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THE MAGAZINE OF
THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS
Celebrating the Leagueâ€™s First 75 Years Of Service to Orchestras
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REDEFINING THE SYMPHONY
R E C E N T B O O S E Y & H AW K E S P R E M I E R E S I N T H E U S A
Unsuk Chin, Mannequin Boston Symphony Orchestra US Premiere, November 2015
Oscar Bettison, Lights in Ashes New World Symphony World Premiere, April 2017
Steven Mackey, Mnemosyne’s Pool Los Angeles Philharmonic World Premiere, May 2015 “Richly allusive and powerful … Mnemosyne’s Pool is the first great American symphony of the 21st century.” —Musical America
Sebastian Currier, FLEX Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra World Premiere, November 2015
Christopher Rouse, Symphony No. 5 Dallas Symphony Orchestra World Premiere, February 2017 “[Rouse’s] music is relevant, visceral, moving, and thrilling—music that can change people, music that makes time stop.” —Marin Alsop
Igor Stravinsky, Funeral Song Chicago Symphony Orchestra Posthumous US Premiere, April 2017
Anna Clyne, This Midnight Hour
Seattle Symphony US Premiere, June 2016
“An artist who writes from the heart, who defies categorization, and who reaches across all barriers and boundaries.” —Riccardo Muti
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nd now for something completely different. This magazine reports assiduously on orchestras—the music they play, the musicians who play it, the people behind the scenes, the trends, developments, new ideas. To report on orchestras is to participate in one of the key cultural endeavors of our time, and a great pleasure. But since we’re heading into celebrations of the League of American Orchestras’ 75th anniversary, the time is ripe to focus on the League’s role in that activity. In this issue we cover the current orchestral scene, ask some of today’s composers which scores of the last 75 years they value most, and critic Alex Ross examines the meaning behind shifts in orchestral repertoire. Then we delve into the past and present of the League’s work on behalf of orchestras. It’s quite a history. The League began in 1942 when Leta Snow, longtime manager of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, gathered representatives from 40 orchestras in 28 states “to stimulate interest in civic symphony orchestras, to further the welfare of these orchestras through an exchange of ideas and programs,” among other goals. One major worry: a World War II federal tax on concert tickets that would severely hit orchestras’ bottom lines. Collective action by League orchestras eventually got the tax repealed. Today, nonprofits face threats to charitable deductions that imperil bottom lines—and League orchestras are taking a stand. Sorting through archival material on the League makes for a fascinating journey. Sometimes it feels like being subsumed in one of John Luther Adams’s heaving, magisterial soundscapes; at other times, it’s another Adams: those 75 years speed by like a short ride in a fast machine.
Marilyn Rosen Presents In the SpotlIght
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
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symphony SU M M E R 2 0 1 7
THE MAGAZINE OF THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS
4 Prelude by Robert Sandla
8 The Score Orchestra news, moves, and events
Jules Youdley/Utah Symphony
20 Critical Questions The changing roles of orchestras over the decades. by Jesse Rosen 26 Board Room Outgoing League Board Chair Patricia A. Richards reflects on the importance of supporting the work of orchestras.
Courtesy of ACO
The Greatness Paradox What music orchestras are playing right now, and what that tells us. by Alex Ross
The Composer’s Voice Which musical works premiered since 1942 do today’s composers value? Contemporary composers share their thoughts. by Lucy Caplan
Artistic Statements The League has a long history of supporting and connecting composers, conductors, and orchestra musicians. by Steven Brown
Conference: In Words and Images Scenes and speeches from the League’s Conferences over the years.
Speaking Up for Orchestras Advocating for orchestras is as important as ever. by Heather Noonan
Learning Curve Sharing knowledge with the orchestra field is a core League mission. by Susan Elliott
Start the Presses Symphony magazine, adapting with the times. by Chester Lane 77 Advertiser Index 78 League of American Orchestras Annual Fund 80 Coda A map compares the League’s original charter members in 1942 with today’s member orchestras. Text marked like this indicates a link to websites and online resources.
AARON COPLAND | BELA BARTOK | CHEN YI | DUKE ELLINGTON | EDWARD ELGAR | FERDE GROFE | GEORGE GERSHWIN | HENRI DUTILLEUX | IGOR STRAVINSKY | JENNIFER HIGDON | KAIJA SAARIAHO | LEONARD BERNSTEIN | MASON BATES | NICO MUHLY | OLIVER KNUSSEN | PHILIP GLASS | ROBERTO SIERRA | SAMUEL ADLER | TANIA LEON | UNSUK CHIN | VIRGIL THOMSON | WILLIAM GRANT STILL | YO-YO MA | ZHOU LONG | ADOLPHUS HAILSTORK | BENJAMIN BRITTEN | CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS | DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH | ESA-PEKKA SALONEN | FRANCIS POULENC | GABRIELA LENA FRANK | HANS WERNER HENZE | IANNIS XENAKIS | JEAN SIBELIUS | KARLHEINZ ST STOCKHAUSEN | LERA AUERBACH | MORTON GOULD | NED ROREM | OLIVIER MESSIAEN | PAUL MORAVEC | RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS | SAMUEL BARBER | THEA MUSGRAVE | VICTOR HERBERT | WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI | ZOLTAN KODALY | ALBAN BERG | BENJAMIN LEES | CHRISTOPHER BRUBECK | DOMENICK ARGENTO | ELIOTT GOLDENTHAL | FREDERICK DELIUS | GEORGE PERLE | HARRISON BIRTWISTLE | INGOLF DAHL | JACK BEESON | JEFFREY MUMFORD | KAMRAN INCE | KAROL SZYMANOWSKI | LEOS JANACEK | MANUEL DE FALLA | MELINDA WAGNER | PAUL LANSKY | PETER SCHICKELE | RUFUS REID | SERGEI PROKOFIEFF | TAN DUN | VINCENT PERSICHETTI | WILLIAM W ALTON | WYNTON MARSALIS | TIMO ANDRES | LISA BIELAWA | JOHN CAGE | ANTHONY DAVIS | JUSTIN DELLO JOIO | ERICH EWAZEN | MOHAMMED FAIROUZ | MICHAEL GANDOLFI | DARON HAGEN | BETSY JOLAS | ERICH KORNGOLD | DAVID LANG | BOHUSLAV MARTINU | ANDREW NORMAN | CARL ORFF | ANDRÃ‰ PREVIN | BEHZAD RANJBARAN | MARIA SCHNEIDER | ANNA THORVALDSDOTTIR | ALEKSANDRA VREBALOV | GEORGE WALKER | DU YUN | JUDITH LANG ZAIMONT | ANDY AKIHO | MARC BLITZSTEIN | CHRISTOPHER CERRONE | ANNA CLYNE | DONNACHA DENNEHY | MARCEL DUPRE | JEAN FRANCAIX | WYCLIFFE GORDON | TED HEARNE | GUSTAV HOLST | GABRIEL KAHANE | LIB LIBBY LARSEN | PETER MAXWELL DAVIES | ERIC NATHAN | ARVO PART | KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI | SERGEI RACHMANINOFF | MAURICE RAVEL | ERIK SATIE | BILLY TAYLOR | HUGO WEISGALL | HANS ZIMMER | STEPHEN ALBERT | LEROY ANDERSON | PDQ BACH | JOSHUA BELL | DEREK BERMEL | ERNEST BLOCH | MARTIN BRESNICK | KENJI BUNCH | GIAN CARLO MENOTTI | REGINA CARTER | PAUL CHIHARA | VALERIE COLEMAN | JOHN CORIGLIANO | SEBASTIAN CURRIER | DAVID DEL TREDICI | AVNER DORMAN | JACOB DRUCKMAN | MAURICE DURUFLE | MICHAEL FEINSTEIN | ASHLEY FURE | STACY GARROP | MICHAEL GORDON | CHARLES GRIFFES | HENRYK GORECKI | HELEN GRIME | LEE HOIBY | JEROME KERN | ARAM KHATCHATURIAN | LEI LIANG | MISSY MAZZOLI | DARIUS MILHAUD | GEORGE ROCHBERG | JOAQUIN RODRIGO | HUANG RUO | ARNOLD SCHOENBERG | CAROLINE SHAW | HOWARD SHORE | STEPHEN SONDHEIM | TORU TAKEMITSU | RANDALL THOMSON | ANTON WEBERN | JULIA WOLFE | ERICH WHITACRE | MICHAEL TIPPETT | AUGUSTA READ THOMAS | MORTON SUBOTNICK | CONRAD TAO | GEORGE TSONTAKIS | RANDY WESTON | GERARD SCHWARZ | MARGA RICHTER | MEL POWELL | MEREDITH MONK | HAROLD MELTZER | LOWELL LIEBERMANN | JONATHAN LESHNOFF | MEYER KUPFERMAN | ARTHUR HONEGGER | SOFIA GUBAIDULINA | JUDD GREEN GREENSTEIN | ALBERTO GINASTERA | DANIEL DORFF | ANAT COHEN | ANTHONY CHEUNG | BRUCE BROUGHTON | PIERRE BOULEZ | MICHAEL COLGRASS | DAVID DIAMOND | KATHERINE HOOVER | BARBARA KOLB | EZRA LADERMAN | ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER | JAMES MATHESON | PETER MENNIN | ALFRED SCHNITTKE | RALPH SHAPEY | BRIGHT SHENG | ALVIN SINGLETON | MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS | KURT WEILL | STEFAN WOLPE | RICHARD HUNDLEY | RICHARD WERNICK | ROBERT STARER | LEONARD SLATKIN | JOHN RUTTER | MIKLOS ROZSA | ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ | RICHARD RODGERS | SHULAMIT RAN | STEPHEN PAULUS | MARTA PTASZYNSKA | ALICE PARKER | HENRY MANCINI | GYORGI LIGETI | JOAN LA BARBARA | THOMAS ADES | BRYCE DESSNER | COURTNEY BRYAN | TAMAR MUSKAL | REENA ESMAIL | ASTOR PIAZZOLLA | HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS | CARLOS CHAVEZ | EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA | RAVI SHANKAR | PAOLA PRESTINI | LOUIS ANDRIESSEN | ANDREIA PINTO-CORREIA | JIMMY LOPEZ | CARLOS SIMON | GRAZYNA BACEWICZ | DMITRY KABALEVSKY | FRANK MARTINU | VIRKO BALEY | VALENTYN SYLVESTROV | MILKO KELEMEN | GEORGES ENESCO | VINKO GLOBOKAR | YOTAM HABER | MICHAEL SELTENRREICH | JENS JONELEIT | ROGER ZARE | POUL RUDERS | HARRY STAFYLAKIS | BRETT DEAN | PERCY GRAINGER | PEGGY GLANVILLE-HICKS | MICHEL | VAN DER AA | KAROLA OBERMUELLER | TOM CIPULLO | MICHAEL ABELS | PAUL SCHUYLER PHILLIPS | OLLY WILSON | JULIA ADOLPHE | ROBERT XAVIER RODRIGUEZ | VICTORIA BOND
Thank you for all the work you do on behalf of symphony orchestras.
SCORE News, moves, and events in the orchestra industry THE
California’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra went all-out in April with a lavish new staging of Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire, an opera-ballet with a political libretto by Voltaire that premiered at Versailles during the reign of Louis XV. Philharmonia Music Director Nicholas McGegan conducted, Catherine Turocy directed, and Cal Performances and Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles were co-producers for PBO’s first staging of a complete Baroque opera. There were period costumes designed by Marie Anne Chiment, plus soloists, chorale, and dancers from Turocy’s New York Baroque Dance Company. The idea to stage the original 1745 work—the 1746 revision is performed more often—came years after the original 1745 manuscript was discovered in the archives of U.C. Berkeley’s Hargrove Music Library. For the April performances Julien Dubruque edited the 1745 edition and Paris-based lighting designer Pierre Dupouey created Baroqueinspired lighting.
The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s performance of Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire in April featured Aaron Sheehan (above) as Apollo with his muses from New York Baroque Dance Company. Right: Nicholas McGegan, director Catherine Turocy (center in black), and the cast take a bow.
Utah Symphony Musicians on a Mission
This March, sixteen Utah Symphony musicians and Music Director Thierry Fischer headed to Haiti as part of a volunteer service mission to work with more than 100 local student musicians. The musicians held the first Haitian National Orchestral Institute—a week-long workshop for top Haitian music students—at the Dessaix-Baptiste Music School in Jacmel, Haiti’s cultural capital. Musicians volunteered their services and raised funds to help fund expenses for the Haitian students. Haiti was hard hit by hurricanes in October 2016 and January 2010. The group is partnering with the U.S. nonprofit Building Leaders Using Music Education (BLUME) Haiti, which works to strengthen the country’s socio-economic fabric through classical music. The Haitian National Orchestral Institute and the trip were spearheaded by Utah Symphony cellist John Eckstein (pictured left, standing in back row above with students of the cello section and fellow Utah Symphony cellist Anne Lee). Eckstein first visited Haiti on a teaching service trip in July 2016. americanorchestras.org
MUSICAL CHAIRS The Juilliard School has announced the executive leadership for the Tianjin Juilliard School in China, slated to open in 2019. ALEXANDER BROSE will serve as executive director and CEO, and WEI HE will be artistic director and dean. has been named to the new position of chief academic officer and dean of Ohio’s Cleveland Institute of Music.
JUDY IWATA BUNDRA
The Waterbury Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut has selected ROBERT CINNANTE as executive director. New York Public Radio, parent company of classical station WQXR, has appointed SHANNON CON NOLLY senior vice president and general manager, music. YANIV DINUR has been named music director of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts.
At Pennsylvania’s Erie Junior Philharmonic, ROBERT DOLWICK has stepped down as music director after a 25-year tenure.
Texas’s Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra has selected FOUAD FAKHOURI as music director.
Canada’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony has named ANDREI FEHER music director. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has appointed STACIE FRANK vice president and chief financial officer. Houston’s River Oaks Chamber Orchestra has hired AMY GIBBS as managing director.
will retire in 2018 as director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Awards.
Courtesy of ROCO
U.S.-Russia relations may have been rough lately, but one recent cultural bright spot was the National Symphony Orchestra’s March visit to Moscow to honor cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, who served as the NSO’s music director from 1977 to 1994 and would have been 90 years old on March 27. The occasion was Moscow’s Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival, established in 2010 by Olga Rostropovich, the conductor’s daughter and its artistic director. It was the NSO’s first time performing in Moscow since 1993. Pictured left, Music Director Christoph Eschenbach leads the NSO in Schubert’s Ninth Symphony in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, as a giant photo of Slava above the stage of reminds everyone who was being celebrated that week. The NSO also traveled by train to St. Petersburg, where they performed at the St. Petersburg Philharmonia’s Great Hall.
Honoring Slava in Moscow
California’s Berkeley Symphony has appointed IAN HARWOOD associate executive director. steps down as managing director of Australia’s Sydney Symphony Orchestra in July.
Florida’s Jacksonville Symphony has named
JOLYNNE JENSEN vice president and chief development officer and KAYE GLOVER major and planned
The Sphinx Organization, based in Detroit, has announced JACQUELINE JOVE as director of education and STEPHANIE MATTHEWS as director of artist development. The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association has named BENJAMIN KLEMME music director.
New York’s Orchestra of St. Luke’s has appointed as principal conductor, beginning in 2018-19.
California’s San Luis Obispo Symphony has named CATHERINE LANS DOWNE executive director.
Montana’s Glacier Symphony and Chorale has appointed PAUL LARSON executive director.
has been named music director of Arizona’s Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. CHARLES LATSHAW
NEA in the News
For the past several months, funding for the National Endowment for the Arts has gained significant public attention. On January 19, the Trump transition team announced that it planned to propose deep cuts in domestic spending that included eliminating the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities in FY 2018. When an initial White House budget proposal was officially released on March 16 doing just that, NEA Chairman Jane Chu noted that the agency would continue to operate as usual while the FY18 budget process makes its way through Congress. Since January, arts leaders and allies from around the country have been calling, e-mailing, and visiting members of Congress from both political parties to voice their support for the NEA, both in the then-unfinished FY17 budget and in the FY18 debate over spending priorities. In April, eleven House Republicans were among the more than 150 members of Congress signing a letter calling for an increase in federal funds to the endowment in FY18. Several commentators have noted that per-person spending by the NEA is higher in rural, Republican-leaning states. In early May, Congress created a catch-all FY17 spending bill to fund the government through September 30, including a $2 million increase each for the NEA and NEH. In the coming weeks, Congress will turn its attention to setting the federal budget for FY18. For the latest news, visit the daily Hub website hub.americanorchestras.org/ and the League website’s advocacy page americanorchestras.org/advocacy-government/news-and-alerts.html.
Carl St.Clair leads the Pacific Symphony in Peter Boyer’s Ellis Island, April 2017.
Pacific Symphony Welcome
With immigration much in the news this year, this spring’s performances of Peter Boyer’s Ellis Island: The Dream of America by California’s Pacific Symphony acquired fresh resonance. The 2002 work pays tribute to U.S. immigrants arriving between 1910 and 1940 by blending music, narration, and projected images highlighting individual immigrants. The April 8-10 performances at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, led Music Director Carl St.Clair, were part of the orchestra’s annual American Composers Festival, and the program was recorded for future telecast on PBS’s “Great Performances.” In conjunction with the performances, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations—a non-profit whose mission is to foster tolerance, respect, and understanding among religious and ethnic groups—hosted a ceremony for approximately 150 Ellis Island Medal of Honor winners who attended the April 8 concert.
Futures Fund Grants Support Innovation at Orchestras Twenty-one U.S. orchestras will receive grants from the League of American Orchestras’ recently launched American Orchestras’ Futures Fund, which supports innovation and experimentation. The twoyear grants, which range from $80,000 to $150,000 each, are made possible by the generous support of the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation. The initiatives funded in this round include a wide array of innovation efforts, from community and neighborhood residencies, programs redefining the concert experience, and initiatives aimed at increasing audience diversity, to new organizational practices, artistic collaborations, and the use of new technologies in the concert hall. The orchestras for the 2017-19 grants are the Albany Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Houston Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Oakland Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Pacific Symphony, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony, San Diego Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and Seattle Symphony. In the summer of 2017, smaller-budget orchestras (Groups 5-8) and youth orchestras may apply for organizational grants for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. Learn more about the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund at www.americanorchestras.org/futures. symphony
North Carolina’s Charlotte Symphony presented two “Listen Up, Charlotte!” free community events in April, featuring music and storytelling designed to address issues of discrimination and inequality. The events—held at First Baptist Church-West and at Providence Day School in partnership with the Levine Museum of the New South and A Sign of the Times of the Carolinas—were a follow-up to the orchestra’s September 2016 “One Charlotte: A Performance for Peace” that took place after the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Dr. Brenda Tindal, staff historian at the Levine Museum, wove in personal stories of the local African-American experience, and music ranged from Bach to Bill Withers. Tyrone Jefferson led A Sign of the Times of the Carolinas ensembles in music from the African diaspora, including jazz, Latin, R&B, and funk. Charlotte Symphony President and CEO Mary A. Deissler said she hoped the experience would “help our community to first start listening to each other, and then start talking.” The Charlotte Symphony’s two “Listen Up, Charlotte!” events in April attracted hundreds of community members for shared music and storytelling.
Oregon’s Eugene Symphony has named FRANCESCO LECCE-CHONG music director. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has named JOSHUA B. LEE as vice president of development.
Five orchestra musicians have been recognized with Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service for their important work in hospitals, correctional facilities, schools, museums, and more. The League of American Orchestras program, made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund, celebrates orchestra musicians and the inspirational work they do in their communities. The musicians received their awards at the League’s Conference in Detroit on June 7, and they also discussed their work at a Conference session. The musicians and their orchestras are: Mark Dix, viola, Phoenix Symphony, for education and health and wellness programs; Michael Gordon, principal flute, Kansas City Symphony, for free musical events in the community, including performances for the incarcerated; Diane McElfish Helle, violin, Grand Rapids Symphony, for a program engaging the healthcare community and introducing live music into music therapy sessions; Eunsoon Lee-Corliss, assistant principal violist, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, for live musical performances benefiting patients, visitors, and staff in healthcare settings; and Peter Zlotnick, educational manager/principal timpani, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, for music education and social programs for elementary-school and Head Start students. Find out more at www.americanorchestras.org/ford.
Chong The Ravinia Festival has created the role of conductor laureate for JAMES LEVINE , who served as Ravinia’s music director from 1973 to 1993.
ANDREW LITTON will step down after fifteen years as conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest, following this summer’s festival.
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia has appointed TIANYI LU as assistant conductor. Journalist TIMOTHY MANGAN will occupy the newly created position of writer in residence at the Pacific Symphony. AMY MARSHALL has been named director of development for California’s Santa Barbara Symphony.
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra has appointed THOMAS J. MCKINNEY president/CEO. The Memphis Symphony Orchestra has appointed ROBERT MOODY music director. He had served since 2015 as principal conductor.
Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service Announced
LUDOVIC MORLOT will step down as Seattle Symphony’s music director in 2019.
The Cleveland Orchestra has appointed VINAY PARAMESWARAN as assistant conductor and music director of Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.
The Grand Rapids Symphony has Parameswaran named PETER M. PEREZ president and CEO, after three months as the orchestra’s interim president and CEO. The Delaware Symphony Orchestra has appointed development director.
has been appointed the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s director of orchestra personnel.
Pennsylvania’s Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra has appointed ENDICOTT REINDL executive director. ISABEL SINISTORE has been named communications director at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
The Cleveland Orchestra’s Board of Trustees has elected RICHARD K. SMUCKER as board president. ALASTAIR WILLIS has been appointed music director of Indiana’s South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
The Lubbock Symphony Orchestra in Texas has announced GALEN WIXSON as its president and CEO.
In early May, the members of the Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers gathered in Los Angeles for their biennial conference, where volunteers from orchestras in the U.S. and Canada met at the Biltmore Hotel for four days of sessions, networking, and performances. Among those participating at AMSOV’s 41st conference were Los Angeles Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda, who spoke about “Leadership: Always in Demand!,” and stage director Peter Sellars, whose talk was called “The Invention of Democracy and the Invention of the Orchestra/Sustaining Democracy and Sustaining the Orchestra.” Also participating in the conference were LA Phil violinist and Street Symphony founder Vijay Gupta, San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer, and Juliet Funt, the owner and founder of WhiteSpace at Work, which works to help organizations to streamline their workflow.
LGBTQ Music and Musicians in the Spotlight The LGBTQ community was the focus of separate concerts by orchestras in Chicago and San Francisco this season. The Chicago Sinfonietta’s “More Than a Letter” program featured LGBTQ composers and musicians, with guest conductor Michael Morgan leading performances of Rachmaninoff ’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini featuring pianist Sara Davis Buechner, who is transgender (pictured above with Michael Morgan and the orchestra). Also performing was Curie High School's vocal ensemble Musicality, and the Allegrezza Singers joined the Sinfonietta for David Conte’s Elegy for Matthew, written in honor of Matthew Shepard, killed in 1998 in an anti-gay hate crime. Other composers on the concert included Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, and Jennifer Higdon. On the West Coast, the San Francisco Symphony had earlier cancelled its planned North Carolina concerts in response to the state’s passage in December of the anti-transgender HB2 bill. In its place, in April the orchestra performed a benefit “Symphony Pride” concert in its home hall, with guest artists including singer Audra McDonald and Music Director Tilson Thomas conducting music by Lou Harrison, Meredith Monk, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein. Proceeds went to local agencies serving the LGBTQ community.
P R E S E N T S
Principal Pops Conductor,
Conductor, Cincinnati Pops Music Orchestra Director,
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonic Pops Consortium
The New York Pops
Principal Pops Conductor, National Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony
Music Director, National Memorial Day Concert & A Capitol Fourth on PBS
Michael Krajewski Principal Pops Conductor, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
J A C K E V E R LY Principal Pops Conductor for Tony DeSare • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra singer/pianist • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra • National Arts Centre Orchestra
The Philly Pops
Stuart Chafetz Conductor, Symphony/Pops
Principal Pops Conductor for • Modesto Symphony Orchestra Andy Einhorn • Long Beach Symphony Orchestra Conductor, Pianist Symphony/Pops Associate Conductor, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
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In the United States today, 42 million people face hunger, including 13 million children. Hunger knows no boundaries—it touches every community. Since its launch in 2009, the League’s Orchestras Feeding America food drive has seen over 450 orchestras from across the country collect and donate nearly 500,000 pounds of food. The efforts of these orchestras have helped spread the word about how and why orchestras are so necessary to their communities, beyond providing great music. Forty orchestras have participated in the 2017 food drive so far, ranging from Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra to the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra to Northern Valley Youth Orchestras in North Dakota. Since January, more than 29,173 pounds of food have been collected. The Orchestras Feeding America food drive continues throughout the year, so there’s plenty of time to join the effort to help those in need in your community. Visit the Orchestras Feeding America section at www.americanorchestras.org to learn more.
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra staff members with donations at one of the concerts where they collected food.
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Northwest Fanfare Seattle’s Northwest Symphony Orchestra marked its 30th anniversary this spring with a concert highlighting the ensemble’s trademark mix of new and old music. In addition to Respighi’s Pines of Rome and the Brahms Violin Concerto with Concertmaster Eric Rynes as soloist, Music Director Anthony Spain—the group’s founder—included a commissioned world premiere by Tacoma-based composer Samuel Jones, fittingly titled Fanfare for a Joyous Occasion. The evening marked a milestone: the performance of the ensemble’s 150th work written by a Pacific Northwest composer since its founding in 1987. Area composers whose music Northwest Symphony has performed over the past 30 years include Alan Hovhaness, Mateo Messina, Gregory Short, and Janice Giteck, among others. Pictured above are Spain (left) and Jones at a rehearsal for the premiere of Jones’s Fanfare for a Joyous Occasion. Daniel Hershman
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
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Wallace Foundation: Understanding and Building Audiences What do millennial audiences want? A new study from the Wallace Foundation examines millennial attitudes toward the performing arts—and offers clues to engaging this emerging audience. Building Millennial Audiences: Barriers and Opportunities, written by Cindy Asen of Marketing Research Professionals, Inc., synthesizes market research conducted by the 25 arts organizations in Wallace’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative, which includes several orchestras. Even though audiences for major arts forms are aging, it may be possible to change this scenario, the report suggests. Building Millennial Audiences can be downloaded for free from the Knowledge Center at www.wallacefoundation.org. For more on orchestras and millennials, check out the article in the Winter issue of Symphony magazine issuu.com/americanorchestras/docs/ symphony_wi17_issuu/26 that looks at how some orchestras are attracting and keeping millennial audiences. More audience-building research from the Wallace Foundation was highlighted at this year’s League Conference in Detroit during the Bold and Informed: Researching Audiences on a Budget session, which provided practical, low-cost strategies and tactics for understanding audiences, based on proven methods from arts groups across the country.
The Louisiana Philharmonic performed Yotam Haber’s New Water Music near the Seabrook Boat Launch on Lake Pontchartrain in April—from shrimp boats. Top, Philharmonic horn players en route to the performance.
Louisiana Philharmonic on the Water Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans was the site for one of this season’s more unusual events: the Louisiana Philharmonic’s world premiere of Yotam Haber’s New Water Music near the Seabrook Boat Launch. For the piece, inspired in part by Handel’s Water Music, the orchestra boarded shrimp boats—which are familiar sights in the area—and the composer conducted from a tower. The free performance was a collaboration with the artists’ collective New Orleans Airlift, which built a fleet for the LPO’s musicians and other performers. As you might expect for New Orleans, the festivities included amateur musicians, costumes, picnickers, drum lines, and spirituals such as “Deep River” and “The Ship of Zion.” Stay tuned: the proceedings were documented with an eye to replicating the piece in other cities.
Courtesy Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Lost and Found
Kazem Abdullah leads the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward as images are projected of the city of Detroit’s 1967 uprising.
Remembering Detroit’s Summer of 1967 As part of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s annual Classical Roots Celebration on March 3, Kazem Abdullah conducted the world premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward. The work marks the 50th anniversary of Detroit’s tumultuous summer of 1967, when 43 people died during a week of race riots and confrontations between citizens and the National Guard. Also on the program at the Classical Roots Celebration were James Weldon Johnson’s Lift Every Voice and Sing and Jeffrey Mumford’s of fields unfolding…echoing depths of resonant light. Jazz violinist Regina Carter joined the orchestra for David Schiff ’s 1997 work 4 Sisters Concerto for Jazz Violin and Orchestra honoring Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan. Additional performers included cellist Christine Lamprea, winner of the 2013 Sphinx Competition, and the Brazeal Dennard Chorale.
Franz Welser-Möst conducts the Cleveland Orchestra in Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande at Severance Hall, with Martina Janková as Mélisande (in red dress) and Elliot Madore as Pelléas. In the enclosure is dancer Julia Aks as Mélisande.
Dream or Reality?
Pelléas et Mélisande, Debussy’s enigmatic 1902 tale of love and jealousy, met its match this May with three Cleveland Orchestra performances at Severance Hall. Music Director Franz Welser-Möst said he had been “waiting for the right time, to have the right singers and the right creative team” to present Debussy’s only opera. The opera was staged by L.A.-based avant-garde director Yuval Sharon, who previously directed the orchestra’s 2014 production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen. Sharon brought out Pelléas’s impressionistic aspect with lots of fog and lighting effects, and dancers who moved in and out of a box at the center of the stage. The box, which could be both clear and opaque, Welser-Möst noted, “emphasized the shifting and dreamlike nature of this opera, and helped explore deeply into the psyche of the characters.”
Not that long ago, orchestra archives were accessible only to scholars and researchers, the specialists who were granted permission to delve among historic treasures. Now, via digital technology, more and more orchestras and musical organizations are opening their archives to anyone, anywhere. It takes a lot of scanning and sleuthing and software, but the results bring an orchestra’s past vividly to life for fans, musicians, journalists, music-lovers, administrators, and others. The New York Philharmonic’s Leon Levy Digital Archives document every concert the orchestra has given—tens of thousands since 1842—and behindthe-scenes artistic and administrative work. Two other orchestras recently an-
Concert programs from the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives.
nounced digital archives. This spring, the Pittsburgh Symphony launched an online archive of materials from its 120-year history at archive.pittsburghsymphony.org/ with functions that not only track down specific information but reward random browsing. The Cleveland Orchestra will unveil an online archive during its 100th- anniversary season in 2017-18. You never know what an orchestra might have on file: last fall, Erie Philharmonic Executive Director Steve Weiser spotted an intriguing item in the orchestra’s (non-digitized) archives. In 1950, the U.S. State Department singled out the Pennsylvania-based orchestra as a “model of musical culture in America” for a recording used in Voice of America broadcasts and its expansive youth concerts.
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Beethoven’s Fidelio Gets Houston Symphony Revamp When the Houston Symphony brought a new semi-staged production of Beethoven’s Fidelio to Jones Hall for the Performing Arts this spring, it featured not just singers and chorus, but also Tony
Courtesy Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
Rashad (pictured right, in white dress). Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada led the combined forces in the opera, which depicts the heroic struggles
Courtesy Houston Symphony
Award-winning actress Phylicia
of a devoted wife who disguises herself as a man to rescue her husband, a political prisoner. In the Houston Symphony’s rendering of the opera, spoken German-language A young cello student in the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s new Orchestra Rouh program for recently resettled refugees.
dialogue was replaced with narration by Rashad—herself a Houston native—of excerpts from iconic speeches, poetry, and literature that relate to the opera’s themes of
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as Houston-based director Tara Faircloth described it. Singers performed on walkways and platforms in, around, and in front of the orchestra musicians.
“an inviting, acoustically ideal 1,100-seat auditorium here at the Ordway Center…”
© PAUL CROSBY
Michigan’s Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra added a new education initiative this spring called Orchestra Rouh, for children of refugee families recently resettled in Kalamazoo. Rouh means both “hope” and “spirit” in Arabic, and the new orchestra, a joint effort of the KSO and the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo, offers music instruction four afternoons per week to children of Syrian and other refugee families. Teachers are bilingual in English and Arabic, and music from Arabic and Western traditions is incorporated. The program was founded and is led by violinist Ahmed Tofiq, cellist Bashdar Sdiq, and Arabic instructor Hend Ezzat Hegab, who use social and learning activities to help reduce isolation for refugee families and speed up children’s English-language acquisition. Tofiq and Sdiq, both from Iraqi Kurdistan, recently completed master’s degrees in music at Western Michigan University, and have previously taught and toured with the Youth Orchestra of Iraq. String instruments are being donated by Meyer Music of Kalamazoo, and Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo is donating rehearsal space.
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Visions of Orchestras
“Did you ever stop to think of one of those dog sled teams? The lead dog is the only one that ever gets a change of scenery.” Bob Hope to Bing Crosby in The Road to Utopia.
wenty five years ago in this magazine, then-League President and CEO Catherine French began her reflections of the first 50 years of the League by debunking yet another prediction of the demise of orchestras. Indeed, the period from 1942 to 1992 was a period of unprecedented and well-documented growth not just for orchestras, but for much of the nonprofit performing arts industry. The arts were on the nation’s agenda with major government, foundation, and corporate philanthropy leading the way, and with national broadcast and electronic media helping expand the audience. But the next 25 years saw a profound change in the external environment, hurling new challenges and opportunities at orchestras. That quarter-century is the time when audiences began to change their patterns of attendance and public and private philanthropy began shifting their priorities. Arts and culture turned toward multiculturalism and the digital revolution exploded with all its myriad disruptions. It has also been a period of tremendous compositional evolution and variety and a breaking down of rigid demarcations of genres, tastes, and even the “Berlin Wall” separating uptown and downtown composition came down. When I think of this quarter-century,
that Bob Hope line comes to mind. The scenery changed and the leadership work was to notice and to bring others along. Since we humans don’t usually harness others behind us, the bringing-folks-along part can be fraught. But the League did carve out a leadership role for itself, as did many orchestras. Together, we have tried to look dispassionately outward to see the change and acquire the courage, perspective, knowledge, and information needed to adapt: risky work for a field steeped in
In the last 25 years, arts and culture turned toward multiculturalism and the digital revolution exploded with all its myriad disruptions. tradition. We didn’t always get it right and we did not always agree, but the trajectory of orchestras over the past 25 years has been upward, and I am more optimistic than ever. Changing Perspectives on Orchestras
The League’s landmark and highly controversial 1993 publication Americanizing the American Orchestra reframed the work of orchestras, proposing that orchestras take on the tough issues of diversity and inclusion, experiment with the concert experi-
As the League of American Orchestras marks its 75th year, League President and CEO Jesse Rosen considers the enduring values and sweeping changes in the art and business of orchestras.
Jesse Rosen, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras
ence, technology, and multidisciplinary work, and challenge the culture of conflict experienced by so many orchestras. The report contemplated the orchestra as “an institution that is • Dedicated to the goal of providing music of excellence and beauty to a rapidly changing, democratic, pluralistic society; • Representative of the cultural and racial diversity of that society; • Infused with musical energy and creativity; • Pioneering in spirit and willing to take intelligent risks; • Responsive to and inclusive of its community.” Today, this picture seems normal. In 1993 it triggered a fierce pushback from several influential field leaders and a brutal New York Times attack: “In bringing the racial politics of the streets into the concert halls, [Americanizing] may very well Americanize the orchestra into extinction.” The report nonetheless set the stage for the big pivot that was to come years later: the turn outward, a view of orchestras that anchored them firmly in the creative and civic context of their communities. During the economic expansions of the late 1990’s and again from 2002-2007, symphony
orchestras were nonetheless becoming increasingly fragile. Two major longitudinal studies released in 2009 revealed troubling long-term audience trends: the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Performing Arts and the League’s Audience Demographic Review conducted by the McKinsey consulting group. They indicated that • Classical music audiences, contrary to popular belief, were not always old; the median age of a classical music concertgoer went from 40 in 1982 to 49 in 2008. • The proportion of the population attending classical concerts declined by 13 percent from 2002 to 2008, though actual attendance numbers suffered less, due to population growth. • The attendance of college-educated adults, the biggest predictor of classical music attendance, declined by 39 percent between 2002 and 2008. While these findings were indeed troubling, there was some promising news as well: • 40 million Americans, or 18 percent, report listening to classical music recordings and broadcasts (terrestrial and on-line). • Amateur classical music performance increased from 1.8 to 3 percent. • The Hispanic audience was growing. The main significance of all this information was that it set in motion an incredibly robust period of reflection, research, and experimentation in concert formats, pricing and packaging, programing, alternatives venues, and patron development. One major piece of audience research, conducted by the Oliver Wyman firm, examined the rate of churn among first-time concert attendees (churn is generally defined as the rate at which first-time ticket buyers do not become concert regulars). The aggregated churn rates across orchestras in nine major markets was 80 percent. The good news americanorchestras.org
is that the newcomers weren’t fleeing the music. It was the customer experience that kept them from coming back. Among the oft-cited reasons were the marketing and fundraising assault that immediately followed attendance, poor parking, and difficulty exchanging tickets. The study also, through simulated tests, identified ways to get the first timers back. Many
What constitutes a great concert? What does it take to have musicians perform at their best? Are we clear about what artistic leadership means for today? of these were tested by orchestras with good results, and the League tracked the impact over two seasons. The churn study, along with the its offspring, the Patron Growth Initiative, was an important step in the shift from the transactional to the relational way orchestras now engage with their audiences. Defining the Public Value of Orchestras
In 2009 the League commissioned a study of the public perception of orchestras among influentials, i.e. policy makers, members of the media, etc. Most of the news was good: orchestras got high marks for representing values of excellence and of a commitment to educating young people. But orchestras did not fare well on the subject of serving a broad cross-section of the community. Some would say “so what”—orchestras never did. But the League saw in these findings significant vulnerability for orchestras, and developed resources to help talk the talk—the Public Value Tool Kit—and to walk the walk— the Community Engagement Diagnostic Tool called Your Orchestra, Your Community: Roadmap to Success. These issues gained traction when policy makers at federal, state, and local levels began challenging the tax-exempt status of certain non-profits, particularly those that were not viewed as providing public value. The issue continued to ripen as policy makers
on both sides of the aisle began considering reductions to incentives for charitable giving, a major threat to orchestras, which derive nearly 40 percent of their income through private contributions. In the midst of this period, when everyone was discovering they were “not in Kansas anymore,” a small group of managers, musicians, and board members had been working together since 2003 to find a new path forward. They concluded that working harder and smarter at current practices of marketing and fundraising would not be sufficient for achieving long-term sustainability. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation they commissioned Stanford economist Robert Flanagan to review the long-term trends of orchestra finances. Flanagan’s study of 17 years of data from 50 orchestras examined the relationship between orchestra finances and business cycles, and concluded that orchestras finances were indeed cyclical, but also structural. He re-affirmed the Baumol and Bowen “cost disease” theory that performance costs will grow at a faster rate than performance income, requiring increased philanthropy, since productivity gains are not an option in the performing arts. This cross-constituent group, dubbed the Elephant Task Force, turned some of this thinking on its head, positing in its 2008 report, A Journey Toward New Visions for Orchestras, that financial deficits might be due to non-monetary deficits in the artistic area, in community relations, and internal culture. The report imagined a new way to frame the work of orchestras as a virtuous circle of four inextricably related elements: “ • Community Relationships: The ability of the orchestra organization to connect meaningfully to its community and create true public value; the orchestra sees community engagement as the core mission, is motivated by enlightened selfinterest, is responsible first to the community, moves from a delivery system to a service culture, understand it’s not always just about the music, inspire people to make music,
and believes the community offers inspiration for artistic discovery and can stimulate innovation, discovery, creativity, and fun.
Internal Culture: The ability of the orchestra constituents to work together in mutually supportive and cooperative ways; the orchestra embraces a culture of partnership and mutual responsibility, values and invests in personal and professional growth, reinforces individuals’ accomplishments and contributions to organizational health, and operates as a true partnership led by a managing partner. Artistic Activities: The ability of the orchestra to deploy artistic resources broadly and effectively in service of the art form, the community, and individuals in the organization; believing that responsibility for artistic growth and quality is shared throughout the organization and have imaginative and accountable artistic leadership, providing fulfillment and contributing to the artistic growth and development of everyone in the organization, investing in research and development, and producing and/or promoting a broad range of significant artistic activity beyond the concert hall. Financial Structure: The ability of the orchestra to match cash resources with expenditures either to maintain the status quo or to achieve financial viability or financial robustness. The orchestra is revenue driven rather than expense driven, ensures adequate resources for future partners in the organization, balances aspirations with proven financial capacities over time, adopts a financial structure that smooths out fluctuations caused by the economy, and shares risks and rewards.”
Like much of this kind of work, finding straight-line impact is not easy. None-
theless, we have seen the continuing movement toward a refreshed and deeper connection to community and less hierarchical organizational designs that promote this more holistic approach to orchestra work. The close partnership among the musicians, trustees, and managers that made up the Elephant Task Force was itself a model of collaborative leadership that resonated through the field. Recession—and Recovery
The Great Recession came next and it put to the test much of this new thinking about orchestras. Warren Buffett’s famous line, “When the tide goes out you see who’s been swimming without a bathing suit,” was spoken more than a few times. The recession actually helped advance the discussion of capitalization in orchestras.
Last month I heard musicians describe what makes them play at their best, and it wasn’t a great-sounding hall or a brilliant conductor. It was the connection to the audience. Breaking even and growing endowments had been the primary financial imperatives of many orchestras. In the recession neither of these proved sufficient, as endowments were both illiquid and many were “under water.” Breaking even was not the recipe for growing reserves to protect against the inevitable downturns. Capitalization conversations became more nuanced, taking into account issues of organizational life cycle, the role of facilities, and local market conditions as they relate to cash reserves, risk capital funds, and endowments. This work was aided by some terrific research by TDC which the League subsequently incorporated into a capitalization diagnostic tool (the Strategy and Money Alignment Readiness Tool, or SMART) that gained wide use throughout the field. The recession also tested the ability of orchestra constituents to “work in mutually supportive and collaborative ways” when it came to collective bargaining.
Some succumbed to the intense pressures of cost reduction and cultures of mistrust, and endured painful and long work stoppages. Others, and that includes the vast majority, navigated through with a spirit of “shared ownership and shared sacrifice.” The League’s major longitudinal study Orchestra Facts 2006-2014 confirmed that orchestras did in fact recover from the recession, with the proportion of orchestras reporting deficits dropping from 40 percent in 2010 to 18 percent in 2014. While revealing a 5 percent drop in attendance at classical series from 2009-2014, Orchestra Facts also noted an 18 percent increase in the number of households subscribing over the same period. And the shift toward greater service to community was well documented: from 2009-2014 ticket prices fell, free concerts increased, and 38 percent of the participants in orchestras’ education and community engagement activity were African American, Hispanic/ Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaskan Native. And what about the music? In the course of the League’s strategic planning conversations in 2006, Jane Moss, Artistic Director of Lincoln Center, said to me, in effect, “People in orchestras never seem to talk about music. You talk about the business—but why don’t you talk more about music?” I thought then and think now that she had a point. We default to our favorite term, “artistic excellence,” and agree we are committed to it. But what does that mean? While I have never seen a word written about this foundational value of orchestras, I think what people mean is those things that contribute to orchestras sounding their best: quality of instruments, acoustic environment, and caliber of musicians, soloists, and conductors. We believe if we get these things right, we will have great concerts. Nothing wrong with that, and no reason to stop. But, given the many opportunities of our current moment, isn’t it time we bring the same degree of reflection and re-imagining of our artistry that we have brought to how we run the business? What constitutes a great concert? What symphony
does it take to have musicians perform at their best? Are we clear about what artistic leadership means for today? The Art
My own experience of listening to performances and talking with musicians and audience members strongly suggests we need to pay attention to some significant trends. I recall a concert by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra of Beethoven’s Eroica, played without a conductor—a performance of staggering power. You could practically see the energy waves emanating among the musicians. While admittedly most of the time orchestras need conductors, the lesson seems to be that giving ownership of the musical results to the musicians can yield tremendous artistic benefits. Or, listen to the Facebook Live recording of the Seattle Symphony concert dedicated to music of the seven
countries impacted by the White House’s proposed travel ban. Even online you can’t miss the poignancy and beauty of this performance, which was initiated by the musicians. And this is not just about a musician-led initiative; the event elevated the orchestra to a major platform for civic expression, and its audience engagement is off the charts. Last month I heard musicians describe what makes them play at their best, and it wasn’t a great-sounding hall or a brilliant conductor. It was the connection to the audience. These were three of the Houston Symphony’s Community-Embedded Musicians describing how the less-thanoptimum neighborhood performing conditions required them to get really clear about their musical intentions if they were going to have any impact. They have no audience pre-disposed to appreciating them and no proscenium or orchestra to
hide behind—they are on their own to win over the audience. This leads me to think that the great concert is not yet complete until we have tended to the experience that takes place among the musicians and between the musicians and the audience. There is much more to making this work than our traditional definitions of excellence. There is a framework developed in Australia to help performing arts organizations reflect on and refine their artistic work. The Artistic Vibrancy Framework, developed by the Arts Council of Australia, suggests that an artistically vibrant organization • strives for artistic excellence, referring to how well the organization practices its craft • stimulates its audience: they are inspired to question, think, feel, relate, and experience wonder
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ervation and/or the development of its art form develops artists is relevant to communities which extend beyond its audience
The Australians are quick to add that every company is unique, and there is no “just add water” recipe for how to make an organization artistically vibrant. It’s a good thing they add this caveat as we Americans tend to recoil at anything that hints at rules, checklists, or prescriptions. They also asked leaders in the performing arts for examples of artistically vibrant companies, and concluded there was a set of key indicators that included: “ • strong artistic leadership and governance • shared artistic purpose in the company • openness to feedback from peers, staff, audience, wider community, other artists, funders • organizational mechanisms to
receive feedback and engage in dialogue self-awareness, an ability to undertake self-reflection and listen to feedback from others”
I would add my own belief that artistry is enriched and stretched and made even more excellent by facing outward to the enormous creativity circulating through the wider and very diverse world beyond our concert halls. This is not about community engagement; this about a fundamental belief that our core work of orchestral concerts in our halls can be imagined at its best when infused with all the different and sometimes opposing ideas, music, people, and perspectives that make up our communities. They have a name for this in the U.K., the Creative Case for Diversity developed by the Arts Council: “The Creative Case for Diversity is a way of exploring how organizations and artists can enrich the work they do by embracing a wide range of diverse influences and practices. The Creative Case for
Diversity provides the catalyst for an artscentered approach to diversity. It is not a policy or a piece of work to be viewed in isolation. It is a way of approaching how we as organizations or individuals embrace diversity in our everyday practice.” Today, we take for granted that as many women as men play in our orchestras, and that marketing directors will welcome a chance to promote a new work, rather than hide it. Programming for young people has gone deep and makes real impact, while youth orchestras continue to grow in numbers and breadth. There is a renewed will in orchestras to aggressively address diversity, inclusion and equity, and at least so far, “bringing the racial politics of the streets into the concert halls” has led to a more vibrant and thoughtful engagement with our communities and the issues of our time. There is lots more work to do, as our recent study Racial / Ethnic and Gender Diversity in the Orchestra Field makes abundantly clear. But much has been accomplished and I’m sure the best is yet to come.
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Vital Work Outgoing League of American Orchestras Board Chair Patricia A. Richards reflects on the accomplishments of the League during her tenure—and the importance of supporting the work of orchestras.
ADVOCACY Early in my tenure Heather Noonan, the League’s vice president for Advocacy, arranged for a meeting, along with other key partners, with the President’s Council on Wildlife Trafficking. Much to my amaze-
hree years ago I became chair of the League of American Orchestras board. I approached this position with great humility, as the vital importance of the field and the key role of the League in supporting the work of orchestras seemed to me to require my best efforts. I am so grateful to have had an intelligent, engaged, and dedicated board to work with, along with skilled staff and the strong leadership of our president and League Board Chair CEO, Jesse Rosen. Patricia A. Richards delivers an address The partnership at the League’s and support of 2015 Conference in these wonderful Cleveland. people have made these past years an incredibly rewarding experience. As I turn the chairmanship over to my colleague, Doug Hagerman, it is an opportunity to reflect on what the League has accomplished over the past three years, and it is an impressive list! I am proud to have been even a small part of these achievements.
ment, regulations that I fully supported to prevent the importation of elephant ivory and other protected materials had inadvertently created problems for musicians whose instruments contained small amounts of the banned materials. The implications were dire: confiscation of instruments while traveling and the inability to resell them were a hardship to both musicians and our orchestras’ touring opportunities. The League has taken a leadership role in resolving this issue, and it serves as a great example of the important advocacy role the League fills that individual orchestras could not undertake alone. Currently, government funding for the arts and arts education, tax policy, visa issues, and many other topics vital to orchestras are areas where our extraordinary League staff is leading on behalf of all of us. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Under the strong leadership of board member Bob Wagner, principal bassoon at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the League has made great strides in developing understanding of the current environment with two rigorously researched publications: Racial/Ethnic and Gender Diversity in the Orchestra Field and Forty Years of Fellowships: A Study of Orchestras’ Efforts to Include African American and Latino Musicians. We are building partnerships
with other organizations to find ways to help orchestras address these issues so they can increase their understanding of and involvement with their local communities. As the demographics of America evolve, orchestras must find ways to continue to be relevant to their communities and to be cultural leaders in making music meaningful to broader audiences. I am particularly proud of and excited about our contributions in this area. GOVERNANCE This continues to be an area of deep interest to me. In the course of my service on non-profit boards, I have noted that one of the most important determinants of success is a good board observing good governance practices. In recognition of the leadership work in this area pioneered by our past chair, Lowell Noteboom, in 2015 the League established the Noteboom Governance Center, which offers a comprehensive range of support, strategies, and programs designed to strengthen governance practice in orchestras. Today’s orchestra boards face a changing landscape and require an even more focused attention on the practices that not only assure fiduciary oversight, but look forward to strategic and generative thought and leadership. The League’s publications,
League Board Chair Patricia A. Richards joins fellow music advocates in preparation for an August 2014 meeting in the League’s D.C. office with senior Obama Administration officials regarding preserving the use of existing musical instruments containing ivory. Pictured from left to right are League Vice President for Advocacy Heather Noonan; Pat Richards; Alfonso Pollard of the American Federation of Musicians; and Todd Dupler of the Recording Academy.
seminars, and convenings are essential input for board members who truly understand their role in the sustainability and success of their orchestras. AND MUCH MORE… There is not room here to itemize all the ways the League benefits the orchestra world. Research, data gathering, publications, conferences, and local visits serve to bring a professional and thoughtful approach to the challenges and opportuni-
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ties we all face as leaders, musicians, board members, and music lovers. I have been so honored to serve as chair of this vital organization and to have had the opportunity to associate with such a great group of people, all dedicated to the success of orchestras and the enjoyment of the orchestral experience. My thanks for this experience, and my best wishes to all of you, our member orchestras! PATRICIA A. RICHARDS was elected chair of the League of American Orchestras’ Board of Directors in June 2014, having served on the League Board since 2008. Richards was chair of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Board of Trustees from 2005 to fall of 2014, and she served as the organization’s interim president and CEO in 2015-16. She received the National Opera Trustee Recognition Award from Opera America and the Governor’s Leadership in the Arts Award from the State of Utah in 2013. She will continue to serve on the League’s board after stepping down as chair in June 2017. americanorchestras.org
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Has the orchestral repertoire adapted and evolved with the times? As the League marks its 75th anniversary, critic Alex Ross examines the ways that the works orchestras play have—and haven’t—balanced the past and the present. Can orchestras come up with a definition of excellence that goes beyond music of the past to fully embrace the here and now? 28
moment to step back and take in the lay of the land, both from my own vantage point and on a broader historical basis. I have often had the feeling that a deeper, more fundamental shift in how orchestras
he word “repertory,” around which the discussion of musical life so often revolves, is derived from the Latin word “repertorium,” meaning a catalogue, an inventory—literally, that which has been discovered. It achieved currency in the musical world in the late nineteenth century, when it began to signify the relatively fixed assortment of works that a theater company, a ballet company, an opera house, or an orchestra was prepared and expected to perform. That it acquired such a meaning in the late 1800s is no surprise, since that was the period in which concert programs began to tilt from the present to the past. William Weber’s invaluable researches into nineteenth-century European concert life have established as much.
Remarkably, that quotation is from 1861. The repertory is, of course, never fixed. While Beethoven has never strayed from its center, other composers have come and gone, and the median point keeps moving
forward in time. Mahler made a belated entry into the canon in the 1960s and ’70s, and now rivals Beethoven and Tchaikovsky in popularity. In recent decades, Shostakovich has become a mainstay. Meanwhile, a composer like César Franck, whose Symphony was once an unavoidable warhorse, has experienced a steep
program their seasons is under way—one that might herald a return to the contemporary-minded world that existed before Weber’s “great transformation.” Whether or not such a change can be statistically verified, I remain convinced that the future of the orchestra depends on a reconsideration of its relationship with the past.
A graph in Weber’s 2008 book The Great Transformation of Musical Taste shows how the music of dead composers came to dominate concerts in Paris, London, Leipzig, and Vienna. In 1782, in Leipzig, the percentage of “historical” works was as low as eleven. By 1830, it was around 50, going as high as 74 in Vienna. By the 1860s and ’70s, the figure ranged from 74 to 94 percent. Matters progressed to the point where organizers of a Paris series were observing that their subscribers “get upset when they see the name of a single contemporary composer on the programs.”
decline. Behind those surface changes, a basic principle has remained in place: the no longer living still hold sway, even if a number of them lived into the twentieth century and are part of living memory. I have been active as a music critic for 25 years, first at The New York Times and since 1996 at The New Yorker. In my writing, the question of the repertory—how it came to be, how it might be changing, how it could change further—has been a constant obsession. On the occasion of the League of American Orchestras’ 75th anniversary, I thought it would be a good
For many years, the League of American Orchestras has been issuing annual reports about the American orchestral repertory. I took a close look at a report from the 1994-95 season, toward the beginning of my career as a critic. Unlike more recent League reports, it lacks a statistical summary that would indicate the percentages of American composers and of works written in the preceding 25 years. Yet a quick examination of the alphabetical listing shows that performances of contemporary pieces were, in fact, rather more common toward the beginning of my 25-year pe-
The future of the orchestra depends on a reconsideration of its relationship with the past.
peared in the other categories. This was discouraging to find: I would have thought, on an anecdotal basis, that the percentage of new and recent work had increased. One can guess the reasons for the decline. In the 1980s and into the mid-’90s, composers enjoyed a strong wave of support from both public and private entities, with Meet the Composer providing the strongest push. In 1990, 32 orches-
posers, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Joan Tower, received four and three performances respectively. In 2012-13, Jennifer Higdon had nine performances; in 2006-07, she had 20, and Tower enjoyed no fewer than 28, thanks to her nationwide Ford Made in America commission through the League. There is still much progress to be made. According to a survey by Ricky O’Bannon, only 1.7 percent of works performed by
when I went to Los Angeles in 1994, to observe Esa-Pekka Salonen in his third season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I felt the same in San Francisco in 1996, when Michael Tilson Thomas hosted the first of his American Mavericks festivals. At that time, the conventional wisdom held that new-music-minded conductors were destined to fail. Pierre Boulez’s tenure at the New York Philharmonic was held up as the great unsuccessful experiment. (Never mind that Boulez actually did very well at the box office.) The West Coast orchestras have put that wisdom to rest. Salonen’s long reign in L.A. ended in triumph, and Tilson Thomas is still going strong in San Francisco. Ludovic Morlot has applied a similar model at the Seattle Symphony, scoring a huge success by commissioning John Luther Adams’s Become Ocean, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. At the New York Philharmonic,
tras had composers-in-residence. More recently, such support has substantially weakened, although New Music USA and the League continue to encourage contemporary programming. The scholarcritic William Robin, in his Ph.D. thesis on latter-day compositional trends, notes that in 2016 New Music USA awarded around $1 million in grants. Back in 1990, Meet the Composer gave approximately $2.5 million, which, adjusted for inflation, comes to $4.6 million. Without such financial incentives, orchestras have found it more difficult to program contemporary works. They always require an extra investment, both of time and of money. At the same time, one can see positive changes in the status of new music. In 1994-95, no living composer enjoyed anything like the exalted position of John Adams, who received 25 performances in the 2012-13 season, and who has had more in the 2016-17 season, in which he cel-
87 orchestras in the 2015-16 season were written by women; none at all were by women of the past. As the broadcaster Brian Lauritzen pointed out in March, a fair number of orchestras have programmed not a single work by a female composer in the 2017-18 season. When so many classical institutions are trying to transcend stuffy stereotypes and reach out to younger generations, it is surely self-defeating to present an entirely all-male season—or, in the case of the Metropolitan Opera, an all-male century. The situation is no better for composers of minority backgrounds, particularly African-Americans. When we talk about diversity, we should also be looking at diversity in the repertory, which is dominated to an extraordinary degree by white males. Fortunately, there are signs of alternative models emerging. The West Coast orchestras have been particularly lively in this regard. I had the sense of a sea-change
Alan Gilbert launched a new-music Biennial and caused sensations with György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre and Magnus Lindberg’s Kraft. Not just the biggest-budgeted orchestras have thrived on this kind of approach. Some of my favorite adventures in orchestra-land have been with ensembles that fall into the questionable category “regional”— questionable because every orchestra belongs to a region, and should think of itself that way. On a 2007 visit to Birmingham, Alabama, I spoke to Justin Brown, then the music director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, about his programming of the Danish composer Poul Ruders and the British composer Jonny Greenwood, better known as the lead guitarist of Radiohead. More recently, in Louisville, the conductor Teddy Abrams told me of his vision for the Louisville Orchestra, which once had a great tradition of playing and recording contemporary works and is now reviving
riod than they are today. In the 2013 report, for which 57 orchestras submitted information, 38 pieces, or 4.1 percent, fell into the contemporary category. In 199495, I counted, in the listing for Category 1 orchestras alone, no fewer than 145 pieces composed after 1970; dozens more ap-
ebrated his 70th birthday. Back in 1994-95, William Bolcom, one of the most popular American composers, was given ten performances; Adams, only four. Even more notably, women are now far better represented in the repertory lists. In 1994-95, two of the most widely recognized female com-
It should go without saying that artistic institutions should pay attention to the present.
it with annual American-music festivals. I have yet to hear the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in person, but it has won a slew of ASCAP and League of American Orchestras awards for its unstinting commitment to living Americans. Organizations in the mid-sized and small-budget range often seem to have more freedom to experiment, since audiences are less likely to associate them with a storied tradition heavy with renditions of the classics. From 2011 to 2014, the Spring for Music festival at Carnegie Hall celebrated orchestras not for their sound but for their vision. Some superb performances were on display; Sedgwick Clark, a veteran orchestra observer, and I concurred in judging the Oregon Symphony’s “Music for a Time of War” program—consisting of Ives’s The Unanswered Question, John Adams’s The Wound-Dresser, Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, and Vaughan Williams’s Fourth Symphony—to have been the most memorable concert of the 2010-11 season. Spring for Music has led in turn to the SHIFT Festival, whose first edi-
tion unfolded at the Kennedy Center this spring. The Boulder Philharmonic, the North Carolina Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Knights presented concerts consisting almost entirely of new or recent pieces. This kind of programming was exceedingly uncommon back in the
Orchestras are still most widely defined as purveyors of Great Music, and Great Music is most widely defined as the music of the past. I long for a different definition of excellence: one that places a premium on precise and impassioned performances of the music of our day. I wonder, though,
Orchestras are still most widely defined as purveyors of Great Music, and Great Music is most widely defined as the music of the past. I long for a different definition of excellence. early 1990s, although the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra were pioneering a thematic approach. The common trend in all this activity is purposeful, surprising programming. As a critic, I am interested as much—if not more—in what an orchestra plays than in how it plays. In this respect, I know I am at odds with the expectations of a great many audience members, not to mention the inclinations of more than a few musicians.
how much longer the old model will persist. Today’s audiences are increasingly disinclined to subscribe to an orchestra’s entire season, instead picking and choosing from a menu of events. In such a marketplace, novelty may ultimately count for more than the tried and true. Not infrequently, when I speak in public about my enthusiasm for contemporary music, someone will approach me and ask: “Which of these new works you’re so excited about will still be around 50 or 100 years
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from now?” I detect an undertow of skepticism in the query: the implicit answer is, “Very few, surely.” But isn’t this fundamentally a very peculiar question—not to mention an unanswerable one? When you go to the movies, do you ask whether a given film will be on Sight and Sound ’s poll of the greatest movies of all time in the year 2067? When you shop for a new novel at
make the case for it, it’s worth trying to articulate what a healthy commitment to new music can accomplish. Sometimes, contemporary works can deliver potent commentary on modern life. Become Ocean has special weight because of John Luther Adams’s lifelong commitment to environmental issues. Sometimes, they challenge us with unfamiliar terrain: I won’t
At the heart of the repertory lies an unavoidable paradox: if musical culture had always adhered to the notion that greatness dwells in the past, the masterpieces that so enthrall us would never have existed in the first place. a bookstore, do you ponder whether it will be on a Great Books syllabus in 2117? You probably do not. You want to see a movie or read a book that engages you right now, not according to the projected aesthetics of the distant future. It should go without saying that artistic institutions should pay attention to the present. But since we still seem to need to
soon forget the amazement of the faces of some longtime New York Philharmonic subscribers as they found themselves relishing the dissonant frenzy of Lindberg’s Kraft, complete with clanging car parts. (Gilbert, in preliminary remarks from the podium, had done an excellent job of preparing listeners for what was about to happen.) Often, they simply give pleasure:
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there is no shortage of composers steeped in lush Romantic tonality and orchestration. Whether such music will long endure should be of no concern. When you go back and examine nineteenth-century repertory, you see a vast number of names that are now obscure. A notable example is Herr Anton Eberl, whose Symphony in E-flat was praised by one critic at the expense of Beethoven’s Eroica. Beethoven’s symphony, the critic wrote, was “glaring and bizarre,” while Eberl’s was “beautiful and powerful.” It is easy to mock this unfortunate commentator. But there is no reason to doubt that he found Eberl’s symphony “extraordinarily pleasing.” In fact, it’s not a bad piece—the Concerto Köln has recorded it. And it serves as a reminder that not only the brand-name composers are worth reviving. In place of minor works by major figures, I’d like to see more major works by lesser-known ones. Instead of Shostakovich’s Third or Twelfth, let’s hear Gavriil Popov’s towering First Symphony, from 1935, which helped to shape Shostakovich’s mature style. In place of one more New World Symphony, let’s hear something by the gifted early-twentieth-century African-American composer Florence Price. The orchestra of the future, if I may be permitted a Wagnerian turn of phrase, is one that will cease looking to the past as a golden age into which musicians and audiences alike wish to escape. With works new and old, we will want to know what they say to us in the here and now; the assumption of inherent greatness will no longer be enough. To be sure, that future will require a revolutionary shift—perhaps the demise of the concept of the repertory itself. But it doesn’t mean the abandonment of the works that make up the repertory: rather, it creates a fresh rationale for their endurance. At the heart of the repertory lies an unavoidable paradox: if musical culture had always adhered to the notion that greatness dwells in the past, the masterpieces that so enthrall us would never have existed in the first place. For too long we have subsisted on past ages’ desire for the new: we must now cultivate our own. ALEX ROSS is the music critic of The New Yorker and the author of the books The Rest Is Noise and Listen to This.
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The Composer’s Voice Since the League’s founding in 1942, a vast range of new works has been created, commissioned, rehearsed, performed. What orchestral pieces written since 1942 do today’s composers value and esteem? Contemporary composers share their thoughts. 2. What orchestral work written during the past 75 years is most meaningful to you? Why?
TIMO ANDRES * I don’t think I like “important” attached to “most”— luckily we needn’t choose. It feeds into the oldfashioned conception of repertoire pyramid with Beethoven at the top and everyone else forever slugging it out underneath. It is of great concern to me that orchestral administrators learn to stop thinking this way. Audiences don’t love music because of its “importance.” There have been so many pieces of orchestral music “important” to me in one way or another. Off the top of my head: Berio’s Sinfonia, Kurtág’s Stele, Ligeti’s violin concerto, Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915, Feldman’s Madame Press, John Adams’s Harmonium and Harmonielehre, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Adès’s Tevot. All of these were “important” to me in terms of aesthetic wayfinding, but that’s not (only) why I love them. Maybe some of them changed the course of music history; others have yet to do so. Certainly pieces older than 75 are just now revealing their full “importance” to composers work-
ing today—Sibelius’s late symphonies and tone poems, Janáček, Ives. KATHERINE BALCH § 1. The first piece that pops into my head is Ligeti’s Atmosphères (1961). For me, its singular focus on texture as a means for musical drama demonstrates the orchestral ensemble’s unique capacity to create a fathomless, all-encompassing sense of sonic space. In terms of writing for orchestra, it also demonstrates that extreme, bold dreams can be realized with pragmatic and clear notation. 2. It is difficult to answer just one. The pieces that make me excited to compose for orchestra and have shaped my own inclinations are Unsuk Chin’s Rocaná (2008) and Thomas Adès’s Polaris (2010). This year, I discovered Ashley Fure’s Bound to the Bow (2016) and Zosha Di Castri’s Lineage (2013), which I’ve been listening to on repeat! All of these works have an immediate sense of identity and a deeply engaging form that invites me into their respective musical worlds.
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LEMBIT BEECHER * § 1. Importance is difficult for me to judge, but I hear in so many of my peers’ music echoes of Berio’s Sinfonia, with its combination of stylistic collage and a dramatic sense of form. It’s a piece that uses a dizzying array of extended techniques but in an incredibly expressive way, and it rewards listening on many different levels. 2. It’s hard to choose one! Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto, Andrew Norman’s Play, John Luther Adams’s Become Ocean, and Veljo Tormis’s Eesti Ballaadid are all pieces that have been inspiring and thought-provoking to me, prompting strong, emotional reactions. I think in all of these pieces there is an organic yet unexpected relationship between the immediate technical language of the music, and the way the piece unfolds on the large scale that I find particularly meaningful. MICHAEL DAUGHERTY * 1. No response. 2. Symphonic Dances from West Side Story has special meaning to me. When I was finding my way as a composition fellow at Tanglewood in the summer of 1980, it was Bernstein himself who encouraged me to incorporate my love of American rock, jazz, and popular culture into my own music. symphony
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1. W hat do you consider the most important orchestral work written during the past 75 years? Why?
STEPHEN HARTKE One of the problems in coming up with an answer to this question is defining what constitutes “important” and to whom. If “important” means a piece that has made it into the repertoire, then among the most obvious choices would be Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, some of the later Shostakovich symphonies, perhaps, and maybe a latterday favorite such as Adams’s The Chairman Dances. If “important” means pieces americanorchestras.org
that seem to have helped propel significant aesthetic shifts, then I might come up with Berio’s Sinfonia, Ades’s Asyla, but, above all, Stravinsky’s Agon. There are other great pieces that I might be inclined to consider, just from sheer personal affection, among them Britten’s Symphony for Cello and Orchestra and Lutoslawski’s Symphony No. 3, but I will stick with Agon because it represents yet another wondrous Stravinskyan self-reinvention, completely out of the blue, with its almost postmodern stylistic pluralism that has informed so many other composers, myself among them, in the decades following its premiere.
JONATHAN BAILEY HOLLAND * § 1. This is a nearly impossible question to answer. There are many works that I like for various reasons, but I am not sure that I can pick one work that is superior to the others. Berio’s Sinfonia (1968/69) certainly sent much of the musical world spinning, from its title, which consciously alludes to and simultaneously avoids the word symphony, to its inclusion of an eight-part vocal ensemble utilizing all manner of vocal utterances, to its use of collage and quotation from hundreds of years of music. 2. One of the most meaningful orchestral works for me is John Corigliano’s First Symphony (1988). Corigliano was inspired to write the work as a response to
JENNIFER HIGDON * 1. This is a hard question, but I’d have to say Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man (ironically from 1942), because it has come to represent the sound of “America,” throughout the world. Its majesty and poise are striking (I also think it’s probably one of the few pieces that even folks who don’t listen to classical music recognize). 2. Christopher Theofanidis’s Symphony No. 1 (from 2009), which is incredibly brilliant, bold, and emotional. This is a piece that is well written while balancing real emotional heft. It is a work that I return to repeatedly, not only for the craft and skillful orchestration, but also for the pure enjoyment of its wall of sound.
the AIDS epidemic and the devastating affect it had on many around him during much of the 1980s. He uses musical quotation, indeterminacy, as well as masterful orchestration and manipulation of time (particularly in the second movement, which musically illustrates the effects of dementia) to capture many facets of his emotional journey in dealing with loss.
MELODY EÖTVÖS § ‡ 1. There are so many possible answers to this question, depending on what you personally think is a singularly important point in the orchestral literature of the past 75 years. I can’t choose such a single point and proclaim it the greatest of all, so instead I will suggest an orchestral work that was a turning point for me as a composer and how I listened to the world. For this I am going to have to choose Ligeti’s Atmosphères (1961). Even though Apparitions was Ligeti’s first work that exploited his exploration of dense sound textures (coined micropolyphony) rather than melody and rhythm, it was in Atmosphères that Ligeti truly mastered the structural unfolding of his timbral sound masses. This piece is a turning point/marker in the orchestral literature and holds its own among the other canonical/innovative works of the past 75 years. 2. Brett Dean’s Viola Concerto (2005). I know I’ve chosen a concerto and, while it employs a soloist, the connection and communication between the orchestra and soloist is astoundingly unified. The energy and life behind the musical language, use of rhythm, and intuitive development of motives throughout the three movements to this day still makes this work one of my absolute favorites, both to study and to simply listen to and enjoy. There is also a great deal to appreciate about the composer himself (a wonderful human being!), and I feel knowing and being able to talk to the living creator of a favorite work is a huge part of how I perceive that work and its importance to my musical perspective.
CHEN-HUI JEN § 1. Four Pieces for Orchestra (Quattro Pezzi per orchestra), published around 1960, by Giacinto Scelsi. The reason I consider this piece being important is, primarily, it is built purely upon timbre and texture, which can’t be reduced into a piano score. During the past, we composers all learned how to write a piano reduction of an orchestral work, or how to orchestrate a musical work from a piano score. In other words, voices, including harmony and counterpoint and their extended meaning such as vertical/horizontal relations, consonance/dissonance, motifs/figures, and layers, have led a great role in orchestral repertoire. Although in the 20th century colors became dominant, this work (built upon single note) by Scelsi forced us to listen to other musical elements besides pitches. 2. The most meaningful works to me usually have certain inspiration and association to certain periods in my life. I hardly decided which exact one I could pick. I love Anahit (violin solo and eighteen players, kind of like or smaller than a chamber orchestra) by Scelsi because it’s one of the earliest works I listened to in my younger age that changed my perception of time. I studied the orchestration of this work for my qualifying research for a doctoral degree, and I was fascinated by its flowing drone-based texture, which I sometimes indicate as “monotonic tone-color-melody” when the harmony flows much slower than musical texture. The other piece I’d like to mention would be Become Ocean by John Luther Adams. I fell in love with it the first time listening to it on a road trip driving in twilight in an empty desert in north Arizona. I’m very impressed by its endless layers of sound, imagination, and orchestration that made me lose my time and totally forget
about any compositional techniques such as minimalistic repetitions. And surely I can’t forget the image of moonrise over the empty high desert that will be always triggered to my brain when I hear it. WANG JIE § 1. I don’t know about the most important. Can anyone truly say? I can tell you that the most important orchestral work I’ve experienced was commissioned by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. During the 2016 election season, they wanted a new opener that featured the patriotic song “America, the Beautiful.” They commissioned me. They didn’t care I was not white, not male, not their safe choice. I’ve been going to concerts all my life. But it was not until the premiere of my own Symphonic Overture “America, the Beautiful” that I witnessed audiences in tears, and a seven-year-old boy shouting “We love your piece!” Music didn’t care about the skin and gender of the composer. Of all the composers Colorado Springs Philharmonic could have picked, they took a chance with me: an American. And that was beautiful. 2. One Sweet Morning, by John Corigliano. As a New Yorker who witnessed horror on the morning of September 11th, 2001, I find this piece to be beyond meaningful. I knew I was never to forget this piece, along with the New York Philharmonic’s and Stephanie Blythe’s stunning performance as I tumbled out of Avery Fisher Hall, unable to speak for the rest of the night. HANNAH LASH § This is a difficult question to answer, because there have been many wonderful pieces for orchestra written in the last 75 years. But one which I keep going back to is Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, which is from 1943. For me that is the most important orchestra piece from the last 75 years, and also the most meaningful. And the reason for that is the colorful and gorgeous orchestration and extraordinarily firmly built formal architecture, both of which are so characteristic of Bartók. Just one example of a unique and incredible color (one
of my favorite moments) is in the third movement, “Elegia,” where the flute, clarinet, and harp are all doing this wonderful rippling effect, which is cradled within a tremolo/trill texture in the strings, while the oboe has the melodic material. The overall effect of this is wonderfully miasmic and shimmery at the same time. I also find the structure of this piece to be of enormous interest; it is clearly tied to the traditional sonata-allegro form, particularly in its outer movements, and throughout the piece the material is developed and continually reimagined so that the structure of the whole is tied together most ingeniously. Although many other composers have written concertos for orchestra, this one is for me the most monumental and also the most successful in what that means. In this piece, soli emerge (and duets in the second movement) in such a way that the idea of a solo against an accompaniment is always present, but also the idea of a concerto as a formal means of contrast is important in the way we can understand this piece. I can think of no other pieces written in the past 75 years that exemplify both structural elegance and innovation and sheer gorgeousness of orchestral color quite to the degree that this one does. Interestingly, the sense of formal innovation is so robust partly because of the piece’s explicit relationship to formal practices from earlier repertoire—the explicitness of this relationship allows Bartók to define his own framework with particular boldness, which has an enormous impact on the piece’s aural surface. For all these reasons, it is this piece that I find to be the most important piece for orchestra written in the past 75 years, as well as the most meaningful to me. STEVE MACKEY 1. I think John Adams’s Harmonielehre marked a turning point in orchestra music. It was a piece that retained beloved virtues of the orchestra from the turn of the century—power, immersiveness, sensuality, harmonic resonance, and expressive range—while not being at all reactionary or neo-. It was the beginning of a new era where orchestras and audiences actually began to enjoy
progressive, new works. 2. I heard Windows by Jacob Druckman the mid-1970s when I was a rock guitar player just dipping my toe into classical music. It sounded as though everyone in the orchestra had an effect pedal and the music seemed to travel through cosmic worm holes to other dimensions which I had only thought possible in a lavishly produced rock concept album. It was the most psychedelic music I had heard. I needed to know how the same orchestra that played Brahms made these sounds and I credit Windows with drawing me to peruse the scores in the music library which in turn led to a cornucopia of other exotic adventures from Berio to Xenakis. MISSY MAZZOLI * 1. I find this question almost impossible to answer! 1942-2017 is a long span of time that includes within it the birth of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, Stockhausen’s Gruppen, John Luther Adams’s Become Ocean, Berio’s Sinfonia, Messiaen’s Turangalila, Anna Clyne’s Prince of Clouds, and John Adams’s Harmonielehre. All brilliant, all very different from each other and ultimately meaningless to compare. I also have questions about the exact definition of “orchestral” and even bigger, nagging questions about the word “important” and the more I think about it the less I feel that anything in my answer will be what this magazine is really looking for. 2. Messiaen’s Turangalila and Berio’s Sinfonia occupy large parts of my heart, mostly because I first discovered those works as a teenager and have come back to them again and again throughout my life. These works proposed new ways of approaching composition but also new ways of listening. Hearing these pieces was, for me, like seeing in color for the first time. CINDY McTEE * 1. György Ligeti: Atmosphères (1961). Ligeti’s Atmosphères redefined practically all of music’s parameters with its focus on dense, micro-polyphonic textures, the sublimation of traditional approaches to harmony and melody, and symphony
ANDREIA PINTO-CORREIA * § ‡ I find myself interested in certain pieces at different phases of my compositional life. Thus, I am not a believer in any type of lists or ratings in musical works. But, here is an effort, a list of composers and titles of orchestral works that have influenced my writing process in the past (not in any particular order): Olivier Messiaen, Des canyons aux étoiles György Ligeti, Atmosphères Elliott Carter, Concerto for Orchestra Georg Friedrich Haas, Natures mortes Henri Dutilleux, Tout un monde lointain Harrison Birtwistle, The Triumph of Time DANIEL BERNARD ROUMAIN 1. The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed by Joel Thompson. It honors the lives of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Kenneth Chamberlain, and Amadou Diallo. I saw it premiere in Detroit, Michigan with the Sphinx Orchestra, and I kept thinking, every American orchestra should want to do this work, and most won’t, and the reality is, our American orchestras have never and never will represent our American experience—unless they want to change. 2. Records from A Vanishing City by Jessie Montgomery, commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, premiered in Carnegie Hall in October 2016. If you americanorchestras.org
don’t know this work, we all should, and Jessie Montgomery is a talented violinist who happens to be a woman of color who creates complex, vibrant, and vital orchestral music. Check her out! JOSEPH SCHWANTNER Throughout the twentieth century (including the last 75 years), the orchestra has been the instrumental medium of choice favored by composers world-wide for their most serious work. Composers such as Shostakovich, Lutoslawski, Takemitsu, Pettersson as well as the Americans, Harris, Piston, Schuman, Barber, and Glass, have all created a significant body of orchestral music. Personally, Bartók’s ever-popular Concerto for Orchestra, written in 1943, the same year I was born, remains an expressive and dramatic powerhouse that continues to reveal new sonic and formal riches with each fresh encounter. 1. Ligeti: Atmosphères. It is a paradigmatic example of the back-shift towards melting orchestra sound after neo-Baroque and dodecaphonic times. It furthermore includes spatial elements, typical for the past decades. Additionally, it gained wide popularity on account of Stanley Kubrick’s film [2001: A Space Odyssey]. 2. Benedict Mason: “felt / thus / ebb / array....” (2004, Donaueschingen Festival). Not well known but it was an exceptional experience of sound—apart from melody and any technique. JEROD IMPICHCHAACHAAHA’ TATE * 1. Ritual Observances by Donald Erb 2. Ritual Observances by Donald Erb Donald Erb’s career, in general, was a much-needed answer to the question “What’s next in classical composition?” He had an unwavering impact on roping in composition back to what its purpose is: to genuinely and deeply connect with the listener. And he had unapologetic fun with it, always doing exactly what he needed to achieve this goal. In addition, his impact on the current explosion of neo-modern film scores is clear and stunning.
Ritual Observances represents an apex in this compositional path of Erb—in meaning, orchestration, intelligence, and architecture. He worked very, very hard to get there, and I believe he did. Experiencing his music and presence completely changed my musicianship for the better and gave me absolute permission to open up my creative floodgates. AUGUSTA READ THOMAS * Because there are many creative, passionate, exemplary composers whose artistry and works infuse the world with inspiring, nimble-minded, effervescent, and open-spirited vitality, it is impossible for me to pick only one work. Music’s eternal quality is its capacity for change, transformation, and renewal. No one composer, musical style, school of thought and practice, or historical period can claim a monopoly on music’s truths. I am attracted to a variety of irresistible, sparkling, and excellent works by a vast collection of composers. Composers and musicians are all working to further music’s flexible, diverse capacity and innate power. The history of civilization is written in art, whose creation and appreciation is universal across continents, cultures, languages, and, at the same time, is intensely personal. JOAN TOWER * 1. No response. 2. I am having trouble deciding between John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1 and John Adams’s Harmonielehre—two fantastically orchestrated pieces with a depth and range of vision that are quite extraordinary. (I think Corigliano probably takes more risks in the end with a sense of deep passion, but Adams certainly maintains a very high level of interest in the pacing and variety of orchestrations of the repetitions involved.) LUCY CAPLAN received the 2016 Rubin Prize for Music Criticism. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, she is currently a doctoral candidate at Yale University, where she is writing a dissertation on opera and African American culture in the early twentieth century.
most importantly for me, a new way to experience time, both active and suspended within a given moment. 2. Krzysztof Penderecki: Violin Concerto No. 1 (1976). During my three years as a student of Krzysztof Penderecki in the 1970s, I listened to recordings of all of his early works and heard many played live. But it was a performance of his newly minted Violin Concerto No. 1 in 1978 at Carnegie Hall that caused my head to spin. At first, I was shocked to hear a return to neo-romantic sounds and structures, but soon, the work opened up my young heart and mind to the very liberating idea that a composer’s vocabulary can borrow from all forms of musical expression, past and present!
Artistic Statements The League’s artistic programs have a long history of supporting and connecting composers, conductors, and orchestra musicians. Like orchestras themselves, these programs continue to adapt to meet the needs of changing times.
A scene from the League’s 1961 Conductors Workshop in Asilomar, California, with, from left, two unidentified musicians, John Edwards, Dorothy Nelms, Helen Thompson, Bill Nelms, Charles Thompson, and Dr. Carl Thompson.
by Steven Brown
From the above photo’s July 1978 caption: “A student conductor ‘conducts along’ with the orchestra from a safe vantage point, while fellow students take their turn on the podium, during the Conductors/ Musicians Workshop in Orkney Springs (VA) during July, sponsored by the American Symphony Orchestra League.”
ost tours might encompass a state, region, or country. But one recent tour embraced a single city: Philadelphia. Composer Hannibal Lokumbe and a Philadelphia Orchestra string quartet began in February at the city’s African American Museum, where they presented Lokumbe’s Fannie Lou Hamer, a tribute to the civil-rights activist. When that performance ended, the group headed three blocks away to the National Museum of American Jewish History. The audience there heard A Star for Anne, Lo-
kumbe’s “musical statement of thanks and gratitude” to Anne Frank. “As a child of color growing up in Texas, it meant a lot to me to read her diary,” said Lokumbe in a February 2017 radio interview. “It let me know that insanity was not confined to the part of the world I lived in.” Lokumbe’s childhood also had shown him that music can restore the spirit in the face of life’s hardships. So he and the quartet took his two compositions onward to Broad Street Ministries, a homeless shelter. The troupe’s next stop was the Philadelphia Detention symphony
Composer Hannibal Lokumbe (right in photo) and Kyu-Young Kim, artistic director and principal violin of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, during a Music Alive convening in Minneapolis, February 2017.
chestras are: they are ensembles of artists performing together. And there are a variety of challenges that orchestras face with respect to how they undertake their artistic work.”
The artistic needs for orchestras that the League has addressed, Rosen says, have come in two areas: connecting orchestras and their audiences with living composers; and cultivating conductors who can grow into music directors. Before Music Alive came along, composer residencies generally focused on turning out works for orchestras’ subscription concerts; the composer would create the new score, the orchestra would perform it, and—often—that would be that. Music Alive, a collaboration with New Music USA, takes a much broader view: it encourages each host orchestra and composer to tailor their activities to that community. Among the five current Music Alive pairings, which began last fall, Lokumbe and the Philadelphia Orchestra are striving to help people who face homelessness and other hardships. Their efforts dovetail with the
Center, a medium-security facility that houses about 1,000 prisoners. Sharing music’s power would have been justification enough for these appearances. But Lokumbe also was laying the groundwork for Healing Tones, an oratorio he will compose as the focal point of his three-year Music Alive residency with the Philadelphia Orchestra. When Lokumbe’s stint in Philadelphia concludes in 2019, Music Alive will be reaching its 20th anniversary—making it one of the most durable programs produced by the League of American Orchestras, which this year marks its own 75th anniversary. For nearly as long as the League has existed, the organization has worked to enrich the art form its members celebrate. In 1952, the ten-year-old organization sponsored one of its first conducting symposiums, a collaboration with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy. The next year brought workshops for orchestral musicians and for music critics. Composers came into the picture in 1960, when the League staged an Institute for Conductors, Composers, and Orchestras. The artistic programs and projects have gone on from there—alongside efforts to help orchestras tackle such issues as fundraising, marketing, board development, and governance. “This is, after all, a performing art,” says Jesse Rosen, the League’s president and CEO. “This is an area where we provide support and help, because that’s what or-
orchestra’s wide-ranging HEAR initiative, which uses music to foster health, education, access, and research. The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra’s Music Alive residency reunites the ensemble with Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, who composed Waktégli Olówaņ—a cantata in the Lakota language, whose title means Victory Songs—for the orchestra in 2009. As part of the orchestra’s goal of connecting with its wider community, the program is designed to “create understanding through sharing something we all love,” says Music Director Delta David Gier in a statement. The orchestra and Tate, a Chickasaw Indian, will go into American Indian communities in an extension of the group’s Lakota Music Project, a collaboration created in 2005 between the orchestra and leaders of the Lakota community. Orchestras that took part in the previous round of Music Alive residencies have already seen them pay dividends. Before
For nearly as long as the League has existed, it has worked to enrich the art form its members celebrate. Music Alive came along, the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s three branches—the Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, which merged in 2012—had never performed together. “Creating new and inventive work was one of the DPAA’s key founding goals, and the Music Alive residency helped us get a big jump-start on that,” Philharmonic Music Director Neal Gittleman says. The crossfertilization fostered by the Music Alive support climaxed with Stella Sung’s opera The Book Collector, which in 2016 marshalled all three groups in their first joint production. Gittleman saluted The Book Collector for a second reason: “It’s not often that a brand-new opera can enchant and At the Pacific Symphony, composer and Music Alive participant Narong Prangcharoen discussed creating a score about Orange County at a free Community Celebration before a performance of the work. In photo, he’s with Susan Kotses, Pacific Symphony’s vice president of education and community engagement, at the event.
1942 American Symphony Orchestra League is founded when Leta G. Snow, manager of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, organizes a meeting in Chicago on May 21, 1942 of 23 representatives of orchestras. Snow serves as League president from 1942 to 1946. First issue of Inter-Orchestra Bulletin, League newsletter about the orchestra field.
1943 In the U.S., WWII-related rationing goes into effect. In Poland, the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto Uprising against the Nazis.
1943 League dues are $2.00 for individuals, $5.00 for orchestras.
1944 Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring premieres (wins 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Music) at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. with choreography by Martha Graham.
1944 At the League’s national meeting in Chicago, Treasurer Robert L. Barron (conductor of the Amarillo Philharmonic) reports that more than 50 orchestras are League members. At the meeting, members adopt a resolution opposing a 20% admissions tax on symphony tickets.
1945 World War II ends.
1946 League begins collecting and analyzing financial and operational data from member orchestras in annual study that eventually becomes known as Orchestra Statistical Report.
As part of her Music Alive residency with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, composer Gabriela Lena Frank met with residents of America House Senior Living Communities to discuss integrating their stories into her compositions.
excite an Aida-Bohème-Carmen-happy audience like ours, but The Book Collector did!” The Pacific Symphony in Southern California drew in an array of local community organizations to help Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen immerse himself in the region’s setting and people. His impressions spawned Beyond Land and Ocean, a musical portrait of Orange County, where the orchestra makes its home. First, a string quartet presented a chamber version of the piece in community settings, and then the orchestra premiered the complete tone poem in a program capped off by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. “We’re looking at that as a model for how we can weave together community engagement and artistic programs,” said Alison Levinson, the orchestra’s director of community arts participation. The Pacific Symphony has strengthened its links to the ChineseTaking a bow at the premiere of Requiem Reimagined, supported by a Music Alive residency at the Albany Symphony Orchestra, are members of the Sleeping Giant composer collective: from left, Andrew Norman, Jacob Cooper, Christopher Cerrone, Ted Hearne, and Timo Andres (not in photo: composer Robert Honstein).
American community, which led to the creation of the Lantern Festival, with orchestra and community ensembles joining together during Lunar New Year festivities. The goal, says Levinson, is “to create programming that reflects the plurality of different voices in Orange County.” What can Music Alive mean for a composer? “Artistically, I got to know the orchestra,” says Gabriela Lena Frank about her recent Music Alive residency with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Principal musicians played solos in her Concertino Cusqueño with so much flair, Frank says, that she upped the ante in her ConComposer Stella Sung, whose Music Alive residency embraced the Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Ballet, and Dayton Opera— the first time the three organizations collaborated on a new work.
certo for Orchestra—“a big, powerhouse, 30-minute blockbuster.” The players “trusted me to make these demands on them,” she adds. “They went for it. They were willing to take on something so tough. I grew so much as a result—writing that piece and trying to live up to my own promise. They made me a better composer.” Frank reaped rewards personally, too. As part of her Music Alive residency, she went into children’s hospitals and played for the patients, improvising songs aimed at stimulating their senses and helping them for-
Gary Gold Photography
1942 Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) is born in Louisville, Kentucky.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Melody Eötvös during a rehearsal with the American Composers Orchestra of her composition Red Dirt | Silver Rain, premiered by the ACO in October 2015. Eötvös was one of the first participants in the Women Composers Readings and Commissions Program, which provides mentorship and support for female orchestral composers.
Courtesy American Composers Orchestra
get their ailments. Time and again, she saw patients perk up and parents express gratitude. “It gave me a new perspective,” Frank says. “Yes, I might want to go for the big career. But when it comes to something as basic as not allowing a sick child to just die,
Launched in 1999, Music Alive has supported 115 composers, 77 orchestras, and 119 distinct residencies. it’s humbling and makes you reset your parameters. It has given me a lot of thoughts on how to be a responsible, caring arts citizen.” Her first step: at her home in Mendocino County, California, in a small town that “doesn’t have a lot of consistent access to the arts,” the composer volunteers in an adult education center, teaching music appreciation. She also has brought in a string quartet to perform high school students’ compositions.
just stunned,” Frank says. “They’re trying to take it all in. You see that look, and you think, ‘I know that look! You’re experiencing something that’s amazing.’ I love EarShot and what it’s aiming to do. It’s aiming to give a boost to composers’ confidence. It stuns them when they get to hear their music. And you want them then to move with it.” Orchestras across the United States have taken part, and EarShot handles the setup. The program tailors each workshop to the orchestra’s interests, connecting an orchestra with, for example, composers of its region, Latino composers, or composers from jazz backgrounds, says Derek Bermel, artistic director at American Composers Orchestras. More than 100 composers have brought their works through the program since 2007. An EarShot session might last one day or several. As the orchestra plays through a piece, the conductor, mentors, and orchestra musicians offer comments and suggestions. The ideas can range from quick fixes for balance problems to approaches a composer might take to his or her next work. Music-industry professionals counsel participants on topics from artist management to preparation of scores for performance.
Julia Adolphe’s curtain call at the New York Philharmonic’s world premiere of her Dark Sand, Sifting Light at the inaugural NY Phil Biennial, June 2014. Looking on are Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow (left) and Music Director Alan Gilbert (right). Adolphe was one of the first participants in the League’s Women Composers Readings and Commissions Program, which provides mentorship and support for female orchestral composers.
1948 Harry Truman elected President, beating favored opponent Thomas Dewey.
1948-49 The League and the Conference of Major Orchestra Managers, a separate organization, do their first joint work, setting up a committee to study the federal tax on concert tickets, which both groups call a matter of “deep concern.”
1949 Premiere of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 (“Age of Anxiety”), by Boston Symphony, led by Koussevitzky with Bernstein at the piano.
1950 Helen Thompson, manager of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in West Virginia, becomes the League’s first full-time staffer (title: Executive Secretary). She remains at the League through March 1970.
1950 Korean War begins (ends 1953).
1951 Federal excise tax on symphony tickets is repealed. 1952 League publishes the book The Community Orchestra: How to Organize and Develop It, by Helen Thompson.
EarShot, Women Composers Readings and Commissions
In another pay-it-forward gesture, Frank has served as mentor in a different League artistic program: EarShot, a collaboration among the League, American Composers Orchestra, American Composers Forum, and New Music USA that brings composers together with orchestras for readings of their works and other professional-development support. An EarShot session might mark the first time a composer hears an orchestra play his or her work. “Sometimes the composers look
1948 NBC Radio’s “Orchestras of the Nation” program broadcasts a session from the League’s convention in Charleston, West Virginia; the League’s first Gold Baton Award is given to Ernest La Prade, the show’s originator, for spotlighting orchestras. The broadcast brings the League its first national exposure.
League presents its first course in orchestra management in North Carolina in conjunction with Brevard Music Foundation.
1952 Singin’ in the Rain premieres at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.
League hosts its first con ducting symposium and workshop together with the… continued on page 48
All this can continue to resonate after the sessions end. Saad Haddad, an ArabAmerican composer in his early twenties, brought his Kaman Fantasy to a 2015 workshop hosted by Ohio’s Columbus Symphony and Music Director Rossen Milanov. Bermel recalls that Milanov was so struck by the work that he took it to
Since their inception in 1995, the League’s biennial Bruno Walter National Conductor Previews have spotlighted 80 young conductors and led to more than 50 orchestral appointments. his other ensemble, New Jersey’s Prince ton Symphony Orchestra, where he also serves as music director. Now, Haddad is creating a work co-commissioned by the two orchestras, which will each premiere it next spring. “Saad is kind of a poster child for these programs,” Bermel says. EarShot helped him “establish a relationship with a conductor who valued his music and appreciated his compositional voice. That’s what we hope for with EarShot—that composers develop professional relationships, and that orchestras develop relationships with composers they like.” EarShot is the gateway to another League project, the Women Composers Readings and Commissions Program, which is administered with the American Composers Orchestra and EarShot, and
is supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Since its launch in 2014, the program has provided orchestra sessions and mentoring for 20 women, and it has commissioned works from seven. Julia Adolphe, one of the program’s first composers, reminisced in Symphony’s Summer 2016 issue about staying up all night during the 2014 EarShot workshop with the New York Philharmonic to revise her Dark Sand, Shifting Light in keeping with mentors’ tips. The success of that work led the Philharmonic to commission her Viola Concerto, which the Philharmonic performed in November 2016 with Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps as soloist. “My life has changed dramatically in the past year and a half,” Adolphe wrote in Symphony, “and I am now a full-time composer pursuing my dreams.… I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my music.” Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview
The Utah Symphony this fall brings aboard a new assistant conductor: Conner Gray Covington, who was a conducting fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music last season. Covington was one of five participants in the 2016 edition of the League’s Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, a showcase the League inaugurated in 1995 and the latest iteration of the League’s ongoing support of conductors, work that goes back in multiple forms to the organization’s earliest years. Donald Thulean, former music director of Washington’s Spokane Symphony, helped launch the
League’s first National Conductor Preview, which was later named for legendary conductor Bruno Walter. The showcase compensates for an important missing ingredient in the business of conducting. “Conductor training in reality is like training a doctor or lawyer—which is to say, when you finish school, you’re not ready to become a professional conductor,” says the League’s Rosen. “Conductors need an internship and residency in the same way doctors do. But the system doesn’t provide that. So the League has addressed that through a variety of means.” Several years ago, Rosen recalled, the League sponsored resident-conductor positions with U.S. orchestras. More recently, the League’s efforts have concentrated on the Conductor Preview as well as occasional master classes taught by podium veterans, including one hosted
At the 2016 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, left to right: conductor Rebecca Miller, League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen, conductor Stefan Sanders, conductor Conner Gray Covington, Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, Nashville Symphony CEO and President Alan Valentine, conductor Roderick Cox, and conductor Paul Ghun Kim.
Roderick Cox, shown here conducting the Nashville Symphony, was one of five participants in the League’s 2016 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview. The other four were Rebecca Miller, Paul Ghun Kim, Conner Gray Covington, and Stefan Sanders.
by Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in conjunction with the League’s 2016 Conference. Alsop coached five young up-and-comers as they worked with her orchestra in Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and movements from Brahms’s Symphony Nos. 2 and 3. Since their inception, the National Conductor Previews, held biennially, have spotlighted 80 young conductors and led to more than 50 orchestral appointments. The Nashville Symphony and Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero—himself a Preview alumnus— hosted the May 2016 edition. It began as orchestra leaders from across the United symphony
States watched Covington and the other participants take turns in closed work sessions with the orchestra, with Guerrero making suggestions. In a first for the program, the finale was a public concert that let the orchestra professionals observe the young conductors in the heat of performance. For Mi Ryung Song, the League’s director of strategic initiatives, the Conductor Preview is “a great platform to see how the participants took feedback and adjusted—even from one day to the next. For the people looking for potential music directors, it also raises the game. You see how the conductors handle the nerves.” In another first, the Nashville Symphony posted the concert video online for 45 days, enabling far more orchestra leaders than before to check out the aspiring conductors. Plans are in the works for the League’s 2018 Conductor Preview to be shared online. Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service
Orchestras couldn’t exist without orchestra musicians, of course. And as more and more musicians are active outside the concert hall as evangelists for classical music, in 2016 the League launched the new Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service to honor and support their efforts in education, cross-cultural diplomacy, and bringing music’s therapeutic power to hospitals and special-needs facilities. In addition to recognition, each award includes $2,500 for the musician and $2,500 for his or her orchestra, earmarked for professional-development sessions helping other musicians serve their communities. The awards are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund. Inaugural honorees included South Dakota Symphony Orchestra Principal Oboe Jeff Paul, who initiated the Lakota Muamericanorchestras.org
The inaugural Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service were presented at the League of American Orchestras’ 2016 Conference. From left: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Percussionist Brian Prechtl; South Dakota Symphony Orchestra Principal Oboe Jeffrey Paul; Oakland Symphony Cellist Beth Vandervennet; League Chairman Patricia A. Richards; Ford Motor Company Fund Community Relations Manager Elizabeth McAdam; League President and CEO Jesse Rosen; Detroit Symphony Orchestra Bass Clarinet Shannon Orme; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Violist Penny Brill.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra warmly thanks and congratulates Symphony magazine on its 75th year of service to orchestras.
CELEBRATING 10 YEARS WITH THE PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
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Choreographed Visuals for Orchestra • True visual accompaniments • As seen on PBS • Perfect timing beat by beat • No click track • Holst: The Planets • Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 • Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
sic Project that Music Alive composer Tate will help extend. The Lakota Music Project is a multi-year effort to bridge musical cultures by performing for and with American Indian musicians and presenting programs that meld Native and Western European styles. Also honored in 2016 was Detroit Symphony Orchestra Bass Clarinet Shannon Orme, who won the award for her participation in the Neighborhood Residency Initiative, which includes musician visits to healthcare facilities and nursing homes, subscription series and chamber music in surrounding suburbs, and in-school and other educational activities. The DSO subsequently launched a lunch-and-learn series featuring guest speakers on subjects such as musicians and healthcare; working with students; and music and literacy. Another Ford award went to Pittsburgh Symphony Violist Penny Anderson Brill for her Music and Wellness Program, which brings live music to healthcare settings and develops the complementary relationship
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Percussionist Brian Prechtl with members of the bucket band he directs as part of the BSO’s OrchKids program. Prechtl received one of the League’s Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service, which recognize orchestra players’ work in education, cross-cultural diplomacy, and bringing music’s therapeutic power to hospitals and other special-needs facilities.
between musicians and music therapists. The orchestra followed up by having music therapists train five musicians in providing bedside therapy sessions. “We know that our musicians play at an extraordinarily high level,” Rosen says. “Here is another area in which our musicians are demonstrating real quality and excellence.” The awards “recognize that the orchestra and the musician work hand-inhand and need each other,” Rosen says. “The musicians are doing this work in the context of the organization, which often is arranging and setting up the relationships with community partners. You need both sides.” STEVEN BROWN, a Houston writer specializing in classical music and the arts, is the former classical music critic of the Orlando Sentinel, Charlotte Observer, and Houston Chronicle. Music Alive is made possible through a lead grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, The Amphion Foundation, and The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund. The Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview is made possible by generous support from Martha Rivers Ingram and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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Conference: In Words and Images From the very beginning, the League has brought together people from throughout the orchestra field. And at the League’s annual National Conference, delegates meet their peers face to face, share knowledge, learn best practices, and discover the latest thinking and research. The Conference sparks fresh ideas, introduces new topics, and provokes discussions about critical issues that remain relevant. Here’s a look at moments from League Conferences over the years. At League’s 1955 National Convention in Evansville, Indiana (from left): League founder Leta Snow, President Alan Watrous, and Helen Thompson, who occupied several key positions at the League.
Mark T. Osler
The 2008 Conference, in Denver, introduced the Audience Growth Initiative, an authoritative study that examined how orchestras acquire, engage, and sometimes lose first-time ticket buyers. The Conference session drew an overflow crowd in the venue’s biggest hall, led to follow-up articles about audience “churn” in Symphony, and prompted industry-wide rethinking of marketing and audience retention.
The theme of the 2016 Conference was “The Richness of Difference,” and the closing session focused on key actions orchestras can take to become more responsive to the diversity of 21st-century America. From left: Gayle S. Rose, board chairman, Memphis Symphony Orchestra; Anne Parsons, president and CEO, Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Alex Laing, principal clarinet, Phoenix Symphony; Marin Alsop, music director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Monique Chism, deputy assistant secretary for policy and programs, OESE, U.S. Department of Education; DeRay Mckesson, civil-rights activist, educator, and organizer; and moderator Jamie Bennett, executive director, ArtPlace America.
The technology may have changed since the 1967 Conference in Los Angeles, but the ready welcomes for delegates and speakers at the League’s annual gathering continue.
“Networking” wasn’t a verb when the League was founded in 1942, but the value of gathering to meet in person and discuss shared concerns is an enduring theme of League Conferences, as beneficial in 1975 (left) as in 2010 (right).
Music plays a key role at League Conferences, but the spotlight is not only on the host orchestra—youth orchestras are regularly showcased, too. The Opening Session of the 2016 Conference in Baltimore featured a joint performance by the Baltimore Youth Symphony Orchestra and musicians from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program.
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League Conferences often feature speakers from outside the orchestra world, among them comedian and “violinist” Jack Benny, seen here on the dais at the League 1967 Conference in Los Angeles.
1952 …Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy. 1952-53 Major orchestras are given full voting membership status at the League. 1953 League hosts first national workshop for orchestral musicians, in Elkhart, Indiana. Chicago Symphony Woodwind Quintet serves as workshop instructors. First workshop for music critics. Co-sponsored by the League, the Music Critics Circle of New York City, and the New York Philharmonic.
At the 2007 Conference in Nashville, Bruce Coppock of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Larry Tamburri of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and business consultant Paul Boulian led a session entitled “A Radical New Revenue Model for Orchestras.” The implications of their strategies resonated in a field open to new financial models.
1953 Eighteen-yearold Elvis Presley pays $2 to record two songs on an acetate disc in a Memphis studio.
William F. Buckley questioned government support for the arts while addressing other topics during his speech at the League’s 1981 Conference in Dallas, generating provocative new ideas—and controversy—in his wake.
1954 First Rockefeller Foundation grant to League.
1959 In Cuba, the Batista government is overthrown. Fidel Castro becomes prime minister.
At the 2013 Conference in St. Louis, the League bestowed the Gold Baton to its Volunteer Council in recognition of the council’s 50 years of strengthening orchestras by championing the work of America’s orchestra volunteers.
1958 League aids in formation of the Music Critics Association.
1957 The U.S.S.R’s Sputnik 1 becomes first satellite to orbit Earth.
The long-running TV series Lawrence Welk Show debuts.
1955 League begins conducting workshops at Asilomar, California.
At the 2008 Conference, the League honored America’s youth orchestras with the Gold Baton for the critical role they play in sustaining arts education and for continually developing the musicians, audience members, and orchestra supporters of tomorrow. From left: League President and CEO Henry Fogel; Louis Scaglione, chair of the League’s Youth Orchestra Division, who accepted the award on behalf of America’s youth orchestras; and NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.
1959 Recording sessions at the League’s West Coast Summer Workshop at Asilomar, with the Chattanooga Symphony, Julius Hegyi, conductor. Mark T. Osler
1955 Vietnam War begins.
Conference Speeches WILLIAM SCHUMAN, composer, president of the Juilliard School and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts 1980, New York In recent years there has been a good deal of talk about the orchestra’s function being merely archival, the orchestra as a museum of music. Certainly a major function of the orchestra is to preserve and cherish the symphonic literature of the past. But what of other music? …The twentieth century has been enormously rich in expanding expressivity in music. And this is the essence. Music does not progress, music does not get better. We don’t think of Beethoven as better than Palestrina, or Verdi as better than Mozart. We recognize that the spirit and the intel-
These extensions give music its capacity for never-ending renewal. It is this muse that demands our consistent dedication and it is in this regard that the symphony orchestra is of such fundamental importance.… We ask that American music be systematically and consistently programmed. We will not have a secure American repertory until every American symphony orchestra recognizes that American music must be a basic ingredient of every season’s programming.
Steve J. Sherman
ISAAC STERN, violinist, arts advocate 1981, Dallas The arts, of all the disciplines, are central to the quality of life. The arts are not an occasional social adornment. They are what this country is about. Think for a moment with what pride other countries send their artists, their groups, their dancers, their musicians, their athletes, to all kinds of international arenas to be recognized because they reflect the civilization of their countries. That is then equally true of every Isaac Stern delivered an address at the League’s 1981 Conference ballet company, every in Dallas, and was given the League’s Gold Baton at the 1987 opera company, every Conference in New York City. In photo: Stern (center) with League Board Member Peter Pastreich (left) and Board Chairman Peter R. symphony orchestra, Kermani. every individual artist, as well as the athletes who represent this country at its best in lect reflected in music encompass an exall arenas around the world. The greatest traordinary scope, especially when viewed wealth of this country lies in the talent of with the perspective of time. And time is its people, and that is being called upon sometimes surprisingly swift in absorbing today to be used as richly as possible. The compositions that at first seem beyond the question is: how do we use it together? … comprehension of lay audiences to hear I would beg for you to remember that and the competence of professional musiin times of stress more than at any other cians to perform. An obvious case in point time, music proves its value, and its imporis Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which in tance.… Remember that you are privileged less than 70 years has come to be regarded to work with and for artists, and that artby listeners and performers alike as an acists are fortunate to have so many friends cepted masterpiece of the standard literaand supporters. Remember that it is wonture. What changes in music are the conderful to be moved—to sit in a hall and cepts of tonal organization which increase hear for a moment the dead silence of total the resources of the composer’s palate. americanorchestras.org
1960 First Institute for Conductors, Composers, and Orchestras in Orkney Springs, Virginia.
1960 The City of New York purchases Carnegie Hall to rescue it from demolition, after a campaign spearheaded by violinist Isaac Stern.
1961 League establishes first inservice orchestra management training program, funded by grant from Avalon Foundation.
1961 U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union meet to discuss the relationship between their countries.
Mrs. Jouett Shouse gives the League land and a building at Wolf Trap Farm, Vienna, Virginia, which will become the League’s headquarters. 1961-62 League sponsors nationwide study by orchestras on proposed federal arts legislation.
Final year of China’s Great Famine that began in 1959.
1962 Gold Baton Award presented to the Women’s Associations of Symphony Orchestras in the United States and Canada. League headquarters move to Vienna, Virginia.
1963 The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech. President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. continued on page 56
thing very beautiful onstage in a ballet or you were moved to tears at the end of a scene in the opera. Those are the things that are worth working for…. Believe in it, think of it as a center.… And let’s work together to get it.
Composer and conductor Morton Gould delivered an address at the League’s 1983 Conference in Chicago, where he was also awarded the Gold Baton for helping build America’s musical heritage. But he was no stranger to League Conferences. In photo: at the League’s 1965 Conference in Washington, D.C., Gould greets Nelson Rockefeller, then governor of New York.
participation … the moment when you smiled inside and out when you saw some-
MORTON GOULD, composer 1983, Chicago Live performance is an ongoing fantasy, every performance differs from the previous one. The performing artists—individually and collectively—recreate a creation, and each live interpretation is a reassembling of the same event—a sort of music meet. Although music moves forward, we listen backward—only after a sequence of musical gestures can we discern the trajectory—after the initial impact has gone. To the extent that one can retrace and reassemble, is the extent of listener response. The ideal listener, therefore, is an active and sensitized recipient and participant in the sound of music. This perhaps might explain the seeming reluctance toward the new and unfamiliar, which impose an
active and alert listening discipline, and precludes the passivity that comes from an experienced habit…. Whether we like it or not, concert audiences are meat eaters. Can we make them into vegetarians? I doubt it—unless we make vegetables taste like meat…. The fact is, there are no substitutes for the much derided “chestnuts” of the concert repertory. The reason the Tchaikovsky symphonies, the Dvorák New World, the Beethoven Fifth, etc., have not been replaced is because they haven’t been replaced in terms of all-embracing audience impact. And to the extent that the 20th century produced the equivalent visceral and communicative “blockbusters”—some of the Shostakovich symphonies, and at the moment Mahler—to cite obvious examples—then these works become part of the “meat and potatoes”—and still no vegetables! I think it nonsense to assume that audiences are philistines engaged in a conspiracy to eliminate contemporary music. It is not the contemporary aspect—but the unfamiliar.
Conductors Daniel Boico Christoph Campestrini Steven Fox Bernard Labadie Richard Lee Mathieu Lussier Dirk Meyer James Paul Gregory Vajda Pianists Anderson & Roe Piano Duo Katherine Chi David Kadouch Alexander Korsantia Benedetto Lupo Dubravka Tomsic Gilles Vonsattel Violinists Timothy Chooi Mayuko Kamio Elina Vähälä French horn David Jolley Ensembles Aeolus Quartet Calefax Reed Quintet I Musici di Roma Jasper String Quartet New York Brass Arts Trio Signum Quartet Trio Valtorna Special Projects Acte II Ute Lemper Troupe Vertigo Sopranos Tracy Dahl Karina Gauvin Shannon Mercer Kelley Nassief Christina Pier Mezzo-Sopranos Kristin Gornstein Abigail Nims Barbara Rearick Claire Shackleton Contralto Emily Marvosh Tenors Frank Kelley Christopher Pfund Steven Tharp Daniel Weeks Lawrence Wiliford Baritones Anton Belov Jochen Kupfer Richard Zeller Bass-Baritones Stephen Bryant Michael Dean Kevin Deas Basses Nikita Storojev Chorus La Chapelle de Québec
174 West 4th St., Suite 109 New York, NY 10014 phone212.421.7676 fax212.935.3279 webdispeker.com
JANE ALEXANDER, actor, chair, National Endowment for the Arts 1994, Dallas What exactly does artistic excellence mean in 1994? … Were the symphony orchestras of the nineteenth century compromising excellence in a quest to reach a wide audience? Are we compromising excellence today as we try to build audiences for music and by considering the orchestra’s place in the life of the community? … Artistic excellence is a slippery concept, simply because each of us has different standards of taste, aesthetics, critical likes and blind spots…. Compounding the problem of a universal definition for excellence, we as a society argue over the very nature of art itself. Some people believe that art can only be that which is beautiful—the uplifting symphony, play or novel, the painting, sculpture, photograph and design that are pleasing to the eye…. This, I think, is at the very core of the difficulties the Arts Endowment and the art community at large faced in the early ’90s: we have no complete agreement on what can
be called art, much less what can be called excellent art…. Our investment in education and outreach is such an important part of our efforts. We will continue to fund great art, excellent symphony orchestras of all sizes as well as efforts by organizations to educate and reach greater audiences…. We expect you to continue to challenge your audience to excellence. As you seek to bring more people into the concert hall, we can never forget that they, like those who are already there, come because they are seeking a form of excellence in their lives. PETER SELLARS, director 2006, Los Angeles My favorite part of the American Symphony Orchestra League is the word “American.” This is a country in deep crisis, and we are setting the stage for a national catastrophe. Part of that stage is the attack on education…. We need to be in the schools, because we need the next generation of citizens who are informed, thoughtful, capable of listening, capable of
imagination, capable of a new set of solutions and possibilities, not just following the guidelines that have already been laid down and repeating back what they’re told is right. That’s why Beethoven wrote music, to break those boundaries—and to do it with fury and overwhelming power and overwhelming commitment and some humor. But blazing! Not being polite. This is not polite music. It’s blazing with the seriousness of what we are up against. How serious can you be about your life? That is what a symphony concert is about. It has not one thing to do with leisure time. Not related. America’s obsession with leisure is exactly the crisis, and we don’t wanna be part of that…. You’ve heard Appalachian Spring. It’s not about a glamorous part of America, Appalachia. It’s about finding a way to say something in a time when our country was seriously suffering, finding a musical language and a dance language that could respond to the finest in the American character—the purity and intensity, the courage, a goodheartedness, a deep set of
America’s second oldest orchestra congratulates the League of American Orchestras on 75 years of service.
PROGRAM NOTES Informative and entertaining, with accessible discussion of the music itself, as well as lively historical and cultural background information. Program book editing and layout Special program book articles Understandable musical analysis
CLAIRE CHASE, flutist, founder of International Contemporary Ensemble Seattle, 2014 As a junior at Oberlin, in 1999, I assembled fifteen of my Oberlin classmates to commission a program of new works in celebration of the year 2000, and moreover to create a scene around their world preClaire Chase at the 2014 Conference in Seattle
Text translation 24-hour turnaround on rush jobs Notes for chamber ensembles Audio examples for web sites See samples at:
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Elizabeth A. Kahn, Ph.D. Joseph S. Kahn, Ph.D. phone: 919 851-2410 firstname.lastname@example.org
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Representative of Maryland’s 7th Congressional District 2016, Baltimore I have come here to tell you that our diversity is not our problem, it is our promise. A few days ago I was at Marin Alsop’s house, where we were raising money for [the Baltimore Symphony’s] OrchKids. As I sat there and listened to the maestra and others I could not help but think about myself as a little boy in this city [of Baltimore]. A little boy some 50 years ago grew up not too far from here—you could walk to my house in five minutes from where we’re sitting—in a segregated city with two wonderful parents, neither one of whom had more than a third-grade education.... I will never forget my father struggling to raise seven children. All I wanted to do was be in the band—a street band
mieres.… We had this nutty idea that, in of all kinds of adversity, we could create a new kind of organization—part twenty-first century orchestra, rock band, circus troupe, startup—in search of new expressive means in our artistic and organizational practices. We didn’t imagine having one concert hall as a home base. We wanted to be mobile, modular, and light on our feet. We could be a duo one night, and a cast of hundreds the next. We didn’t want to exist in just one city. We wanted to be everywhere. We could play in a black-box theater one night, the back of a pickup truck the next.… As we view the demise of the subscription ticket model and what the news characterizes as the “death of classical music” (!), we’re even more fired up. All along, it’s been the ICE musicians—not managers, not market forces—that have been in the driver’s seat of every one of these innovations. If the most creative people are artists, why not engage them as the engines of the organization, the necessary agitators of change? Where did we ever get this idea that there are people on stage who do creative things, and people behind the scenes who enable them? Isn’t it time we challenged that binary?
9/4/05, 12:21 the PM face
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values. And that’s what you hear in Appalachian Spring.
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings addresses delegates at the 2016 Conference in Baltimore.
that would go up and down the street on the Fourth of July and Memorial Day and major holidays. I would watch them from the side and when the time came, I just wanted to be in the band. But you had to rent your horn for 35 cents a year, and my father didn’t have it.... First time I ever went to a symphony I was 25 years old. I would come asking, but I come begging you to do what you are doing in this Conference: putting a spotlight on incorporating all of us in what you do and making sure that all folks—everybody—has an opportunity to be a part. You may not think what you’re doing is significant, but it is significant.… As I march towards the twilight of my life, there’s nothing more important to me than seeing children have opportunities. symphony
for Orchestras From spurring collective action to detangling tax policy and smoothing the visa process for touring musicians, the League has long embraced an active role as a national advocate for orchestras.
by Heather Noonan
The League’s work advocating for orchestras often takes it far afield. Last fall, League Vice President for Advocacy Heather Noonan took part in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Noonan was a voice for the music community in treaty negotiations over international protected-species that affect musicians and orchestras, and partnered with music organizations and conservation leaders to find solutions for musicians.
dvocacy was a founding principle of the League of American Orchestras. In 1944, the need to create a broad-based constituency to repeal a 20 percent federal ticket tax levied amid World War II led orchestras of all sizes to band together in common cause. Establishing a unified voice, delivering compelling messages about the public impact of orchestras in communities, and developing coordinated advocacy strategies was then—as it is now—the key for being heard among the many competing policy priorities being considered in our nation’s capital. The broad geographic reach of orchestras in the U.S. continues to be one of our best advocacy points, and that breadth usually comes as a surprise to policy leadsymphony
As 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, orchestras can and should directly engage in nonpartisan issue advocacy on the full array of policy areas that relate to their work. While the mid- and late- 1990s are often remembered for the threatened elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, they were also an era of intense threats to the rights of nonprofits to engage in advocacy. Multiple pieces of legislation introduced by former Rep. Earnest Istook (R-OK) would have, in various ways, prevented nonprofits from speaking americanorchestras.org
Courtesy Arts Education Partnership
ers on Capitol Hill. The sheer pervasiveness of orchestral music-making, and the hundreds of people per orchestra invested in the endeavor, often makes a compelling start to an advocacy conversation. Policy leaders love to look at maps. They pay close attention to the area that they represent: the voting constituency to which they are held accountable. The League’s own map of member orchestras includes ensembles in every state, and in 316 out of 435 Congressional districts. Acting together, orchestras can reach 100 percent of the Senate and 72 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives. That is a sizable constituency. And with our members represented almost equally by elected officials from both major political parties (53 percent are in Republican House districts and 46 percent are in Democratic House districts), continued bipartisan support for issues that affect orchestras is a realistic goal. Since the League’s founding, orchestra policy advocacy has been achieved by direct representation in Washington, D.C., strategic partnerships with other national organizations, technical assistance on complex policy matters, and custom-made resources to help orchestras increase their advocacy capacity in their own communities. The League has two policy advocates in the Washington, D.C. office, where Najean Lee and I represent orchestras before Congress, the Administration, and policy leaders in our fellow national service organizations. In my 20 years at the League, several key policy themes have appeared and re-appeared that intersect with the work orchestras do in service to their communities and inform the League’s ongoing work on behalf of orchestras.
Najean Lee (left), the League’s director of government affairs and education advocacy, moderates a panel discussion at the Arts Education Partnership National Forum in Denver, October 2016. Participants in the discussion include (left to right) Sharmila Mann, director of the K-12 Institute, Education Commission of the States; Lynn Tuttle, director of public policy and professional development, National Association for Music Education; and Loretta Goodwin, senior director, American Youth Policy Forum. The League’s advocacy work for orchestras involves strategic partnerships with other national organizations.
up, but were ultimately defeated through— you guessed it—policy advocacy by nonprofits of all kinds, including the League. Given the speed at which policy is moving this year, we’ve revised, updated, and relaunched our online guide Playing Your
But, thanks to collective action over the last 20 years, the context has substantially changed. Coordinated efforts by orchestras—in strategic partnership with the broader arts community and with support from influential voices from the business
The broad geographic reach of orchestras in the U.S. continues to be one of our best advocacy points, and that breadth usually comes as a surprise to policy leaders on Capitol Hill. Part: An Orchestra’s Guide to Public Policy Advocacy (at americanorchestras.org/playingyourpart), which lays out how to make the most of your role as an advocate, and is informed by years of collective action by orchestras. In 1996, when the League was still headquartered in Washington, D.C., and John Sparks was my boss and at the helm of the League’s advocacy strategy, orchestras were immersed in the nationwide effort to defend the National Endowment for the Arts, and to argue convincingly that federal arts funding plays a unique role that can’t be filled by philanthropy and other funding sources. Today, orchestras are well aware of the current policy challenges of the Trump Administration calling for the elimination of the NEA.
and civic sectors—have helped Congress to understand that there is a vocal constituency of public support for the essential work the NEA accomplishes in communities across the country. One of the largest constituencies mobilized in opposition to the NEA was led in the 1990s by the Christian Coalition, and in an effort to understand what was behind their strategy, I attended their conferences, which included a session each year laying out a path to eliminating funding for the arts. There were many memorable moments from those gatherings in the Washington Hilton that left a big impression (including a chance encounter with now-Senator, then-comedian Al Franken who, like me, was taking in the context of the gathering), but the most
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The League’s advocacy work in Washington, D.C. includes spotlighting orchestra leaders who make the case for orchestras’ value to their communities. On March 18, 2015, Melia Tourangeau, thenpresident and CEO of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, spoke in favor of increased funding for the NEA before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Represen tatives. While in D.C., Tourangeau also met with the legislative staff of Utah’s federal representatives.
1964 1964 The Civil Rights Women’s Council established. Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 1965 National Endowment for the Arts is established.
1967 Hippies, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll—and social upheaval. 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated. Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated. 1969 The Queen Elizabeth II makes its maiden voyage.
1966 National Endowment for the Arts contracts with League and American Music Center to administer Composer Assistance Program of grants-in-aid.
1968 Ford Foundation announces five-year $360,000 grant to League for expansion of services to orchestras.
1970 Helen Thompson named manager of New York Philharmonic, receives League’s Gold Baton Award. 1971 Symphony Newsletter becomes Symphony News.
1973 1973 The World Trade Ralph Black named execuCenter opens in tive director. New York City.
lasting memory is the moment when one of the most influential advocacy machines in Washington conceded defeat concerning the NEA. On September 25, 1998, the League faxed (handy little devices, weren’t they?) a report to our members describing the exact moment when the leader of the “Defunding the NEA” session announced, “We just got slam-dunked by advocates for the NEA.” The group would shift its focus to other policy priorities. The vice president for government affairs for the Heritage Foundation, a speaker at the session, explained that they “were not going to win the funding battle,” because there was no strong core of opposition to the NEA in Congress and many on the Hill had high regard for the agency.
Committee and Appropriations Committee said the proposal to eliminate the NEA is “not a fight worth fighting.” Keeping the momentum will require ongoing collective action by orchestras and others who are putting federal dollars to use in service to their communities, and by the wider public that benefits from that investment, to continue to demonstrate that there is a base of support for federal funding for the arts. Grassroots, Grasstops, and Geography
Mail campaigns, phone calls, nationwide fax blasts, emails, Facebook, and Twitter. Over the years, the League has used every possible channel available to let orchestras know when their advocacy on a key policy
Mail campaigns, phone calls, fax blasts, emails, Facebook, Twitter: the League has used every possible channel to let orchestras know when their advocacy on a key policy issue matters most. Fast forward to today, when it is clear that challenges to funding the NEA persist, but it is also clear that continuous efforts by advocates to describe the public impact of NEA grants—and the impressively successful work by the agency to increase public understanding of what the NEA does—have ensured that ground has been gained since 1998. Following coverage of proposed elimination of the NEA earlier this year, House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) said, “The NEA and NEH have a lot of support from the American people and Congress.” Rep. Tom Cole (ROK), a member of both the House Budget
issue matters most. Initiating field-wide action on an issue is usually called “grassroots” strategy, and it’s the most visible form of League advocacy among its members. Our current calls to action land in the email box of every orchestra stakeholder for whom we have an address, and the messages direct advocates to a customized online action center with background information, talking points, and ways to get in touch with their elected officials. One of the most effective, but least visible, parts of the League’s advocacy work is our database indicating which orchestras are located within Congressional districts and states of members of Congress who sit symphony
time line on key committees with jurisdiction over the issues that matter. For example, when the House Ways and Means Committee was discussing nonprofit tax policy in 2007, and officials raised questions about how the full spectrum of nonprofit organizations serve community needs, orchestras could reply with specific examples of their concerts and programs in action. In these cases, the League contacts orchestras with a highly personalized message explaining why their advocacy is needed at a given moment, how their elected officials
is to look out for any instance when policy could help or hurt orchestras’ ability to deliver on their mission, however unlikely the topic might seem. February of 2014 brought just such a moment for both the League and its member orchestras. In response to serious threats to African elephant populations, the Obama Administration initiated an effort to put in place a ban on trade in African elephant ivory. The consequences for orchestras and their musicians were immediate, but not well understood by policy
Before committee hearings were broadcast live and archived online, the only way to get insight was to show up outside hearing rooms and stand for hours on the marble floors of hallways in hopes of claiming a seat. have previously voted on the issue at hand, and what they can do, in turn, to deliver a highly personalized communication to the member of Congress when it is needed most. These one-to-one efforts provide insight into “grasstops” contacts within the orchestra family who might already have a relationship to policy leaders and are able to capture their attention. The reach of orchestras across the country means we can usually make the match when it is most urgent. Unintended Consequences, Unexpected Allies
Given the surprising range of policy topics that affect orchestras, the number of Congressional committees that matter is vast. Before committee hearings were broadcast live and archived online as they are today, the only way to get insight into what was happening in the room was to show up outside hearing rooms early, and stand for hours on the marble floors of the hallways in hopes of claiming a seat when the doors opened. A good deal of business got done in those hallways. (This is still the case; even in the digital age, showing up in person matters.) While striking up casual conversations, other advocates are often perplexed to meet an orchestra representative waiting in line to enter a Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration, or to hear the Natural Resources Committee debate a new piece of legislation. Part of the League’s role in advocacy americanorchestras.org
leaders: many older bow tips and stringed instruments contain small quantities of antique ivory that were subject to the restrictions. The most immediate impact was felt by orchestras and individual musicians departing for international tours, for under the new U.S. rules and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, “trade” encompasses both commerce and travel. The League embarked on a successful and ongoing effort to understand the conservation goals behind the new rules, explain the rules’ unintended consequences for cultural activity, and strategically partner with environmental organizations, global music organizations, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work out a policy solution. Our continuing work in this area placed the League—for the first time—in the center of international policy discussions and at the negotiating table when 183 global parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) met in Johannesburg, South Africa in October of 2016. The League’s work in the protected species arena actually began years before this recent focus on the African elephant ivory trade, however. In 2007 when the endangered Brazilian Pernambuco tree was being considered for a higher level of protection under the CITES treaty, an exemption for finished products, like the many bows that are made from the wood, was secured. Keeping the exemption in place was then, and continues to
1974 At League Conference in Memphis, conductors meet informally to discuss shared topics.
1974 President Richard Nixon resigns.
1975 Youth Orchestra Division launched.
1975 Vietnam War ends.
League forms Conductors’ Guild at its Conference in San Diego. It continues for a decade as a League subsidiary, becoming an independent organization in 1985.
First season of Saturday Night Live airs.
1976 First Apple desktop computer is released.
1979 1979 Margaret Philip Yasinski becomes League’s executive director. Thatcher is elected prime minister of the U.K.
1980 Women’s Council renamed Volunteer Council.
Iran’s Revolution results in overthrow of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, replaced by the Islamic Republic of Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini.
Catherine French appointed president and chief executive officer. 1981 Orchestra Management Fellowship Program inaugurated.
1981 Lady Diana Spencer weds Prince Charles.
continued on page 64
Among the many resources created and shared by the Leagueâ€™s advocacy department are (above from left) news alerts; the online Best Defense: A Guide for Orchestra Advocates, by John D. Sparks; a Public Value Toolkit (not pictured); and a mapping project that provides a visual representation of the work individual orchestras are doing in their communities. Opposite page: The Leagueâ€™s www.artistsfromabroad.org online guide to immigration and tax requirements helps orchestras obtain visas required for presenting international guest artists in the U.S., along with other processes.
chestras began to grow steadily in length (our fax machine really got a workout in those days), the League decided to literally write the book on the visa and tax requirements for foreign guest artists. With the help of specialized legal counsel, what began as a binder of printed material became what is now the only comprehensive online resource on the topic, www.artistsfromabroad.org. From the creation of specialized visa categories for the arts in the Immigration and Naturalization Act in
streamlined procedures and, as reported in the New York Times on July 23, 2010, the agency publicly pledged to reduce processing times for artist visas to two weeks, as required by law. It is a goal the agency still strives to meet. Partnerships, Public Perception, Participation
The League’s advocacy work is fueled by and dependent upon partnerships with other national organizations that repre-
Even in the digital age, when it comes to advocacy, showing up in person matters. be, dependent on the sustainability of the Pernambuco tree. The League’s advocacy role included informing orchestras about how to comply with the rules and how to participate in the conservation of the Pernambuco tree, which earned the topic a cover story in the September/October 2007 issue of this magazine. Turning “Pain Points” into Policy Improvements
Getting up to speed on compliance with current rules and regulations is often a key strategy toward helpful policy changes. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as prior devastating flooding in Houston, the League partnered with orchestras to document their unsuccessful efforts to obtain FEMA support, due to regulatory language that was narrowly written to exclude performing arts facilities. That documentation formed the basis for a successful 2006 advocacy campaign by the League in partnership with the broader performing arts community to expand FEMA eligibility. Following flooding in 2010, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra was among the first to access relief toward the substantial cost of renovation under the newly improved regulations. That same strategy of documenting problem areas and making a case for needed improvements spills over into nearly every policy area in which the League and orchestras are active. Orchestras have long turned to the League for help in obtaining the visas required for presenting international guest artists in concerts in the U.S. In the late 1990s, after our two-page memo of guidance we were faxing to oramericanorchestras.org
1991, to current debates over immigration reform, the League has been a persistent advocate for improving and streamlining the visa process, with the end goal of encouraging international cultural activity. In order to bring our strongest case to policy leaders to change the visa process, we first had to prove that the existing rules simply didn’t work. Since then, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has
sent a large universe of arts, education, and nonprofit organizations. Having a seat at so many coalition tables multiplies the impact of orchestras’ advocacy work and provides an opportunity to familiarize others with the work orchestras do in their own communities. The League is currently the lead convener of the Cultural Advocacy Group, an ad hoc coalition formed in the mid-1990s whose work continues through
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today. In 2016, that group created a unified statement for the new Administration, Advancing the Arts to Support National Policy Priorities, which was endorsed by a group of more than 70 national arts and cultural organizations. We’re also an active participant in the Arts Education Partnership, which fuels the League’s many resources that help orchestras get engaged in music education advocacy at the local level— where it is needed the most. The insights we gain from the Arts Education Partner-
ship help the League inform orchestras of key opportunities to close gaps in access to music education through implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The League’s participation in national nonprofit coalition meetings related to tax policy—where we work alongside the American Red Cross, Feeding America, YMCA of the USA, and the full host of charities—not only advances our work on tax policies that directly affect charitable giving, but has also helped us hone
Concerto Soloists Piano
Conductors Martin MAJKUT Music Director,
Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra Music Director Designate, Queens Symphony Orchestra
Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (FI)
Artistic Director & Conductor, Paducah Symphony Orchestra
Tanya Bannister William Chapman-Nyaho John O’Conor Thomas Pandolfi Antonio Pompa-Baldi Alexander Schimpf Bryan Wallick
Genova & Dimitrov
Kinga Augustyn Ilya Kaler Livia Sohn
Denise Djokic Hai-Ye Ni
Guitar andré RAPHEL
Wheeling Symphony Orchestra
Andrew SEWELL Music Director,
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Celil Refik Kaya Ana Vidovic Fabio Zanon
Trumpet Matthew TROY
Piedmont Wind Symphony
Oklahoma City Philharmonic
Native American Flute R. Carlos Nakai
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the messages that convey what orchestras accomplish in partnership with their communities. Those tax policy developments in 2007 spurred the League to gain a better grasp of how orchestras are perceived as nonprofit organizations, sparking not only the development of the League’s Public Value Toolkit but also provoking ongoing conversations about how orchestras can more deeply and authentically engage with their communities. After all, any message delivered to Capitol Hill through collec-
The League has been a persistent advocate for improving and streamlining the visa process. The goal: encouraging international cultural activity. tive action must be rooted in real work back home. At the League’s 2005 National Conference in Washington, D.C., more than 500 orchestra representatives spent a day meeting with Congress. In preparation for the meetings, orchestra administrators, musicians, volunteers, and colleagues were seated at tables organized by state and Congressional districts. Many participants commented afterwards that although they are geographically nearby one another, that occasion was the first time they sat down together in common cause. One other happy byproduct of that day on the Hill was that participants gained a lasting understanding about how simple, effective, and satisfying it can be to directly engage policymakers. “It filled me with pride and satisfaction taking part in this endeavor,” said one participant. “Although it seemed like a huge undertaking, in reality it was an essential exercise in reminding me why we do what we do, and why music matters.” While the League’s strategy for engaging in advocacy has changed to keep up with the times, one fundamental principle is unchanged from the very founding of the League to today. The capacity for collective action by orchestras is our strongest asset, and it can make a real difference in public policy. HEATHER NOONAN is the League’s Vice President for Advocacy.
WE’RE PROUD TO SUPPORT THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS AND TO BE A PART OF THE STORY OF DETROIT. KNIGHTFOUNDATION.ORG
Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s “Symphony in D” invited the community to contribute to a piece by and about the city.
August, 1952: the scene at the League’s first course in Symphony Orchestra Management, Brevard, North Carolina.
by Susan Elliott
Sharing knowledge and developing new leaders are core to the League’s mission, and the League has produced a broad range of seminars, courses, and learning opportunities nearly since its founding. But the courses haven’t stood still—they have adapted and been updated to meet new expectations in a changing world.
Faculty, staff, and participants in the 2012 Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar at the League offices in New York City.
mong its many roles—educator, advocate, data repository, resource center, networker-in-chief—the League’s knack for turning out the best and brightest is nonpareil. Between the original Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, launched in 1980 and now called Emerging Leaders, and the Essentials of Orchestra Management, launched in 2000, some 150 alumni are now leading American orchestras. Just a quick listing of the orchestras where star alumni have taken leadership positions includes the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestras, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Pacific Symphony, The Knights chamber ensemble, St. Louis Symphony, and New York Philharmonic. Providing leadership to the field and teaching how to lead have long been part of the League’s mission. But the tools to do so and the content—not to mention delivery forms—are dramatically different today than they were back in 1952, when the League offered its first course in orchestra management in conjunction with the Brevard (North Carolina) Music Foundation. “In the 1960s, ’70, ’80s, the performing arts were investing in professionalizing their work forces to build a sustainable
organization,” says League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. Following widely accepted best practices, the emphasis at the time was skill-based. “The League focused its training work on how to sell subscriptions, on fund raising, board development, building up endowment funds.” The context within which those skills were taught was radically different than it is today. First, it was assumed that the best teachers came only from inside the tent—current orchestra executives, specialists in their
ues. “Being a master of development and selling subscriptions is no longer enough. The traditional tools are not working; the issues we confront are not technical. You can’t fix them by tweaking the mix of print and digital advertising, and you can’t deal with the philanthropy challenges by saying, ‘Well, we’ll just get a few more rich people on the board.’ ” These days, he says, “You need a whole different set of leadership chops.” New models have evolved, from command and
The track record of the League’s training programs is stellar— alumni occupy leadership and other roles at orchestras throughout the country. specific areas. Second, the environment for the performing arts was comparatively stable. In fact, says Rosen, citing the founding of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965 and the Ford Foundation’s $500 million (in today’s dollars) gift to 50 orchestras in 1967, “The country prioritized the arts. It wasn’t necessarily easy to run an orchestra, but there were a lot of knowns.” If an orchestra leader knew how to raise funds, sell tickets, and negotiate a contract, “he or she would have a successful orchestra,” says Rosen. “Now, the world is not predictable and not stable and there’s huge volatility around the two income streams: the audience and philanthropy,” Rosen contin-
control—which is how orchestras formerly operated—to adapt and empower others to lead. “Contemporary priorities include listening skills, consensus building, the capacity for leading change, and living with ambiguity and uncertainty.” Rosen relates the Army’s acronym for today’s world: VUCA, or Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous. “The VUCA world has completely upended all their thinking about strategy; it requires all different kinds of military behaviors to operate in the world today.” Surely, if the military is learning how to become flexible and adapt, orchestras can as well. To do so, they need constantly updated sets of tools and assumptions.
continued from page 57 1982 Michael Jackson’s Thriller is released, breaking sales records. In its wake: a moonwalking frenzy.
1982 League headquarters move to Washington, D.C.
1984 Amadeus wins the Academy Award for best film.
1984 Computer system linking all League staff operations installed.
1983 Department of Artistic Affairs established.
First New Music Project Reading Session; premiere of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s piano concerto, co-commissioned by the League, Carnegie Hall, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. 1987 Department of Volunteer Services established.
1989 Germany’s Berlin Wall comes down.
1989 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award presented to Symphony, first of ten such awards the magazine will receive.
Orchestra Assessment Program established.
American Conductors Program debuts in New York.
Department of Trustee Services established.
Glancing down the exhaustive lists of webinars and workshops under “Learning and Leadership Development” on the League’s website, many of the labels look familiar: marketing, fundraising, volunteerism, leadership, etc. Some reflect society’s changes: electronic media, diversity, innovation, and technology. Programs have come and gone depending on the needs of the field. For many years, the League’s training programs were under the aegis of Polly Kahn, who served as Vice President for Learning and Leadership Development until 2014. Today, Karen Yair is the League’s Vice President of the Knowledge, Learning, and Leadership Department. But while the categories may look familiar, their contents have constantly shifted. Especially Faculty and participants in the League’s 1968 Orchestra Management Course, Steinway Hall, New York City. “leader ship,” whose current key programs are the Emerging LeadBut as potential candidates’ lifestyles ers Program (ELP), which is the latest and expectations began to change, the incarnation of the long-running OrchesLeague recognized that the program needtra Management Fellowship Program, ed to as well. “What happened over the and the Essentials of Orchestra Manageyears was that the pool of applicants was ment course. Despite the huge success of steadily diminishing,” says Rosen. “People these programs, training leaders in today’s were reluctant to stop work in order to VUCA world requires rethinking of forspend a year in a fellowship with no guarantee of employment afterwards.” Furthermore, life-balance issues had come into play; individuals didn’t want to uproot themselves, especially if they had families, to spend a year in three different cities. At the same time, leadership consultants advised the League that on-the-job learning wasn’t always the best teaching method. “So we morphed the FellowFaculty and participants in a League Management Seminar in ship into a program built 1979, Chicago. around people already working in orchestras, with the idea of mer models. For example, Allison Vulgaratcheting up their own leadership skills,” more, president and CEO of the Philasays Rosen. delphia Orchestra, and Anne Parsons, The Emerging Leaders Program, now in president and CEO of the Detroit Symits third year, requires participants to leave phony Orchestra, were just out of school home just three times a year to attend semwhen they joined an early iteration of the inars and meetings; they do most of their Orchestra Management Fellowship. They Kal Weyner
1986 League launches OLIS digital repertoire database to assist orchestra administrators and musicians.
1987 “Black Monday” stock market crash: the Dow Jones Industrial Average loses 22.6 percent, the largest one-day decline in history.
had yet to start their careers. So the tenmonth program, which placed participants in three different cities to work at three different orchestras, was entirely feasible.
The New Now
time line 1990 League and Detroit Symphony Orchestra cosponsor African American Composer Reading Session.
1992 Orchestra Management Fellowship Program receives award from American Society for Training and Development.
At the 2016 Emerging Leaders Program, from left: Bradley Evans, interim manager, orchestra personnel, San Francisco Symphony; Nicholas Cohen, executive director, Maryland Citizens for the Arts; Caleb Bailey, executive director, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra; Jennifer Barton, director of Individual Giving, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra; Rebecca Zabinski, artistic administrator, Houston Symphony; and Yoo-Jin Hong, Director of Programs in the League’s Knowledge, Learning, and Leadership Department.
learning and convening virtually. More important than the revised logistics are the revised assumptions. ELP’s primary teachers are not orchestra executives, although each participant has an individual, inhouse mentor at his or her home orchestra. John McCann, who runs the program, is an expert in leadership, not orchestras (although he does have a few as clients of his consultancy). “The content,” explains
Yoo-Jin Hong, Director of Programs in the Knowledge, Learning, and Leadership Department at the League and herself a graduate of ELP, “isn’t specific to orchestras. It’s geared to leadership development.” She cites some of ELP’s key themes: the fundamentals of managing people; dimensions of organizational culture; elements of organizational strategy; and responsibilities of self-leadership. There’s also the subject
At the League’s 2015 Essentials of Orchestra Management course, participants work with each other and, in foreground at right, faculty member Deborah Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
1991 The Soviet Union is dissolved.
Researchers at author Thomas Wolf ’s Cambridge, Mass.-based consulting group release The Financial Condition of Symphony Orchestras, a report examining statistics of the orchestra business. 1993 League releases Americanizing the American Orchestra report summarizing suggestions about future directions for orchestras, based on a year-long forum with people from within and outside the orchestra field. 1997 Charles Olton becomes League president and CEO.
1993 First World Trade Center attack, a truck bomb below the North Tower.
1998 Aretha Franklin sings Puccini’s “Nessun dorma” at the Grammy Awards in place of Luciano Pavarotti, who has a sore throat.
1999 League launches Music Alive program to support new music.
continued on page 72 americanorchestras.org
of change management in today’s world, which addresses the questions of, as Hong puts it, “What does it mean for an arts organization or an orchestra to innovate? How do you distinguish when to instigate change or adapt to it?” The rethought ELP is only in its infancy, but it has already undergone major changes. Among the changes: the program went from two years in length to one. Why the shift? “If we want our leaders to be adaptive,” Hong says, “the program also has to be nimble enough to
Music directors, marketers, musicians, social-media hipsters, tech geeks, artist managers, orchestra executives of every stripe, presenters—the League brings them all in to share their knowledge and experience. be able to respond. I was gratified to see that a lot of the feedback we offered as the first ELP cohort has been reflected in the new version.” The class of 2016-17, now just finishing its ten-month term, has nine members, each in different jobs at different orchestras, from Vermont Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Benjamin Cadwallader to Nora Brady, associate director of sales and marketing at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The group represents as broad a range of jobs as it does budget sizes of orchestras. “We define leadership broadly,” says Rosen. “ELP is not limited to CEOs. We’re invested in governance leadership and work.” ELP faculty, aside from McCann, includes an executive coach, a nonprofit leadership specialist, and occasional guests, such as Sarah Johnson, director of the Weill Music Institute, which incorporates all of Carnegie Hall’s education programs, and social justice expert Michelle Ramos, project director of the New Orleans office of the Vera Institute of Justice. Participants pay $750 each for tuition and their home orchestras contribute between $1,000 and $2,500, depending on budget size. They must commit to being fully on-
board with their employees’ involvement in the program. Rebecca Zabinski, artistic administrator of the Houston Symphony, is a proud graduate of the first ELP. “I went in with no expectations and ended up feeling it was one of the greatest professional experiences of my life,” she says. Her inhouse mentor was Mark Hanson, the orchestra’s executive director—not a position to which Zabinski would normally have access. (Hanson is a graduate of the Orchestra Management Fellowship Program). He and Zabinski met monthly. “It was fascinating to get his perspective on things as they were happening,” remembers Zabinski. Performing her job regular duties in addition to ELP requirements was no picnic, she says, and often meant working on weekends and nights. “But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” Equally valuable, she says, was the chance to work with the six other individuals in the class, all of whom remain in touch and call upon each other for advice and feedback. Still, the most valuable aspect of the
Participants in the 2016 Essentials of Orchestra Management course in Los Angeles.
ELP for Zabinski was the work on leadership skills. “We learned about relationships, about listening to people and seeing the big picture, about being flexible and able to think about things in new ways.” Asked if she could apply what she learned through ELP at a Fortune 500 company, like AT&T Corp., she responds without hesitation, “Absolutely.”
Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
The League’s other leadership program, Essentials of Orchestra Management, caters to a different crowd and does focus specifically on orchestras and the nuts and bolts of their operations. Moved in 2015 from its longtime home at the League’s New York headquarters to the University
of Southern California, the ten-day seminar is a full-immersion, in-person experience, with the tuition of $3,245 covering housing, concert tickets, and instruction from some of the brightest minds in the business. This year’s faculty includes former San Francisco Executive Director Brent Assink; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Executive Director and Orchestra Fellowship graduate Jennifer Barlament; Bruce Coppock, former CEO of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Scott Faulkner, principal bassist for the Reno Philharmonic and former executive director of the Reno Chamber Orchestra; and Seattle Symphony President and CEO Simon Woods, in addition to USC Arts Leadership Program Director Kenneth Foster. Participants range from orchestra staffers who want to broaden their area of expertise to musicians looking to move into the administrative realm to career-changers from other fields to graduate students exploring orchestra management. Essentials’ track record is as stellar as that of the Orchestra Fellowship. Of the 329 individuals
who have attended Essentials from 1999 to 2012, 224 are now active in the field and 59 are executive directors. Among the more high-profile graduates is Gary Ginstling, CEO of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Ginstling, who holds a masters degree in clarinet from the Juilliard School, was working as a marketing manager at Sun Microsytems when he signed up for the Essentials course in 2003. It wasn’t long after its completion that he landed a job as executive director of the Berkeley Symphony. From there he hopped over to the San Francisco Symphony to become director of communications and external affairs, from there to general manager of the Cleveland Orchestra, and from there to Indianapolis, spending years at each organization. “The program exceeded my expectations on every front,” says Ginstling, “in large part because of the parade of leaders from across the field that were brought in to talk with us.” Music directors, marketers, musicians, social-media hipsters, tech geeks, artist managers, orchestra executives of every stripe, presenters—the League brings
them all in to share their knowledge and experience. Many are as generous sharing their contact lists as they are sharing their expertise. “It’s so important,” says the Atlanta Symphony’s Barlament, “for us to welcome new people into the field and help them learn and grow.” Over time, the League’s leadership and development programs have changed to reflect the needs of the field. That includes learning from experts both in- and outside the tent. As orchestras strive to function in a VUCA world, the League provides the most up-to-date tools and skills to do so. It’s the orchestra world’s very own change survival kit. SUSAN ELLIOTT writes frequently on the arts and is the editor of MusicalAmerica.com.
Find out more about the League’s Learning and Leadership Development programs at https:// americanorchestras.org/learningleadership-development.html.
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Volume 1, Number 1: the first issue of the publication from the newly founded American Symphony Orchestra League in 1942.
It’s had a variety of names over the years, but the essential mission of Symphony, the magazine of the League of American Orchestras, has endured: report the news, introduce the latest thinking, address controversial topics, provide a forum, offer insight and perspective—all of it focused on orchestras. Here’s a look at how Symphony’s coverage of the orchestra field has expanded and adapted with the times.
t all began 75 years ago in Michigan, with an orchestra manager and a music critic. Leta Snow, who had managed the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra for more than two decades and was eager to learn how orchestras operated elsewhere, decided to “form some sort of organization,” as she later wrote. Snow’s first action was to invite representatives of “all known civic orchestras” in the United States—her list, compiled with help from Theresa Shier, a Lansing music critic, did not include the nation’s largest-budgeted orchestras, which had already established a loose network of their own—to attend americanorchestras.org
a meeting in Chicago on May 21, 1942. The immediate result of that meeting was establishment of the American Symphony Orchestra League. Snow’s second action was to create a communications vehicle for the members of the new organization: the Inter-Orchestra Bulletin, which debuted in October 1942 with Shier as editor. Its inaugural edition, eight pages in length, opened with a statement from Snow declaring that the Inter-Orchestra Bulletin would “try to present the picture of the country’s orchestras in their many stages of development, how they serve in peace and war. Until such time as district and national meetings can be held, the
bulletin can substitute as a round table for discussion of common problems and exchange of data and ideas.” Since that time, the publication has reported on the orchestra field with an unwavering focus, covering the activities of orchestras and providing a vital, virtual roundtable for ideas, concerns, and information. Symphony reports news about orchestras, to be sure, but more than that, the magazine introduces cutting-edge research, provides a venue for provocative thinking, and functions as a resource for strategies that help orchestras. The elements that Leta Snow established for the early newsletters—industry news
continued from page 65
2001 The iPod is released. 2003 John Adams wins Pulitzer Prize for On the Transmigration of Souls, which commemorates victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks in 2001.
2008 Barack Obama is elected first African American president of the U.S.
1999 (cont’d) League moves headquarters to New York City.
2003 Henry Fogel named League president and CEO.
2005 League and Meet the Composer launch Ford Made in America, a nationwide program for smaller-budget orchestras to commission and perform a new work, Joan Tower’s Made in America. 2008 The Nashville Symphony’s recording of Joan Tower’s Made in America wins three Grammy Awards. Jesse Rosen named League president and CEO. Death of the Unfortunate Acronym: the American Symphony Orchestra League is reborn as the League of American Orchestras. Second Round of Ford Made in America, Joseph Schwantner’s Chasing Light…
2009 Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” hits the pop charts.
2009 League launches The Hub website of breaking news and information about the orchestra field.
The March 1951 edition of the League’s Newsletter captured current concerns, among them the fate of a bill that would exempt orchestras from a 20 percent federal tax on concert tickets.
and League program updates for members, plus articles about issues affecting orchestras and the broader performingarts world—are no less essential to the League’s official publication today. What has evolved dramatically over the years is how that original mandate for coverage of the orchestra field has expanded and adapted with the times. No one in 1942 could have predicted that Symphony would one day be available not only for League members and subscribers in print, but for everyone on the planet via some intangible medium called the Internet. When the Symphony team launched the online daily website called The Hub in 2009, it met contemporary expectations about content delivery by offering the latest news and updates about orchestras every work day. The media may have differed over the years, but the message—report the news, deliver original reporting, provide a forum for fresh ideas about orchestras—remains essential. Membership News
As readers of that first Inter-Orchestra Bulletin saw, discussion and exchange had begun: the publication included news from League charter orchestras in such cities as Duluth, Minnesota; Amarillo, Texas; and Charleston, West Virginia. The last of those cities was home to an orchestra
closely linked to the fledgling organization. Helen Thompson, manager of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (known today as the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra) quickly became active in shaping the direction of the League. Thompson— who in 1950 would become the League’s first paid executive—played a major role in supplying content for the Inter-Orchestra Bulletin and for the publication that succeeded it in 1948, branded variously as News Letter of the American Symphony Orchestra League or American Symphony Orchestra League: The News Letter. She reported on League Conference presentations and on the organization’s rapidly expanding services; on member-orchestra activities and personnel changes; and on public policy matters such as the federal tax on concert tickets that had been imposed as a wartime measure but lasted until 1951, when it was repealed thanks in part to a
The cover of the August 1978 issue of Symphony News, with a cover line reading, “Aaron Copland carries home his Gold Baton in a Women’s Council Tote Bag—At the 1978 League Conference in Chicago.”
lobbying effort instigated by the League in one of its earliest public-advocacy campaigns. When the News Letter became Symphony News in 1971, it initially retained the look of a newsletter but progressed to magazine format, with a designed cover and glossy paper. An upfront section combined general stories with reports on orchestras: news items in the December 1977 issue, for example, included “Arts Orsymphony
time line status, and their activities were reported much more selectively. News from the membership, and short articles spotlighting individual orchestras and people associated with them, were slotted into four departments, and rounding out the departments were “League News” and “Legislative Update.” In the December 1980 issue, Symphony Magazine published its first annual directory of member orchestras, listed by state and budget category and including mail-
2013 Orchestra Management Fellowship Program becomes Executive Leadership Program.
The October-November 1984 Symphony Magazine examined the evolving roles of some of orchestras’ most vital supporters— volunteers—as increasing numbers of volunteers pursued professional careers of their own.
ganizations Call for Higher NEA Appropriations”; “Milwaukee Symphony to Perform at League National Conference”; and “U.S. Orchestras Settle Contracts; Montreal Reports Strike.” Another department, “Symphony Views,” consisted entirely of captioned photos. The back pages of Symphony News contained digests of orchestra press releases— hundreds of them—organized by source and type of news. A curious feature was the
Over the years, the magazine has addressed controversial issues by airing the views of thought leaders from inside and outside the orchestra field. bound-in “News Briefs” insert: a half-sheet of late-breaking news, clearly composed on a typewriter and printed separately. On the reverse side of the insert were such items as a calendar of League events and information on League membership, with an application form. Symphony Magazine, a feature publication as opposed to a “bulletin” or news sheet, debuted with the June-July 1980 issue, sporting color on the cover (though not yet inside). Orchestras were no longer pigeonholed by budget size or professional americanorchestras.org
2009 (cont’d) First Orchestras Feeding America National Food Drive, held in partnership with the hunger-relief agency Feeding America.
2014 Essentials of Orchestra Management course moves from NYC to Southern California.
The cover story of the August-September 1988 issue of Symphony Magazine, by D. Antoinette Handy, assistant director of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Music Program and a professional flutist, focused on “American Orchestras and the Black Musician.”
ing addresses, phone numbers, and the names of each orchestra’s music director and top manager. Beginning in 1981, the directory included League-member business partners, and subsequently expanded to include digital contact information, board leaders, and the presidents of the orchestra’s volunteer associations. The magazine continues to publish the directory. The final shortening of the magazine’s title came with the July/August 1989 issue: SYMPHONY, in all caps. The editorial lineup included feature articles, news from member orchestras and the classical music field, and two new departments focusing on individual orchestras and industry figures. The final issue of 1999 was the first to be edited in the League’s New York offices, which had opened that September. SYMPHONY saluted the millennium with an
2016 League publishes Racial / Ethnic and Gender Diversity in the Orchestra Field.
2011 Arab Spring upheaval and regime change in Middle Eastern and North African countries.
2015 U.S. and Cuba restore diplomatic relations after halfcentury break.
League’s Orchestra Facts 2006-2014 report provides publicly available analysis of orchestra finances and operations. League’s Reimagining the Orchestra Subscription Model study analyzes evolution of orchestra subscriptions. 2017 The League celebrates 75 years of service to American orchestras.
2017 New York Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic celebrate their 175th anniversaries.
The cover story of the November/December 2004 issue reviewed ethical standards for orchestra boards in the wake of accounting scandals at Enron and the creation of federal laws requiring transparency in governance at publicly traded companies and nonprofits.
eleven-page musical timeline of the 20th century. That imposing logo gave way to the more relaxed sans-serif font that topped the magazine’s cover beginning in 2001. Along with that facelift came a new department called “The Score,” now the home for a curated selection of orchestra news. Seven years later the logo would go from SYMPHONY to Symphony—a design update coinciding with the organization’s adoption of a new name, League of American Orchestras. Content Management
Over time, the League’s official publication broadened to include subject matter not just of practical utility but of general interest to the field about repertoire, composers, and the people who managed, conducted, and performed with orchestras. An early issue of Symphony Magazine looked at the recently deceased Leopold Stokowski with an excerpt from Oliver Daniels’s new biography of the legendary conductor. Musicologist and program annotator Michael Steinberg contributed articles on Schubert, Schoenberg, and Messiaen beginning in the 1980s. Adrienne Fried Block and Jan Swafford, biographers of Amy Beach and Charles Ives, respectively, wrote about their contributions to the canon. Harlow Robinson, a professor of Russian history,
authored features in 2006 and 2008 on Shostakovich’s symphonies and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet score. After composer and conductor Pierre Boulez died in 2016, the magazine published first-person remembrances by musicians, conductors, and an administrator. As for living artists, feature articles and profiles have brought working composers, conductors, and musicians into focus. In the 1980s and 1990s, the magazine began featuring orchestra managers, including Ernest Fleischmann at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Peter Pastreich at the San Francisco Symphony, Richard Cisek at the Minnesota Orchestra, and John Edwards (a former chairman and president of the League board) at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. More recent profiles in the magazine have introduced up-and-coming soloists and emerging composers.
In 1978, executives at the Albany (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra extolled the virtues of a new technological aid to orchestras in a Symphony News article entitled “The Computer: A New Member for Your Symphony Planning Committee?” Since its debut in May/June 2008, a back-page “Coda” has featured first-person narratives from such orchestral figures as conductors Marin Alsop and Gustavo Dudamel; pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Christopher O’Riley; and musicians including Chicago Sinfonietta Principal Viola Marlea Simpson and Detroit Symphony Orchestra Bassist Rick Robinson. “Coda” has also presented some unexpected voices, among them actor and New York Philharmonic radio host Alec Baldwin; jazz bassists Esperanza Spalding and Ron Carter; singer/songwriters Rosanne Cash, Ben Folds, Sting, and James Taylor; choreographer Mark Morris; and National Football League placekicker Rob Bironas, who articulated his reasons for supporting music education. Tools and Issues
Topics of practical concern, and the shar-
ing of expertise by people across the orchestra and nonprofit field, have been features of the magazine since its earliest days. In 1978, Fred Leise and William Holstein, manager and president of the Albany (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra, extolled the virtues of a new technological aid to orchestra administrators in an article entitled “The Computer: A New Member for Your Symphony Planning Committee?” Practical advice reached its apogee with the August/September 1982 issue: “An Orchestra Management Primer” included eighteen essays from managers on how and why they entered the field; reports on the League’s recently launched Orchestra Management Fellowship Program and on a Symphony Magazine survey of internships; an article by Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Robert L. Caulfield called “The Qualities of Leadership”; and a resource guide. In all its incarnations, the League’s publication has not only reported on the organization’s annual Conference but drawn upon it for feature material. Among the many speakers whose Conference addresses have appeared in the magazine are conductor James DePreist (1973 and 1988), conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein and composer William Schuman (both 1980), composer Morton Gould (1983), conductor Robert Shaw (1988), Ober-
The November/December 1996 issue included an article in which Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart called on orchestra leaders to “dedicate ourselves to doing work on pops concerts that we can all be proud of.”
marathons and other orchestra fundraising precludes any ideals of perfection.” activities, and devoting time to achieve The article provoked a strong response legislation to help solve arts funding probfrom Irving Segall, then chairman of the lems…. Today’s symphony orchestra musiInternational Conference of Symphony cian recognizes that running an orchestra and Opera Musicians. In the following can no longer be left solely to business exissue of Symphony News Segall wrote, “I ecutives. ICSOM has made us conscious see musicians in our orchestras all over of that. It has taught us to have artistic inthe country who are enthusiastically integrity, while maintaining our self-respect volved in music, and very orchestra conthat we have the same rights scious.… They are contributing services to FSA 1701 Symphony Ad 4/13/17 3:53 by PMinsisting Page 1
The Seattle Symphony’s June 6, 2014 performance of “Baby Got Back” with rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot ignited heated controversy. (A YouTube video of the concert received 2.3 million views in the first three weeks after posting.) Symphony’s Fall 2014 cover story by Aaron Flagg unpacked the concert’s implications for orchestras’ relevance, ethnic and generational diversity, and repertoire.
lin College President S. Frederick Starr (1988), stage director Peter Sellars (2007), flutist and International Contemporary Ensemble founder Claire Chase (2014), and Maryland Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (2016). Room for Debate
Over the years, the magazine has addressed controversial issues by airing the views of industry leaders. That was the case in 1979 with composer-conductor Gunther Schuller, whose welcoming address to students at Tanglewood appeared as an article called “The State of Our Art” in the December 1979 Symphony News. “As we look around at orchestras in the United States,” Schuller said, “apathy, cynicism, hatred of new music, are rife and abound on all sides.” He took aim at both unionized musicians and orchestra management, saying, “Consider the fact that in thousands of pages of musicians’ union by-laws … you will look in vain for any mention of the word art…. Many American orchestras are now down to three rehearsals a week, regardless of the difficulty of the program, which conceals a hideous arrogance vis-à-vis music and performing, inbred with cynicism and apathy, which americanorchestras.org
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Composers under the age of 30 were the focus of the cover story of Symphony’s Winter 2013 issue, with additional reports on orchestras’ pursuit of younger audiences and generational diversity, and how some orchestras rethink concert programming to fit the changing cultural landscape.
and benefits as other working people in the United States.”
Even more incendiary than Schuller’s remarks was a commencement address called “The Orchestra Is Dead. Long Live the Community of Musicians,” delivered by Los Angeles Philharmonic Executive Director Ernest Fleischmann at the Cleveland Institute of Music in May 1987. Fleischmann proposed “developing the rather rigid structure of the traditional symphony orchestra and turning it into a more flexible Community of Musicians.… In many areas of the country you find more than one orchestra within a 100-mile radius of a major population center.… I would propose … eliminating one or more of the best ensembles and merging them into a pool of 140-150 highly skilled musicians under one expert administration.” In Fleischmann’s proposed scheme, each “community of musicians” would be charged with “symphony concerts, chamber music recitals, new music programs, opera, ballet, and chamber orchestra concerts” as well as “the whole field of education.” Fleischmann’s call for eliminating autonomous organizations to create mega-
THE ROGUE VALLEY SYMPHONY celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season in 2017–2018 with Five New Commissions and congratulates the League of American Orchestras on its 75 Years of Service to Orchestras. MARTIN MAJKUT MUSIC DIRECTOR
Creating Community Through Music for 50 years in Southern Oregon. www.rvsymphony.org PHOTO COLLAGE: CHRISTOPHER BRISCOE PHOTOGRAPHY
The cover story of Symphony’s Winter 2016 issue gained national attention for its frank discussion among musicians of African descent about diversity and inclusion at American orchestras. Elsewhere in the issue: young classical artists embrace social media, effective tactics in reaching contemporary audiences, and how some musicians perform from memory.
orchestras serving multiple needs quickly gained notoriety. Symphony Magazine published a rebuttal by Thomas W. Morris, then the Cleveland Orchestra’s executive director, in its March/April 1989 issue: a 3,000-word article entitled “Prescription for Survival.” Morris argued that with orchestras, “bigger does not necessarily mean better.… Fleischmann hints that the mega-orchestras would be easier to fund. I think the opposite is true…. It is unlikely that regional consolidation of orchestras will enlarge the financial bases and alleviate growing operating deficits…. Fleisch mann’s organizational and structural approach is an external solution to what I believe is an internal artistic problem.” Airing the views of industry leaders on big issues in the orchestra world remains a key function of the magazine. “Unanswered Questions,” a November/December 1983 article by the League’s thenpresident Henry Fogel, addressed how orchestras could reshape their future by confronting the past. (It received a Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP, one of ten the magazine has garnered.) Lowell Noteboom, the League’s chairman from 2006 to 2014, contributed major articles on orchestra governance in 2004, 2006, and 2010. In a January/February 2008 article symphony
ADVERTISER poser residencies; gender parity; and entrepreneurial musicians. Some bylines have appeared in the magazine for decades, and the magazine has consistently featured veteran reporters and established experts as it sought out emerging writers. “The Score,” Symphony’s staff-written news department, is today an eclectic mix of contract settlements, appointments, concerts, League announcements, educational activities, and newsworthy events by
Adrian Wyard, Visual Artist.................. 44 Akustiks................................................. 19 ASCAP................................................... 7 Astral..................................................... 24 BMI....................................................... 25 BoardWalk Consulting.......................... 14 Boosey & Hawkes .................................. 1 Brass Transit.......................................... 44 Charlie Chaplin..................................... 17 Classical Movements............................ C4 The Cliburn............................................. 3 Concert Artists Guild............................. 2 Dave Bennett......................................... 66
Since 2010, Symphony has made every issue available for free at symphony.org. Readers simply click on the cover of the issue they’d like to read. Select Symphony articles from May/June 2001 through November/December 2009 are also available for free online.
called “Radical Revenue” based on concepts introduced at the 2007 League Conference, Bruce Coppock, then president of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (and a former vice president of the League), outlined an innovative financial model at the SPCO that emphasized loyalty-based contributions over subscriptions. The magazine routinely receives requests for reprints and downloads, but “Radical Revenue” still gets reprint requests nine years after first publication. And today, Symphony’s “Critical Questions” column by League President Jesse Rosen addresses topics ranging from financial sustainability to labor relations to diversity (both in the boardroom and onstage) to musical entrepreneurship to the public value of orchestras. Behind the Scenes at the Magazine
In the early decades of the League’s official publication, much of its content was supplied by staff writers and pro-bono contributors from the orchestra field. Since 1980, professional journalism has taken on greater importance, and staff editors and outside journalists have addressed a host of topics including musicians’ concerns; orchestra education programs; community engagement; philanthropy; the relationship between art and politicals; diversity and inclusion; contemporary music; comamericanorchestras.org
Diane Saldick........................................ 60 Dispeker Artists.................................... 50 European American Music Distributors............................ 32 Ford Motor Company.......................... C3 Frank Salomon Associates .................... 75 G. Schirmer........................................... 23 Grand Teton Music Festival.................. 45 Greenberg Artists.................................. 53 JRA Fine Arts...................................... C2 Knight Foundation................................ 61 Launched in January 2009 as an online service to League members, The Hub provides a wideranging, constantly updated overview of news and information about the orchestra field, curated and produced by Symphony staff.
a range of orchestras. While The Hub website provides the orchestra field with the timeliest coverage, “The Score” chronicles select events in the eye-catching format of a quarterly magazine. Together with the feature articles and columns that appear in each issue of Symphony, they “present the picture of the country’s orchestras in their many stages of development,” as League founder Leta Snow envisioned in that first Inter-Orchestra Bulletin of 1942. CHESTER LANE served on the editorial staff of Symphony from December 1979 to March 2017. His article “The Vital Role of Community Orchestras in America” in the November/ December 2001 issue won an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award.
Marilyn Rosen Presents ......................... 4 OnStage Productions............................ 52 Opus 3 Artists....................................... 69 Oregon Bach Festival............................ 31 Parker Artists......................................... 33 Peter Throm Management..................... 12 Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra........... 43 PresenceLab.......................................... 27 Rocky Mountain Productions............... 58 Rogue Valley Symphony........................ 76 Santa Rosa Symphony........................... 67 Schiedmayer Celeste GmbH................... 5 St. Louis Symphony.............................. 51 Tony DeSare.......................................... 68 Video Ideas Productions....................... 59 Word Pros, Inc....................................... 52 Yamaha Corporation of America.......... 13 Young Concert Artists........................... 18
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 March 21, 2017. 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
Bruce and Martha Clinton, on behalf of The Clinton Family Fund Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation John S. and James L. Knight Foundation The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sargent Family Foundation Cynthia Sargent
Dr. and Mrs. Malcolm McDougal Brown The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation The Edgemer Foundation, Inc. Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company Fund John & Marcia Goldman Foundation National Endowment for the Arts The Negaunee Foundation Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation The Wallace Foundation
American Express Foundation Melanie Clarke The Aaron Copland Fund for Music Peter D. and Julie Fisher Cummings † Phillip Wm. Fisher Fund Ford Foundation Douglas and Jane Hagerman + Mrs. Martha R. Ingram The Kresge Foundation New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Steve and Diane Parrish Foundation Patricia A. Richards Sakana Foundation
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation Mrs. Trish Bryan † Richard and Kay Fredericks Cisek † Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation Lori Julian, on behalf of the Julian Family Foundation Mark Jung Dennis and Camille LaBarre † Alan and Maria McIntyre Alfred P. Moore New York State Council on the Arts Lowell and Sonja Noteboom Mary Carr Patton Robert A. Peiser † Barry A. Sanders Drs. Helen S. and John P. Schaefer † Connie Steensma and Rick Prins †
Penny and John Van Horn Wells Fargo Foundation The Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation
LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRA’S NOTEBOOM GOVERNANCE CENTER
The League of American Orchestras’ Noteboom Governance Center was created in recognition of former League Board Chair Lowell Noteboom, honoring his longstanding commitment to improving governance practice in American orchestras. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the following donors who have made commitments to support the Center.
Bill Achtmeyer Burton Alter Mr. and Mrs. William G. Brown Nicky B. Carpenter † The CHG Charitable Trust † John and Paula Gambs Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts Margot and Paul Grangaard in honor of Lowell and Sonja Noteboom James Hasler The Hyde and Watson Foundation Hugh W. Long Kjristine Lund Jim and Kay Mabie † Michael Neidorff and Noémi Neidorff M. David and Diane Paul Foundation Jesse Rosen Helen P. Shaffer Laura Street Phoebe and Bobby Tudor Judy and Steve Turner Nick and Sally Webster
Lester Abberger and Amanda Stringer The Amphion Foundation Alberta Arthurs Brent and Jan Assink Beracha Family Charitable Gift Fund Richard J. Bogomolny and Patricia M. Kozerefski NancyBell Coe and William Burke Martha and Herman Copan Fund of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven Gloria dePasquale D.M. Edwards in honor of Pat Richards, Jesse Rosen, and Nancy Wrenn Catherine French † Joseph B. Glossberg and Madeline Condit Marian A. Godfrey Lyndia and C.Y. Harvey IMN Solutions, Inc. Jacksonville Symphony Board of Directors John A. and Catherine M. Koten Foundation † Wilfred and Joan Larson Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo † Mattlin Foundation Anthony McGill Steven Monder † Catherine and Peter Moyé
Alberta Arthurs Dr. and Mrs. Malcolm Brown John and Janet Canning † Richard and Kay Fredericks Cisek Melanie Clarke Bruce and Martha Clinton, on behalf of The Clinton Family Fund Gloria dePasquale Phillip Wm. Fisher Fund Marian A. Godfrey Marcia and John Goldman Margot and Paul Grangaard, in honor of Lowell and Sonja Noteboom Douglas and Jane Hagerman Daniel R. Lewis † Dr. Hugh W. Long Steve and Diane Parrish Foundation Mary Carr Patton and John Shaw Daniel Petersen † Barry A. Sanders Sakana Foundation Sargent Family Foundation Cynthia Sargent Sewell Charitable Fund Penelope and John Van Horn Tina Ward • † The Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation Anonymous (1) Anne Parsons and Donald Dietz • Princeton Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees Gayle S. Rose The Alfred and Jane Ross Foundation Deborah F. Rutter † Enea and Dave Tierno Alan D. and Janet L. Valentine Kathleen van Bergen Doris and Clark Warden † Linda and Craig Weisbruch † James H. Winston
Simon Woods and Karin Brookes Helen Zell
Jeff and Keiko Alexander Tiffany and Jim Ammerman II Eugene and Mary Arner Jennifer Barlament and Kenneth Potsic • David Beauchesne, Rhode Island Philharmonic Marie-Hélène Bernard William P. Blair III † Deborah Borda † Barbara M. Bozzuto Susan Bright Fred and Liz Bronstein • Wayne S. Brown and Brenda Kee † Charles Cagle † Janet and John Canning † Leslie and Dale Chihuly Robert Conrad The Dirk Family Susan Feder and Todd Gordon Courtney and David Filner • Drs. Aaron and Cristina Stanescu Flagg Henry and Fran Fogel † John and Michele Forsyte • James M. Franklin † Gary Ginstling and Marta Lederer Gordon Family Donor Advised Philanthropic Fund Nancy Greenbach André and Ginette Gremillet Dietrich M. Gross Mark and Christina Hanson • Ian Harwood • Sharon D. Hatchett John and Carolee Hayes † Dale Hedding Howard Herring The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Dr. and Mrs. Claire Fox Hillard Patricia Howard + Mrs. Laura Hyde † Stephen H. Judson Paul Judy Cindy and Randy Kidwell Jill Kidwell Douglas W. Kinzey Peter Kjome Joseph H. Kluger Robert Kohl and Clark Pellett Emily and Robert Levine Sandi Macdonald and Henry Grzes Yvonne Marcuse Jonathan Martin Steve & Lou Mason † Shirley D. McCrary † Debbie McKinney Paul Meecham † David Alan Miller americanorchestras.org
Phyllis J. Mills † Thomas Dreeze and Evans Mirageas Michael Morgan † James B. Nicholson Andy Nunemaker Rebecca (Becky) Odland James Palermo • John Palmer † Michael Pastreich • Peter Pastreich † Daniel Petersen † Walter P. Pettipas Revocable Trust Tresa Radermacher Barbara S. Robinson Susan L. Robinson Barbara and Robert Rosoff Frederick and Gloria Sewell Pratichi Shah Rita Shapiro Richard L. Sias † R. P. Simmons Family Foundation Mi Ryung Song • Tom and Dee Stegman Linda S. Stevens Melia & Michael Tourangeau Rae Wade Trimmier † Marylou and John D.* Turner Matthew VanBesien • Jeff and Maria Vom Saal Gus Vratsinas Allison Vulgamore •† Terry Ann White Camille Williams Donna M. Williams Paul Winberg and Bruce Czuchna
Lois H. Allen Sandra Sue Ashby Janet F. and Dr. Richard E. Barb David R. Bornemann, Board Member, Phoenix Symphony Drs. Misook Yun and James William Boyd • Elaine Amacker Bridges Doris and Michael Bronson Melinda Whiting Burrows and John Burrows Judy Christl † Scott Faulkner and Andrea Lenz † Jack Firestone The GE Foundation Michael Gehret Bill Gettys Edward B. Gill † Richard and Mary L. Gray Carrie Hammond Scott Harrison and Angela Detlor Daniel and Barbara Hart • HGA Architects and Engineers Marilyn P. and Joseph W. Hirschhorn Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation Yoo-Jin Hong +
HELEN M. THOMPSON HERITAGE SOCIETY The League of American Orchestras graciously recognizes those who have remembered the League in their estate plans as members of the Helen M. Thompson Heritage Society. Janet F. and Dr. Richard E. Barb Family Foundation Wayne S. Brown and Brenda E. Kee † John and Janet Canning † Richard and Kay Fredericks Cisek Martha and Herman Copen Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven Myra Janco Daniels Samuel C. Dixon • Henry and Frances Fogel † Susan Harris, Ph.D. Louise W. Kahn Endowment Fund of The Dallas Foundation The Curtis and Pamela Livingston 2000 Charitable Remainder Unitrust Steve and Lou Mason † Lowell and Sonja Noteboom Charles and Barbara Olton † Peter Pastreich † Walter P. Pettipas Revocable Trust Rodger E. Pitcairn Robert and Barbara Rosoff Robert J. Wagner Tina Ward •† Mr. and Mrs. Albert K. Webster Robert Wood Revocable Trust Anonymous (1) David Hastings & Ann Huntoon Helena Jackson and Doug Dunham Joia M. Johnson Donald Krause and JoAnne Krause † David Loebel Terri McDowell Julie Meredith Anne W. Miller † Nathan Newbrough Pacific Symphony Board of Directors Gordon Leigh Petitt David Snead Trine Sorensen and Michael Jacobson Joan H. Squires • Susan Stucker Gabriel van Aalst Robert Wagner Eddie Walker and Tim Fields † Directors Council (former League Board) • Orchestra Management Fellowship Program Alumni + Includes Corporate Matching Gift * Deceased
From Sea to Shining Sea In May 1942, Leta Snow, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s longtime manager, invited representatives of orchestras from around the country to a meeting in Chicago. Her goal was to form a network of the nation’s civic orchestras to allow its managers to learn from each other—larger-budget orchestras already had their own network. As the map below makes clear, the 40 charter members who joined the American Symphony Orchestra League were largely clustered in the Midwestern states of Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio. Also joining the fledgling organization were orchestras from eleven other states: California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Today, all 50 states are represented, with international members ranging from Australia and Canada to the U.K. and Brazil. And some of those original charter members from 1942 are still members of the League, 75 years later.
American Symphony Orchestra League Charter Member Orchestras Altoona Symphony Amarillo Symphony Austin Symphony Bangor Symphony Battle Creek Symphony Boston Civic Symphony Cedar Rapids Symphony Charleston Symphony (S.C.) Charleston Symphony (W. Va.) Columbus Philharmonic (Ohio) Dayton Philharmonic
Drake-Des Moines Symphony Duluth Symphony Erie Philharmonic Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Fort Wayne Philharmonic Gary Symphony Germantown Symphony Harrisburg Symphony Huntington Symphony (W.V.) Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Lansing Symphony
Sioux City Symphony South Bend Symphony Southern Symphony (Columbia, S.C.) Springfield Symphony (Missouri) Susquehanna Symphony (Pa.) Tri-City Symphony (Iowa and Ill.) Waukegan Symphony Youngstown Symphony
Licking County Philharmonic (Ohio) Main Line Symphony (Pa.) Memphis Symphony North Side Symphony of Chicago Oakland Symphony Pittsfield Little Symphony (Mass.) Pontiac Symphony Racine Symphony Rockford Civic Symphony Saginaw Symphony
BOSTON SIOUX CITY CEDAR RAPIDS DES MOINES DAVENPORT
SAN FRANCISCO OAKLAND
SAN JOSE LAS VEGAS
ALBUQUERQUE PHOENIX TUSCON
FORT WORTH EL PASO AUSTIN
NEW YORK PHILADELPHIA BALTIMORE
DALLAS JACKSONVILLE HOUSTON
Number of orchestras 5
DATA SOURCE: NCAR
• current League orchestras
• 1942 League charter members symphony
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