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Spring Forward by Rebecca Winzenried

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n a perfect world, orchestras everywhere would feel free to be as creative with concert programs as they desired, without a second thought to budgets, ticket sales, or anything other than purely artistic choices; they would perform those concerts at home, but also in the great concert halls of the world. Audience members, for their part, would be able to buy any seat in the house for one budgetfriendly price, and they could choose from a number of adventurous programs over the course of a single week. The new Spring for Music festival, debuting this May at Carnegie Hall, offers North American orchestras a chance to experience that ideal. Spring for Music presents seven orchestras in seven concerts over a nine-day period, with the roster of participants—the Albany, Dallas, Montreal, Oregon, and To-

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Jeff Goldberg/Esto

The new Spring for Music festival brings seven North American orchestras to Carnegie Hall for nine intensive days of innovative programming—and everyman ticket prices. ledo symphonies, the Orpheus and Saint Paul chamber orchestras—selected solely on the basis of proposed programs and artistic philosophy. Tickets for every concert from May 6 to 14 are priced at $25, whether for a box or the balcony (and some balcony seats go for $15). Tickets are sold not by subscription, but for individual concerts. “It would be silly to say we’re trying to reorganize the concert business, because we’re not trying to do that necessarily. But we are trying to see if maybe there is another way it could work,” says Festival Director David Foster, who is handling production elements for the nonprofit Spring for Music organization. Foster, president and CEO of the artist management firm Opus 3 Artists, is credited with originating the concept, which he has nurtured since strolling past Carnegie Hall one day about five years

ago. Gazing at a poster for a self-produced concert by a visiting U.S. orchestra, Foster wondered what were the odds that the orchestra, having placed a significant financial bet on appearing at Carnegie Hall, would reap the hoped-for rewards of positive critical notice, greater audience appreciation, and enhanced reputation on the national (or international) stage. “The fact is,” says Foster, “that when one orchestra, from wherever it may be, comes to Carnegie Hall, there’s no guarantee that anybody will write about it. There’s no guarantee that anybody will pay any attention. If you rent Carnegie Hall, the public doesn’t come with it.” What if, Foster thought, such organizations could be featured in a way that they are not currently in New York, with a festival specific to North American orchestras, focused solely on their artistic philosophies? symphony

spring 2011

Symphony Spring 2011  
Symphony Spring 2011