundboard, a podcast on artistry and craftsmanship (steinway.com/soundboard).
Andrew J. Russell
The Golden Spike: Celebrating the meeting of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific rail lines on the newly completed Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10, 1869.
SOUND TRACKS When it opened in 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad linked the United States as never before. To mark the 150th anniversary of the massive infrastructure project, thirteen orchestras along the route have joined forces to commission Zhou Tian’s Transcend, which evokes the railroad’s construction, the natural landscape, the plight of migrant railroad builders, and the opening of the West. Orchestras are not only performing the score, they are examining their own communities’ histories and connections. 36
by Jeff Lunden symphony
still is in use,” says LaBounty. “It still is relevant to people today.” Very quickly, the Reno Philharmonic realized that an instrumental piece about the Transcontinental Railroad might appeal to other orchestras. “It also had the same
Jen Schmidt Photography
National Park Service
music director since 2009, knew who she wanted to commission: Chineseborn composer Zhou Tian. Early in her tenure, Jackson programmed Zhou’s The Palace of Nine Perfections, an impressionistic tone poem inspired by a seventeenth-century Chinese painting. “I saw how much people delighted in his presence when he would stand To mark the sesquicentennial of the completion of the onstage and explain his Transcontinental Railroad, on May 10, 2019, two vintage Union music,” she remembers. Pacific steam locomotives met at Promontory Summit, Utah, this time with officials, descendants of workers who helped build the “I thought, he is the perrailroad, community members, and railroad and history enthusiasts. fect person for me to pick for this composition. He’s somebody that my audience really embraces and my orchestra loves.” The commission was an idea that Zhou Tian embraced as well. “I was very excited—it’s such a big honor,” he says. “At the time, I didn’t know that much about the first Transcontinental Railroad. I said yes, but at the back of mind I was like, ‘Okay. Time to research what to do with this topic.’ ” The Transcontinental Railroad was Immigrants from China were among the nineteenth-century equivalent of the the workforce that constructed the Moon shot in 1969. It was a massive enTranscontinental Railroad. gineering feat, begun in the middle of the Civil War. “The 1862 legislation signed by Abraham Lincoln was really aspirational The Reno Philharmonic was looking for in tone,” explains Patricia LaBounty, cua way to celebrate its 50th anniversary in rator of the Union Pacific Railroad Mu2019 with a commission, when the orseum in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “This was chestra realized it coincided with another a creation of a railroad longer than any major anniversary: the sesquicentennial other. This, in many respects, was a new of the completion of the nation’s first frontier for engineering, for industry, for transcontinental railroad. “We just got exploration.” more and more excited when we realized The Union Pacific was formed to behow seminal the Transcontinental Railgin construction out of Omaha, Nebraska, road was to our community,” recalls Tim while the Central Pacific, which was alYoung, president and CEO of the Reno ready in existence, started construction Philharmonic. “I think many people here out of Sacramento, California. In many don’t realize that Reno only exists because respects, it was very much an American of the Transcontinental Railroad. Charles story; both railroads relied extensively on Crocker [one of the four founders of the immigrant labor, both railroads engaged in Central Pacific Railroad] stood outside financial chicanery, and Native American what became the city and pulled the name populations were negatively impacted by out of a hat. The name was Jesse Lee Reno. the incursion into their territory. But, for And Crocker said, ‘Okay, this town is gobetter or for worse, the railroad changed ing to be named Reno.’ The next day the the country: for passengers and freight, lots went on sale, and that’s how the town a six- to eight-month journey from coast began in 1868.” to coast was reduced to a week. “That line Laura Jackson, the Reno Philharmonic’s
Composer Zhou Tian explores an abandoned train tunnel at Donner Pass Summit built for the Transcontinental Railroad.
impact across the country,” says Young, “particularly in Utah, at Promontory Summit, where the lines were connected. But, basically every community along the line had had that same experience in their history.” So, with the help of Scott Faulkner, the orchestra’s principal bass, they contacted orchestras along the railroad’s
Transcendent Transcontinental Zhou Tian’s Transcend was commissioned by the Reno Philharmonic in partnership with the Utah Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, Boise Philharmonic, Arapahoe Philharmonic, Central Wisconsin Symphony, Cheyenne Symphony, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Evanston Symphony, Idaho StateCivic Symphony, Michigan State University, and Stanford University. The Reno Philharmonic gave Transcend’s world premiere in April 2019, with performances by the partner orchestras continuing into 2020.
In 2017, Zhou Tian embarked on both a listening tour—hearing the various orchestras in the consortium, meeting conductors and players—and a research tour. “I must say, as a composer, I have never done so much research and had so much fun just to prepare a single piece,” he says. “Along the way there were many, many inspirations and I tried to put them into this piece,” which he named Transcend. With the team from the Reno Philharmonic, the composer walked through the Donner Summit Tunnel, high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where the Chinese workers for the Central Pacific risked life and limb to blast through the rock, and braved avalanches during the winter.
Much of the landscape the Transcontinental Railroad went through maintains its raw, unspoiled character. In photo: Reno Philharmonic Music Director Laura Jackson, composer Zhou Tian, and Principal Bass Scott Faulkner survey the region below China Wall in preparation for the world premiere of Zhou’s Transcend.
Composer Zhou Tian used sounds of the railroad and the landscape for musical inspiration, along with elements of Chinese and Irish music to reflect the immigrant laborers who worked on the railroad.
nel is and how dark it is and how cold it is … to experience just the little bit of how difficult and how huge this whole project was, it was inspiring.” Zhou used some of the sounds he heard that day for musical inspiration. The echo of the pebbles under his feet became the foundation of “Pulse,” the first movement of his unabashedly tonal, colorful three-movement piece. After a quiet, elegiac opening with strings, which Zhou likens to the “expansive desert of Utah and Nevada,” the piece erupts into a propulsive 3/4 meter, with eighthnote triplets. It’s punctuated by brass and percussion inflections, representing the blasts of black powder used to carve out the tunnels and ledges for the railroad’s
Though there are no definitive counts, it’s estimated that as many as 1,000 workers died. Laura Jackson says she had an epiphany while walking through the tunnel with Zhou: “I’m thinking, what have I done? I’ve asked a Chinese-American composer to compose a piece commemorating this history that just annihilated so many people who share his heritage. And I just turned to him and I said ‘We are not just celebrating, we are commemorating. We’re commemorating a transformation of this nation.’ ” Zhou Tian recalls: “Visiting the tunnel was a powerful experience. While Zhou Tian was researching the Transcontinental Railroad in Omaha, Raleigh Sheffield (in photo), a docent at the Durham Reading about it is one Western Heritage Museum, told him about the one-word telegraph thing, but when you actu- message that announced the rail’s completion, which inspired the ally see how long the tun- composer to write the “D-O-N-E” movement of Transcend. symphony
original route—and beyond—and found twelve additional willing ensembles: the Utah Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, Boise Philharmonic, Arapahoe Philharmonic, Central Wisconsin Symphony, Cheyenne Symphony, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Evanston Symphony, Idaho State-Civic Symphony, Michigan State University, and Stanford University. “Each of the orchestras bought in to the project, using a sliding scale based on budget size, to help defray the costs of the commission,” explains Young. “So that’s been very useful, obviously, in putting it together. And they’ve also invited Zhou to their communities.”
Jen Schmidt Photography
Jen Schmidt Photography
On October 2, 2017, while preparing for composer Zhou Tian’s Transcend, Reno Philharmonic President and CEO Tim Young, Music Director Laura Jackson, Zhou Tian, and Principal Bass Scott Faulkner explored the abandoned Donner Pass Summit train tunnels at China Wall, built over 150 years ago for the Transcontinental Railroad in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. The tunnels there were built in large part by Chinese laborers.
meditative movement, Zhou Tian explains, is a “vocalise for those who sought a better future.” Over a bed of quiet, slow-moving strings, woodwind and harp solos suggest Chinese folk melodies and harmonies. Transcend had its world premiere at the
technology at the time—was built along the right-of-way. As the Golden Spike linking the two rail lines was driven in, a coastto-cost telegram was transmitted. “And it was just one word,” explains Zhou Tian. “It’s done. D-O-N-E, exclamation point.” The composer found the sound of the Morse Code and used it as the rhythmic motif for his final movement. After a brass fanfare, the trumpets play the Morse Code rhythm, and are then joined by the xylophone and horns. While the motif doesn’t run throughout the movement, it recurs in different places—underneath melodic string lines and pushing the movement to its climactic finish. Zhou was also careful to reference folk
Omaha Symphony President and CEO Jennifer Boomgaarden says, “It made complete sense for us to be to be part of this joint commission.” The Union Pacific has its headquarters in Omaha and the railroad runs through the city.
roadbed in the Sierras. It also has melodic elements which suggest Irish folk music— Irish workers helped complete the Union Pacific portion of the railroad’s route through Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah. Other trips Zhou took yielded other insights. He traveled to Omaha, where the
The Reno Philharmonic realized that an instrumental piece about the Transcontinental Railroad might appeal to other orchestras that were directly affected by the massive engineering project. Twelve orchestras joined in as commissioning partners. Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno, Nevada on April 27, 2019. Reno Philharmonic Music Director Laura Jackson is unequivocal in her enthusiasm for the final results. She writes, in an email, “It is a GREAT piece and the audience went nuts over it.”
Working with Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, composer Zhou Tian interacts with elementary school children who sent him creative ideas for his composition, Transcend, thanking them and identifying moments in the score that sprang from their suggestions a year prior.
Union Pacific has its headquarters, and visited the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the Durham Western Heritage Museum, housed in Omaha’s old Union Station. It was there he learned that the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Summit, Utah, was the country’s first nationwide media event. The national telegraph line—cutting-edge communications americanorchestras.org
music of the Chinese workers on the railroad, mainly in his second movement, “Promise.” “I imagined 100 percent of those Chinese workers who worked on the railroad were men, so they traveled a long, long way to America to work on this project,” the composer says. “They must have made promises to their families to reunite with them somehow in America or back in China. And many of them didn’t.” The
Thierry Fischer, music director of the Utah Symphony, is a fan of the piece as well. The Utah Symphony was part of the commissioning consortium and performed Transcend in May 2019. “It’s very approachable on an immediate basis,” he says. “It’s very clear and it’s colorful. It’s spacious, it’s deep.” He adds that being part of the commission is meaningful for residents of Salt Lake City: “We just thought this project is very symbolic and very strong. And it means a lot to the Chinese community in Salt Lake, and to the people who have families or people who worked on this massive achievement.” Indeed, once the railroad construction reached Utah, Brigham Young, leader of the Church of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and a founder of Salt Lake City, contracted with both railroads to provide LDS workers to finish the project, so the city has many descendants of those railroad builders. And the Union Pacific Railroad has a hub in Salt Lake City, where it hauls freight, from the West Coast to the Midwest. Paul Meecham, president and CEO of the Utah Symphony, says the orchestra
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The Transcontinental Railroad was very much an American story: the railroads relied extensively on immigrant labor and engaged in financial chicanery, and Native American populations were negatively impacted. But the railroad changed the nation: a six-month journey from coast to coast was reduced to a week. wanted to enhance the audience experience during Transcend’s premiere in May 2019; there was a traditional Chinese music ensemble performing in the lobby of Abravanel Hall and “an extract from an exhibit from Stanford University all about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. We’re trying to amplify the performances that we’re giving, trying to place those in some historical context.” In addition, the Utah Opera (partner organization with Utah Symphony) premiered Transcontinental Railroad-themed “tenminute operas” by other composers in several cities this spring. Transcend kicked off Omaha Sympho-
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The Utah Symphony was part of the commissioning Transcend consortium and performed the score in May 2019. Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer (at right in photo with President and CEO Paul Meecham) says that for residents of Salt Lake City, “This project is very symbolic and very strong. It means a lot to the Chinese community in Salt Lake, and to the people who have families or people who worked on this massive achievement.” 9/4/05, 12:21 PM
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To place Zhou Tian’s score about the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in context, the Reno Philharmonic and the other commissioning orchestras are presenting events, community discussions, and preconcert talks with a focus on local history. In photo, the Reno Philharmonic partnered with Union Pacific to display information about the rail line’s history.
ny’s 2019-20 season in September. Omaha Symphony President and CEO Jennifer Boomgaarden says that with Union Pacific, a major donor, “having its headquarters here and, of course, the railroad running through the city, it made complete sense for us to be to be part of this joint commission. Things like this can help celebrate a momentous occasion.” Writing a new piece of music to be performed by thirteen orchestras, many in communities that have been profoundly impacted by the Transcontinental Railroad, has been a significant experience for the 38-year-old composer. “I was very honored to be part of this project,” says Zhou Tian. “As a Chinese-born composer who immigrated to this country and was educated here at many of its music schools, I was very moved to create this new work—to tell a musical story, to convey a sense of spiritual bliss, and to pay tribute to my own cultural heritage.” JEFF LUNDEN is a freelance arts reporter whose work is frequently heard on NPR and other public radio outlets. He’s also a musical theater composer who wrote a show about the Transcontinental Railroad that played in New York City and toured the country for Theatreworks/USA, a leading presenter of theater for young audiences.
POPS EVOLUTION The Cincinnati Pops’ January 2019 Pops in Space concerts featured an LED screen with imagery created by Lightborne Communications.
Films-with-music, crooners and divas, rappers, winners of TV singing competitions, indie bands, nostalgia acts, tribute groups, Motown acts, millennial nights—what makes pops pops today? Pops conductors at orchestras offer insights, perspectives, trend-spotting, and more. by Steven Brown
he Minnesota Orchestra has upped the ante on multimedia: “A Musical Feast,” a program from this year’s Sommerfest, was multisensory. A working oven, pots, and other cooking equipment occupied center stage at Orchestra Hall, and conductor Sarah Hicks and the orchestra welcomed a series of Twin Cities chefs. Jose Alarcon of the Twin Cities restau-
rant Popul Vuh prepared fried tortillas with a meat filling as the first movement of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony conjured up musical fresh air. The Lexington restaurant’s Jack Riebel dished up frog legs with garlic and mushrooms to the strains of Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town. Maurice Ravel’s La Valse accompanied Grand Café’s Jamie Malone as she crafted the domed pastry shell of a pithivier—a French pie symphony
sometimes turn up as special events. “We here in North America have created new musical forms and new musical styles that can be found nowhere else on earth,” says John Morris Russell, conductor of the Cincinnati Pops. “To my mind, the future of the pops experience is to plumb the depths of great American music-making in all its forms.” Pops Nomenclature
The Minnesota Orchestra doesn’t call Hicks’s programs pops concerts. Her series’ name: Live at Orchestra Hall. “I think the label pops is deceptive—because no one
At the Minnesota Orchestra’s “Musical Feast” program this summer, local chefs stirred up their magic onstage as the orchestra, led by Sarah Hicks, played culinary-themed scores.
sembles from coast to coast have branched out into areas they might once have hardly imagined. Orchestras get a crack at Hollywood-style box office when they screen blockbuster movies and play the scores themselves; they also attract big turnouts to multimedia concerts built around video games. They host country singers, hip-hop artists, rockers, and TV-contest winners as headliners. They perform with circus troupes and bluegrass bands. The performances sometimes belong to pops series,
really knows what that is any more,” Hicks says. “Sometimes people expect the Arthur Fiedler mold, which is what Sarah Hicks, principal pops used to be. But conductor of the I think it’s so differ- Minnesota Orchestra’s Live at Orchestra Hall ent that we needed series a different name.” Even orchestras that stay with the pops moniker have welcomed the wider musical
filled with chicken, sweetbreads, and pheasant. For the concert’s climax, Travail Collective chefs Mike Brown, Bob Gerken, and James Winberg offered a cooking-as-theater homage to Walt Disney’s treatment of A Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia. Rather than a deluge of water, their version of Paul Dukas’s fantasy unleashed a 40-foot strand of dough that their helpers brandished through the auditorium. Throughout the concert, aromas wafted toward the audience, and a few people plucked from the crowd stepped onstage to sample the chefs’ handiwork. Joining the two art forms—music and cooking—yielded “a completely new sensory experience for the audience,” says conductor Hicks. She is principal conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra series that, as she
John Morris Russell, conductor of the Cincinnati Pops.
puts it, focuses on “non-classical programming”—and sometimes classical works in new guises, as in “A Musical Feast.” This season, the series will range from 1940s Big Band music to concerts featuring the indie rock group Cloud Cult; from a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald’s duet partnership to performances with the cirque-dance-theater ensemble Troupe Vertigo. Meanwhile, this fall brings the release of a recording by the orchestra and Minneapolis hip-hop artist Dessa, whose blossoming relationship began with a concert Hicks conducted in 2017. Like the Minnesota Orchestra, en-
Taking a bow at Boston Pops’ May 2019 Redefining American Music: Rhiannon Giddens and Friends Rediscover the Incredible Black Composers concert (from left): Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, Rhiannon Giddens, pianist Lara Downes, and vocalist Darius de Haas.
a film score live gives an amazingly fresh perspective on how important great music is in making a movie great. It’s possible to appreciate how brilliant a score by someone like John Williams is.” For conductors, coordinating an orchestra with a movie presents challenges all its own—especially when the soundtrack contains singing voices, as in West Side Story or Mary Poppins. “We’re linking up with the most inflexible singers in the world, because they’re on film,” the Minnesota Orchestra’s Hicks explains. To help make the pieces fit, a video monitor in front of the
Janet Knott - Courtesy of BSO Archives
embrace. “Our pops audiences are more eclectic and more diverse than any other orchestral audience—more than practically any other musical audience,” the Cincinnati Pops’ Russell says. “Think of it. You’re got your traditional pops people, who want to hear their Broadway show tunes. You’ve got people who want to hear your popular classics from the orchestral repertoire. You’ve got all these people who are crazy about movie music. You’ve got rock ’n’ rollers and jazzers, and you’ve got people who love bluegrass and soul and R&B and hip hop. As orchestras, we take these musical styles, and we flesh them out in the full splendor of the symphony orchestra.” The orchestra’s splendors have grown especially vivid within a separate art form that has powerful American roots: the motion picture. “When we play a score like the original Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark, we are playing 75 minutes of great symphonic music, masterfully orchestrated,” says Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart. His orchestra has a direct link to sonic-showpiece film scores thanks to Lockhart’s predecessor: veteran film composer John Williams, who led the Pops for thirteen years. While movie theaters’ sound systems push the music “down under the explosions,” Lockhart says, an orchestra right there in the concert hall can immerse the audience in the score’s lushness and power: “For movie aficionados and music aficionados alike, hearing an orchestra perform
Film composer John Williams was the Boston Pops’ conductor for over a decade. Here, he and the Pops greet a friend from one of the many hit films Williams scored.
podium flashes signals about tempos, measure numbers, and upcoming cues. Sometimes a click track adds audible guidance. “The challenge for the conductor is to connect with the musicians as for a regular concert, and to add all these new levels of information at the same time,” says Canadian conductor Dina Gilbert, who has led the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Omaha Symphony in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (which has a John Williams score). Her solution is to put in extra time studying the movie and score “to memorize all the exact tempi, the crucial ‘hit points,’ and the abrupt transitions between the scenes.” Once the movie is running, she adds, there’s no time for second-guessing. For conductors and players alike, moviewith-orchestra performances “are endurance tests,” says Susie Benchasil Seiter, who will guest-conduct the Kansas City Symphony in Mary Poppins during Thanksgiving weekend. Whereas a studio orchestra records a soundtrack in snippets that editors splice together, live musicians have to tackle the whole shebang in sequence— sometimes with mere moments to catch their breath between bursts of music. “There sometimes may be seven seconds of break, where I cut them off with one hand, and the other hand is already prepping the entrance for the next piece,” Seiter points out. “I’ve heard conductors say, ‘You need eye drops—because you can’t blink.’ ” Collaborative Sounds
Bringing jazz into the orchestral arena “can be challenging,” Minnesota’s Hicks says, because jazz’s flavor depends so much on improvisation—“and we don’t improvise on a regular basis,” she says with a laugh. But she and others agree that the orchestra can dovetail with any genre if a savvy arranger crafts the scores. “It’s about finding the right key. Writing for instruments idiomatically. Knowing the rhythmic groove and how to make it happen,” Cincinnati’s Russell says. “A lot of people refer to it as magic. It’s just hard work.” Everything really clicks, Hicks says, when headliners are open to reimagining their songs in light of the orchestra’s colors. “For me,” she says, “it’s not an artist backed by an orchestra, but an artist and orchestra creating a third entity—which is completely different from either.” The symphony
Damon Gupton, who recently signed on as the Cincinnati Pops’ first-ever principal guest conductor.
freshest results often come from singersongwriters such as Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds, Hicks says, because “they’re aware of how you craft a song and give it a narrative. That structure is really suited to how orchestral musicians think.”
“We have created new musical forms and new musical styles that can be found nowhere else on earth,” says Cincinnati Pops Conductor John Morris Russell. “The future of the pops experience is to plumb the depths of great American music-making in all its forms.”
At the same time that orchestras aim at new listeners, they still have to focus on their core audiences, says Jacksonville Symphony Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski, formerly principal pops conductor at the Houston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Philly Pops. The orchestral pops faithful are typi-
cally in their fifties through seventies, Krajewski adds, “and they really like to hear music that they feel is their music,” adds. That, too, means that pops programs continually evolve. When Krajewski started his career 30 years ago, he recalls, Big Band music was “all the rage” on pops series. Since then, hits of subsequent decades have gradually moved into the spotlight, and Krajewski’s programs have followed suit. Enlisting soloists and commissioning arrangements, he has assembled such programs as a sampler of Carole King songs and a tribute to Simon and Garfunkel. Krajewski cites the duo’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” as a favorite example of how an orchestra can magnify a song’s impact. “In our arrangement, its starts like it does on the record, with just a piano and the guys singing,” Krajewski says. “Then you keep adding more and more instruments. It’s sort of the Bolero effect, adding more and more color from the orchestra. By the time you get to the climax of that, the audience is pretty much stunned.” This season, the Fort Worth Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and others will introduce Krajewski’s newest pro-
Pasadena Symphony and Pops
Russell tips his hat to the likes of roots musician Rhiannon Giddens, bluegrass singer Aiofe O’Donovan, and jazz singer Gregory Porter, “who jump into the orchestral experience with both feet.” Bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers and vintage-jazz band Hot Sardines, he adds, welcome the chance to “make something new” out of familiar tunes. The headliners’ fans welcome the new perspective, Hicks says. They “love the artist, and they’re interested in the artist growing and expanding and finding new ways to express themselves. I think audiences are always excited and willing.” The orchestras count on that, of course. Hip-hop artists and other new-breed headliners bring in “a completely different and often younger” audience, Hicks adds. And it’s often “very vocal in showing appreciation, which is great.”
The Times They Are A-Changin’
Michael Krajewski, principal pops conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony
The audiences at video-game concerts may be the most exuberant of all. “They come in costume. It’s so much fun,” says Seiter, who has conducted hundreds of performances of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses and Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions. “They come as their favorite characters. So it’s a whole experience.” At home, gamers generally play alone, Seiter adds, or maybe with one friend. The concerts let them join 2,000 or 3,000 of their fellow fans in a communal celebration. “We’re giving them an experience that they’ve craved for a long time,” Seiter says. “Meeting these audiences, I’ve found that they come to these concerts for this amazing, shared experience. A lot of it has to do with nostalgia and their childhood. There’s so much love. There are tears of joy—and so much enthusiasm. “These are people in their twenties or thirties who don’t normally go to hear Mozart or Beethoven,” Seiter adds. “They don’t have preconceived notions about how you’re supposed to behave in a concert. They come in, and they’re so fresh and loving. And their reactions are so honest, because they don’t know anything else.”
Pasadena Pops Principal Conductor Michael Feinstein leads the orchestra at the LA County Arboretum.
“For movie aficionados and music aficionados alike, hearing an orchestra perform a film score live gives an amazingly fresh perspective on how important great music is in making a movie great,” says Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart. Letterman’s long-running late-night TV shows, to curate and perform in a March program titled “The Cincinnati Sound.” Focusing on two Queen City recording companies of the mid-1900s—King Records and Herzog Studios—the concerts will feature songs by artists who flourished in the companies’ studios, from country icon Hank Williams to bluegrass stars Flatt and Scruggs to funk fireball James Brown. “This was one of the very first times black and white musicians worked together,” Russell says. By zeroing in on what they created, he adds, the concerts will “reflect a deeper appreciation of our American experience.”
Terry Johnston - Grand Rapids Symphony
gram: “The Vinyl Years,” featuring a vocal trio in favorite songs by the Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, and their contemporaries. Others, too, bring audiences new experiences by reaching into the past. The Pasadena Pops enables Principal Conductor Michael Feinstein—who also enjoys a career as a singer of the American Songbook and musical sleuth—to revive longlost gems from golden-age Hollywood. In September, he and the orchestra showcased rediscovered arrangements from The Wizard of Oz and other MGM musicals. Among other treats the orchestra has helped him spotlight, Feinstein especially savors composer Johnny Green’s overture to Raintree Country, a 1957 melodrama starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. “It’s a glorious piece,” Feinstein says. “It’s Coplandesque. It’s four minutes of bliss. Things like that are thrilling. These are pieces that deserve to be played. Orchestras eat it up, and so do audiences. Because the level of quality and emotional impact are supreme.” The Cincinnati Pops has enlisted Paul Shaffer, onetime music director for David
“We’re in a very prickly time in our nation’s history,” Russell says. “Can we present the types of concerts that raise people up—that bring people together and celebrate a sense of shared humanity, a shared purpose that can bring everyone together? Music can do that. American music tells those stories.” The Cincinnati Pops expanded its podium roster this August, when Damon Gupton signed on as the Pops’ first-ever principal guest conductor. Gupton, also an actor, has played major roles on stage and film, and is known to television audiences as detective Bill Henderson on Black Lightning. He was assistant conductor of the Kansas City Symphony and has led orchestras all over the country, and before that studied music and conducting at the University of Michigan and the Aspen Music Festival, and participated in the League of American Orchestras’ American Conducting Fellowship. At Cincinnati Pops, he launched his tenure leading Williams’ score for Star War: The Empire Strikes Back, and will conduct a New Year’s Eve concert, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Classical Roots concert, and more. The Star Wars concerts are almost a kind of homecoming, as he told the Cincinnati Business Courier: “My initial plan was to be John Williams…. To be able to do this soundtrack with this orchestra as my first concert in a newly appointed position is deeply moving to me.” Room for the Unexpected
Programs that aim a single type of music at a single audience, the Boston Pops’
Susie Benchasil Seiter leads the Grand Rapids Symphony in a 2016 performance of Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions (far left). This November, she will Susie Benchasil Seiter guest conduct the Kansas City Symphony in a live-to-film concert featuring Mary Poppins.
Lockhart says, have a downside: They don’t give listeners a chance to discover something new to them. In his view, that neglects a bigger goal. “Our mission is to introduce people to the joy and amazement of hearing live music performed really well by great musicians,” Lockhart says. “Orchestras rise and fall on people’s commitment to live entertainment experiences—to being there, to seeing the sweat, to hearing the music made again.” So Lockhart always tries to work in something the audience doesn’t expect. While planning a 2017 concert with Ben Folds, Lockhart says, he remembered that the singer-songwriter studied percussion in music school. So Lockhart asked Folds to name a few classical pieces that had moved him when he was young. Lockhart and the orchestra played two of them— Gioachino Rossini’s William Tell Overture and a movement from Henryk Górecki’s somber Symphony No. 3—ahead of Folds’ set. “I brought Ben out and said, ‘Hey, tell me about these pieces,’ ” Lockhart recalls. “They were things that I’m sure 95 percent of the people who came to hear Ben Folds had never heard before. It was an inroad.” Sometimes, Lockhart adds, “we get pushback. People call customer service and say, ‘If you’re doing concerts with Ben Folds or Audra McDonald, we want to hear all Ben Folds or Audra McDonald,’ ” Lockhart says. “But that’s not the way we do things. We have to stay true to ourselves.” STEVEN BROWN, a Houston-based writer specializing in classical music, is the former classical-music critic of the Orlando Sentinel, Charlotte Observer, and Houston Chronicle.
Introducing the 2019 Class of the League of American Orchestras’ Emeritus Board
Over the course of the League’s history, dozens of men and women have served on the League’s board of directors. Established in 2018, the League’s Emeritus Board serves to recognize the leadership, dedication, and support of outstanding former members of its board of directors. Thank you for your unwavering service to the League’s members and mission! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------League of American Orchestras’ Emeritus Directors* Brent Assink • William P. Blair III • Malcolm McDougal Brown • Dick Cisek • Bruce Clinton Peter Cummings • Henry Fogel • Catherine French • Robert Rosoff • Cynthia Sargent Connie Steensma • Nick Webster
*List as of July 30, 2019
Symphony 2019 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 orchestras charged with pops programming.
Americana /Country Dukes of Dixieland Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org dukesofdixieland.com
Count Basie Orchestraâ€™s 85th Anniversary! Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com marilynrosenpresents.com
Heartland: The Women of Country Music Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org greenbergartists.com
Dancing with the Dukes Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com dukesofdixieland.com
Steve Amerson and Laurie Gayle Stephenson Classic Concert Productions firstname.lastname@example.org classicconcertproductions.com Laurie Gayle Stephenson and Steve Amerson present fantastic Broadway, Christmas/Holiday, and Patriotic concerts with arrangements licensed with the publishers! All of these fabulous arrangements are meticulously copied, ready to put on the stand and create great music.
Performing New Orleans Swinging Jazz, for over 45 years, with orchestras around the world, including Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Guatemala, San Diego, and Seattle.
Ella and Louis Greenberg Artists email@example.com greenbergartists.com
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Ann Hampton Callaway & Liz Callaway – Broadway with the Callaways
Julie Budd’s “Show-Stoppers” – Those Great Musical Moments
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The Tony-nominated Callaways sing showstoppers from West Side Story, Chicago, Funny Girl, Cats, Carousel, Wicked, and more. Ann and Liz provide an evening of wit, humor, and the soaring sounds of Broadway’s greatest songs.
An evening of show-stopping songs from the greatest Broadway musicals… From Gypsy to Wicked … Julie Budd brings Broadway to you!
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Oscar on Oscar! Featuring Oscar Andy Hammerstein III Broadway Pops International firstname.lastname@example.org broadwaypops.com Something Wonderful: The Songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway Pops International email@example.com broadwaypops.com Spies, Lies, & Treble Clefs TCG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org tcgent.com
Steve Amerson and Laurie Gayle Stephenson
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Andy Einhorn Peter Throm Management, LLC email@example.com peterthrom.com Damon Gupton Peter Throm Management, LLC firstname.lastname@example.org peterthrom.com
Starlets â€“ Women of Song TCG Entertainment email@example.com tcgent.com
Classic Concert Productions firstname.lastname@example.org classicconcertproductions.com
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firstname.lastname@example.org timberens.com Looking for a unique pops conductor who will engage, uplift, and expand your audience? Tim, creator of the Berens Pops Library, will work with you to create your ideal programming.
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Yoichi Udagawa email@example.com yoichiudagawa.com
Family Concerts Dance/Movement Cirque de la Symphonie
firstname.lastname@example.org www.cirquedelasymphonie.com Unique production designed to bring the magic of cirque to the music hall! Audiences will be thrilled by aerialists and acrobats, sharing the stage with the symphony. Themes: Cinema, Broadway, Holidays, Light Classics, and more.
Let’s Dance Greenberg Artists email@example.com greenbergartists.com Tango Caliente Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org greenbergartists.com
Classical Kids Live! Classical Kids Music Education email@example.com classicalkidslive.com Classical Kids are far and away the best for introducing children to classical music! Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Gershwin’s Magic Key, Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage, Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery, Tchaikovsky Discovers America.
Cirque de la Symphonie
firstname.lastname@example.org www.cirquedelasymphonie.com Unique production designed to bring the magic of cirque to the music hall! Audiences will be thrilled by aerialists and acrobats, sharing the stage with the symphony. Themes: Cinema, Broadway, Holidays, Light Classics, and more.
Cirque Musica Presents Heroes & Villains TCG Entertainment email@example.com cirquemusica.com “The Conductor’s Spellbook” Paul Dooley firstname.lastname@example.org pauldooley.net
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Charlie Chaplin at the Symphony Dan Kamin Comedy Concertos email@example.com dankamin.com
Dan Kamin Comedy Concertos
A classical concert goes horribly wrong in The Classical Clown, followed by two Chaplin classics, Easy Street and The Immigrant, to top off an uproarious evening of comedy and music.
Dan Kamin Comedy Concertos firstname.lastname@example.org dankamin.com Former NY Phil Education Director Ted Wiprud raves about Dan’s “unique talent for physical comedy and wonderful feel for music.” Check out The Classical Clown, The Lost Elephant, and more.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind in Concert Film Concerts Live! email@example.com www.filmconcertslive.com E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in Concert Film Concerts Live! firstname.lastname@example.org www.filmconcertslive.com
Film with Orchestra The Addams Family in Concert Film Concerts Live! email@example.com www.filmconcertslive.com Apollo 13 in Concert Film Concerts Live! firstname.lastname@example.org www.filmconcertslive.com The Artist in Concert Film Concerts Live! email@example.com www.filmconcertslive.com Back to the Future in Concert Film Concerts Live! firstname.lastname@example.org www.filmconcertslive.com Casino Royale in Concert Film Concerts Live! email@example.com www.filmconcertslive.com
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Skyfall in Concert Film Concerts Live! email@example.com www.filmconcertslive.com Star Trek Beyond Live Film Concerts Live! firstname.lastname@example.org www.filmconcertslive.com
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Steve Amerson and Laurie Gayle Stephenson Classic Concert Productions firstname.lastname@example.org classicconcertproductions.com
Great American Songbook
Laurie Gayle Stephenson and Steve Amerson present fantastic Broadway, Christmas/Holiday, and Patriotic concerts with arrangements licensed with the publishers! All of these fabulous arrangements are meticulously copied, ready to put on the stand and create great music.
Ann Hampton Callaway – “Fever: The Peggy Lee Century” Marilyn Rosen Presents marilyn@ marilynrosenpresents.com marilynrosenpresents.com At Ann’s dazzling 100thbirthday celebration of Peggy Lee, one of America’s most brilliant trailblazers and alluring singer/ songwriters, find out why Lee’s iconic songs and style still give us “Fever”!
Ann Hampton Callaway – The Streisand Songbook Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com marilynrosenpresents.com
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Jazz/Blues Dancing with the Dukes Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org dukesofdixieland.com Performing New Orleans Swinging Jazz, for over 45 years, with orchestras around the world, including Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Guatemala, San Diego, and Seattle.
Light Classics Cirque Musica Presents Crescendo TCG Entertainment email@example.com cirquemusica.com Cirque Musica Presents Maestro TCG Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org cirquemusica.com
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Patti Austin’s “Now and Then” Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com marilynrosenpresents.com Ragtime, Blues and All That Jazz Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org greenbergartists.com Unforgettable: Nat and Natalie Greenberg Artists email@example.com greenbergartists.com
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Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Keith Paluso (“The Voice” 2018) Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org marilynrosenpresents.com
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Brass Transit … The Musical Legacy of Chicago Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org marilynrosenpresents.com Brass Transit “nails” the music of Chicago with the Grand Rapids Symphony. “A high-energy, hit-filled, crowd-pleasing, studio-tight powerhouse with incredible orchestrations.” “Fantastic!” “Spellbinding!”
Classical Night Fever – The Ultimate Symphonic Best of the ’70s Disco
An Evening with China Forbes
Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com marilynrosenpresents.com
Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org marilynrosenpresents.com
The performers take the stage in stylin’ afros, headturning costumes, and groovy choreography. It’s a ’70s disco tribute, feel-good extravaganza you won’t soon forget!
Pink Martini’s beloved lead singer China Forbes presents her favorite songs, from the American Songbook to Donna Summer to new originals, along with a taste of Pink Martini.
Ann Hampton Callaway – The Linda Ronstadt Songbook Marilyn Rosen Presents email@example.com marilynrosenpresents.com This show celebrates Ronstadt’s songs from her pop/rock period as well as classics from her Nelson Riddle CDs.
Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant The Roots Agency firstname.lastname@example.org therootsagency.com americanorchestras.org
Dancing in the Street: Music of Motown Greenberg Artists email@example.com greenbergartists.com
Dave Bennett’s “Whole Lotta Shakin: Swing to Rock” Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org marilynrosenpresents.com Hold onto your seats as multi-instrumentalist Dave Bennett rocks the stage, saluting music from swing to rock ‘n’ roll to country, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and his Billboard-charting release Blood Moon.
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Decades: Back to the ’80s Greenberg Artists firstname.lastname@example.org greenbergartists.com Faithfully – The Music of Journey TCG Entertainment email@example.com tcgent.com
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Pink Martini Marilyn Rosen Presents firstname.lastname@example.org marilynrosenpresents.com
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Your Legacy Matters Share the magic of orchestras with future generations
Planned Giving enables individuals like you, who care deeply about the League of American Orchestrasâ€™ mission of advancing the orchestral experience for all, to support the Leagueâ€™s work beyond your lifetime. To learn more about the Leagueâ€™s planned giving opportunities, please visit americanorchestras.org/donate/plannedgiving.
Head New cultural and economic directions are redefining and expanding the role of the conservatory in the 21st century. Here, leaders from conservatories reflect on the issues of most importance today— and tomorrow— as music schools navigate a shifting landscape. by Brin Solomon
New England Conservatory
New England Conservatory’s Entrepreneurial Musicianship program hosted a “Pitch Night”" in September 2018 at which students presented overviews of their intended projects. Winning entrants received cash awards towards the realization of their plans. In photo: Amanda Ekery describes her “El Paso Jazz Girls” project, which aims to increase the number of girls in jazz via a cost-free program taught by professional female musicians in El Paso for female-identifying high school students.
At the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Director of Professional Development Dana Jessen advises a student.
t used to be that the goal of conservatories and schools of music was to produce virtuosic musicians, who would embark on solo careers or land tenured spots in orchestras. Changing expectations on the part of orchestras, presenters, and the musicians themselves mean that the former approaches are no longer enough.
Fortunately, while a career at an orchestra remains a cherished goal, there are other paths to building a life as a working musician in the 21st century. Enterprising players are forming chamber ensembles, organizing concert series in non-traditional venues, partnering with civic institutions to build community, and more. While all symphony
add new classes to students’ already-full curricular schedules? How do you overcome pushback from faculty and students who feel this kind of training is a distraction from developing virtuosic musicianship? But beyond the challenges, there are also surprising ways in which this kind of entrepreneurial training can dovetail with a traditional orchestral career to open unexpected new doors. Representatives from several organizations that have started offering this kind of training for undergraduate and graduate students share their thoughts on navigating this shifting new landscape. Paul Hogle President and CEO, Cleveland Institute of Music When we created the Center for Innovative Musicianship in 2017, it integrated practices that had been done by individual
Center for Innovative Musicianship, are only a few years old, while others, like Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble’s Fresh Inc Festival, a two-week summer festival dedicated to teaching entrepreneurship skills to aspiring classical musicians, have existed for nearly a decade. Moreover, pressing contemporary issues—such as diversity, inclusion, and social equity—that might once have seemed distant from the focus of the academy are increasingly being elevated to central concerns. Old or new, there are some challenges that all these programs face. How do you
these activities are built on a base of rocksolid musicianship, they also involve specific skill sets—grant writing, marketing, audience development—that aren’t typically included in a fledgling musician’s formal training. In previous decades, musicians may have learned these skills on the fly, but more and more educational institutions are beginning to make this training part of their curricula. Some of these initiatives, like Oberlin Conservatory’s division of Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement or the Cleveland Institute of Music’s
Student ensembles from the Cleveland Institute of Music regularly perform in the elegant environs of Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra. americanorchestras.org
At Fifth House Ensemble’s two-week Fresh Inc Festival, emerging classical musicians get a grounding in some of the business principles behind a career in the arts.
“When we created the Center for Innovative Musicianship in 2017, it integrated practices that had been done by individual faculty for generations. It wasn’t like we woke up in 2017 and decided that business-savvy training was necessary.” Paul Hogle, Cleveland Institute of Music faculty for generations. It wasn’t like we woke up in 2017 and decided that business-savvy training was necessary, we just brought it into one place. There’s always been an organic, informal process for students working with their private teachers. So we asked faculty to identify things you would need to be successful in the 21st century and tried to weave that into the curriculum, from preparing an audition to managing your finances to protecting intellectual property to arranging contracts and more. These core classes are mandatory, so
“Entrepreneurial skills are more important now, but they’ve always been part of the DNA of artistry. It’s become increasingly important that this be part of a musician’s education. The arts world is not static.” Damian Woetzel, The Juilliard School
tions. It’s all about capitalizing on opportunity, working with others to do things you couldn’t do yourself. We also started an all-school jam session where we gather together the Music, Dance, and Drama Divisions and the students have three hours to make something with a series of prompts. It’s a bit like Iron Chef: Here are your ingredients, here’s what you’re trying to make, how are you going to get there?
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Melissa Ngan Founding Member, Fifth House Ensemble, which created the Fresh Inc Festival Fifth House has partnered with educational institutions since 2007, so a lot of what we brought to Fresh Inc comes from our own experiences at colleges and conservatories and underIn November 2018, Juilliard President Damian Woetzel and standing their challenges in violinist Vijay Gupta hosted a program for residents of Valley implementing curricula to Lodge, a shelter on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for older men and women who are homeless. In photo: Woetzel with Juilliard train the 21st-century mustudents Alberta Khoury (classical guitar) and Yin-Ying Tseng sician. Time is our greatest (viola). commodity and also the most limiting factor. A lot of this content is seen as either/or: if you’re when new students arrive here, they have going to put this in the schedule, somean understanding that they’ll get expothing else has to be taken out. And while sure and training in this area. This was less Fresh Inc isn’t bound by a conservatory’s clear to our returning students—“What’s scheduling constraints, we have a very this new program I have to take?”—so for short time to accomplish what we need to them it’s been about educating them about in two weeks. why this is important. But once they get We’re iterating all the time, learning as into it, they understand. we go. One big question that’s come up a lot has been diversity, helping people un“Any program derstand how their own identity relates to that promotes the art they create and also creating more ‘extra-musical’ inclusive spaces. Fresh Inc happens at a time in an artist’s life when they’re really skills needs wrestling with this, for personal and proto be viewed fessional reasons. And so that’s one of the as ‘yes, and’ reasons we started our Fresh Voices program—so marginalized musicians can deas opposed to ‘instead of.’ velop the kind of leadership and entrepreBecause none of the things neurial skills to make their careers flourish. we’re talking about here are Ultimately, any program that promotes “extra-musical” skills needs to be viewed going to be effective if you as “yes, and” as opposed to “instead of.” don’t have the chops.” Because none of the things we’re talking Melissa Ngan, Fifth House about here are going to be effective if you don’t have the chops. You gotta have the Ensemble goods—even if you’re playing for third graders, people know if you’re faking. And it’s important even in traditional jobs! Imagine you just won a job in the Damian Woetzel Cleveland Orchestra, and five years into President, The Juilliard School your tenure you get elected to the PlayI teach an arts and society course at Juilers’ Committee, and imagine if in college liard that focuses heavily on different ways you had learned fundamentals of labor law the arts intersect with society, which is all and didn’t have to learn it all on the job. about the opportunity of where you take Or imagine if you were going to start a your art and how you manifest it. We have festival and you knew you need to develop an entire program to bring in people like an audience and a donor base—you might composer Caroline Shaw, who aren’t limwant to know some fundamentals of arts ited by anything but their own imaginamarketing.
Musicians who participate in the Music Diversity Fellowship of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory receive academic training, professional mentoring, and paid performance opportunities with the CSO. In photo: Camellia Aftahi, a master of music student in the 2018-20 class of Diversity Fellows, performs with the CSO onstage at Cincinnati Music Hall.
Tanya Rosen-Jones Roger Mastroianni
At the Cleveland Institute of Music, violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti leads a master class onstage in Mixon Hall. She is former concertmaster of the Florida Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony, has served as guest concertmaster at several U.S. orchestras, and is a CIM alumna.
And to a large degree, that’s what a lot of young artists are faced with in the world. It’s an outlook, but it’s also a skillset. These skills are more important now, but they’ve always been part of the DNA of artistry. It’s become increasingly important that this be part of a musician’s education. But by the same token, I look
back at photos of Steve Reich and Philip Glass at Juilliard, and they were developing a different type of entrepreneurial ability: making things in different ways, exploring those possibilities that exist beyond simply the big proposition of becoming an excellent musician. The arts world is not static.
“How do we give our students agency to create the future of music? We want a comprehensive experience that allows students to develop to the highest level while thinking about how that connects to the world beyond.” Andrea Kalyn, New England Conservatory Andrea Kalyn President, New England Conservatory The broad frame we’re working with is: How do we give our students agency to create the future of music? We want a comprehensive experience that allows students to develop to the highest level while
YOUR STAGE. YOUR PERFORMANCE. The Chicago College of Performing Arts music programs provide an education grounded in personalized attention and real-world experience. Together with our students, we form a community of teaching and learning marked by artistic excellence, technical rigor and compassionate support.
thinking about how that connects to the world beyond. Flexibility, curiosity, experimentation— these things are the path to professional freedom. They give you the latitude to craft a musical life beyond the conserva-
Music students today are increasingly aware of their agency in making a life in music that resonates with who they are. My entire life, I’ve heard dire predictions about classical music, but I’m so encouraged by my students’ optimism. I don’t see in students this sense that there is only one path. So we take a menu approach: We have a lot of different offerings; students design their own adventure. This raises the question of how we ensure everyone has a particular set of skills. We have a required catchall entrepreneurship course for all our juniors. But there are many opportunities before that, and we regularly turn students away from our entrepreneurship offerings, even as about a third of the student body is participating at any given time. Since 2011, across all areas of our community engagement and entrepreneurship programs, about 75 percent of our students have participated in one of those areas.
Dana Jessen Director, Professional Development at Oberlin Conservatory of Music One of the biggest challenges for institutions teaching professional development is staying relevant and engaged with current topics that musicians face. One example is that textbooks tend to become dated very quickly, so from a curricular standpoint, it requires keeping active As part of her activities as director of Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and aware of relevant, upJody Kerchner works with a choir at an area prison. to-date information. Most careers in the arts are not as straightforward as simply tory. Musicians have always done this; it’s a searching and applying for employment. fairly new concept that you’re just going to A large majority of music careers endrop into one job and stay there. And if you compass multiple streams of income that look at the analogue outside the musical could span a range of work related to an world—you go to college, get a job, and stay individual’s artistic practice. Because of there until you die—that’s not modeled on this, it is important for young musicians anything now! Musicians are better set up to have a clear understanding of the infor the gig economy because everything we dustry and how to best navigate the many do is about imagining something and then components of the field in order to create figuring out a process to make it real. a valuable and meaningful artistic career. Oberlin’s Professional Development OfTanya Maggi fice is essentially a resource for students Dean, Community Engagement and to learn all of the practical skills necessary Professional Studies at the New England for a career in music. Conservatory
“It is important for young musicians to have a clear understanding of the industry and how to best navigate the many components of the field in order to create a valuable and meaningful artistic career.” Dana Jessen, Oberlin Conservatory of Music Tanya Rosen-Jones
“My entire life, I’ve heard dire predictions about classical music, but I’m so encouraged by my students’ optimism. I don’t see in students this sense that there is only one path.” Tanya Maggi, New England Conservatory
Jody Kerchner Director, Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement Division at Oberlin Conservatory of Music I come from a music education background, so I’ve spent years of my career in public schools teaching music and then at the conservatory preparing music teachers. These skills have always been important, and something we’ve promoted. These are absolutely skills that every musician should have. Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement is currently a program, and while it’s not yet a concentration or a minor, we’re moving in that direction. We’re putting together courses to develop students’ understanding of community engagement and the ethics behind community-based learning. There’s going to be a larger curricular discussion in the fall. How many semesters do we need of music theory? Can we be more creative about how this content is packaged so that we have extra electives and students can be more intentional? Can we give students flexibility to do this? This is a larger curriculum decision that we’re working on. Stanley Romanstein Dean, University of Cincinnati CollegeConservatory of Music Our Diversity Fellows program, a partnership with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, was created in 2015 by then-College-Conservatory of Music Dean Peter Landgren and then-CSO President and CEO Trey Devey. They were concerned about the stark lack of racial and ethnic diversity within American orchestras, and symphony
to find seats on stage for a more diverse population of artists, and we have to do everything possible to help these artists succeed once they get on stage. The CSO-CCM Diversity Fellows program makes it possible for aspiring orchestral musicians to receive a conservatorylevel education and earn New England Conservatory flutist Sho Kato (MM ’18) engages young an advanced degree listeners during a Musical Storytelling demonstration at an NEC open while gaining priceless house. experience playing with and learning from orchestra professionabout limited professional opportunials. Who better to help young musicians ties for students of color graduating from understand the rigors and expectations of American conservatories. They realized life as a working member of a professional that changing the status quo would require orchestra? serious commitment from both orchestras The tension between traditional conserand conservatories, and from other arts vatory training and initiatives like this is groups as well. Our Diversity Fellows proa persistent—and, I think, healthy—tengram was a first step. sion within any top-tier conservatory. The If we’re serious about enhancing racial key is to ask, repeatedly: “To what kinds and ethnic diversity in the arts, orchestras of careers, which kinds of professional opand conservatories have to work together
“If we’re serious about enhancing racial and ethnic diversity in the arts, orchestras and conservatories have to work together to find seats on stage for a more diverse population of artists.” Stanley Romanstein, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music portunities, do our students aspire? How can we best prepare them to succeed when presented with those opportunities?” BRIN SOLOMON writes words and music in various genres and is doing their best to queer all of them. Their music journalism has appeared in VAN, San Francisco Classical Voice, and the National Sawdust Log.
Awaken the artist within you at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music. In the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, renowned performers, educators, scholars and composers share their passion for collaboration with the musicians of tomorrow.
Discover more at colorado.edu/music
Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography
The Delaware Symphony’s chamber series takes place in the Gold Ballroom of Wilmington’s Hotel du Pont. In photo: a concert last April featuring Bartók’s Divertimento, Copland’s Quiet City, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.
Up Close and Personal
CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERTS have long been popular components of many orchestras’ seasons, providing intimate musical experiences that are deeply satisfying to audience and musicians alike. A “chamber,” of course, is a room, and the genre has its origins as private concerts in the homes of members of the aristocracy, but today’s chamber concerts are held mostly in public spaces, many of them smaller than an orchestra’s regular venue. Audience members range from discerning connoisseurs eager to hear works such as Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet and the Dvořák Piano Quintet to newcomers seeking something novel, but the vibe can be quite informal, with some concerts taking place in pubs and other after-hours spaces. And lacking a conductor or a podium, chamber concerts allow the audience to get up close and personal with the musicians—and the music. Today, the range of orchestra-sponsored chamber music activity is immense, and it’s happening at orchestras from every region of the country. The benefits are multifold. Small-ensemble concerts spotlight the talents of individual players from the orchestra, often empowering them with choice of repertoire, choice of colleagues, and a chance to talk to the audience. With
Chamber music series by orchestras give musicians additional creative outlets, provide audiences with fresh musical encounters in often unexpected settings, and balance the tried and true with the new and unusual. It’s Haydn and Schubert and Beethoven—and a whole lot more. by Chester Lane
smaller forces performing in smaller venues and informal settings, each musician is seen by audience members as individual and approachable. A chamber series can complement an orchestra’s season with thematically linked programming, or reveal a fuller picture of a guest artist who is appearing in the main series. Orchestra musicians can collaborate intimately with outside artists in a variety of ways, exploring iconic Beethoven and Haydn string quartets as well as new pieces by living composers. And musicians in an orchestra’s chamber ensemble can serve as ambassadors to the wider classical music world, while providing a creative outlet
for those musicians, who often are actively involved in curating programs. In many cases, there is a social component, with food, drink, and the opportunity to chat and hang out with the musicians. Here’s a look at a cross-section of chamber-music happenings by orchestras nationwide. Off the Main Stage, With and Without Food
Chamber music is integral to the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, whose “Symphony Offstage” program regularly brings small ensembles to instrument petting zoos, farmers’ markets, libraries, festivals, and local gathering spaces, as part of what symphony
The range of orchestra-sponsored chamber music activity is immense, and it’s happening at orchestras from every region of the country. The benefits are multifold. Center of Greater Ann Arbor. These hourlong events, with coffee and dessert at each table, often feature the guest artist from the weekend’s mainstage concert; this season it’s cellist Zlatomir Fung (recent cellodivision winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition), pianist Anton Nel, and violinist Itamar Zorman. For the chamber series finale in April 2020—billed as “Gems from the A²SO Principals”—in-house talent is the headliner. The Delaware Symphony Orchestra’s four-concert chamber series is performed on Tuesday evenings in the Gold Ballroom of Wilmington’s Hotel Du Pont, with champagne, coffee, and dessert included in the $62 general-admission price. Repertoire is largely selected by Music Director David Amado in consultation with Executive Director Alan Jordan and Principal Librarian/Personnel Manager Joshua Kovach. The 2019-20 season honors women composers past and present: Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) opened the orchestral series on September 27, and the chamber series extends the americanorchestras.org
Luther Adams) will feature BSO violinist Matthew Szemela. For the April 19 series finale, Mandel will take up the violin for one of his favorite string quartets, Shostakovich’s Eighth. Another series with hands-on participation from the orchestra’s leader happens at North Carolina’s Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, whose music director, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, is also a violinist. “Sitkovetsky & Friends” is presented in a 350-seat venue, Greensboro’s newly built Well Spring Theater. Sitkovetsky selects most of the repertoire and performs in all five concerts, collaborating with his Greensboro Symphony colleagues and guests. For the 201920 season-opener on September 20, the four violin parts in Spohr’s Double String Quartet were handled by Sitkovetsky, GSO Concertmaster Marjorie Bagley, and two guests, Mayuko Kamio and Risa Hokamura. Other guests this season include pianist Julia Zilberquit, guitarist Artyom Dervoed, and—in a star turn that also showcases three of his own duo compositions—double bassist Xavier Foley. Foley will collaborate with Sitkovetsky in Hibernation, with a pianist in Gravity Waltz, and with a cellist in Cranberry Juice. Greensboro Symphony ensembles reach audiences in quite a different way with “HOPS,” a new Sunday series at Preyer Brewing, a downtown pub. “HOPS” started last season with performances by a string quartet, a jazz trio, and a percus-
in his own orchestra’s chamber series, playing in at least one concert and moderating the onstage conversations at all five. The series, Mandel says, is “certainly a way for Berkeley Symphony musicians to perform more, but also a way to present other musicians from the Bay Area and sometimes beyond.” For 201920 he has invited San Francisco Symphony violinist Florin Parvulescu to perform Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas for Solo Violin. A “Beethoven to Rindt” René Mandel (above speaking), the Berkeley Symphony’s executive concert will include a and artistic director, hosts and sometimes performs in the orchestra’s work written by Berke- chamber series at Piedmont Center for the Arts. Performers in ley Symphony violist February 2018 included pianist Markus Pawlik, violinist Karsten Windt, Darcy Rindt, one of violist Deanna Badizadegan, and cellist Angela Lee. the five musicians performing in that concert. The March 15 sion trio. The ticket price includes a drink. “Gershwin to Adams” program (that’s “People listen for 20 minutes, then mingle Samuel Adams, not John Adams or John and drink and buy drinks for the musi-
David S. Weiland
tribute with works by Jennifer Higdon, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Caroline Shaw, and Joan Tower. An ongoing objective of the chamber series, Jordan says, is to utilize the talents of Concertmaster David Southorn whenever a solo violin The Greensboro Symphony’s April 2019 casual “HOPS” concert at is called for; this season, Preyer Brewing, a downtown pub, featured (from left) percussionists aside from ensemble Peter Zlotnick, Wiley Sikes, and John Beck. playing and helping to plan the chamber series, he’s the soloist in Executive Director Mary Steffek Blaske calls the orchestra’s “grow with the A²SO” Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. California’s Berkeley Symphony Orexperience. In the same spirit of audichestra presents its five-concert chamber ence engagement, small ensembles figure series on Sunday afternoons in neighborprominently in the orchestra’s subscription ing Piedmont, in an intimate space at offerings. Five of the six weekend mainPiedmont Center for the Arts where the stage classical concerts at the Michigan musicians are semi-surrounded by an auTheater and Hill Auditorium are followed dience of up to 120. BSO Executive and by a Monday afternoon chamber concert, Artistic Director René Mandel, a violinist, performed for up to 130 patrons seated is the rare executive director who performs at round tables in the Jewish Community
DIY Ensembles in the Orchestra’s Home
The Des Moines Symphony’s “Spotlight at the Temple” concerts are on Tuesday evenings in the Grand Hall of the Temple for Performing Arts, a restored Masonic temple that houses the orchestra’s offices and its affiliated Des Moines Symphony Academy. They are presented in a nightclub atmosphere: special lighting, patrons seated at café tables in close proximity to the musicians, wine and a full bar North Carolina Symphony Principal Bass Leonid Finkelshteyn and hors d’oeuvres. addresses “Soundbites” patrons at Raleigh’s Humble Pie Now in its third season, restaurant, March 2018; his duo partner is North Carolina “Spotlight at the Temple”—one Symphony Principal Second Violin Jacqueline Saed concert in October, the other Wolborsky. in May—grew out of the organization’s five-year plan, which Execucians,” says GSO President Lisa Crawford. tive Director Richard Early says calls for “Then another 20 minutes of music, more “establishing a musician-curated chamber mingling, and a third set. ‘HOPS’ was music series that provides a really highdesigned for people in the GSO’s young quality opportunity for our musicians.” All professionals group, but those people are orchestra members and Academy faculty known for buying tickets at the last minare invited to submit ideas for repertoire, ute, so the audience for this has mostly the makeup of the ensemble, and how to been our regular subscribers, who buy engage listeners in a unique way, says Metickets early. Seating is limited to 130, gan Helmers, director of marketing and and we’ve had to have a bouncer to keep public relations. “Our staff looks over the people out.” applications—we’ve had as many as 30 At the North Carolina Symphony, per season—and we discuss what fits thethe synergy with informal chamber mumatically and musically, what we think are sic lies more with food than beer. The going to be the most interesting and enMonday evening “Soundbites” concerts riching programs,” says Helmers. Concerts are performed at two Raleigh restaurants, have included such venturesome offerings Humble Pie and Cantina 18, and an adas Lou Harrison’s The Perilous Chapel for ditional “Soundbites” took place last seacello, flute, harp, and percussion; a fluteson in Fayetteville, one of five other cities and-harp version of Piazzolla’s Histoire du where the orchestra presents an orchestral Tango performed with a pair of dancers; series. “The original idea was that ‘Soundand Kodály’s Duo for Violin and Cello bites’ would happen in bars and appeal to younger audiences,” says North Carolina Symphony Director of Communications Meredith Laing, “but for a number of years it’s been at restaurants. A lot of our classical series subscribers attend, and typically the ‘Soundbites’ concerts sell out. Held on days when the restaurant is closed to the general public, or in a space reserved for ‘Soundbites’ patrons, these are very intimate events. A huge benefit for the audience is having the musicians talk and share insights about the music. And it’s really important to the musicians that they can curate these programs themselves.”
played alongside an improvised piece inspired by Kodály’s ethnographic research. The Minnesota Orchestra’s Sunday afternoon chamber series takes place four times each season in a 200-seat atrium adjoining the lobby of Orchestra Hall. “It’s very much a musician-curated series,” says Director of Communications Gwen Pappas. “An invitation goes to the whole orchestra. Musicians organize themselves and come up with their own programs. An advisory group of musicians looks over the proposals, and together with our artistic department makes some choices.” Occasionally an outside musician is needed—a guest pianist recently performed Bartók’s Contrasts with Associate Concertmaster Susie Park and Principal Clarinet Gabriel Campos Zamora, and a saxophonist joined five orchestra members in a suite from Walton’s Façade—but basically these concerts let Minnesota Orchestra musicians shine in programs of their own devising. “Typically one of the players will speak to the audience about the music, why they like it and chose to program it,” says Pappas. “These concerts are under the orchestra’s auspices and take place in our hall, but in a smaller setting where the musicians can show their personality a little more.” On the main stage at Walt Disney Concert Hall, small ensembles from the Los Angeles Philharmonic get to shine and individual players get to talk. “The hall has fabulous acoustics, and is designed in such a way that it doesn’t have to be small to be intimate,” says Phillippa Cole, the orchestra’s associate director of artistic planning. Cole believes that ensemble playing is “an essential way of making music, of working closely with your colleagues in a way that can only benefit the orchestra as a whole. And we try to feature all of the instrumental sections in the chamber series.” Des Moines Symphony Principal Harp Erin Brooker-Miller and Principal Flute Kayla Burggraf perform Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango in a restored Masonic temple during the orchestra’s inaugural “Spotlight at the Temple” chamber concert, May 2018.
buted last season. Both are hosted by Nadia Sirota, the violist and podcast producer who was named the orchestra’s creative partner in 2018. “The strategy behind both series,” says Vice President of Artistic Planning Isaac Thompson, “is to bring contemporary chamber music into the core of what we do here at Lincoln Center.” The three-concert “Sound ON” series, presented Tuesday evenings in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s glamorous Appel Room overlooking Central Park, features music related to mainstage subscription concerts; this season’s “Telling Tales” program, for example, is keyed to the previous week’s concert staging of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Schoenberg’s Erwartung. The
Piano Quintet. This season it’s conductor and composer Thomas Adès, who will join them for a chamber concert during his guest-conducting week with the orchestra: he’ll perform his own Piano Quintet on a program rounded out by Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet and Quartettsatz. Guest Curators and Branded Ensembles
Ryan Miller/LA Phil
Pacific Symphony/Bryan Flores
In Costa Mesa, California, Pacific Symphony chamber ensembles perform in the 320-seat Samueli Theater, adjacent to the orchestra’s much larger main venue at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The threeconcert “Café Ludwig” series (the name is Minnesota Orchestra Principal Flute Adam a nod to Beethoven) takes place on SunKuenzel shares his thoughts on Janácek’s day afternoons, with coffee and pastries wind sextet Mládí at a recent “Chamber Music at cabaret-style tables. Its most distinctive in the Target Atrium” concert in the lobby of Orchestra Hall. feature is an outside curator who hosts and performs in each concert. Since 2008 the curator has been pianist Orli Shaham. The LA Phil presents eight Tuesday Much of the repertoire during her tenure evening chamber concerts at Disney Hall has involved piano, including major solo each season, offering programs that musipieces, but Pacific Symphony musicians cians have put together themselves and vethave taken center stage with such works ted with the artistic planning department. as Dvořák’s String Quintet in G Major, Patrons enjoy a complimentary glass of Holst’s Fugal Concerto for Flute, Oboe wine before each performance. Ensemble and Strings, and Haydn’s Clarinet Quartet members talk from the stage, introducNo. 3. Last May, the pianist/curator/host ing the music and proffering gentle redonned a fourth hat—narrator—for Alan minders about the silencing of cellphones. Ridout’s Ferdinand the Bull, a setting for More than 85 LA Phil musicians will be solo violin of the classic children’s story; represented over the course of the 2019the musical protagonist was Concertmas20 season, in works ranging in scale from ter Dennis Kim. Martinů’s Duo No. 1 for Violin and Cello “Orli and I program ‘Café Ludwig’ toto Richard Strauss’s Serenade for 13 Winds. gether, but we have input from the musiAbout once per season, the LA Phil players cians,” says Eileen Jeanette, the Pacific collaborate with a guest artist. Last spring Symphony’s senior vice president of arit was Marc-André Hamelin in the Dvořák tistic planning and production. “It’s 98.5 percent principals, because we want those musicians to participate. They never turn you down; it’s the kind of work they absolutely love. And the series has basically been sold out since Orli came on board.” The New York Philharmonic offers a range of chamber offerings, from guest-curated concerts to events featuring a variety of orchestra musicians—and the New York Philharmonic String Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist Stacey Wetzel and Quartet, launched in 2017. cellist David Garrett perform onstage at Walt Disney Guest-curated chamber concerts Concert Hall in October 2018 during one of the orchestra’s include two new series, “Sound chamber music events. LA Phil violist Minor Wetzel, not in photo, completed the string trio. ON” and “Nightcap,” that de-
Pacific Symphony Concertmaster Dennis Kim performs Alan Ridout’s Ferdinand the Bull at a May 2019 “Café Ludwig” concert, with pianist Orli Shaham, who curates and performs regularly in the series, as a very engaged narrator.
popular 10:30 p.m. “Nightcap” concerts— seven this season, up from six the first year, when all of them sold out—take place in a cabaret setting at Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse following Saturday evening orchestral concerts. This season’s curators include the composers whose work is being given a world or New York premiere by the Philharmonic earlier that evening. Just up the street from the Lincoln Center campus, at 450-seat Merkin Concert Hall, the long-running New York Philharmonic Ensembles program presents a six-concert series on Sunday afternoons that Thompson describes as “really musician-driven. Anyone in the orchestra can propose repertoire and put together an ensemble. The musicians’ chamber music committee takes those requests, then
forming as the New York Philharmonic String Quartet. The NYPSQ debuted in May 2017, performing with the Philharmonic in Absolute Jest, John Adams’s concerto for string quartet and orchestra. Brey says he finds working in a quartet with his orchestra peers “incredibly gratifying.” When he and his colleagues were invited Music Director Jaap van Zweden leads a chamber ensemble to form the ensemble, he of New York Philharmonic musicians in Louis Andriessen’s recalls, “there was no hesitaSymphony for Open Strings at the Appel Room, a few blocks tion. We’d already played tofrom the Philharmonic’s home at Lincoln Center, in the gether in various iterations, orchestra’s first “Sound ON” chamber concert, October 7, 2018. and we understood immediately that being officially sanctioned as a Philharmonic brand was works with us to program the concerts. a very big step for them, and very signifiEach group decides on one person who cant for us.” Largely in charge of its own will speak from the stage. It’s a great way repertoire, the NYPSQ performs annually for the audience to hear directly from the at New York’s 92nd Street Y—typically musicians.” A typical Ensembles concert with a pianist—and in a domestic touring might involve a dozen or more Philharprogram that carries the Philharmonic monic players and perhaps a guest pianist; name to about ten U.S. cities each year. this season’s repertoire ranges from string Boston Symphony Orchestra musiduos to octets, and from novelties to the cians form ensembles and choose repertoire canonic. through a Community Chamber Music Apart from the “Sound ON,” “NightConcerts program, performing free lunchcap,” and New York Philharmonic Entime concerts at Fenway Center, a 175-seat sembles series, the string quartet literature venue close to Symphony Hall, and repeating those programs in communities as far from the home city as Worcester—a total of about 26 concerts per season, according to BSO Artistic Administrator Anthony Fogg, whose office administers the program along with a musicians’ committee. “Typically the players are passionate about the music, off er spoken introducThe Boston Symphony Chamber Players, comprising principal tions, and talk about musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, regularly performs at Jordan Hall and other Boston venues, at Tanglewood, and elsewhere in their careers,” he says. Massachusetts. The group also tours internationally; pictured above is “It’s a great way of cona performance at Dublin’s National Concert Hall in spring 2019. necting with audiences.” A group of ten BSO principals—five strings, four woodwinds, is largely the province of four individuprincipal horn—constitutes the grande als—Concertmaster Frank Huang, Prindame of orchestra-based chamber encipal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl sembles, the Boston Symphony Chamber Staples, Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, Players. BSCP performs a four-concert and Principal Cello Carter Brey—per-
series at Jordan Hall, appears regularly at Tanglewood, and burnishes the orchestra brand with its BSO Classics recordings and international tours. Last May in Europe, during the eighteenth overseas tour in its 54-year history, the ensemble reprised its 2018-19 season collaboration with Garrick Ohlsson by partnering with him in the Brahms Piano Quintet; utilized all ten players in Jean Françaix’s 1987 composition Dixtuor; and brought American chamber music to Europe with Michael Gandolfi’s Plain Song, Fantastic Dances—a work commissioned for the BSCP in 2005. CHESTER LANE is a New York-based classical music journalist, director of communications for Sciolino Artist Management, and the longtime former senior editor of Symphony.
BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) ................. 5 Comedy Concertos............................... 11 Cirque de la Symphonie ....................... 13 Dave Bennett........................................ 10 IMG Artists ......................................... 15 Greenberg Artists ................................. 19 Kanzen Arts ..........................................c2 League of American Orchestras ..... 20, 21, 47, 57, 69, c3 Marilyn Rosen Presents.......................... 2 New Orleans Own Dukes of Dixieland........................... 12 Onstage Publications............................ 40 Paul Dooley, Composer ........................ 29 Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale ............................................. 25 Propulsive Music / Peter Boyer .............. 1 Roosevelt University ............................. 61 The Roots Agency ................................ 41 Stamford Symphony............................. 17 TCG Entertainment .............................c4 TRIO: A Novel Biography of the Schumanns and the Brahms ............. 14 University of Colorado Boulder College of Music .............................. 63 Word Pros, Inc...................................... 40 Yamaha Corporation of America ........... 3 symphony
The League of American Orchestras would like to thank the following sponsors and program funders for their support of the 74th National Conference. PRESENTING CONFERENCE SPONSOR
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We look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis for the 75th National Conference, June 10 -12, 2020. To inquire about sponsorship opportunities for the 2020 Conference, please contact Steve Alter at 646 822 4051 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 August 20, 2019. 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
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Harmonic Convergence Nirupama Rao has been described as India’s “diva of diplomacy”: she was that country’s foreign secretary from 2009 to 2011 and served as ambassador to the United States, China, Sri Lanka, Peru, and Bolivia during her career. She also has a passion for music. Last year, she and her husband, Sudhakar Rao, embarked on a new mission: to create an orchestra of musicians from multiple South Asian countries—many of them from wartorn regions experiencing conflict—aimed at promoting peace and understanding. The orchestra is called Chiragh, a Hindi word for “the lamp that dispels darkness,” with musicians from nations including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. This spring, Chiragh debuted at Mumbai’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, led by American conductor Viswa Subbaraman. Here, Rao shares her thoughts about the role orchestras can play in building bridges across geopolitical divides.
South Asian Symphony Orchestra
fellow-voyager or traveler—which we all are, as we strive to realize a better future for the 1.5 billion people who inhabit South Asia. Western-style symphony orchestras are not very common in our region. But the musical talents of our peoples are rich and outstanding. Our composers, such as the Oscar-winning come from a region that A.R Rahman (Slumdog is proud of its ancient Millionaire), have won fame and enduring civilization. world-wide. Building a This is a place of vibrant world-class symphony ordance and song. It is also chestra takes years of rigorous a place that has been open training, and our work has to influences from the world only begun. We will strive outside for centuries. We must hard to build ties of coopuphold that spirit of openness eration with great orchestras because we, as human beings, around the world. We also are the better for it. Despite want to build a repertoire the political boundaries that for orchestras of music from divide the nations of South Viswa Subbaraman conducts the inaugural concert of Chiragh–the South South Asia, this crucible of Asia, there is an urge to coAsian Symphony Orchestra in Mumbai, India, April 2019. rich cultures. exist in harmony. Integration within South We created Chiragh–the Asia and between South Asia and the rest South Asian Symphony Orchestra witnessed unspeakable horrors of conflict of the world must become stronger. Music because we believe music speaks the lanand terrorism. offers one way of doing this. Its language guage of peace. There is magic to music. In our first concert in Mumbai, India is universal. Cooperation and empathy can It rises above the strife between nations. in April 2019, the orchestra demonstrated help us overcome many challenges: the The right to music is a basic human right. what South Asians can do when they threat of war, injustice against women and Our musicians come from Afghanistan, The right to music is a basic human children, environmental damage, religious Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, right. persecution, ignorance and racial prejuNepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the South dice, and much more. Music upholds the Asian diaspora who have made their spirit of freedom against domination and homes in the United States and Europe. collaborate with true commitment and oppression. Some of them are as young as thirteen, discipline, through music. One of the The happiest part of this whole experisome are refugees from war, and they are pieces in this debut concert was Hamsaence has been to witness the passion, drawn from different walks of life. One far—A Musical Journey through South Asia, commitment, and discipline of our of our young Afghan members says that commissioned for the occasion by the musicians in Chiragh–the South Asian music has changed his world and that his Afghanistan National Institute of Music’s Symphony Orchestra. They exemplify true aim in life is to “overcome the sound of Lauren Braithwaite, which drew inspiragenerosity of spirit and the joy of giving. war with the sound of music.” These are tion from the songs sung in the different Strangers become friends. words spoken by a young soul who has countries of the region. “Hamsafar” means South Asian Symphony Orchestra
The League of American Orchestras invites executive directors and youth orchestra administrators to attend its 2020 Mid-Winter Managers Meeting, an unequalled opportunity to meet, learn, and share with peers about the latest and most important trends and issues in the field.
2020 MID-WINTER MANAGERS MEETING
2020 MID-WINTER MANAGERS MEETING
SAVE THE DATES January 25–26: Pre-Meeting Seminar January 26–27: Managers Meeting Marriott East Side Hotel 525 Lexington Avenue New York, NY Take advantage of the League’s special group rate of $164 plus tax per night. Reserve your room by calling 800 228 9290 and mentioning the League of American Orchestras or by heading to the website below for a direct link to our room reservation block. Rooms must be reserved by January 10, 2020 to receive this discount. Mid-Winter Registration Rates: • Managers, Groups 1-8 Attendance: $255 • Youth Orchestra Division Attendance: $220 • Pre-Conference Seminar Participation: $255 No increase in pricing for the 3rd straight year! Registration will open in November. Watch your email for more information or visit americanoarchestras.org/ conferences-meetings.
Marriott East Side Hotel
33 West 60th Street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10023-7905