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T h e M aga z i ne of T h e L eag u e of A me r i can O r c h est r as
4 Prelude by Robert Sandla
7 The Score Orchestra news, moves, and events 14 Comment El Sistema expert Eric Booth responds to a controversial new book. Bethany Clay
20 Currents The Wallace Foundation’s ambitious new series of studies and reports focuses on building audiences for the arts.
Leaders of the New School Emerging artists are commissioning composers and reshaping the canon. by Jayson Greene
Guide to Emerging Artists
Music for a Lifetime Orchestras, avocational musicians, and the “pro-am” movement. by Michael Stugrin
200 Years and Counting Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society continues to explore the sound of Baroque and Classical music. by Chester Lane
Getting Entrepreneurial Entrepreneurship at conservatories and music schools. by Ian VanderMeulen
Fine Tuning Musicians find alternative ways to stay healthy. by Madeline Rogers
Fashion Statements What conductors and solo artists are wearing onstage. by Jennifer Melick 78 League of American Orchestras Annual Fund 80 Coda Cellists Stjepan Hauser and Luka Šulić bridge classical and rock.
Throughout this issue, text marked like this indicates a link to websites and online resources that can be accessed by visiting SymphonyOnline l at symphony.org.
80 about the cover
Top: At the Philadelphia Orchestra’s May 13, 2014 Sideby-Side with Tune Up Philly event, Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner meets a young flute enthusiast. Photo: Will Figg/ Philadelphia Orchestra. Below: At the Richmond Symphony’s Come & Play concert on November 23, 2014, 600 amateur players perform with the orchestra’s professional musicians, who were clad in black t-shirts. Photo: Richmond Symphony. See story, page 42.
VO LU M E 6 6 , N U M B E R 1
symphony WIN T E R 2 0 1 5
alk about sustainability. When Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society gave its first concert in 1815, the War of 1812 still wasn’t over, Napoleon was about to meet his Waterloo, and the ink was barely dry on some of the scores the group performed. H&H marks its bicentennial this year, and those two centuries have been quite a journey, both artistically—the first U.S. performances of many now canonical works, an early embrace of Baroque performance practices—and historically, with the organization continuing through one Civil War, two World Wars, depressions, recessions, and the arrival of the Kardashians. What’s surprising for a group considered the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the country is that H&H has regularly commissioned new works—and continues to do so. H&H also does a lot in education. But across the larger orchestra field we might need some redefinition or new terms here since “education” may not fit the bill any more given the expansive work being done on multiple fronts by orchestras. This activity ranges far beyond what was once called “music appreciation” and embraces interactive events for young people, pre-concert talks and meet-ups for concertgoers, meet-and-greets for newcomers—and, more and more, events at which the community is invited to perform alongside the orchestra. Orchestras are doing side-by-side performances, professional-amateur concerts and workshops, and fantasy camps, the kind of things long embraced by the sports and rockmusic fields. These events forge deep links in the community, help make the orchestra and its musicians feel like family, and bring the music-making—the joy, the discipline, the discovery, the sense of being involved in something bigger than oneself—into many lives. Everybody wins.
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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W S PI N R TI N EG R 2014 5
Save the dates! Join your colleagues for the League of American Orchestrasâ€™ 2015 National Conference in Cleveland, Ohio May 27â€“29, 2015 Hosted by
SCORE News, moves, and events in the orchestra industry THE
MUSICAL CHAIRS has been named director of music and opera at the National Endowment for the Arts. ANN MEIER BAKER
has been appointed assistant conductor of the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Symphony Orchestra.
The Albany (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra has appointed JENENE CHERNEY director of artistic operations. At Portland’s Oregon Symphony, DENIZ CONGER has been named vice president of development.
will conclude his tenure as music director of the Ravinia Festival in August 2015. JAMES CONLON
At the Fort Worth (Tex.) Symphony, THOMAS CUPPLES has been appointed principal trumpet, and ALLAN STEELE principal cello. The Juilliard School has appointed ALEXANDRA DAY director of communications and marketing strategy. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has named TERESA EATON director of public relations and publications.
has been elected chair of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra (Tyler, Tex.). D.M. EDWARDS
The Wisconsin Philharmonic Orchestra (Waukesha, Wis.) has named MICHAEL J. FLANIGAN executive director. SUZANNE R. FRANK has been elected board president. San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival has appointed MICHAEL FRANCIS music director.
Clarinetist MARTIN FRÖST has been named artistic partner at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. has been appointed director of operations and artistic administration at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. DAREN FUSTER
The National Symphony Orchestra has named WILLIAM GERLACH principal trumpet, and ABEL PEREIRA principal horn. has announced plans to step down as executive director of the Cleveland Orchestra in October 2015. GARY HANSON
he two-month Atlanta Symphony Orchestra lockout ended in November with the ratification of a four-year agreement between musicians and management of the ASO and its parent organization, Woodruff Arts Center. The contract includes a 6 percent pay increase over four years, a new high-deductible healthcare plan, and a gradually increasing number of musicians, from 77 in the first contract year to 88 by the end of the fourth. Music Director Robert Spano and the ASO were greeted with cheers when they returned to Symphony Hall on November 13 (above) to perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with the ASO Chorus, and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, with Concertmaster David Coucheron as soloist. In December, the Woodruff Arts Center received a $38 million grant from the Woodruff Foundation, with $25 million in matching funds for the center’s endowment, $13 million for capital improvements, and $8 million to endow seats for Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians and help the orchestra reach its contractually mandated size. In September, Atlanta Symphony board member Terry Neal was appointed interim president and CEO, following Stanley Romanstein’s resignation during the labor negotiations. In other contract news: The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera has a new two-year contract with musicians that includes a 2 percent wage increase and maintains the same number of rehearsals, performances, and musicians as in previous years. In Kentucky, management and musicians of the Lexington Philharmonic ratified a contract that runs through June 30, 2018, with modest increases in wages and mileage reimbursement, and guaranteed services to member musicians. Musicians of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra have accepted a one-year pay cut of 38 percent, as the orchestra works to reduce expenses and balance its budget. Musicians of Virginia’s Richmond Symphony have ratified a contract that will add one week to the season and increase salaries by 5 percent over four years. North Carolina’s Charlotte Symphony Orchestra ended its fiscal year with a surplus of $71,000 on a budget of $9.4 million. The Cleveland Orchestra posted a surplus of $941,000 for the fiscal year, which included $40.6 million in gifts, grants, and other donations. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra reported a balanced budget and increased subscription sales for its fiscal year, with a surplus of $60,000. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra reported a balanced budget and a surplus of $260,000 for its fiscal year. Ticket sales were $7.5 million, up from $6.4 million, and classical and pops subscriptions were up by 30 percent. The Philadelphia Orchestra ended its fiscal year on August 31 with a surplus of $670,000 on a $39.6 million budget. Since 2009-10, $69 million has been raised toward the orchestra’s bridge/transformation fund. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra reported a balanced budget and a 15 percent increase in donations for its fiscal year. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra posted a surplus of $222,349 on operating expenses of $23.7 million; the orchestra had posted a $1.2 million deficit the previous year. The Louisiana (continued on the next page)
has been elected chairman of New York City’s Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. RICHARD BRUECKNER
ON THE FINANCIAL FRONT
The Colorado Music Festival has appointed ANDREW BRADFORD executive director and JEAN-MARIE ZEITOUNI music director.
Arts Consulting Group has appointed DALE C. HEDDING vice president. The Utah Symphony has appointed REI HOTODA associate conductor, effective in September 2015.
The San Francisco Symphony has named EUGENE IZOTOV principal oboe. AGNIESZKA LASKUS
has been named executive
(On the Financial Front) Philharmonic Orchestra has raised more than $2 million to establish a cash reserve fund, part of a long-term capitalization campaign. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra reported a $1.4 million deficit for this fiscal year, despite record-breaking fundraising and ticket sales and a subscription renewal rate of 90 percent. Wisconsin’s Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and the Madison-based Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra are exploring the possibility of partnership, following Green Bay’s announcement that funding difficulties meant the 2014-15 season would be its last. The Minnesota Orchestra posted a $650,000 deficit for its fiscal year, which board chairman Gordon Sprenger described as “a remarkable year of rebuilding” following a sixteen-month labor dispute that ended in January 2014. Kevin Smith, who came on board as interim president last summer following the departure of Michael Henson, was hired as president and CEO and will serve through 2018.
MUSICAL CHAIRS director of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (Lake Forest, Ill.). The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has appointed MARY MCFADDEN LAWSON vice president of philanthropy. has been appointed assistant conductor of the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Philharmonic. CHIA-HSUAN LIN
The Seattle Symphony has named BENJAMIN LULICH principal clarinet, and MARY LYNCH principal oboe. has been elected board president of the Manhattan-based New York Pops. PAUL J. MASSEY JR.
Telling Orchestras’ Stories
Florida’s Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra has appointed ROBERT MASSEY president and CEO. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has named MICHELLE MERRILL assistant conductor.
Just launched in November is the League of American Orchestras’ new online Story Bank, a public resource that gives a close-up look at how orchestras affect and serve their communities, through firstperson narratives. The bank provides videos, articles, and infographics spotlighting the voices of musicians, families, and caregivers. Currently featured at the Story Bank are Hartford Symphony Orchestra musicians who are helping patients with dementia; parents of children in the Allentown Symphony Orchestra’s El Sistema Lehigh Valley program, speaking about how the program affected their kids’ behavior and grades; a music therapist’s perspective on how a teen cancer patient was motivated by Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians; students’ descriptions of how the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory’s Community Opus has improved their lives; and a look at Seattle Symphony’s Native Lands Community Composition project. Visit the Story Bank at the Advocacy and Government page of the League’s website, and don’t forget the League’s Public Value Toolkit, also at the Advocacy and Government page.
has been appointed music director of the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra and the Chautauqua (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra. ROSSEN MILANOV
The Portland (Ore.) Youth Philharmonic has appointed KIRI MURAKAMILOEHMANN executive director.
has been named general manager of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. DON NELSON
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Board of Directors has elected DANA NEWMAN president.
has been appointed executive director of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Just Keeps Rolling Along
Indiana’s Fort Wayne Philharmonic has named MELYSA ROGEN assistant director of marketing and public relations.
The Minnesota Orchestra has appointed ASADOUR SANTOURIAN artistic advisor for classical programming. has been elected chairman of the New York Philharmonic. OSCAR S. SCHAFER
The Charleston-based West Virginia Symphony Orchestra has appointed ANTON SHELEPOV concertmaster.
has been elected board president of the New Haven (Conn.) Symphony Orchestra. TRACEY SCHEER
The New York-based artist management firm Schwalbe and Partners has appointed CARRIE SYKES president.
was named president and CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra in November; he had served as interim president since September 1. KEVIN SMITH
has been named co-principal trombone of the Philadelphia Orchestra. MATTHEW VAUGHN
The San Francisco Symphony has appointed NICK WINTER director of artistic planning.
has been appointed director of marketing at the Louisville Orchestra. MICHELLE WINTERS
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has named WEI YU principal cello.
If it’s Avery Fisher Hall and it’s a star-filled Broadway musical, it must be the New York Philharmonic. This November’s semistaged presentation of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s Show Boat was conducted and directed by Ted Sperling and featured Vanessa Williams making her Philharmonic debut as Julie. Also in the cast were Downton Abbey’s Julian Ovenden as Gaylord Ravenal, Lauren Worsham as Magnolia, Norm Lewis (above) as Joe, and actress and former NEA chair Jane Alexander as Parthy. The Philharmonic’s Show Boat tradition goes way back; it presented condensed concert versions of Show Boat at Lewisohn Stadium from 1952 to 1954, featuring baritone William Warfield, and before that Paul Robeson and Frank Sinatra performed “Ol’ Man River” at Philharmonic stadium concerts in the 1930s and ’40s.
A participant in the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s Kids in Tune program, featured on the new League Story Bank
HILARY FIELD RESPASS
Toronto Symphony Orchestra Music Director Peter Oundjian with a conducting hopeful during Canada’s Culture Days
This fall, two orchestras invited the public to the conductor’s podium. As part of Canada’s Culture Days festival, an arts-and-culture open house presented by arts organizations nationwide, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra gave members of the public the chance to briefly lead the orchestra, with Music Director Peter Oundjian on hand to give guidance. The same week, the Des Moines Symphony held its first “Conduct Us” event, inviting passersby to conduct a string quintet in downtown Des Moines as part of its annual “Symphony Week” of events and activities.
Bernstein in Bronze
On July 28, Tanglewood Music Center unveiled a sculpture of Leonard Bernstein in the entryway to Highwood Manor House, on the Tanglewood grounds. The monument to Lenny, by New England-based sculptor Penelope Jencks, is part of a multi-year plan to honor Tanglewood’s most iconic musical figures. Jencks’s sculpture of Aaron Copland, another Tanglewood legend, was installed in 2011 in the Formal Garden. The new artworks are made possible by a gift from Boston Pops Laureate Conductor and Tanglewood Artist in Residence John Williams, here with Jencks at the unveiling ceremony. americanorchestras.org
Advocating for Orchestras
This fall and winter, League President and CEO Jesse Rosen logged a lot of frequent flier miles while working on behalf of American orchestras. On October 21, Rosen was a panelist in “What’s Next for Classical Music?,” a symposium at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University that examined the changing environment for classical music and its effect on the training of young musicians. Peabody Dean Fred Bronstein moderated the panel, which included Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Director Marin Alsop; Ben Cameron, director for arts funding at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Johns Hopkins arts professor Thomas Dolby; and flutist Marina Piccinini, a faculty artist at Peabody. On November 3, Rosen headed to Washington, League President D.C. to take part and CEO Jesse Rosen speaks at in the National “What’s Next for Endowment for Classical Music?,” the Arts’ Beyond a symposium at the the Building: Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins Performing Arts and Transforming University. Place event, a fullday meeting of leaders from dance, music, theater, and multidisciplinary organizations to discuss how the performing arts transform communities. In mid-November, Rosen facilitated “Advancing America’s Orchestras,” the League’s town hall meeting for conductors, musicians, staff, and board members in Cleveland. (See separate item for details.) Later in November, Rosen chaired the jury at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s annual performance competition for young Canadian musicians. In January, Rosen speaks at “Sphinxcon: Engage 2015,” the Sphinx Organization’s conference focusing on diversity in the performing arts. Will Kirk/homewoodphoto.jhu.edu
For more than 50 years the League of American Orchestras has been collecting data from U.S. orchestras about everything from staff salaries and musical repertoire to ticket sales and annual giving. It is one of the League’s Knowledge Center FAQs Knowledge Center FAQs less-heralded but more important functions, with the best-known product most likely being the massive Orchestra Statistical Report, which collects financial and operational data annually from orchestras and is distributed to participating orchestras. The OSR is the most comprehensive data set about North American orchestras in existence, but it is far from the only work produced by the Knowledge Center. One of the most vital jobs of the threeperson Knowledge Center is responding to queries from League member orchestras and others about a variety of topics, which are broken down in the adjacent pie chart and represent requests received from January to November of 2014. To learn more, visit the Knowledge Center at americanorchestras.org.
League of American Orchestras
Orchestras by the Numbers
A Town Hall for Orchestras
Shostakovich: Notes for Stalin at the Baltimore Symphony, with Music Director Marin on the podium and actor Jered McLerigan as Shostakovich
Representatives from orchestras throughout northeastern Ohio gathered in Cleveland on November 6 for two special events presented by the League of American Orchestras. The day began with a highly interactive town hall meeting, “Advancing America’s Orchestras,” that identified key issues and opportunities for the orchestra field while shining a light on outstanding work being done by orchestras in the region. League President and CEO Jesse Rosen and League Vice President for Learning and Leadership Development Ken Cole facilitated the conversation among orchestra leaders, musicians, staff, and trustees. Themes from the meeting will inform programming for the League’s 2015 National Conference in Cleveland, May 25-27. The afternoon was devoted to “Building an Effective Fundraising Board,” a results-oriented seminar for board members and orchestra CEOs about ways to cultivate a healthy culture of fundraising among board members. The seminar was led by nonprofit fundraising expert Chuck Loring, with panelists from the Canton Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Firelands Symphony. The Cleveland Orchestra hosted the event, and the day wrapped up with a performance by the Cleveland Orchestra. The gathering was the first in a series of regional seminars presented by the League’s Governance Center, which is supported by the Noteboom Fund, with leadership gifts from The Clinton Family Fund, Marcia and John Goldman, and the Sargent Family Foundation.
The Play’s the Thing
Mahler, Wagner, and Beethoven are seizing the stage at orchestras— but not just with their music. “Symphonic Plays” from Classical Movements puts the composers and their lives center stage to dramatize the stories behind the music, in concert productions that weave together actors, conductor, and orchestra, which performs the composer’s music live. Taking their cues from the hit TV series, CSI: Mozart and CSI: Beethoven probe the mysteries surrounding the deaths of those legendary composers, while Shostakovich: Notes for Stalin examines the threats Shostakovich endured during the creation of his Fifth Symphony. Several orchestras have staged the plays, and in April the Baltimore Symphony gives the world premiere of Tchaikovsky: Mad but for Music.
Musical America’s Coup de Théâtre
Mel Mel Contourcon/Los Ange les by Getty Images Times/
Stage director Peter Sellars was honored as 2015 Artist of the Year at Musical America’s 54th awards ceremony, held December 11 at the Century Club in New York City. Sellars is the first non-musician to win MA’s top award and land on the cover of its annual performing arts directory. The other awards went to John Luther Adams as Composer of the Year, Gianandrea Noseda as Conductor of the Year, violinist Lisa Batiashvili as Instrumentalist of the Year, and soprano Christine Goerke as Vocalist of the Year.
Heart of Glass Grant Heger
In October, the League of American Orchestras, American Composers Orchestra, and EarShot announced that Julia Adolphe and Melody Eötvös will receive orchestral commissions of $15,000 each as part of an initiative Julia Adolphe to increase opportunities for women composers. The initiative, made possible by the generous support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Program for Commissioning Women in the Performing Arts, featured readings with the Berkeley Symphony Melody Eötvös Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and American Composers Orchestra, including career development workshops and mentoring opportunities with established composers. Six female composers participated in the readings, which were administered by American Composers Orchestra on behalf of EarShot, the National Orchestral Composition Discovery Network. Adolphe and Eötvös were selected by a panel of composers to receive the commissions.
Supporting Women Composers
For a guy who was kind of a creep, Bluebeard sure is getting around these days. In October, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra presented Bartók’s chilling Bluebeard’s Castle in a semistaged production featuring iridescent sculptures by glass artist Dale Chihuly that capture the brooding mood of the two-person opera. Music Director JoAnn Falletta led the work, and she’ll tackle it again in April with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra at the Virginia Arts Festival, once more with the Chihuly sculptures. In March, the glass pieces head to Kansas, when the Wichita Symphony Orchestra performs Bluebeard’s Castle with legendary bass Sam Ramey in the title role and mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby as a bride who may be too curious for her own good. The Chihuly sculptures first appeared in the Seattle Symphony’s production of the opera in 2007, and have since been seen at orchestras in Milwaukee, Nashville, and Tel Aviv.
be the first to book the best
“These are the stars of the next generation.” – the Washington Post
Announcing the F i rSt P ri Z E Wi NNE rS of the 2014 Y oUNg CoNCE rt Art i S t S i Nt E rNAt i o NAL A UDi t i o NS
Daniel Lebhardt, piano Sang-Eun Lee, cello Soo-Been Lee, violin Edgar Moreau, cello Ziyu Shen, viola Seiya Ueno, flute
YCOUNG ONCERT ARTISTS
who join our current roster PIANO
Bella Hristova Paul Huang Aleksey Semenenko Stephen Waarts VIOLA
Narek Arutyunian Raphaël Sévère
250 West 57 Street, Suite 1222 New York, New York 10107
Gleb Ivanov Ji George Li Andrew Tyson Yun-Chin Zhou
www.yca.org (212) 307-6657
David Hertzberg Chris Rogerson SOPRANO
Julia Bullock CELLO
Image of Venus (“the Bringer of Peace”) from the Northwest Symphony Orchestra’s The Planets, October 2014
Northwest Symphony in Orbit In the 100 years since Holst’s seven-movement suite The Planets had its world premiere, the work has frequently been performed accompanied by displays of the planets themselves. At a sold-out family concert this fall at the Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien, Washington, the Northwest Symphony Orchestra premiered a version featuring video and photos from Mars Rovers, spacecraft from NASA and the European Space Agency, and Seattle-based astrophotographer Andy Ermolli. Music Director Anthony Spain noted that he spent 350 hours working on the project with Adrian Wyard, a former Microsoft program manager, to create “live visual choreography” that allowed the images to synch with tempo changes.
Carnegie Hall opened its Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing in September with a series of events showcasing the wide range of education and community programs encompassed by Carnegie’s Weill Music Institute and Ensemble ACJW, a performing arm of the institute run collaboratively with Juilliard and the New York City Department of Education. ACJW musicians performed in the education wing’s Weill Music Room during Open House activities on September 20; the institute’s first Family Day on September 21 included parent-child activities like the one pictured above. Carnegie’s $230 million Studio Towers Renovation Project has resulted in 24 state-of-the-art education spaces on the upper floors of the historic hall, as well as a large roof garden.
Two Hours of Comedy and Music! Two Mime Superstars Dan Kamin— as The Classical Clown. Charlie Chaplin— in two film classics.
Going Solar in Denmark
See for yourself at www.dankamin.com
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Education Takes Wing at Carnegie
The city of Aalborg in northern Denmark has only about six hours of daylight at the winter solstice, but that didn’t stop the construction of a new solar-powered symphonic performance space that opened recently. The Musikkens Hus (House of Music) features solar panels on the south façade, as well as hypocaust pipes in the concrete floor to help cool the facility in summer and heat it in winter. The Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and the Orkester Norden are among the ensembles in this city of 130,000 that perform in the space, which also serves the music departments of Aalborg University and the Royal Academy of Music. The center includes a 1,300-seat concert hall, practice rooms, and public courtyards. And Denmark’s new solar-powered House of at the summer solstice in Aalborg in June, Music, in the city of Aalborg it’s light until midnight. symphony
Air on a B String
Jeff Alexander Named President of Chicago Symphony
It’s an opportunity that George Frideric Handel, despite his business savvy and zeal as a concert promoter, never dreamed of. Boston Baroque, the period-instrument orchestra founded in 1973 by conductor Martin Pearlman, has launched a new electronic media platform. It includes audio and video live-streaming of concerts; a Boston Baroque Radio program on bostonbaroque.org, iHeartRadio, and TuneInRadio; and downloading of live-concert recordings through agreements with Naxos of America and the American Federation of Musicians. Audio of the concert featuring Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 streamed in November, Handel’s Messiah in December, and Cimarosa’s Il maestro di cappella in January; yet to come are Bach’s St. John Passion (February 28) and Handel’s Agrippina (April 25).
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has tapped Jeff Alexander for its top administrative post. He succeeds Deborah F. Rutter, who stepped down last July to become president of Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Alexander, who began his duties on January 12, recently completed fourteen years as president and CEO of Canada’s Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, where he is credited with strengthening operations and implementing new programs including a $25 million community music school. Prior to Vancouver he had spent sixteen years at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, twelve of them as general manager—a title he had earlier held for two years at the Laredo (Tex.) Philharmonic. He is a graduate of New England Conservatory, where he majored in French horn performance.
August 24, 1949 – October 19, 2014
tephen Paulus, a Minnesota composer of more than 400 orchestral, choral, chamber, and operatic works, died October 19 at the age of 65. He had suffered a severe stroke in July of 2013 and never fully recovered. Trained at the University of Minnesota, where he received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in music, Paulus was a co-founder, in 1973, of the Minnesota Composers Forum, the national composer service organization. In 1983 he was named composer-inresidence, along with Libby Larsen, at the Minnesota Orchestra, and he later held similar posts at the Atlanta, Tucson, and Annapolis symphony orchestras. Paulus’s survivors include his wife, the former Patricia Stutzman; two sons: a brother; and his mother.
Orchestrating an Alternative View of El Sistema A new book makes some explosive charges against the world-famous Venezuelan music-education program. How accurate is it? An expert on El Sistema considers the controversy. by Eric Booth
t age 40, Venezuela’s widely admired El Sistema musiceducation program reaches some 500,000 young people, many from economically struggling circumstances, to engage them in intensive afterschool orchestral and choral ensemble work every day. Over the past seven years, the program has dazzled audiences, journalists, and pilgrimage visitors in increasing numbers, spurring El Sistema-inspired programs in more than 60 countries, including almost 100 programs in the U.S.—at least eight of them supported by professional orchestras—with many more in the pipeline. Geoffrey Baker’s controversial new book El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth (Oxford University Press, 2014) sets out to reveal what he believes others are not seeing: that El Sistema is more image management than substance, and that there is a carefully concealed shadow side. Baker, a faculty member at University of London’s Royal Holloway College and self-described “activist ethnomusicologist,” spent a year in Venezuela doing observations and interviewing current and past members of El Sistema. He tells of
arriving full of admiring anticipation but discovering discontent and dysfunction that compelled him to tell a story others were not telling, out of fear of reprisals by El Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu. Baker’s goal is not to present a balanced picture of El Sistema but rather to “provide a counterweight to the official story that has dramatically skewed the scales.” Throughout, he refers to his work as “research,” but his methodology is aggressively one-sided, nearly devoid of named sources, lacking any statistical data, and filled with attacks of many kinds, including ax-to-grind chapters objecting to orchestras in general and debunking all standard music education. Baker sometimes relies on “data” from online discussion boards, for instance summarizing comments that he found online: “Behind the appealing appearances, according to numerous posters, lie harsh realities: corruption, maladministration, discrimination, nepotism, favoritism, bullying, poor pay and working conditions, strife between management and teachers, exploitation of staff and children.” Even more bluntly, he quotes: “All of us in El Sistema know that it’s a despicable lie and farce designed to brainwash people!” Baker calls his 330 pages of attack a “critique,” but I see it as criticism; a true critique considers context and is constructive, even in examining what isn’t working,
while criticism simply points out what is perceived as amiss. As someone who has studied El Sistema for years—I am currently cowriting a book about El Sistema and have visited 22 countries to observe the work in action—I feel compelled to respond. My direct and collegial experience with El Sistema is profoundly contrary to the conclusions Baker makes in Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth. Rather than taking the form of a standard book review or full rebuttal, I offer a personal response and a gesture at un-skewing this one-sided (and repetitive) attack. Baker’s main criticisms are as follows: El Sistema has not done enough research that enables clear evaluation of the program or impact. El Sistema leaders would agree with this, and have a major new report about to be released. They have not been required by their funders, and it is not standard practice in Venezuela, to do research studies that would inform the “rigorous analysis and public debate” Baker demands. The program is mostly for middle-class kids, with only the rare child of poverty. Since there is little data available, Baker’s charge is based only on anonymous accounts. However, I know of two pieces of statistical data, both of which Baker omits, symphony
Katie Wyatt, executive director, Kidznotes
Invest in one, invest in many Through our leadership programs, the League invested in Katie, who now invests in nearly 300 kids annually from Title-1 schools in Durham and Raleigh, N.C. Supporting the League means investing in people, their communities, and the future of classical music. Donate now at americanorchestras.org.
El Sistema has had good press in recent required to sustain the organization’s pubyears, boosted by the celebrity of conduclic image. Certainly El Sistema has been tor and El Sistema alumnus Gustavo strongly shaped by its founder, whose Dudamel, the many awards for Abreu, diplomatic skills have guided it through and successful concerts around the world. radical swings of government (almost all But they are hardly dedicated imagefunding is from the federal budget), and makers: only this fall did they begin to whose vision infuses every aspect of its create a brochure about El Sistema, the function. Given Venezuela’s dysfunctional first in 40 years. Barely publicized at all and frequently chaotic political environare their significant new initiatives in ment, it is doubtful that El Sistema would healthcare, with the discontinue to exist at all, much less expand abled, in penitentiaries, in and flourish, if Abreu had not used every José Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema preserving and extending possible ounce of the political and persualocal folk music, in training sive powers that Baker finds objectionable. luthiers, and working with “El Sistema’s structure exists primarily to infants—they mostly have carry out José Antonio Abreu’s orders.” Much their heads down advancof Baker’s book is a relentless character ing the work, taking care attack on Abreu, the only individual he of kids, rather than talking singles out for criticism in terms such as about themselves, contrary “evil genius,” “the devil dressed like an to Baker’s accusations. angel,” and “a sinister genius, powered El Sistema uses outdated by narcissism.” Even “Führer” and “Big pedagogy that is essentially Brother” make an appearance. He draws a militaristic repetitive drilling picture of authoritarianism that includes and relies on inexperienced Machiavellian political gamesmanship, teachers. Baker has a known threats and intimidation, image control, bias toward more progresbrutal reprisal and punishment, and The Miracle of Music found that in a reasive musical pedagogies like free jazz imruthless demands of everyone, including sonably representative sample of Sistema provisation, and has little good to say for children. I am sure that there are disfamilies, 89 percent lived in poverty (with any aspect of Western classical pedagogy. gruntled people around El Sistema; Baker over half in extreme poverty), and 11 In my experience, Sistema teachers in has found them and interviewed them. percent came from the middle class. Venezuela often use conventional pedagoObviously, any large government instituEl Sistema is an organization “more gies in extremely effective ways to achieve tion will have opponents, and they will interested in world tours and new flagthe robust musical and social development wax loquacious given anonymity and an ship buildings” than social justice, and it that Baker denies or distorts as mere pubeager listener dedicated to reporting the financially starves many núcleos. Balancing Baker portrays El Sistema as an old-fashioned banana republic, financial priorities is always a delicate art, and it’s true that most núcleos don’t with José Antonio Abreu at the top exerting absolute control. have as much money as they would like. Baker represents international tours by El lic showmanship. The brutally repressive negative—especially in the Venezuelan Sistema orchestras as perks for the favored learning environments he portrays stand in context of political hyperpartisanship, few top musicians (in some parts of his stark contradiction to my own experience, where every action offends a number of account they are “favored,” while in other and to the reports of some 60 colleagues, people. In response, I can only say that parts he calls them “slaves”), but many many of whom have spent more time in this image of Abreu contrasts sharply with others view the tours and music centers as Venezuela than Baker did. that of many who know him, including statements of national pride and aspiraEl Sistema is “a model of tyranny.” Baker the leaders of a worldwide movement who tional embodiments of musical identity, portrays El Sistema as an old-fashioned see him as selfless, modest, and resolutely showing the world what Venezuelans can banana republic, with José Antonio Abreu child-focused. It is ironic that the general do. For El Sistema, global recognition has at the top exerting absolute control down view of the worldwide Sistema movebeen critical in building support that will through the ranks of staff, down to teachment emphasizes El Sistema’s generosity: reach down to the underfunded sites. ers and even to students, who obediently “Come see our work; take whatever you El Sistema is driven by public relations comply with demands that can be abusive like; and transform it to suit the needs of concerns to create a false façade. It’s true that in order to produce the impressive results the children in your country.” Glenn Ross
and both of which contradict his accusations. The single available government statistic finds that El Sistema programs exist in 80 percent of the 128 municipalities categorized as “very high risk” because of high crime and poverty. Expansion plans are underway to make that 100 percent. An independent 2007 survey (with a relatively small sample size, we should note) reported by Chefi Borzacchini in the book
Rachel Ford, executive director, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra
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Orchestras are authoritarian. Mixed into Baker’s criticisms of how El Sistema works are a condemnation of orchestra practices and challenges to the value of the music education pedagogies that prepare students for orchestral work. “El Sistema claims to prepare children to become responsible adult citizens; yet here its primary tool, the orchestra, is seen as reducing responsible adults to the level of infants,” Baker writes. “Dudamel’s ‘ideal global society’ is starting to look less like the egalitarian utopias imagined since the
ing all the jobs in Venezuelan professional orchestras, and a progressive movement to make art music accessible to all people. Certainly El Sistema orchestras love European music, and play it with their own proud Venezuelan stamp, but they have also focused, to a degree unique among top world orchestras, upon the rich repertory of works by Latin American composers. Baker does make a number of valid observations and some useful suggestions, identifying many genuine problems that need to be addressed—and that are being
I found this book deeply disheartening: a scholar has invested years of his time and expertise in writing a one-sided screed rather than a constructive critique. time of Plato, and more like the dystopian Oceania in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four.” He also offers quotes from an El Sistema student blog, such as: “You basically subjugate your whole person, all your ideas, your own personal ideas, you have to just completely throw them away. Just say, right, I don’t matter. The guy on the box, on the podium, he’s the guy that matters.” Baker argues that learning in orchestras is inherently opposed to the highest priority in El Sistema, which is social development. “There is a strong case for considering the insistence on musical excellence in orchestral settings as frequently working against good social care, because it usually emphasizes the undemocratic, hierarchical, competitive values of classical music.” Given Baker’s support for progressive pedagogies that emphasize creative selfexpression and individualized learning, it is no surprise to learn that he objects to the disciplined cooperative learning in Sistema programs. He proposes alternative approaches for Venezuelan programs, such as free jazz improvisation, Scottish fiddling, and indigenous music traditions. El Sistema is colonialist. “Forming orchestras of poor children in the barrios is the contemporary version of Jesuit missionaries who set off to the Paraguayan jungle in the seventeenth century to form choirs of Indians.” The historical reality is that El Sistema was founded as a protest against Europeans and North Americans hold-
addressed by Sistema leadership, which Baker would have discovered had he ever spoken with them. Baker cites incidents of sexual contact between teachers and students and between students that are inappropriate, and unfortunately all too common in music education (he digresses into a discussion of a non-Sistema related scandal in England) and throughout higher education. El Sistema’s national management does investigate every incident it learns of, but might well reexamine its policies, as hundreds of other institutions are doing to make learning environments safer. Even as I recognize some valid points amid Baker’s wash of negativity, I am wary of his conclusions because he brings biases to his supposedly objective analysis, and his research methodology is questionable. In addition, I have reason to doubt the accuracy of the quotations that are his only evidence. Not only does he make distortions of quotations from my own writing to suit his points, but also on at least two specific occasions, in his previous writing and in this book, Baker has quoted the writing of my close friend and co-author Tricia Tunstall so selectively as to make an entirely different, even opposing, point. For example, in one chapter of Tunstall’s book Changing Lives she praises the enthusiastic pedagogy she witnessed in Venezuela, giving an example of one excellent teacher’s “relentless” efforts with the orchestra to
make their musical entrances precise. Baker cites this as evidence of repressive teaching methods. Determined pursuit of artistic improvement certainly does not equal repression; that was exactly not her point, but he twists her words to suit his agenda. It is impossible to know how many of the quotations he includes in Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth as his primary evidence may be similarly distorted. In the end, I found this book deeply disheartening: a scholar has invested years of his time and expertise in writing a one-sided screed rather than a constructive critique. He sees a despotic corporate monopoly that deserves his spanking. That’s not what I see. I see an earnest, highly vulnerable endeavor by thousands of people dedicated to improving the lives of young people in need. He doesn’t mention any of El Sistema’s successes, or the immense good it brings about on a daily basis, and I believe their efforts deserve better than a polemic intended to hurt the organization that has accomplished so much in Venezuela and around the world. Yes, Venezuela’s El Sistema has the flaws and frustrations typical of any enormous project, but little of the embedded dysfunction and dissent that Baker reports. No one inside El Sistema ever claimed it was perfect. Indeed, I have heard the leadership state that they have had 40 years of making mistakes and learning from them. However, Baker offers only two options: “We engage in bourgeois fantasies, or grapple with El Sistema’s weaknesses.” I believe there is a third option that Baker doesn’t see: contributing to a remarkable and imperfect movement with recognition of its accomplishments and with helpful critique. ERIC BOOTH, a longtime faculty member at the Juilliard School and Lincoln Center Education, is a leading authority on El Sistema. His five books include The Everyday Work of Art and The Music Teaching Artist’s Bible, and he is currently co-writing a sixth about the international growth of El Sistema. He consults with orchestras around the world about education and community programs, as well as with cities and states on arts education.
Mei-Ann Chen, music director, Chicago Sinfonietta
Invest in one, invest in many Through our leadership programs, the League invested in Mei-Ann, who now invests in connecting the diverse cultures of Chicago by expanding the boundaries of classical music. Supporting the League means investing in people and their communities. Donate now at americanorchestras.org.
Audience Quest How to build new and enduring audiences for an orchestra? How to deepen an orchestra’s engagement with its existing audiences? The Wallace Foundation’s ambitious series of studies and reports documents innovative strategies that work for arts groups—with practices and ideas that can be applied at orchestras.
T H E R O A D T O R E S U LT S BOB HARLOW
The Wallace Foundation 5 Penn Plaza, 7th Floor New York, NY 10001 212.251.9700 Telephone firstname.lastname@example.org
Wallace Studies in Building Arts Audiences
EFFECTIVE PR ACTICES FOR BUILDING ARTS AUDIENCES
tion published The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences, by market-research expert Bob Harlow. Aimed at leaders of arts organizations, funders, board members, policymakers, The Road to Results describes nine practices that and arts-management students, the book arts organizations can use to make their audienceidentifies and explains building programs morenine effective. practices Written for arts organization leaders, arts funders, policymakers, and that arts organizations can use to make arts management students, the book draws from their audience-building programs more data-supported case studies examining the successes and challenges faced by from 10 differentten arts effective. It’sachieved based on data organizations as they undertook multi-year efforts to arts groups that undertook multi-year build their audiences. To read the case studies, as well efforts to build their audiences, and gives as other publications about building arts audiences, www.wallacefoundation.org. an overviewplease of visit what worked and what didn’t—and why—as well as new ways of thinking and practical tips. The Road to Results is one of twelve reports in the Wallace Studies in Building Arts Audiences series, which also includes ten in-depth case studies tracking successful programs (six have been published so far), and a forthcoming guide to market research for arts organizations. All twelve stem from Wallace’s work in a previous initiative, the Wallace Excellence Awards, which gave funding from 2006 to 2012 to 54 arts organizations in six cities to develop and test audience-building efforts. Here are excerpts from The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences. Download the complete Road to Results report and other resources on audience-building for free from wallacefoundation.org.
T H E R O A D T O R E S U LT S
In the fall of 2014, the Wallace Founda-
EFFECTIVE PR ACTICES FOR BUILDING ARTS AUDIENCES BY BOB HARLOW
hroughout the U.S., arts organizations face a changing and challenging landscape. Americans have more options than ever in ways to spend their leisure time, and younger generations have less exposure to the arts in school than previous generations. They may also want to interact differently with institutions than their parents and grandparents did. The good news is that many arts organizations are learning how to adapt so they can continue to fulfill their missions and even expand their audiences in the process. The Road to Results details
Reprinted with permission from Bob Harlow and The Wallace Foundation.
the experiences of ten such organizations from among 54 arts institutions that received funding from the Wallace Foundation between 2006 and 2012 to develop audience-building initiatives. The ten organizations profiled in The Road to Results are: Boston Lyric Opera, The Clay Studio (Philadelphia), the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco), Fleisher Art Memorial (Philadelphia), Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston), Minnesota Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet (Seattle), San Francisco Girls Chorus, Seattle Opera, and Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago). An analysis of these programs—each supported by evaluation data—revealed nine practices contributing to their success: 1. Recognizing When Change Is Needed Organizations saw a pattern of audience behavior that presented an opportunity or a challenge for their financial viability, artistic viability, or both. They recognized that change was necessary to seize this opportunity or overcome the challenge. In some cases, the urgency of the challenge or opportunity actually served the initiative by keeping it front and center, capturing and sustaining the attention of the entire organization over the years needed to build a following. 2. Identifying the Target Audience that Fits Compatibility has two meanings here: First, organizations had reason to believe, based either on research or prior experience, that they could make a meaningful connection with the target audience. Second, leaders agreed that serving the audience reinforced—and did not compromise—the organization’s other activities or its mission. 3. Determining What Kinds of Barriers Need to Be Removed Successful organizations identified the types of barriers impeding the target audience’s participation and shaped their strategies accordingly. symphony
Nine Effective Practices
4. Taking Out the Guesswork: Audience Research to Clarify the Approach Organizations often started out knowing very little about the new audience they were targeting and why that audience was not participating. Rather than guess, they went to the source—the target audience itself—for the facts. Using audience research, the organizations gained a clearer understanding of their target group’s interests, lifestyles, general attitudes toward the arts, cultural involvement, and opinions of their own institution.
Successful arts organizations identified the types of barriers impeding the target audience’s participation and shaped their strategies accordingly. 5. Thinking Through the Relationship Some of the organizations studied went so far as to spell out a vision of the relationship they wanted to cultivate with the new audience, including specific roles for the audience and themselves. By doing so, they gave their audience-building initiatives structure and a sense of purpose. Leaders and staff members understood how they wanted the audience to interact with their organization and developed programs to fulfill that vision. 6. Providing Multiple Ways In Staff expanded the ways people could access their organizations both literally and psychologically. Many organizations provided gateway experiences to acquaint newcomers with their activities. Others generated interest by making connections to things that their target audience already knew, or by showing them different sides of their institutions. 7. Aligning the Organization Around the Strategy Leaders and staff built clarity, consensus, and internal buy-in around the audiencebuilding initiative’s objectives, importance to the organization, and staff roles in implementing it.
for Building Audiences for the Arts
Prepare for Success Plan for the heavier workload and new staff skills that serving new audiences requires.
Recognize When Change Is Needed Respond to audience challenges and opportunities that matter to your organization’s future.
Build in Learning Experiment. Evaluate. Adjust. Repeat.
Focus on a group receptive to your art form and organization, and that leaders agree makes sense to pursue.
Align the Organization Around the Strategy
Expanded and Engaged Audiences
Provide Multiple Ways In Offer a variety of engaging experiences to introduce the target audience to your organization and art form.
Think Through the Relationship
Determine What Kinds of Barriers Need to be Removed Are the obstacles between you and the target group practical matters like ticket pricing, people’s perceptions or the audience experience itself?
Make sure organization leaders and staff understand and embrace the strategy and their roles in it.
Identify the Target Audience that Fits
Take Out the Guesswork Use audience research to understand the target group’s views on your organization and art form.
Develop a vision for how the target audience will interact with your organization.
This infographic summarizes The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences, a guide based on the work of 10 arts organizations that received funding from The Wallace Foundation between 2006 and 2012 to develop audience-building initiatives. An analysis of their efforts, which were shaped by audience research and then evaluated, revealed nine factors contributing to their success. To read the report and see other Wallace publications about audience building, visit www.wallacefoundation.org.
8. Building in Learning Even with considerable research and planning, organizations could never be sure that a new audience would react favorably to their overtures. There were stops, starts, and some downright failures along the way. To stay on track and develop a working knowledge of what clicked with their audiences, many of them did on-theground experiments or used formal evaluations that drove program improvements. 9. Preparing for Success Success for the ten organizations involved serving new audiences and assuming new responsibilities. Staff often worked overtime to handle an increased workload. Organizations found that they had to develop new capabilities and refine exist-
ing practices to accommodate newcomers, all while continuing to satisfy existing audiences. Not every institution that was studied implemented each practice, but generally speaking, the more practices they adopted, the greater the success they achieved. Taken together, these practices promoted audience engagement in two ways. First, they created a shared sense of purpose that kept an audience-engagement program front and center for leaders and staff, thus enabling the initiative to permeate a wide range of an organization’s activities. Second, the practices helped an arts institution make meaningful connections with its target audience. Staff members developed programs that reflected both the audience’s inclinations and the organization’s mission and strengths. As a
Building Arts Audiences: Case Studies The Wallace Foundation is publishing several case studies and reports as part of its Wallace Excellence Awards initiative, with lessons that can be applied at orchestras. Four in-depth case studies were available in fall 2014.
This winter and spring, the Wallace Foundation plans to release additional case studies and a guide to market research for arts organizations. Visit wallacefoundation.org to download these books and other audience-building resources for free.
result, they not only engaged the audience, but also fulfilled important objectives for their organization, establishing a cycle that reinforced itself and gave the initiative momentum.
Most arts managers agree that few people become dedicated audience members after a single visit, no matter how much they enjoy it. All evidence about sustained arts engagement suggests that it springs from a comfort level and special relationship developed over multiple experiences. Audience-building programs take on the herculean task of trying to recreate and compress a process that naturally takes years. Newcomers need to have many rewarding experiences, most likely with several sides of an institution. Accordingly, it is not surprising that two overarching themes connect the nine effective practices described above: Successful initiatives created meaningful connections
The arts organizations in the case studies
targeted audiences that fit them (practice 2, above), that leaders and staff believed could bring vitality to the organization, and that the organization could satisfy. By focusing on a specific audience, the organizations were able to tailor their strategies to that group’s interests and lifestyles. These strategies first broke down the barriers that kept the audience away (practice 3), then built a meaningful connection with them to encourage repeat visits. Some organizations went so far as to articulate a vision of the relationship they wanted to have with the audience, allowing them to express their missions in new contexts (practice 5). They created many opportunities for their audience to get to know them (practice 6), including low-key gateway experiences that let audience members sample activities in ways that were comfortable. In figuring out how to make those connections, the organizations listened to their audiences and used that information to design relevant programs and resonant marketing campaigns (practice 4).
Aiming for Sustainability Last fall the Wallace Foundation announced Building Audiences for Sustainability, a six-year, $40 million arts initiative designed to help approximately 25 performing arts organizations across the U.S. create programs that attract new audiences while retaining existing ones. The program also aims to share evidence and experiences from these organizations on whether and how they can achieve and sustain audience gains—and whether these gains improve overall fiscal health. Grant awardees are scheduled to be announced by early March of this year.
Successful initiatives received sustained attention from both leadership and staff
Sustained attention was necessary given the long time span and broad organizational involvement that audience-building initiatives require. First, it often takes time for organizations to learn what really clicks with a certain audience. Then it takes additional time to gain traction with that audience and develop a strong following, even with a well-designed and wellexecuted strategy. Organizations had a better chance at sustaining attention when their audience-building initiatives were rooted in a sense of urgency that came by acknowledging a weighty challenge or opportunity for their future (practice 1). The most successful ones aligned staff behind their audience-building strategies and tactics (practice 7). Leaders and staff all understood the importance of the initiative and their individual roles in implementing it. The organizations also strived for continuous improvement, using on-the-ground experience and audience research to learn which aspects of their initiative were working and what could be better (practice 8). Finally, they monitored their institution’s ability to handle new visitors and made adjustments as necessary (practice 9). Information about successful organizations can help other institutions make strategic choices for their audience-building programs and execute them more effectively. That said, highlighting only the effective practices risks oversimplifying, and can give the impression that everything worked all the time. The truth is that the journeys of many of the organizations studied were quite messy, and not all were complete successes. But when things did not go as planned, they accepted such setbacks as part of the process. It wasn’t always easy, especially when successes came slowly. What seemed to keep them going was an understanding that building repeat attendance can take years—a recognition that it takes time to learn how to work with a new audience and, in turn, for a new audience to see an institution as a place where it belongs. symphony
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Emerging artists and ensembles of all stripes are finding innovative ways to shape the canon and make their mark.
Imani Winds’ Legacy Commissioning Project is adding new jazz and classical works to the repertoire for woodwind quintet.
WindSync is partnering with composer Michael Gilbertson on a forthcoming concerto for wind quintet and orchestra.
or young artists in the classical-music industry, the feeling that the keys to your destiny lie in someone else’s hands—a judges’ panel, a music director, a grant committee—can be seductive. Conservatory training requires mastering a formidable vocabulary, and in the process of that learning, a more basic lesson occasionally gets lost: the canon, and the performing landscape, is yours to shape. The vibrant and shrewd artists profiled here are hazarding all kinds of creative and entrepreneurial risks. Whether through audacious rearranging of beloved masterworks, reinventing the rules of chamber performance, or seizing control of the means of commissioning and performing new works, they’re finding their own paths to a profound lesson: you don’t need to be an institution, an administrator, or a heavyweight to make these things happen.
PUBLIQuartet, a group founded in 2010, works actively to commission new works.
Ensembles and artists are commissioning concertos, establishing partnerships with theater directors, and incorporating improvisation and rock-music influences into a variety of new works. These creative pursuits are often grassroots endeavors. For Imani Winds, a woodwind quintet, the Legacy Commissioning Project emerged from the desire to diversify repertoire by adding works by jazz and classical composers. Projects can emerge from the joint efforts of a composer and small ensemble who have worked frequently together, as was the case with Dan Visconti and the
cago Q Ensemble, a group founded in 2010 whose other musicians are violinist Ellen McSweeney and violist Aimee Biasiello. Sitzer remembers that the group grappled with ill-defined existential frustration early on: “We all struggled with the idea, as classical musicians, that we’re stuck in a box. We’re performing artists, not creative artists. So we were looking for ways to generate art, and create something, as opposed to just interpreting art that somebody else has created.” It was this desire that sent them into ever-widening cross-disciplinary collaborations. They be-
gan by enlisting actress Deirdre Harrison. “Her work is largely in theater, but she works with a lot of musicians,” says Sitzer. “She’s one of the most creative individuals I have ever met, and she was instrumental in helping us figure out what kind of ‘new work’ we wanted to generate, and what that meant.” With Harrison’s coaching, the group crafted an evening-length work in 2013 that slipped elegantly between the worlds of concert and theater. The project, called Three-Sided, “started with a string trio by Andrew Norman called The Companion Chicago Q Ensemble has explored chamber music and theater through projects such as No Exit at the Chicago venue Constellation in August 2014 (below). No Exit featured Mozart’s Divertimento in E-flat and Giacinto Scelsi’s String Trio, performed along with scenes from Sartre’s play as a metaphor for the dark side of musical intimacy.
string quintet Sybarite5, which will perform a new work with multiple orchestras this year. Another wind quintet, WindSync, is partnering with composer Michael Gilbertson, who is writing a concerto for wind quintet and orchestra for them. The string quartet PUBLIQuartet—some of whose members are composers—works actively to commission new works and schedule more performances that allow them to improvise by mixing, say, jazz and tango with Mozart, Haydn, and Stravinsky. Cellist Sara Sitzer, who plays with the Elgin Symphony in Illinois and the Firebird Chamber Orchestra in Miami, has also been a member since 2011 of Chi-
Guide to Rome,” Sitzer remembers. “It was actually his notes in the piece that led us to the entire idea of hiring Deirdre. All of our projects start with something in the repertoire, and he has a couple of small staging instructions in the notes. We were intrigued by them, and wanted to add more. So we worked with Deirdre to turn it into a staged piece, incorporating music by Beethoven and Marcos Balter into an evening-length concert program that also featured interstitial sound pieces composed by Jenna Lyle. No applause in between pieces, everything just flowed directly into something else. We
movement exercises, and improvisatory exercises, and writing exercises—basically all the things that we are not trained to do,” she laughs. The choreography, which they performed live as they played their instruments, was “conservative” enough that they never felt completely out of their depth, but Sitzer remembers that the next leap they took scared everyone. “For the second show, we took Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit and adapted it and acted it out,” she says. “We got it down to about an hour; it was a very condensed version of the play, but it was perfect because it was for three people
than we’re used to, and also extremely intimidating: these are actual theater people who know what we’re doing, or what we’re trying to do. We thought ‘OK, if we can convince these people, we can convince anybody.” The reaction: “People came to us afterwards and asked us ‘How did you actors figure out how to play instruments like that?’” she laughs. “It was amazing, and so validating.” For Chicago Q, the buzz that this engagement generates has proven addictive, and their adventurousness has grown to define and set them apart. They’ve also done
Sybarite5 commissioned composer Dan Visconti (left) to write Beat Box for string quintet and orchestra. The South Carolina Philharmonic will perform the world premiere in March 2015 at the Koger Center in Columbia, S.C., with performances to follow at Minnesota’s Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and Michigan’s Midland Symphony Orchestra.
commissioned a friend of ours to design soundscapes that were played in the cracks, because we hate that awkward thing where all of a sudden you stop playing this great music, and you transition from being artists into being people on a stage that have to humbly-but-awkwardly accept applause,” she says. “We wanted it to be more of a show than a concert.” Audiences, she says, were thrilled, despite or because of the highly non-traditional set up. “We didn’t really have to ‘prepare’ anyone,” Sitzer says. “We knew if we presented it well, there would be no question what we were doing.” They did, however, have to prepare themselves. “We did a lot of americanorchestras.org
plus the ballet. Each of us had a role and we inserted the music of Mozart and Scelsi into the play. That was out of our comfort zone for sure,” she says, “because we are not actors!” The ensemble performed an excerpt from the work, in advance of the premiere, at the Chicago Home Theatre Festival. “We were actually at the home of Bill Ayers,” she notes, referencing the activist and former Weatherman who became a lightning rod during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. “There were a bunch of theater people there—experimental theater people and Bill Ayers and a bunch of his activist buddies. It was such a different audience
similar evenings with the shadow puppetry troupe Manual Cinema and video artist Patrick Liddell. “One of the reasons for classical music feeling not super-relevant to people anymore is that it’s such a passive thing that performers do,” Sitzer says. “I think because we don’t create it, we don’t advocate for it as strongly. We interpret; it’s not ‘our’ art. By taking this different role, as creators, we have an easier time thinking actively about ways to engage people with it.” Their programming attracted the attention of Lawrence A. Johnson, the writer and music critic who recently established the American Music Project to facilitate performances of new and existing American works. This past October, the ensemble performed a commissioned world premiere by Chicago-based composer and pianist Amy Wurtz, plus works by 20th-century composers Irving Fine and David Diamond, at American Music Project’s inaugural concert in Chicago.
Improvising a Quartet
For violinist Jannina Norpoth and cellist Amanda Gookin of PUBLIQuartet, founded in 2010, the MIND THE GAP series began as a way to play with the classical warhorses themselves. The name of the series cleverly references London’s train-boarding announcements and the gap between classical music and other music genres. Their twin desires were to commission and perform highly original new work and to leap headfirst into what, for conservatory-trained classical musicians, still often feels like unknown waters: live improvisation. “We are a group full of
the porous borders between performer and audience. The musicians assemble the works themselves in rehearsals: “We’ll try one part of a piece and improvise over it, or try a bass line here and the melody line from the other piece together, and we record the whole thing,” Norpoth explains. “And then we listen back together and decide how and where it forms into an improvisation. Where are we going to be playing the notes on the paper? Where are we going to start combining the two works? When are we going to launch into an improvisation episode from here, and will it be free improv, or more structured, where somebody gets a solo?”
Norpoth and Gookin have been blown away by the responses to these audacious experiments. “We are always so surprised at the positive reaction that we get from people,” says Norpoth. She remembers an older woman approaching them after a brief preconcert lecture in which they attempted to explain the fluid, anything-goes nature of their improvisatory compositions. Was it too much? “She told us she was enthralled with what we were doing. And she said it was going to help keep classical music alive, because we were making connections for younger audiences, making it interesting and modern and relevant.
PUBLIQuartet’s performances, such as the one below at New York’s DiMenna Center in May, “create a musical dialogue and explore the common ground between different works,” says violinist Jannina Norpoth. The group’s MIND THE GAP concerts present a single evening-long work that ranges across genres from jazz and classical to rock ‘n’ roll.
composers and improvisers, and we felt that it would be a really neat idea if we wrote new pieces ourselves that incorporated all of these different eclectic skills that we had,” Gookin remembers. “But we also combined some of the repertoire we were playing at the time—I think it was Webern and Mozart—and blended it into this new experience. The first time we tried it, in a little music club in Bushwick, Brooklyn, people seemed to really like it. So we just started to develop it from there.” A MIND THE GAP concert consists of a single evening-length work, one that ranges across genres and occasionally slips
In one of their signature programs, they weave in and out of a Haydn quartet, swerving away from the piece to snag sounds from other genres. “We explore jazz and classical and electronic rock ‘n’ roll and then more of an African vibe where we often make the audience sing at the end,” says Norpoth. “We have a Debussy/Charlie Parker improv, and also a Stravinsky/ Thelonious Monk improv. We do Brahms and a tango, and then go into Haydn. And we’ve streamlined them into shorter musical concepts. The idea is to create a musical dialogue that explores the common ground between different works.”
“Improvisation really opened up everything for me as a performer, because it allows me a creative outlet that I never had before,” Norpoth continues. “It’s helped me with my stage anxiety, because once you know how to improvise, you feel free. In traditional classical, there’s always this fear of making a mistake. And you always know how to get out of the mistake if you know how to improvise.” Gookin concurs: “I definitely feel much more relaxed on stage, or just kind of trusting that all of us in the group will have each other’s back, and this comes from really jumping off the ledge together into the unknown of improvising.” symphony
Composer Dan Visconti was also drawn to improvisation as a child, but was vigorously waved away from it by his classical teachers. “I was a bad violinist,” he remembers. “I was always coming up with different endings to Mozart concerti and I’d get yelled at. I kind of realized that maybe I was more suited to be a composer, where I could make up all the notes.” His works blend a vigorous energy from blues and folk idioms with a blurry, loose sense of improvisation and cellular, repeating motifs. It’s not quite post-minimal or directly rock-influenced, but it moves with a joyful energy, and he has been commissioned by orchestras ranging from the Minnesota Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra to the Albany Symphony and the American Composers Orchestra. One of Visconti’s most intriguing associations may be with the enterprising new music ensemble Sybarite 5. The group performs a version of Visconti’s Black Bend, a three-chord romp with distinct blues-rock overtones, written expressly for them, and it has become their signature piece. “They’ve probably performed it hunamericanorchestras.org
dreds of times by now,” says Visconti. Recently, Visconti and Sybarite 5 assembled a consortium commission for a new work called Beat Box that Visconti says draws inspiration from sources as wide-ranging as Aphex Twin, DJ Spooky, and hardcore punk bands like Black Flag. The first commissioning orchestra was the South Carolina Philharmonic, which will premiere the work on March 14 and launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund it. Other orchestras in the commission are Minnesota’s Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra (May 2) and the Midland Symphony Orchestra in Michigan (April 18).
Amarillo Symphony Composer in Residence Chris Rogerson (right), with Music Director Jacomo Rafael Bairos (center) and pianist Garrick Ohlsson
The coordinated efforts of the South Carolina Philharmonic and Sybarite5 seem to have boosted Beatbox’s prospects. As a result of the project, says Visconti, “I’ve gotten even more orchestra contacts. We’re hoping that if it takes off, it could have a life beyond the initial consortium.” When she hears about this sort of heads-together thinking, Monica Felkel, director of artist management at Young Concert Artists, says she is heartened. Felkel helped found YCA’s composer-inresidence program in 1994 in part because she wanted to foster these collaborative relationships with composers for the performers on her roster. “Our first-ever composer-in-residence was Dan Coleman,” Felkel says. “We have a huge list of organizations and people who are eligible to suggest composers for the program. BMI and ASCAP are on there, and any alum of YCA can nominate a composer. So, if you’re a young composer, you’d be hardpressed to not know of someone who can recommend you. “After that, our alumni committee listens to everybody, and we often have a lot of staunch new-music advocates—Anthony de
Chris Rogerson serves as composer in residence with the Amarillo Symphony and has received commissions from groups including the Chicago Sinfonietta, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and the Prism Saxophone Quartet.
chestras. “I think, especially in the late ’90s and the early 2000s, there was a lot of opportunity for funding young composers, and I think orchestras were really taking a chance on commissioning young composers to perform with orchestra,” Felkel says. “It’s harder now to get with the orchestras, a little bit.” Why is that? “Overall, funding has shrunk. And sometimes commissioning a work by a relatively unknown young composer—the risk can feel too big. Often times, when a composer-in-residence of ours gets commissioned, it’s their entrance to the orchestra.” Felkel says YCA works with orchestras of all sizes. Chris Rogerson is on YCA’s composer roster, and also currently serves as composer in residence with the Amarillo Symphony in Texas. “It’s a great opportunity,” says Felkel. “And they’re commissioning works each year and they’re performing existing works, which is great.” Diversifying the Repertoire
Mare, or Ursula Oppens, or Ida Kavafian, or Fred Sherry. But after that, it’s the performer who listens to the music and says, ‘You know what? I really like this person and what they have to say, and this is someone I would be really interested in performing a new piece by.’ The second time around, the composer gets the choice. It’s really an idea of getting them to work with composers—learning that process of working with a young composer and a young performer, and they learn a lot from each other.” YCA’s Felkel feels compelled to bring composers back into the daily lives of or-
Young Concert Artists’ Monica Felkel says she is encouraged when she sees ensembles and orchestras working with young composers.
Seven years ago, clarinetist Mariam Adam of Imani Winds decided to address a long-standing frustration. The repertoire for wind ensembles is small, and wind ensembles battle, in her own words, a “light and fluffy” perception. So in 2007, the Imani Winds’ tenth year as a group, they sought to tackle the problem in a focused way. The Legacy Commissioning Project was born of a desire to connect with composers “who wouldn’t usually write for wind quintet. We wanted to reach out to as many composers we were interested in as possible, and then work closely with them to make sure the piece felt like a true collaboration.” Some composers, she said, “were quick yeses and others needed more time.” Roberto Sierra—whose piece, Concierto de Camara, was premiered in 2008—agreed immediately, but Stefon Harris, for example, whose Anatomy of a Box for the group had its premiere in 2009, “needed more time.” Every year, an Imani member would bring in a composer that the group felt passionate about. The work of organizing commissions—the minutiae, the politics, the coordination—was entirely alien to all of them,
Adam admits. “We were all products of conservatory training. We thought we just had to learn excerpts and solo pieces, and that was it. A lot of the business of being an ensemble becomes relevant when you start branching out beyond that—let’s just say it was very trial by fire,” she laughs. “We had grants, and we also had management to help us find co-commissioners,” she continues. “But that also meant us talk-
“We were all products of conservatory training,” says Imani Winds clarinetist Mariam Adam. “We thought we just had to learn excerpts and solo pieces, and that was it. A lot of the business of being an ensemble becomes relevant when you start branching out. Let’s just say organizing commissions was a trial by fire.” ing actively about the piece and developing relationships with presenters. We faced all these head-scratching questions: How long are we going to ask for exclusivity? How long do we want to ask for exclusivity for recordings? Do we want recording rights? Do we want this to be published with our name on the title page? Over the years, we’ve gotten a little better at it.” Along the way, Adam has discovered an appetite for tasks she’d never imagined. “I thought that working bar-by-bar with the composers, getting them to listen to little bits of pieces and helping us arrange bits that needed to be adapted to our ensembles, or developing themes that I thought were perhaps not developed enough, would be the most tedious thing in the world,” she says. “You know, ‘no, the French horn can’t play that note at that register at that intensity.’ But that little bit of extra work gives the music longevity. It’s kind of amazing: Then we’re playing music that’s written for me. It’s a lot of work, but I feel more in control of my destiny as a musician.” JAYSON GREENE has served as senior editor at Wondering Sound and contributing writer at Pitchfork. He is the former associate editor of Symphony. He lives in Brooklyn.
1 Ellen Appel-Mike Moreland 2 Arthur Moeller 3 Kate Lemmon 4 Ho Chang 5 Matthew Washburn 6 Balazs Borocz 7 Neda Nevaee 8 Beowulf Sheehan 9 Jiyang Chen 10 Janette Beckman
Our annual listing of emerging soloists and conductors is inspired by the breadth and sheer volume of young classical talent. The following list of emerging talent is provided by League of American Orchestras business partners and is intended as a reference point for orchestra professionals who book classical series. It does not imply endorsement by Symphony or the League.
Conductors Eric Jacobsen Opus 3 Artists jacobseneric.com 212 584 7555
Raffaele Ponti Diane Saldick, LLC raffaeleponti.com 212 213 3430
Matthew Troy Diane Saldick, LLC matthewtroy.com 212 213 3430
Ensembles Performing with Orchestra Lysander Piano Trio Concert Artists Guild
concertartists.org 212 333 5200
The Strad hailed this 2012 CAG Competition-winning trio: “…incredible ensemble, passionate playing, articulate and imaginative ideas.” Repertoire includes triple concerti by Beethoven, Martinu, Nico Muhly, and Lera Auerbach’s Serenade for a Melancholic Sea. Photo by Richard Blinkoff
Christina and Michelle Naughton, piano duo Baker Artists LLC
bakerartistsllc.com 646 360 2677
Graduates of the Julliard School and the Curtis Institute, the Naughtons have collaborated with a list of conductors that includes Edo de Waart, Charles Dutoit, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Giancarlo Guerrero, JoAnn Falletta, and Michael Stern. Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
Neave Trio, piano, violin, cello Lisa Sapinkopf Artists
neavetrio.com 800 923 1973
The Neave Trio has “exceeded the gold standard and moved on to platinum” (Fanfare), and has been hailed for their “bright and radiant music making” (Robert Sherman, WQXR Radio, NYC).
Lisa Sapinkopf Artists
Donald Sinta Quartet, saxophones Concert Artists Guild
donaldsintaquartet.com 212 333 5200
“Beautiful playing by the Donald Sinta Quartet” – American Record Guide review of William Bolcom’s Concerto Grosso. Additional repertoire includes Philip Glass’s Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Steven Mackey’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. Photo by Joshua Feist/Courtesy of Arts Midwest
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Ensembles (continued) Varshavski-Shapiro Piano Duo Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner. Winner: Murray Dranoff, Kol HaMusica (Jerusalem), XIII Schubert (Czech Republic), and First International Piano Duo (Poland) competitions. Appearances: Munich Radio Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo by Andrew Chiciak
WindSync, wind quintet Concert Artists Guild
concertartists.org 212 333 5200
Hailed by the Houston Chronicle as “revolutionary chamber musicians,” WindSync premieres a new concerto for (theatrical) wind quintet & orchestra in 2015-16, written by prominent young American composer Michael Gilbertson. Photo by: Richie Hawley
Brasil Guitar Duo Sciolino Artist Management samnyc.us 212 721 9975
Instrumentalists Gabriel Cabezas, cello Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner described as “remarkably poised and elegant” (Cleveland Plain Dealer). Soloist: New York and Los Angeles philharmonics; Chicago and Houston symphonies; Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras. Winner: Sphinx Competition. Photo by Peter Checchia
Cicely Parnas, cello Young Concert Artists and Latitude 45 Arts
yca.org 212 307 6657 (United States) 514 276 2694 (outside United States)
“Velvety sound, articulate passagework and keen imagination” (New York Times). Carnegie Hall debut with New York String Orchestra (Laredo), Vermont Symphony, L’Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, and Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río. Photo by Christian Steiner
Narek Arutyunian, clarinet Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
“Reaches passionate depths with effortless technical prowess” (Washington Post). Artie Shaw’s Concerto with The Boston Pops (Kunzel). Other highlights: Prague Radio Symphony; Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Prieto), Meridian and Albany symphonies. Photo by Christian Steiner
Instrumentalists (continued) Raphaël Sévère, clarinet Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
“Destined for the most brilliant future” (ResMusica). Highlights: Russian National Symphony Orchestra (Spivakov), Orchestre National de France, Czech Philharmonic, Budapest Chamber Orchestra, and Hong Kong Sinfonietta. Photo by Matt Dine
Caroline Cole, harp Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner and first harpist to receive the Virginia Parker Prize and first harpist to win the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award. Soloist: Peterbourough and Northumberland symphony orchestras. Photo by Glenn Lesnick
Michael Brown, piano Sciolino Artist Management
samnyc.us 212 721 9975
A CAG first-prize winner who recently made his Carnegie Hall debut, this “young piano visionary” (New York Times) blends imagination and powerful technique, often interweaving the classics with contemporary works and his own compositions. Photo by Janette Beckman
Michelle Cann, piano Lisa Sapinkopf Artists
michellecann.com 800 923 1973
Richard Goode says of this Curtis grad, “I have been deeply impressed by her… fine musical intelligence and emotional depth. She has the eloquence and authority of a born performer.”
Lisa Sapinkopf Artists
Sean Chen, piano The Cliburn
seanchenpiano.com 817 738 6536
Charismatic 2013 Cliburn third-prize winner with “bold and fresh-faced” interpretations (Limelight). Also the 2013 APA Christel DeHaan Fellow. Recent/upcoming concerto highlights: Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and San Diego symphonies. Photo by Ellen Appel – Mike Moreland/The Cliburn
Fei-Fei Dong, piano Concert Artists Guild
concertartists.org 212 333 5200
Chinese pianist and a 2014 CAG Competition winner, praised for her “natural musicality and beauty of tone” (Cincinnati Enquirer) during the 2013 Cliburn Competition, where she was a top-six finalist.
Photo by Ellen Appel-Mike Moreland/The Cliburn
Gleb Ivanov, piano Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
“Eerily like the ghost of Horowitz” (Washington Post). Possesses a wide range of concerto repertoire. Performances with the New Jersey, Missouri, Johnstown, South Bend, Knoxville, and Grand Rapids symphonies, and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Christian Steiner
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Ji, piano Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
“A gifted young pianist who is clearly going places” (Chicago Tribune). Orchestra highlights: Toronto Symphony (Oundjian), BBC Symphony (Belohlávek), Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Schwarz), Nashville and New Jersey symphonies. Debut CD Lisztomania (Universal Music). Photo by Christian Steiner
Vadym Kholodenko, piano The Cliburn
vadymkholodenko.com 817 738 6536
2013 Cliburn gold medalist “shows the guts of a true superartist” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Recent/ upcoming highlights: Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and San Diego orchestras; Fort Worth Symphony Artistic Partner, performing/recording the complete Prokofiev concerto cycle. Photo by Ellen Appel – Mike Moreland/The Cliburn
Pavel Kolesnikov, piano Honens
honens.com 403 299 0130
Pavel Kolesnikov is Prize Laureate of the 2012 Honens International Piano Competition. In a review of his competition performances, BBC Music Magazine wrote, “tremendous clarity, unfailing musicality, and considerable beauty.” Photo by Colin Way
George Li, piano Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
2012 Gilmore Young Artist. “Staggering technical prowess” and “depth of expression” (Washington Post). Orchestra highlights include Cleveland Orchestra, Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Boise Philharmonic, Edmonton, Stamford, and Pasadena symphonies. Photo by Christian Steiner
Steven Lin, piano Concert Artists Guild
concertartists.org 212 333 5200
Taiwanese-American silver medalist at the 2014 Rubinstein International Piano Competition and winner of the 2011 CAG Competition. Career highlights: New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, and National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Shao Ting Kuei
Pallavi Mahidhara, piano Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner with a “dazzaling and engaging stage personality” (Die Burger). Soloist: National and Chicago symphony orchestras; National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador; Johannesburg and Cape philharmonic orchestras; China National Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Kirill Bashkirov
Daria Rabotkina, piano Concert Artists Guild
concertartists.org 212 333 5200
A “pianist with clearly prodigious musical gifts” (Washington Post). Featured concerto engagements: San Francisco and New World symphonies, Kirov Orchestra, and the Harrisburg, Jacksonville, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Moscow State symphonies. Photo by Kate Lemmon
Instrumentalists (continued) Beatrice Rana, piano The Cliburn
cliburn.org 817 738 6536
2013 Cliburn silver medalist “possesses an old soul… and more than a touch of genius” (Gramophone). Recent/upcoming highlights: LA Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, and London Philharmonic, with conductors Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Leonard Slatkin, Antonio Pappano, and Zubin Mehta. Photo by Neda Navaee
Andrew Tyson, piano Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Highlights: Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Prieto), National Orchestra of Belgium (Alsop), Hallé Orchestra (Elder), and Colorado and Hilton Head symphonies. 2014 debut Chopin CD (ZigZag). Photo by Christian Steiner
Ko-Eun Yi, piano Concert Artists Guild
concertartists.org 212 333 5200
Korean winner of the 2013 CAG Competition “… played with élan and fire and a surplus of bravura technique” (Cincinnati Enquirer). Featured concerto appearances: Boston Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, and Barcelona Symphony. Photo by Ho Chang
Dizhou Zhao, piano Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner who “lives fully in the music” (Fanfare Magazine). Soloist: Leipzig Philharmonic Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Winner: Louisiana and Southern Highlands international piano competitions. Photo by Vanessa Briceño
Yun-Chin Zhou, piano Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
First-prize winner of Juilliard’s 2013 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition. “A dashing virtuoso … complete with dazzling fingerwork and shapely phrasing” (Cleveland Plain Dealer). Orchestra highlights: The China National Symphony Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra. Photo by Matt Dine
Brandon Ridenour, trumpet Concert Artists Guild
brandonridenour.org 212 333 5200
2014 CAG Competition winner “heralds the trumpet of the future” (Chicago Sun Times). Recent concerto highlights include: Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Edmonton, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo symphony orchestras. Photo by Jiyang Chen
Veit Hertenstein, viola Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
“Plays with maturity, technique, thoughtful musicianship, and a tone of dark honey” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer). Highlights: Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra (Harada), Slovak Radio Symphony (OlivieriMunroe), Bayerische Kammerphilharmonic, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and Basel Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Christian Steiner
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Ayane Kozasa, viola Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner described as “a constant joy” (The Strad). Winner: Primrose International Viola Competition. Soloist: Augsburg Philharmonic; Principal Chamber: Orchestra of Philadelphia; Young Soloist: Kronberg Academy. Photo by Claire McAdams
Born Lau, viola Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner praised for “immaculately refined” playing (Philadelphia Inquirer). Prizewinner: Primrose International Viola Competition. Guest Principal Violist: San Diego Symphony (2012-2013). Soloist: Hong Kong Festival Orchestra and New Valley Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Vanessa Briceño
Benjamin Beilman, violin Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
2012 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Highlights: London Philharmonic (Skrowaczewski), LACO (Kahane), Fort Worth Symphony (Harth-Bedoya), Philadelphia Orchestra (Robert Spano), Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra (Marriner), and L’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal (Nézet-Séguin). Photo by Giorgia Bertazzi
Jinjoo Cho, violin International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
violin.org 317 637 4574
Jinjoo Cho, gold medalist of the Ninth Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, has concertized throughout North and South America, Asia, and Europe, establishing herself as a leading violinist of her generation. International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Nikki Chooi, violin Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner praised as “a model of taste and tonal refinement” (Boston Globe). Soloist: Victoria, Winnipeg, and Edmonton symphonies; National Orchestra of Belgium, and Auckland Philharmonia. Winner: Michael Hill International Violin Competition. Photo by Vanessa Briceño
Luosha Fang, violin Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner. Soloist: Albany and American symphony orchestras. Guest artist: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Silver Medal: Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, as first violinist of the Chimeng Quartet. Photo by Vanessa Briceño
Bella Hristova, violin Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant. “A player of impressive power and control” (Washington Post). Concertos this season: Prokofiev, Bruch, Dvorák, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Brahms, Barber, Corigliano, and Mendelssohn. 2016 premieres concerto by David Ludwig. Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
Instrumentalists (continued) Paul Huang, violin Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
Praised by The Strad for “stylish and polished playing.” Highlights: Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Prieto), Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, Louisville Orchestra, Alabama, Bilbao, Hilton Head, Taipei and National Taiwan symphonies. Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
Yoojin Jang, violin International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
violin.org 317 637 4574
Yoojin Jang, Fifth Place Laureate of the IVCI, has performed with the KBS Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Ivan Fischer's Budapest Festival Orchestra, Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo. International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Alexi Kenney, violin Concert Artists Guild
concertartists.org 212 333 5200
Twenty-year-old winner of the 2013 CAG Competition was praised by Strings magazine for his “beautiful, aching tone.” Current concerto highlights: Santa Fe Symphony, Hofheim Academy Orchestra (Bad Soden, Germany), and the Roswell Symphony. Photo by Matthew Washburn
Dami Kim, violin International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
violin.org 317 637 4574
IVCI Fourth Place Laureate Dami Kim has appeared as a soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Munich Chamber Orchestra, KBS Orchestra, Wuhan Philharmonic, and Seoul Philharmonic. International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Eunice Kim, violin Astral Artists
astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Astral Artists Auditions winner called “superb” (New York Times). Soloist: Philadelphia Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Fremont Symphony Orchestra, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and Prometheus Symphony. Photo by Claire McAdams
Hye-Jin Kim, violin Concert Artists Guild
concertartists.org 212 333 5200
Yehudi Menuhin International Competition First Prize-winner recognized for “…supremely musical playing” (The Strad). Featured concerto engagements: Philadelphia Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, and Hannover Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Balazs Borocz
Tessa Lark, violin International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
violin.org 317 637 4574
Ninth Quadrennial IVCI silver medalist and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Award, Tessa Lark has been consistently praised by critics and audiences from around the world for her captivating artistic voice. Photo by Mitch Weiss
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Ji Yoon Lee, violin International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
violin.org 317 637 4574
IVCI Sixth Place Laureate, Ji Yoon Lee has been awarded several prizes in international competitions, including 2nd Prize in the 11th Sarasate Competition and 1st Prize at the David Oistrakh Competition.
International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Ji Young Lim, violin International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
violin.org 317 637 4574
Ji Young Lim, Bronze Medalist of the Ninth Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, has also been a prizewinner of numerous international competitions, including Montreal, Euroasia, and Henri Marteau. International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Quinton Morris, violin Jeffrey James Arts Consulting
quintonmorris.org 516 586 3433
Quinton Morris enjoys a multifaceted career performing all over the world. Career highlights include concerto appearences with the Seattle Symphony in three consecutive sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Scott Henrichson
Aleksey Semenenko, violin Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
Praised for “beautiful phrasing” and performances with “verve, wit, and delicatesse” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Orchestra highlights include National Philharmonic of Russia (Spivakov), Moscow Virtuosi, and Kiev National Orchestra. Photo by Christian Steiner
Stephen Waarts, violin Young Concert Artists
yca.org 212 307 6657
First Prize, 2014 Menuhin Competition. “Played with technical command and a totally natural sense of musical drama” (Strings magazine). Performs over 40 concertos. Highlights: Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Cleveland Orchestra, and Austin Symphony. Photo by Matt Dine
In Mo Yang, violin Concert Artists Guild
concertartistsguild.org 212 333 5200
Nineteen-year old Korean violinist is First Prize Winner of the 2014 CAG International competition, as well as Second Prize in the 2014 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition and Fourth Prize at the 2012 Joachim International Competition. Photo by Neda Navaee
ACCORDION/BANDONEON Julien Labro Diane Saldick, LLC julienlabro.com 212 213 3430 americanorchestras.org
Jay Campbell Concert Artists Guild concertartists.org 212 333 5200
Seiya Ueno Young Concert Artists yca.org 212 307 6657
Christine Lamprea Astral Artists astralartists.org 215 735 6999 Sang-Eun Lee Young Concert Artists yca.org 212 307 6657 Edgar Moreau Young Concert Artists yca.org 212 307 6657 Hai-Ye Ni Diane Saldick, LLC dianesaldick.com 212 213 3430
PIANO Ran Dank Colbert Artists Management colbertartists.com 212 757 0782 Adam Golka Colbert Artists Management colbertartists.com 212 757 0782 Henry Kramer Astral Artists astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Daniel Lebhardt Young Concert Artists yca.org 212 307 6657
Xavier Foley Astral Artists astralartists.org 215 735 6999
Gabriela Martinez Sciolino Artist Management samnyc.com 212 721 9975
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Vocalists Cameron McPhail, baritone Dean Artists Management
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Winner, 2014 George London Competition; Carmina Burana – The Florida Orchestra and Festival Lanaudiere, Québec; Messiah – Vancouver and Edmonton symphonies; Schaunard/La bohème – Canadian Opera Company; COC Ensemble Studio; Master’s Degree Yale University; Music Academy of the West. Photo by: Veronica Vroux
Neil Craighead, bass-baritone Dean Artists Management
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Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Alumnus; Publio/La clemenza di Tito, Truffaldino/Ariadne auf Naxos, der Sprecher/Die Zauberflöte – Canadian Opera Company; Colline/La bohème – Against the Grain Theatre; Japanese Envoy/The Nightingale and other Fables (Robert Lepage) – Brooklyn Academy of Music. Photo by Callback Headshots
Julia Bullock, soprano Young Concert Artists
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“Bullock shone throughout, her sultry voice and charismatic presence a delight” (New York Times). Title roles: The Indian Queen (Sellars), Cendrillon and Cunning Little Vixen, New World Symphony; West Side Story with the San Francisco Symphony. Photo by Christian Steiner
Claire de Sévigné, soprano Dean Artists Management
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Queen of the Night/The Magic Flute – Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Music Academy of the West; Buffalo Philharmonic; Servilia/La clemenza di Tito and Despina/Cosi fan tutte – Canadian Opera Company; Cleopatra/Giulio Cesare – Thirteen Strings, Ottawa; COC Ensemble Studio. Photo by Emily Ding
Suzanne Rigden, soprano Dean Artists Management
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Rosina/Il barbiere di Siviglia – Merola Opera Center, San Francisco Opera; Adele/Die Fledermaus – Vancouver Opera ; Sophie/Werther – Opéra de Montréal; Silver Medal, Spazio Musica Competition, Orvieto; Zerbinetta/Ariadne auf Naxos – Pacific Opera Victoria; Orchestre Metropolitain du Grand Montréal. Photo by Brent Calis
Sarah Shafer, soprano Astral Artists
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Astral Artists Auditions winner praised for “intensely expressive interpretations” (New York Times). Roles: Glyndebourne Festival, San Francisco Opera, Opera Philadelphia. Soloist: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico. Photo by Peter Checchia
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Professional and avocational musicians filled the lobby of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s March 2014 #OrchestraYou event.
< At the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Bass PlayIN on May 3, 2014, Principal Bass Harold Robinson meets with avocational players onstage at Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center.
Jeff Fusco/Philadelphia Orchestra
Music by Michael Stugrin
Participants at a San Francisco Symphony Community of Music Makers 2012 event focusing on string players
San Francisco Symphony
for a Lifetime SAN FRANCISCO
Avocational musicians are reconnecting with music and orchestras in side-byside performances, intensive training, and “pro-am” events. For these musicians, it’s a dream come true. For orchestras, it’s a vibrant link to their communities.
For the Richmond Symphony’s eighth annual Come & Play concert on November 23, 2014, some 600 amateur players performed with the orchestra’s professional musicians, led by Associate Conductor Keitaro Harada at Verizon Wireless Arena of Virginia Commonwealth University.
ometimes one good idea leads to another. In 2011 the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, based in Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley, was applying for funding to support the orchestra’s educational and community programs. Everyone agreed the half-century-old orchestra’s existing education programs for elementary and middle school students were due to be bolstered. So orchestra and foundation officials lined up a multi-level program that included an instrument petting zoo, youth concerts in which children at different levels were instructed by and performed with ESO musicians, and a young-artists competition that rewarded the winners with music scholarships and an opportunity to perform with the orchestra. But what about adults? “Most of the thinking was geared around school kids,” recalls Eugene Symphony Executive Director Scott Freck, who had recently joined the orchestra. “We decided to broaden our focus to include adult music education and create a lifelong framework for continuing music education.” The result was ESO’s Play It Again! Adult Chamber Ensembles. americanorchestras.org
As it heads into its fourth year, Play It Again has been a success by any standard. It offers avocational adult musicians the opportunity to rekindle their involvement in music, whether that was in private lessons, high-school band, or participation in a college or community orchestra. Jennifer Diaz, the ESO’s education director, says the response was immediate and strong: “That first year, more than 60 people participated, and many of those have been participating ever since.” Play It Again sessions are offered twice a year, in fall and spring; students pay a $65 registration fee. A few weeks before the first workshop there are informal “new
It is hardly surprising that at least some adults who were once passionately involved in a so-called extracurricular activity are eager to reconnect with that activity. With enough time and money, people enthusiastically sign up for baseball, basketball, or tennis camps. There are adult camps for pretty much everything else as well—from sailing and rock climbing
OKLAHOMA CITY to cooking and winemaking to plein air painting and printmaking. In March of 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that “Camps for adults have grown an estimated 10% a year over the past decade, to about 800 in all.” While adult camps for sports and hobbies abound, opportunities for adult avocational musicians to step out of their busy adult lives to play music are not as numerous or well known. That is quickly changing. While the Interlochen Center for the Arts in northwestern Michigan has been hosting adult summer music and arts camps for over 60 years, now orchestras and conservatories across the country are recognizing that music is often a deep and unbreakable tie between youth and adulthood, and between passionate former musicians and orchestras that need their support. At a deep social level, music making is a communal and community-building activity. From celebrating or commemorating in town squares, churches, school gymnasiums, or concert halls, music provides shared and individual inspiration and comfort. For an avocational musician, these music camps and performances are a “going home” and a living of dreams. From just a few fantasy camps and “rusty musician” sessions a few years ago, today there are dozens of such programs, among them the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s “Onstage at Symphony”; “Citywide Side by Side” at the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra in Philadelphia; a couple of programs at the Oklahoma City Philharmonic
The Oklahoma City Philharmonic’s Be the Orchestra program goes beyond the concert hall with performances in such locations as this downtown library.
Eugene Symphony Executive Director Scott Freck says that for participants in his orchestra’s Play It Again program, “Music has once again become central in their lives.”
Oklahoma City Philharmonic
participant hearings”—not auditions, Diaz emphasizes—after which the students are grouped into chamber ensembles, each coached by an ESO musician. Last spring, there were sixteen ensembles, including five string quartets, a brass quintet, and a flute duo. The musicians ranged in age from 18 to 80, and from engineering students to bank executives to a retired nurse practitioner (an octogenarian clarinetist). The ensembles meet six times in biweekly sessions for rehearsals, discussion, and skill-building activities. ESO provides the music and, as needed, instruments. Community groups and the University of Oregon donate rehearsal space. Play It Again culminates in a packed public concert in the recital hall of Eugene’s John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts. Freck delights in pointing out that Play It Again has changed participants’ lives: “Some ensembles keep playing on their own, rehearsing on their own, becoming close musical and social friends, and returning to the program over several years. Some of the participants have become year-round students of the teaching artists. Others now play in local bands and ensembles, which means music has once again become central in their lives.” Even though the initial grant funding has expired, Freck believes Play It Again yields strong dividends. “We have distinctly broadened our orchestra family,” he says. “Several participants have become subscribers and donors; and several are now volunteer instructors and guides in our elementary- and middle-school music education programs.”
under the “Be the Orchestra” umbrella; the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s new “#OrchestraYou”; the Philadelphia Orchestra’s “PlayINs”; the Richmond (Va.) Symphony’s “Come & Play,” in which amateur musicians of all ages perform with the professional orchestra; and the Utah Symphony’s “Pro-Am.” And that’s just a partial list—the spectrum of orchestras of all sizes that invite members of the public to play with them continues to expand. Young people are part of the side-byside phenomenon, too, as youth orchestras and conservatories are connecting multiple
At the Eugene Symphony’s May 2013 Play It Again Adult Chamber Ensembles concert, coach and Principal Flute Kristen Halay (second from right) appears backstage with woodwind quintet members.
generations through music. At the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Longy School of Music’s Sistema Side by Side Orchestra, conservatory students mentor young schoolchildren from El Sistema-inspired programs across the state and conduct insymphony
of its audience played a musical instrument or sang in a choir earlier in life, and that 33 percent currently play an instrument or sing. Even more encouraging, audience surveys indicated that nearly 20 percent would be interested in participating in an adult music-education program under the auspices of the San Francisco Symphony. These results are generally consistent with broader findings from National Endowment for the Arts’ “Participation in the Arts” surveys over the past twenty years and the League of American Orchestras’ 2009 Audience Demographic Research Review. “Our research helped explain the San Francisco Symphony’s distinctly large and
The Wichita Symphony Orchestra opened its 2014-2015 season in October with a 150-member side-by-side ensemble comprising the WSO’s professional musicians and the Wichita Youth Symphony, led by Music Director Daniel Hege.
Mandy A. Riedel
tensive weekend rehearsals. Once a season, the pre-college musicians in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra perform alongside the adult musicians of the Richmond Symphony. In Minnesota, the high-schoolaged musicians in the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies are coached by a member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for two months, with a final concert at which the SPCO mentor performs within the ensemble. In Kansas, the Wichita Symphony Orchestra opened its current season with a 150-piece orchestra: the Wichita Youth Symphony performed side-by-side with the Wichita Symphony in works of Berlioz and Brahms.
WICHITA Orchestras realize that providing what Freck terms a “lifelong framework for continuing music education” presents an opportunity to renew and expand orchestra audiences—perhaps a not-so-insignificant way of tackling attendance trends. Carol Bogash, vice president for education and community engagement at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, calls this view of long-term musical education and community engagement the “continuum from babies to seniors.” Such initiatives forge extensive new links between orchestras and their communities. By the Bay
The San Francisco Symphony’s four-yearold Community of Music Makers was inspired by research showing that 76 percent americanorchestras.org
enthusiastic community of concert attendees and supporters,” says SFS Director of Education and Youth Orchestra Ronald Gallman. “That so many were and are interested in making music with our professional musicians compelled us to design a program for this wonderful constituency. In the Bay Area, there are dozens of orchestras, chamber groups, bands, and choral groups—so we didn’t need to create a new group. We decided to support these groups by offering training and enrichment for avocational musicians who might then want to join one of those groups.” Community of Music Makers offers workshop and performance opportunities to adult orchestral instrumentalists (Play Out, Davies!), choral workshops (Sing Out,
Davies!), and chamber Jerome music workshops. The Simas, a San spring 2014 Sing Out, Francisco Davies! events attracted Symphony more than 400 sing- clarinetist and ers. Under the direc- a Community of Music tion of Ragnar Bohlin, Makers mentor, workshop leader and says, “The San Francisco Sym- workshop phony Chorus director, experience is the group spent sev- transformative eral hours one evening for participants practicing and perform- and mentors ing Fauré’s Requiem. alike.” The music had been posted online along with excerpts from well-regarded recordings of the work and even an audio pronunciation guide recorded by Bohlin. The singers worked in sectionals with members of the SFS Chorus as mentors and other SFS Chorus members as workshop volunteers. Three hours later, the 400-member chorus and the orchestra convened on the stage of Davies Concert Hall for a performance of the entire work. The San Francisco Symphony and its professional chorus performed the Requiem a few weeks later, along with Poulenc’s Gloria and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms led by guest conductor Charles Dutoit. The Community of Music Makers in-
League Conference: Boomers Make Music As 76 million U.S. baby boomers retire, it is not far-fetched to expect that some—perhaps a lot—will recall and renew their ties to orchestral music. Orchestras are recognizing that interest in programs for adults is accelerating— illustrated by a session at the League of American Orchestras’ 2014 National Conference, “Play On! Learning from Passionate Amateurs.” The session presented details about successful pro-am programs at orchestras as well as techniques for successfully implementing pro-am programs. Visit the Conference 2014 section of americanorchestras.org to learn more and see a PowerPoint presentation from this seminar.
Orchestra Vice President for Education and Community Engagement Carol Bogash. “We’re affecting people’s lives. And we’re making new friends for BSO.”
Rusty Musicians in Baltimore
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s BSO Academy has its roots in the orchestra’s innovative “Rusty Musicians with the BSO” initiative launched in 2010 by Music Director Marin Alsop and President and CEO Paul Meecham. The BSO’s Carol Bogash traces the rationale for the program to the orchestra’s founding
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Associate Principal Cello Chang Woo Lee guides a BSO Academy participant in a one-on-one session.
charter from nearly a century ago. “Education mattered to the BSO founders,” she says. “They said they wanted ‘to encourage the education and development of skilled musicians or persons having musical talent, either vocal or instrumental, and to promote the welfare of musical artists.’ ” It is now BSO folklore that within hours of announcing the first Rusty Musicians, it was a huge success. “More than 600 people responded and we were able to host 400 rusty musicians in two days,” Bogash recalls. Anyone older than 25 who played an orchestral instrument and read music could participate—for a $10 fee. Over two nights at Strathmore Music Center, the BSO’S second home in North Bethesda, Maryland, Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony performed eight mini-concerts, each with 50 rusty musicians sitting side-by-side onstage with the orchestra’s fulltime musicians. Together, they performed the finale of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Just a few years later, with much effort by BSO staff and some new grants, BSO Academy has morphed into a gigantic eight-day musical event, arguably unequalled in scale and scope in the orchestral field. The BSO Academy in June 2014 included four tracks:
Jason Williams/J Thomas Photography
strumental and chamber-music workshops are also popular. Prior to the instrumental workshops, SFS hosts a sectional for strings and winds, with fifteen San Francisco Symphony musicians serving as mentors and coaches. “Here, the workshop attendees meet their coach-mentors and immediately start working very intensely,” Gallman says. “When they reconvene for the actual workshop, they aren’t starting from scratch. They know each other and they know the SFS musicians.” Community of Music Makers is winning many fans. One workshop participant says, “We get time with the symphony mentor and it’s more one-on-one, like a master class. I’m able to take the information and provide it to the sections of the community groups that I’m in to help them grow, too.” Jerome Simas, a San Francisco Symphony clarinetist and a Community of Music Makers mentor, believes “there is a ripple effect with what we’re doing in the workshops. Throughout our regular SFS season, I’ve noticed participants waving to me from the audience. The workshop experience is transformative for participants and mentors alike.” And from SFS management’s perspective, Gallman points to data suggesting that about 10 percent of the members of each workshop are new to the San Francisco Symphony. “Community of Music Makers brings new “There is an people through our obvious need doors,” he says. “It also and demand extends a welcome to for BSO people who may have Academy,” stopped attending our says Baltimore concerts.” Symphony
The orchestral track featured BSO musicians leading participants in preparatory sectionals, a participantonly rehearsal, private rehearsals and lessons, side-by-side rehearsals with Alsop and the BSO, and a culminating concert with the BSO at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The chamber orchestra track allowed avocational musicians to rehearse and perform in chamber groups such as quartets or quintets, each led by a BSO musician. Participants also rehearsed and performed in larger ensembles such as an octet, dectet, or small chamber orchestra. The arts administrator track offered a “shared practices” opportunity to give orchestra administrators a behindthe-scenes look at the BSO Academy program, with BSO staff sharing information about the program’s history, funding, and logistical strategies. The Music Educators Academy was an intensive six-day professional development program for qualified music educators in collaboration with the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus (UMBC) Department of Music, for which attendees could earn graduate credits through UMBC. symphony
The League of American Orchestras is pleased to recognize the following orchestras on their noteworthy milestones: 100 years
Quad City Symphony Orchestra
Norwalk Symphony Orchestra Philadelphia Youth Orchestra West Michigan Symphony
American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestras The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia DeKalb Symphony Orchestra Hawaii Youth Symphony Association South Florida Youth Symphony Western Piedmont Symphony
Alhambra Orchestra Atlantic Classical Holland Symphony Orchestra Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra of Atlanta Valdosta Symphony Orchestra
Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra New West Symphony Orchestra Tri-State Community Orchestra
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
David A. Candlena
Bogash notes that 113 students participated in the BSO Academy over eight 12- to 14hour days, and adds, “There is an obvious need and demand for BSO Academy. We’re affecting people’s lives. And we’re making new friends for BSO. This year’s academy included students from 25 states, Canada, and France.” Fantasy Camp for a Cause
The impetus for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual Fantasy Camp came from a presentation at a League of American Orchestras Conference about the Minnesota For its 2014 Fantasy Camp, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra invited the Orchestra’s Fantasy Camp, a World Doctors Orchestra to work with its professional musicians. In photo, two-day orchestral immersion Music Director JoAnn Falletta leads the BPO and the doctors (wearing red experience for avocational adult carnations) in a bow at the July 19 concert. musicians. The Buffalo Philharmonic’s initial Fantasy Camp, in 2012, Orchestra foray. Proposals went out to the “From the start, the doctors said they was a one-day affair at Kleinhans Music doctors and to the Buffalo Philharmonic. wanted a demanding repertoire with ‘bigHall, with participants rehearsing and per“There was an instant ‘yes—that’s a terrific ger than life’ pieces. So we chose Respighi’s forming onstage alongside the BPO. The idea,’ ” says Robin Parkinson, the Buffalo Pines of Rome, Bernstein’s Candide Overture, day culminated in a side-by-side concert. Philharmonic’s director of education and and—the centerpiece—Holst’s The Planets. Friends, family, and community members community engagement. “Before we knew At the first rehearsal, we played through turned out in support as Music Director it, 40 physicians had signed up for a BPO everything, with the doctors sitting in the JoAnn Falletta led a concert by the fantasy Fantasy Camp.” principals’ chairs. We had four full rehearscampers and the Buffalo Philharmonic. This music camp resembled a rigorals, sectionals, and individual coachings. This year, Buffalo’s Fantasy Camp aligned ous boot camp: five days and evenings of These high-achieving professional men and with a good cause: the World Doctors Ororchestral and chamber-music rehearsals, women are truly serious musicians. From chestra (WDO) was interested in coming private master classes, social events, historic the start, the BPO musicians were intrigued to Buffalo to perform one of its two annual and artistic tours in the Buffalo area, and a by the idea of the project. They were deeply concerts. Founded in 2007, the WDO’s culminating full-length concert at Kleinimpressed when the doctors arrived and 100 members, all of whom are practicing or hans Music Hall with the physician-musithey started playing together.” retired physicians and medical academics, cians playing alongside the Buffalo PhilharOn November 17, the Buffalo Philharperform at concert halls around the world, monic. After the July 19 evening concert, monic presented a $15,000 check to the combining, as the group says, “the pleasure there was a Sunday farewell breakfast—at campaign for the new Oishei Children’s of fine music with global medical responwhich World Doctors Orchestra members Hospital. The donation reflects proceeds sibility.” The musicians played more chamber music. from ticket sales to the July 19 World Doc“The Buffalo “There was a cool synergy in how this tors Orchestra performance at Kleinhans Philharmonic’s pay their own expenses, and concert proceeds event lined up,” Parkinson says. “The BufMusic Hall. “It’s extraordinary to see a local strategic plan are directed to a medifalo Philharmonic and the World Doctors not-for-profit organization go above and emphasizes how we must cal aid project in the Orchestra eagerly chose to raise funds for beyond to raise funds for another not-foralways be host city. the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital profit,” said Allegra Jaros, president of the relevant to our Fred Albrecht, a Bufbeing built on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. community,” falo cardiologist, acCampus. The Buffalo Philharmonic’s stra“The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is a says Robin complished amateur tegic plan emphasizes how we must always remarkable community asset and we look Parkinson, bassoonist, and vetbe relevant to our community. Nothing forward to continuing our partnership with director of eran of BPO’s Fantasy is more relevant to Buffalo’s revitalization them for years to come.” education and Camp, brought forward than the development of its medical sector community the idea of “mashing toas a source of new employment and ecoMICHAEL STUGRIN lives in Long Beach, engagement gether” Fantasy Camp nomic growth.” Calif., and writes about the performing arts, food, at the Buffalo with a World Doctors Music Director JoAnn Falletta recalls, and travel. Philharmonic.
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Cellist Gabriel Cabezas, a Curtis Institute alum, works with a young student through Curtis’s Community Artists Program, which awards recent alumni grants to do community-based entrepreneurship programs.
Nicholas Kitchen, violin instructor at New England Conservatory of Music, created a digital critical edition of Beethoven string quartets.
Robert Vijay Gupta, a violinist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic, started a project called Street Symphony that arranges for ensembles to perform at LA County jails and homeless shelters.
ENTREPREN More than just a buzzword, entrepreneurship has become a point
by Ian VanderMeulen
s founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Claire Chase is known for challenging her audiences. But in her convocation address at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music in 2013, the flutist and musical entrepreneur probably downright shocked the young crowd by stating: “I’d love for every single one of you to put me out of business. Then I will know that I have done my job.” In a follow-up interview with Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times, Chase confirmed that she “wasn’t kidding” about entrepreneurship. Chase’s comments might sound extreme, but her advocacy for musical entrepreneurship is reflective of broader trends taking hold at conservatories and music schools across the country. From Missouri to Ohio, Colorado to the East Coast, music institutions are offering students multiple points of entry—from optional or required courses to professional opportunities outside school walls—aimed ultimately at integrating entrepreneurship into the core music curriculum. Key to the process is the leadership of music school faculty and alumni, increasing numbers of whom lead entrepreneurial lives themselves. Many entrepreneurship educators point to the “portfolio career” model—musicians making use of proficiency on multiple instruments or in multiple genres, or even stretching their creativity beyond performance to symphony
Demarre McGill, the Dallas Symphony’s principal flutist, cofounded and runs a chamber music series, Art of Élan.
Eric and Colin Jacobsen, co-directors of the Knights chamber orchestra, lead an entrepreneurship workshop at the Juilliard School.
University of Missouri students Alec Feldges (left) and James Malke formed a guitar duo as their final project in UM’s Career Development for Musicians course.
ENEURIAL of serious discussion and curriculum shifts at conservatories and music schools nationwide. include creating ventures wholesale. This is not to say that entrepreneurship educators don’t face significant challenges, starting even with defining the term itself. While “entrepreneurship” might entail everything from effectively organizing a freelance career and promoting oneself in a novel way to building new performing groups and education initiatives from the ground up, most educators make a distinction between entrepreneurship and basic career skills. Nearly everyone sees the advantages of an entrepreneurial mindset and strong career skills, but educators face an additional hurdle in the widespread perception that students are simply too swamped with practicing and other aspects of developing their core craft to give entrepreneurship (or even basic career americanorchestras.org
skills) much thought. If it’s necessary, they’ll learn it later—i.e., once they’re pursuing a professional career in the “real world.” But the deepest, perhaps most ingrained source of opposition might be the perception that becoming a musical entrepreneur means “selling out” their true artistic creativity. Arts-entrepreneurship educators counter by framing the business aspects of entrepreneurship as an extension of the artistic core. “I think that a musician is actually a musician even if they don’t have that instrument in their hand,” says Mary Javian, director of professional development and community engagement at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. “We all have this desire to express and to reach others through expression, and we all happened upon a particular
instrument as the medium through which we connect. I don’t see artistry as separate from these other endeavors. The creativity that made you great at that instrument is what will make you great at creating your own ensemble.” Meanwhile, and perhaps surprisingly, orchestras stand to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of this new entrepreneurship trend. As orchestras seek to engage their communities in new ways and diversify their revenue streams, a new generation of conservatory grads can help bring fresh thinking to their future home institutions. Some orchestras are even expecting more entrepreneurial input and activity from their musicians, in turn helping encourage music schools to take up the entrepreneurship torch.
Expanding the Curriculum
In his blog on arts education and entrepreneurship, Jeffrey Nytch, assistant professor and director of the Entrepreneurship Center for Music at the University of ColoradoBoulder, recounts a particularly instructive experience as a visitor at New York’s Manhattan School of Music. Leading a discussion on the application of entrepreneurial principles to musical careers, Nytch noted that three of the four students in the circle conceded entrepreneurship’s importance, Entrepreneurship students at the University of Missouri’s Mizzou School of Music, which reaches but didn’t have the time or “brain-width” to 450 community members through junior string programs, summer camps, and community concerts, take it on within the structure of their busy all at least partially taught by students. student lives. But the fourth student, after some prodding, finally declared, “I shouldn’t have to worry about that.” If he did, he certificate in arts entrepreneurship that are so passionate about their art that they feared, “I’ll be making music to just make a also fulfills the requirements for an underare more likely to see strengths and flaws buck and I’ll end up having to sell out.” graduate business minor. Topics include in other, non-musical projects. And the inFew phrases are as damning to conservabasic finance and accounting, marketing, volvement of alumni is crucial for providtory students as “sell out.” While breaking business planning, website creation, and ing models for current students, since their down the perception that entrepreneurwriting for press releases, bios, and grant ideas and approaches are more full-fledged. ship means selling out may be a tall order, applications, anchored by a core course in According to Kalyn, the program’s “core,” Nytch and other educators are successfully arts entrepreneurship focused on producthowever, is a set of grants to allow students engaging the “no time/do it later” crowd market relationships in a uniquely artistic to get their projects up and running. Soby introducing entrepreneurship graducontext. Those students who feel parcalled Ignition Fund grants of $1,500 help ally, rather than hitting them with manticularly ambitious and inspired can apply support student projects throughout the datory coursework right away. For Nytch, their classroom learning in the “Venture year, while Internship grants of $2,500 are CU’s Business School is “a double-edged Challenge,” a campus-wide competition awarded for the summer, and Conservasword.” On the one hand, it can provide a in which students in different disciplinary tory Initiative Grants offer $4,000 for inplethora of pedagogical tracks—including mutensive winter term projects. Student projA new tools for teaching ensic—pitch their entreects have included tours to Norway and generation of trepreneurship; on the preneurial projects to a Ramallah, West Bank. A fourth category other, entrepreneurship panel of judges, the winof fellowships, providing up to $15,000 in conservatory grads can in music is a means to an ners in each track vying seed money to graduating seniors, will as help bring fresh thinking end—building a viable for the final seed fundof this academic year be rolling into Launto their future orchestras. musical career—whereas ing prize. While Nytch chU. Oberlin’s course offerings are thus And some orchestras for MBAs it is often an notes that the MBAs designed to feed both tracks of applied now expect more end in itself. “So one of typically “blow everyone learning: an intensive winter-term “boot entrepreneurial input our roles as arts entreelse away,” this year one camp” helps students hone their entries for preneurship educators,” music student placed LaunchU, while Kalyn’s own “Introduction and activity from their Nytch explains, “is to third overall by devisto Entrepreneurship” and topical courses musicians. figure out how to take ing a neural interface to on financial literacy, outreach, touring, and that business-school evaluate musicians’ pracbusiness model innovation help students approach and pour it through our own tice routines. envision projects that might be supported particular sieve, so that we can translate Ohio-based Oberlin College and Conby the grants listed above. that in ways that make sense to music stuservatory’s competition LaunchU has also Such an approach of building courses dents.” Such was the discourse at a recent been a focal point for that school’s own around experiential projects is often more meeting in Dallas, where Nytch and peers entrepreneurship program, which recently effective at engaging students than loadgathered to inaugurate the Society for Arts received a $500,000 endowment from the ing them up with classroom time. “If you Entrepreneurship Education and discuss Burton D. Morgan Foundation. Accordjust start with courses and say, ‘We’re goissues germane to their field. ing to Conservatory Dean Andrea Kalyn, ing to offer courses and you need to take Coursework is naturally one importhe competition has been crucial in bringthese,’ students react to that like they do to tant point of entry for students at entreing together not just students from both a mandatory biology course,” says Jonathan preneurship-friendly music schools. The Conservatory and College of Liberal Arts, Kuuskoski, director of entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship Center for Music at but current students and alumni as well. In and community programs at the UniverCU-Boulder offers an eighteen-credit the first case, Kalyn notes, music students sity of Missouri’s Mizzou School of Mu-
sic. “They say, ‘Why do I need this?’ Then you’re already fighting an uphill battle. So what I have really focused on is looking at music entrepre- Jonathan Kuuskoski neurship as a process of self-starting a career—that’s how I define it.” Although Mizzou has a coursework component, launching two different twelve-credit certificate programs this fall, Kuuskoski says course topics have been “crowdsourced” through faculty retreats and student surveys. The school also has a robust student gig referral service and engages some 450 community members through junior string programs, summer camps, and community concerts, all at least partially taught by students. Kuuskoski has noticed that the students most heavily involved in these community programs are the ones most intrigued by entrepreneurship course offerings. Taking Creative Control
At first glance, the music entrepreneurship education trend may seem to be driven by necessity, reflecting the need for young musicians to adapt to challenging circumstances in the field: cutbacks and restructuring at large performing institutions, a more diffuse media landscape, shifts in how music is distributed. But Courtney Blackwell Burton, director of career services at Courtney The Juilliard School Blackwell Burton in New York, believes that many of these challenges “in some ways are also great opportunities.” Leaders at Juilliard’s peer East Coast conservatories like the Curtis Institute and Boston’s New England Conservatory agree. The trend in entrepreneurship education is driven largely by “the recognition that musicians can take creative control over their own art,” says Rachel Roberts, director of NEC’s Entrepreneurial Musicianship department and a graduate of the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Management Fellowship program. Taking advantage of dense faculty populations and the vibrant musical scenes in their home cities, these schools focus on personalized, experiential entrepreneurship training for students, with a focus americanorchestras.org
on “empowering students to create their own opportunities,” Curtis’s Mary Javian says. At Juilliard, Burton and her colleagues look to “create a spectrum” of entrepreneurship-related offerings, or entry points “for people who maybe wouldn’t define themselves as entrepreneurs.” The committee developed an online platform for incoming students that includes surveys, videos on entrepreneurship from alumni, and various worksheets that can help students brainstorm what it might mean for them to be a musical entrepreneur. Juilliard also offers a number of courses with titles like Musician as Entrepreneur, Performing Arts in the 21st Century, and Classical Music in the Age of Pop. The key to Juilliard’s success, however, has been faculty leadership. “It really started with the faculty saying, ‘Students, look around you. This person may be your music theory teacher, but he also founded a chamber music festival in California,’ ” says Burton, making reference to keyboard studies and theory instructor Michael Chen and his festival Piano Sonoma. “Even the idea of having a portfolio career—I wouldn’t say that having a portfolio career is entrepreneurship per se, but I think you certainly need entrepreneurial perspectives to do that effectively and I think many of our faculty have portfolio careers that are really interesting.”
“It is important to set examples for the students,” says NEC’s Roberts, “and the faculty definitely set examples.” She points to violin instructor Nicholas Kitchen, whose Borromeo Quartet recently completed a residency at NEC titled “QuartetUtopia,” in which he and his quartet-mates created a digital critical edition of Beethoven’s String Quartets Op. 130 and Op. 133, offering historical and critical remarks along with live performances of the work. While NEC also has a one-semester course titled “The Entrepreneurial Musician” that is required for all students, the emphasis remains on personalization and hands-on experience, particularly through Rachel the Entrepreneurial Roberts Musicianship Grants, which offer students start-up money for their entrepreneurial ventures and step-by-step guidance, from articulating their core vision and identifying target audiences to budgeting, operational logistics, marketing, and follow-up in the case of one-time events. “The EM grants have been probably the most visible piece of what we do,” Roberts says. “It has this fantastic ripple effect throughout the school. One student will be leading the charge, but they’re getting others involved who are talking about it, who act as their own advocates.” Students
Dan Gabel, a trombonist and recent New England Conservatory graduate, created an eighteen-piece big band, Dan Gabel and the Abletones, with singer Elise Roth (left).
J Henry Fair
who apply pitch their ideas to Roberts or one of her colleagues in the entrepreneurship office, who advise them on shaping their business plans and hook them up with someone from their base of roughly 150 faculty, staff, and alumni advisors. Roberto Curtis’s entrepreDiaz neurship activities have similarly been spurred by President Roberto Diaz’s “learning-by-doing” mandate, and the contacts the institute has developed throughout the Philadelphia musical and business communities. One core aspect is the Community Artists Program, run by Javian, which awards recent alumni grants to do community-based entrepreneurship programs. In particular, Curtis recently instituted ArtistYear, a community engagement fellowship for recent alumni. “The strength of our arts entrepreneurship programs is partnering with other entrepreneurs, including those who have experience outside of music,” Javian says. For the 2014-15 school year, Curtis has also done away with a required course called “Performer as Entrepreneur” and is instituting what it calls “entrepreneurship office hours,” through the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy, which provides a pool of experienced entrepreneurs to help students shape their ideas and business plans. “The process isn’t just handing off the money and then a final report when they’re done,” Javian says. “There’s mentoring that happens throughout the multi-stage process, with deliverables”—business plan, budget, marketing strategy—“at each point.” “What we’re trying to do through the grant program is simulate the reality beyond NEC,” says Roberts. “Here, it’s under the auspices of NEC, so we tell them, ‘It’s OK if you fail, it really is, because you’ll learn so much more from it.’ And they do! Which only helps set them up better when they leave.” Similar logic underlies Oberlin’s own entrepreneurial grants and LaunchU competition. “Very often students will come up with an idea, and the idea is the vehicle for the thing they really care about,” says Kalyn. “So the idea may not be the right idea, but the thing they really care about is the thing they’re trying to achieve. This takes a lot of drilling down, and it comes to the fore when
Students in Oberlin Conservatory’s LaunchU competition discuss ideas and pitches for grants that Oberlin gives out to support a variety of projects.
we start to do balance sheets or budgets.” Kalyn offers a hypothetical scenario: a student may just assume they need $10,000 for a tour, perhaps involving community engagement activities. Presenting them a scenario where they only have $3,000—or less—“forces them to realize what they really care about,” says Kalyn. Longtime professionals are increasingly seeing the value of this type of training. Henry Peyrebrune—a graduate of NEC, bassist with the Cleveland Orchestra, and a board member of the League of American Orchestras—has been outspoken about the need to integrate entrepreneurship training, continually stressing such principles with his students at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Ohio. Curtis and Juilliard alum Demarre McGill is finding a healthy balance between his recent appointment as principal flute of the Dallas Symphony and his duties running Art of Élan, a San Diegobased chamber-music presenter that he cofounded with violinJeffrey ist Kate Hatmaker. Nytch “From the start it was just learning as we go,” McGill recalls. “How to develop relationships with patrons and donors, how to apply for grants, how to spread the word about what we were doing. The one thing we had and still have going for us is simply our gut feeling, how we react to things we’re producing. We trust our gut.” “The other piece of our work is to try to
integrate entrepreneurship within what already exists,” Roberts says, “whether that’s in the classroom, in the studio—trying to get these different conversations and skills embedded within what students are naturally required to take as part of the curriculum.” One of the most surprising proposals is to look at historical figures through an entrepreneurial lens. Colorado’s Nytch notes that producing The Magic Flute in 1791 should be enough to earn Mozart the “entrepreneur” moniker. “I tell my students, ‘You might not think about this, but Johann Sebastian Bach was a new music specialist,’ ” Mizzou’s Kuuskoski says, laughing. “He wasn’t so concerned about being a genius, he was worried about getting a better job, supporting his family, and making his music relevant to his community.” Gradual Shift
Despite the apparent success in implementing entrepreneurship training within music schools, the process is likely to be gradual. “If I could wave a magic wand and transform higher education in music, I would say that we keep a handful of the very traditional kind of conservatory programs, but that the university music programs should not be trying to replicate the conservatory model,” says Colorado’s Nytch. “Because university music schools are part of these larger institutions, I think they’re primed to create more multimedia, multidisciplinary kinds of degrees with a high degree of flexibility depending on the students’ interests. That could be extremely exciting. But higher ed symphony
has invested itself in the conservatory model ialism for me has been musicians’ increased for so long that I don’t see that happening awareness of their responsibility to sociso quickly.” ety as artists. The fact that music schools It’s a trend that orchestras themselves have recognized this trend and begun to could embrace and look to foster, for as integrate a community-focused, entrepreseveral leaders point out, they are potential neurial mindset into their curriculums is beneficiaries. “The people I deal with who important, and will be critical to the health have more entrepreneurial desires also tend of our orchestras in the 21st century. Here to think less conservatively, artistically,” at the LA Phil we find projects like Vijay’s McGill notes. “I think Street Symphony”—LA that could help orchesPhil violinist Robert Oberlin College tras consider a perhaps Vijay Gupta’s initialess cookie-cutter aptive through which enand Conservatory’s proach to programming.” sembles perform at Los LaunchU competition Entrepreneurial thinkAngeles County jails and is a focal point for the ing may also encourage a homeless shelters—“to sense of brand ownership, school’s entrepreneurship be fulfilling for the musiprogram, with grants says Juilliard’s Blackwell. cian and instrumental in of $1,500 to $4,000 help Orchestras are in many broadening the overall ways already on the path reach of the institution.” support a wide range of to “embracing entrepreAs the LA Phil’s exstudent projects. neurial ways to engage ample demonstrates, audiences,” she says. The entrepreneurship also right approach, she says, is to “deploy your integrates the musician’s desire to connect employees, your musicians, your staff to be with orchestras’ mandate for greater compassionate bearers of your brand, as opposed munity impact. Mizzou’s Kuuskoski notes to the one marketing channel that’s meant that few young musicians, when asked to cover all the bases.” why they want to be a musician in the first One orchestra that has been openly supplace, are likely to cite things like their first portive of entrepreneurial efforts by its muperformance, or a lesson or masterclass. “It sicians is the Los Angeles Philharmonic. has to do with community, with social ac“The musicians of today have expanded tion, with a feeling of accomplishment their horizons in so many different and or a feeling of impact,” he says. Blackwell meaningful ways,” says President and CEO agrees, noting that while the idea of entreDeborah Borda. “One of the most moving preneurship often has a “capitalistic spin to aspects of this new brand of entrepreneurit,” many young musicians are motivated to employ entrepreneurship as a way to build a career with a sense of meaning. “It’s fascinating to see students who are connecting the dots with the values they grew up with, their musical training, the things they’re being exposed to in New York City and at Juilliard, and sort of tying all these things together to create a career for themselves where they can really impact people,” she says. Burton cites Juilliard alumni projects like LA Phil violinist Robert Vijay Gupta performs the recently franchised at an LA County jail through his Street Operation Superpower, a Symphony project. superhero opera meant americanorchestras.org
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as part of their immediate charge and not somebody else’s job,” Oberlin’s Kalyn says. “These are the students who will create the paradigm shifts that we all know are about to happen but haven’t quite happened yet. The more you get them thinking in complex ways without sacrificing excellence for immediate return, and having experiences where they can see the cause and effect of various kinds of actions and structures, they will connect the dots in ways we haven’t
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Through the Curtis Institute’s Community Artists Program launched in 2011, musicians such as violist Jessica Chang (above) bring music to communities in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
imagined yet.” Balancing the requirements of a symphony-orchestra position with “other” musical activities prompts several questions. Will such a shift toward entrepreneurship mean a decline in conservatory-style specialization? Are we likely to see students eschewing virtuosity in pursuit of the portfolio career? Music entrepreneurship leaders don’t think so. “I think there’s actually more room for specialization because there are more ways to find opportunities,” says the Cleveland Orchestra’s Peyrebrune. “Sometimes it means lots of travel, sometimes it means combining a number of different opportunities, but you can certainly do it.” After all, for many musicians, art and entrepreneurship form a coherent whole. “My main goal is to be able to move an audience,” says McGill. “I need to be able to play the flute to do that, but the goal is to transmit from the page, through me, through the flute, to the audience. I believe that is very much the same thing that is nurtured or developed when I’m doing anything creative. So if I’m working on Art of Élan stuff I feel like I’m growing artistically in Mary a way that I need to be Javian an effective musician, not just a flutist.” “We never said, ‘We have the most technically proficient instrumentalists in the world,’ ” says Curtis’s Javian. “We’re there to train the most gifted artists. And what it means to be an artist, what it means to be a musician, has just expanded in a wonderful, exciting way.” IAN VANDERMEULEN, an Oberlin alum, is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in the performing arts and Middle Eastern cultures.
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200 by Chester Lane
Years and Counting Bostonâ€™s Handel and Haydn Society celebrates two centuries of music-making and advancement of the vocal art, staying true to its namesake composers while influencing and adapting to the times.
ne way to celebrate orchestral anniversaries, especially those with double zeroes, is by reprising notable works the orchestra has premiered in the past. If the orchestra is not one but two centuries old, and has been fundamentally committed to choral music since its inception, that list of notable works can include repertoire of epochal significance to the classical canon. That this music was new to American ears when the orchestra first performed it lends special significance to the anniversary. Last fall, as a cornerstone of its bicentennial season, Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society presented three performances of Handel’s Messiah at Symphony Hall
H+H string players, some wearing Halloween headgear, performed at Jordan Hall on October 31, 2014. Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky (downstage center) was both leader and soloist in a program of Baroque concertos and Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill” sonata.
Led by Artistic Director Harry Christophers, Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society kicked off its bicentennial season in October with a “Baroque Fireworks” program at Symphony Hall.
All photos courtesy of the Handel and Haydn Society americanorchestras.org
Program for the Handel and Haydn Society’s first concert, which took place at King’s Chapel, Boston, on Christmas Day in 1815. It included selections from Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation.
under Artistic Director Harry Christophers. Sounds festive enough. But H+H gave that work its United States premiere on Christmas Day in 1818, and has performed it annually for 161 consecutive seasons. This March, H+H will perform Mendelssohn’s Elijah, which it introduced to Boston in 1848, just two years after the oratorio’s world premiere. Also in March comes Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, given its first American performance by H+H in 1879, at a time when Bach’s choral music was still relatively unfamiliar in the U.S. A final historical highlight of H+H’s anniversary season happens in May, when it will honor one of its signature composers, Joseph Haydn, with two performances of The Creation. H+H had given that work its U.S. premiere back in 1819. But the organization is not just celebrating its his-
If commissioning new music demonstrates H+H’s vitality, it also marks something of a departure from its core mission. Since the era of conductor Christopher Hogwood— the late Briton led the society from 1986 to 2001—its professional orchestra has consisted of specialists in period-performance techniques, playing instruments that are either old or closely modeled on those used in the Baroque and Classical eras. Historically Informed Performance, as it’s often called, is
one of the defining characteristics of H+H, setting it apart from today’s standard symphony orchestras. (Other U.S. organizations with similar objectives include San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; the Texas ensemble La Follia Austin Baroque; New York’s Trinity Baroque Orchestra and American Classical Orchestra; Apollo’s Fire in Cleveland; and, in H+H’s hometown, Boston Baroque.) Rather than tuning to A 440 or higher, H+H sets the pitch at A 415 for Baroque music and A 430 for Classical. Vibrato is in general more restrained. Violins, strung with gut and fitted with
ber of musicians for the period-instrument ensemble Hogwood assembled at New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival before coming to H+H. Widely respected for his work with London’s Academy of Ancient Music, which he’d founded in 1973, Hogwood told Symphony in 1990 that what attracted him to the job in Boston was that, “Nowadays if you carry a name like Handel and Haydn, the expectation will be that you represent the cutting edge—which to my mind involves acknowledging period instruments. So I decided their main profile ought to be doing repertoire of the Classical and Ba-
H+H musicians Christopher Krueger, flute, and Stephen Hammer, oboe
shorter base bars and fingerboards, are played without chinrests, using lighter bows. Cellos with no endpins are gripped tightly between the knees. Flutes may be of wood, with fewer keys than the modern silver instrument. The Baroque trumpets and horns lack valves, requiring feats of virtuosity invisible to the eye but astounding to the ear and the imagination. Interest in period performance has been building since the 1970s, and is increasingly the subject of special instrumental studies at academies and conservatories; Juilliard established a graduate-level curriculum in historically informed performance in 2009. At the time of Hogwood’s arrival as H+H music director in 1986, Boston had been in the vanguard of the movement for at least a decade; that city had in fact supplied a num-
roque with period instruments.” That tradition has continued under Grant Llewellyn, music director from 2001 to 2006; Roger Norrington, who served as artistic advisor from 2006 to 2008; and Christophers, who began as artistic director in 2009. “Baroque Fireworks,” the program that opened this season, featured one of H+H’s larger orchestral complements (37 players, expanded from the tenured per-service core of 24) and a 36-voice choir. Joining them in the opening work—Handel’s Coronation Anthem No. 1, Zadok the Priest—were the Young Women’s Chamber Choir and Young Men’s Chorus, two of the five youth choirs under the umbrella of H+H’s extensive Vocal Arts Program. The instrumental centerpiece of the concert was Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, richly showsymphony
tory with familiar works and canonical blockbusters. And its ongoing commitment to music of the Baroque and Classical periods—both choral works and purely instrumental ones like Haydn symphonies and concertos—does not preclude forays into adventurous new music. As part of the bicentennial celebrations, Gabriela Lena Frank is writing a piece for H+H to premiere on June 18 at Chorus America’s 2015 National Conference, on a program that will also include Palestrina, Handel, Bach, and contemporary vocal works by Arvo Pärt and James MacMillan. Frank’s new composition will be a setting of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s transcendentalist poem Boston Hymn, utilizing a chamber-sized instrumental ensemble and 20 singers from H+H’s professional chorus. Christophers said he expected it to be in three or four movements, largely a cappella but with instrumental interludes. Frank, who is of Peruvian, Jewish, and Chinese heritage, has stated that she was toying with the idea of incorporating vocal and instrumental sounds characteristic of the Peruvian Andes. H+H Executive Director Marie-Hélène Bernard says she hopes there will be repeat performances of the new work following its premiere. “It’s a co-commission with the Library of Congress, so we’ll be taking it to Washington, D.C. on our next tour, probably in 2016. And if another chorus wants to perform it with piano or organ or some other kind of instrumentation, they could do that. We want the work to have a life beyond H+H.”
casing the talents of its period-instrument orchestra. On display in H+H’s second program last fall was a more intimate style of music-making at its smaller venue, Jordan Hall, where a capacity crowd, largely subscribers, was to all appearances attentive and tuned in to the action onstage. The all-string concert consisted of six concertos from Vivaldi’s L’estro armonico, a violin concerto by Giuseppe Torelli, and the “Devil’s Trill” sonata for violin and continuo by Giuseppe Tartini—the entire concert directed by, and most of it featuring, Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky, a period-performance specialist who’s also on the roster of Tafelmusik in Toronto. In true Baroque fashion, all but the harpsichordist, the two cellists, and the theorbo (lute) player performed standing up. Nosky led with her entire body, stepping from side to side or forward and back, ducking her shoulders, signaling with bow and head. And she was an engaging emcee, jokingly telling the audience, “The good news is, we’ve got lots of Vivaldi for you tonight. The bad news is, none of it is from ‘The Four Seasons.’ ” Relating the familiar story of how Tartini’s fiendishly difficult “Devil’s Trill” had come to him in a dream about a demonic violinist, Nosky asked, “Why is it that Tartini wrote at least 350 pieces for violin, and this is the only one people know? Maybe it’s because it really did come from a supernatural hand.” That this particular concert happened to be taking place on Halloween, with numerous musicians in costume—a skeleton-patterned dress, cat ears, a winged helmet—was not lost on the orchestra’s principal cellist, Guy Fishman. Before taking his place on the soloist’s platform for Vivaldi’s Cello Concerto in F Major, RV 410, he leaned down from the stage with an offering of candy for a patron in the front row. As a music director who often cedes control to his instrumentalists, Christophers has high praise not only for Nosky’s musical leadership but for the way she humanizes the art form for an audience. “She’s passionate about the music, but is also a wonderful ‘people person,’ ” he says. “She knows how to deal with musicians, who can be quite complex characters. It’s a question of molding what you’ve got in front of you without destroying the individual personalities. And that’s one of the things that is characterizing H+H at the moment, not only in the americanorchestras.org
On June 1, 1865, H+H provided music for a memorial service at Boston’s Music Hall honoring President Lincoln, who had been assassinated on April 14. Lowell Mason was H+H president from 1827 to 1832. He had earlier given the society publishing rights to a collection of church music that proved hugely beneficial to its bottom line.
orchestra but in the chorus. We are seeing personalities come across, seeing faces and bodies coming alive with the music.” Fraternity to Community
The history of Boston’s venerable orchestracum-chorus is chronicled in The Handel and Haydn Society: Bringing Music to Life for 200 Years, a lavishly illustrated tome issued last fall by H+H in association with publisher David R. Godine. Musicologist Teresa M. Neff, who co-edited the book with Jan Swafford, writes in her own chapter (“The Society and its Members”) that when H+H began in 1815, “the chorus numbered one hundred (ninety men and ten women), accompanied by a hired orchestra of twelve (some of the orchestra were H+H members, but, unlike chorus members, the orchestra was paid); by 1865, there were seven hundred chorus members. After this peak, membership settled to an average of about three hundred for the latter half of the century.” Yet for most of H+H’s history—until two-thirds of the way into the 20th century, in fact—the concept of “membership” was limited to men. “Women were invited to sing from the very beginning,” says Neff. “They were thanked at the annual meeting, which only men attended. They were part of the Society, but only as invited guests. Women were never members until 1967.” The book recounts H+H’s establishment as an oratorio society, “with Handel and Haydn at the heart of the repertoire,” by a group of sixteen men—among them Gottlieb Graupner, a German-born musician who had played oboe under Haydn in London before emigrating to Boston in
A chorus ticket from the 1897-98 season. H+H singers brought them to each rehearsal and logged their attendance by having them punched.
1797; the society’s early—and financially rewarding—foray into the publishing of church music, through its association with composer, educator, conductor, and musical anthologist Lowell Mason; its colorful cast of choristers, including such historical notables as Julia Ward Howe, author of the words to “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (a re-setting of the Civil War tune to “John Brown’s Body”); and its prominent place in the musical and civic life of Boston through many decades. It also records such milestones as the U.S. premiere, in 1878, of Verdi’s Requiem—a work that H+H would never take on today—and the commissioning of choral works by such composers as John Knowles Paine (in 1883), Horatio Parker (1915), Randall Thompson (1965), and John Tavener (2002).
From Churches to Schools
With its current strong commitment to educating schoolchildren, H+H is a vastly different organization from what it was in its early years. Yet Neff says that at the society’s inception in 1815, “its mission was very clear: to improve singing in churches in Boston. From the beginning they wanted to do some kind of education. My sense is that the found- H+H’s theatrical collaborations have included this 2005 production ers understood that en- of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, with Nmon Ford and Paula Murrihy in the lead roles. joyment of the music comes from an understanding of it. It did And after 200 years, the names Handel relate to singing in church. They drew a lot and Haydn still have iconic significance in of their earliest members from Park Street terms of what the organization is and does. Church and other Boston churches. And “One thing we’ve concentrated on for the from the 1830s into the 1850s there were past couple of seasons,” says Christophers, several attempts to start singing schools. “is looking back at the things we’ve preWhat’s different today is the way H+H is miered.” As for an ongoing commitment to reaching into grade schools.” music later than Haydn, Christophers comIt’s an H+H activity that Bernard points ments, “Apart from our foray into Mendelsto with pride. She says that vocal quarsohn this year because it was a special work tets from H+H’s professional chorus visit for the bicentennial, and an occasional foray 50 to 70 schools in a wide swath of eastinto Beethoven, I’m not going further than ern Massachusetts. “They are trained and that in our mainstream concerts. There’s so paid to do these services, and we have four much Baroque and Classical music to covshows each year—40-minute presentaer. Someone else can do Missa Solemnis; it tions based on operatic repertoire or our wouldn’t be in my programming. The beauty own core repertoire. We’ve also started of the period-instrument movement is the school residencies. A member of our choamazing knowledge all the players have of rus who is a certified educator teaches 40 their own instruments—the history, the minutes a week at up to five public schools treatises. That’s what makes my job wonin economically challenged areas that have derful. As a conductor you can feed off the no other music instruction.” The fantastic array of instrumentalists in front of five youth choirs assembled through you. H+H’s Vocal Arts Program, serving “What’s really important is that whatkids in grades three through twelve, ever we do, be it a St. Matthew Passion or are trained by three full-time cona Haydn symphony, we’re being faithful to ductors hired by the society; about the composer’s intentions and enlightenhalf of the students receive financial ing in the way we approach the music—not aid and tuition subsidies. “We have only in the interpretations, but in allowing a faculty who teach them theory, the audience to hear sounds they’ve never solfège, all the essential skills these heard before. One of our big aims is trykids need to be able to learn muing to make the music sound new. I think it sic and master the art of singing. does sound fresh to an audience. It sounds And I insist that among the works alive. And a lot of people are coming to this H+H soprano Jennifer Ashe is also they learn and perform are selecfor the very first time. That’s exciting.” teacher-in-residence at Boston’s John F. Kennedy Elementary School. This tions from the Baroque and Classical visit took place November 18, 2013. eras—that’s a core mission of H+H.” CHESTER LANE is senior editor of Symphony.
Marie-Hélène Bernard notes that the Boston Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1881, “played with H+H quite a bit” in its early years, “and they collaborated quite often in the 20th century, until the BSO’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus was established in 1970.” It was around that time that Thomas Dunn, who had arrived as music director in 1967, took the step of radically reducing the vocal forces “to a size that Handel would have recognized and for which he had composed” (as Donald Teeters writes in his chapter on the Dunn era). Bernard says that Dunn took what had been a 150-member volunteer chorus down to “a professional ensemble of some 30 singers. He also started building an orchestra that was a lot more to the size of what the composers of the time would have used. He started observing period practices from the standpoint not only of orchestra size, but of phrasing and articulation. After Hogwood came in 1986, he took three years to turn the orchestra completely into a period-instrument ensemble.” Currently H+H’s main season consists of six programs at Symphony Hall—five performed in pairs, Messiah as a triple in November—and three concert pairs at Jordan Hall. As for its per-service vocalists and instrumentalists, Bernard says that H+H “does not guarantee a certain number of services. This makes us very nimble and flexible; I think it’s why we’ve been around for so long, and why we’re doing so well financially. We can plan well. During the recession years we could make programming changes that helped us financially, without affecting artistic quality or our audience development efforts.”
SEASONS OF BROADWAY CELEBRATING THE DIVERSITY OF BROADWAY Now Available for Symphonies and Pops Concerts
A concert featuring iconic hits from Rent, Wicked, In The Heights , Godspell and more, performed by original broadway cast members.
*artists subject to change.
MARCUS PAUL JAMES
Musicians are increasingly turning to alternative and preventive methods to stay healthy, recover from an injury, and to maintain lifelong wellness.
by Madeline Rogers
“No pain, no gain” is a mantra that aspiring athletes learn at an
early age. So, too, do many budding musicians. Sore shoulders, tight necks, aching backs, and painful wrists have long been accepted as the price of entering the top ranks of the profession, but that attitude may be changing. A growing number of musicians are learning that playing through pain is not the best prescription for a long career, and that prevention is the best medicine. Increasingly, their quest for comfort, once conventional medical treatments have been exhausted, leads them to alternative methods. Paula Skolnick-Childress, a cellist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, suffered a career-threatening injury at age 45. With surgery, rehabilitation, and a sympathetic orchestra management, Childress, now 69, was able to resume her career, but she had to change her ways. “I had to learn not to play with pain,” she says. Her disability, diagnosed as thoracic outlet syndrome, kept her out of the orchestra for two years. “Surgery fixed the nerve impingement; the problem was getting back to playing,” she reports. “I tried swimming, yoga, acupuncture, nothing was working.” She finally found Maryland-based Kelly Russell, whose practice is a blend of massage, Feldenkrais, and other methods. Childress has been seeing him for fifteen years. “I work with him every week,” she says, “because I learned that if I wait until I’m in pain it’s too late.” Treating an injury after the fact is all well and good, but many would prefer to see more prevention as part of ongoing wellness programs, among them Ed Gazouleas, who retired in 2014 as a violist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and now teaches full-time at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Each year, he offers a prevention workshop to all incoming string players at the New World Symphony, built around techniques he learned on his twenty-year journey back to health following an injury. New World Symphony is an orchestral training academy, and the goal of the prevention workshop is to prepare young players for the demands of a full-time orchestral career, which these days requires a level of physical output that Gazouleas says is unprecedented: “There is a craving for super-saturated sensation. Decibel levels are getting higher, and conductors are asking for more intensity, which
Musicians in Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the USA during a music and movement workshop offered in July 2014, led by Liz Lerman and James Ross.
Cellist and recent Juilliard graduate Patrick McGuire with Juilliard faculty member Lori Schiff, who teaches a popular course in Alexander Technique at the school.
New World Symphony
Yoga instructor Danielle Kipnis leads musicians of the New World Symphony in a session at the New World Center.
involves vibrating more. These are things I talk to students about: having to adjust your body, your system, to these kinds of demands.” According to Jane Horvath’s seminal book Playing (Less) Hurt, now in its fourth edition (Hal Leonard Books, 2010), musicians experience a high rate of occupational injuries. Horvath quotes a 1986 survey of more than 2,000 professional players conducted by the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians. It found that 76 percent of respondents experienced an injury serious enough to require time off from work. Gazouleas suggests that these figures may even be on the rise. Among the typical injuries for string musicians are repetitive strain to the back, shoulders, and neck. Wind players are at risk for laryngoceles, caused by excess pressure to the larynx, and retinal hemorrhages, also the result of too much air pressure. Percussionists have a high rate of tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. What’s definitely changing, though, are attitudes toward injury, self-care, and prevention. “There used to be a stigma about musicians getting injured; if you were injured, you were weak. That’s just not the case anymore,” says Rebecca Blum, orchestra personnel manager of the San Francisco Symphony. Her colleague Julie HaightCurran agrees. Over more than 20 years as orchestra personnel manager for the Minnesota Orchestra, from 1979 to 2013, Haight-Curran says she witnessed “an increase in awareness of self-care and prevention, whether it be running, swimming, stretching before a concert, or cooling down
after a concert,” in addition to an embrace of “lots of yoga as well as Alexander and Feldenkrais.” Those methods are the three most popular, but nowadays a dizzying array of methods has been developed to bring greater awareness and ease to musicians. A short alphabetical list of techniques and practices includes acupuncture, Alexander Technique, Body Mapping, chiropractic, cognitive anatomy, Feldenkrais Method, massage, meditation, Pilates, Rolfing, Taubman, Trager, and yoga. (See sidebar for definitions of the three most popular programs.)
Paula Skolnick-Childress, a cellist in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, has practiced Feldenkrais, yoga, and other modalities to continue playing after a serious injury.
sional musicians, with the goal of training faculty member and a disciple of sports psythem for leadership positions on stage and chologist Don Greene; and a weekly yoga in the community. Part of the program has class. NWS also provides private sessions been a one-day workshop for first-year felwith these and other practitioners, either on lows, which exposes them to the Alexander site or via Skype, plus access to doctors and Technique, yoga, and Feldenkrais. Accordphysical therapists, all provided either free ing to Education Manager Deanna Kenof charge or at steeply reduced rates. nett, plans are in the works to extend that Other training orchestras and ensembles into the second year. are also integrating health and wellness. The New World Symphony’s Ayden Adler National Youth Orchestra of the United sums up the importance of reaching musiStates, a two-year-old program of Carncians on the threshold of their careers: “We egie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, brings want to give our graduates the tools to take 120 elite young instrumentalists to New with them into the professional world.” York for a two-week residency, followed by a multi-stop tour. In the first year, students got to Tools for Wellness spend a day exploring An informal and admittedly unscientific the Feldenkrais Method survey suggests musicians will need those with trainer and practitools. Those employed full time have access tioner Aliza Stewart and to medical care, but insurance frequently yoga instructor Nicole does not cover alternative therapies. That Newman, founder of doesn’t stop musicians from exploring on Yoga for the Arts. Sarah their own. At the Cleveland Orchestra, Johnson, director of the for instance, a small band of musicians has Weill Music Institute, rebonded over Feldenkrais. They take reguports there’s great interlar classes with Samantha Basford at her est in these workshops: studio, Cleveland Movement, and when in “In general, this seems Miami during the orchestra’s annual resito be more a part of the dency, they seek out practitioner Dale Rusconversation among sell. Like many such arrangements, this is a young musicians; it’s in family affair: Basford is married to Principal a different place than it Percussionist Marc Damoulakis. was a decade ago in terms of their underAt the San Francisco Symphony, Feldenstanding of the importance of taking care of krais classes, subsidized by the orchestra, their bodies and playing in a healthy way.” are offered weekly in the musicians’ lounge. The New York Youth Symphony, a tuThe program was founded in 1994 by pracition-free program for students ages 12 to titioner Mary Spire at the invitation of the 22, began offering workshops on Alexander orchestra. “The year I started the program, Technique, yoga, and several musicians were out Nowadays a dizzying performance anxiety in on disability,” she recalls. “I array of methods has 2013, according to Exhad been teaching Feldenecutive Director Shauna krais at Tanglewood for been developed to bring Quill. “A lot of kids six years, and I ran into a greater awareness and take private lessons and symphony board memease to musicians. A short have never considered ber who had heard about how they’re sitting, how list includes acupuncture, it. He said that insurance Alexander Technique, they’re playing, and how rates were going up bechiropractic, cognitive they’re practicing,” she cause of injuries, and he says. “They need to learn asked if Feldenkrais could anatomy, Feldenkrais not just how to play, but help.” The program was Method, massage… how to play so they don’t so successful, says Spire, get injured. We’re hopefully setting up our that all the injured musicians returned to kids for a pain-free life.” work, and continue playing to this day. The The Academy, a collaboration among current teacher, Stacey Pelinka, has a small Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and but loyal following. Among the faithful is the Weill Music Institute, offers two-year bassist Brian Marcus, who entered the profellowships to young post-graduate profesgram in 1995. Unwilling to have surgery
These methods and others have found fertile ground at orchestras, conservatories, schools of music, and summer festivals and camps. The New World Symphony, founded 26 years ago, arguably has the richest program. Musicians spend, on average, three years in this elite pre-professional orchestra based in Miami Beach. A 35-week season, with two to three performances a week, introduces fellows, as they are called, to the life of professional musicians. “Being a full-time musician is almost as intense as being an athlete,” says Senior Vice President and Dean Ayden Adler. “As educators, our responsibility is to teach them how to take care of themselves.” Throughout the year, fellows are exposed to regular workshops in the Alexander Technique with Juilliard School faculty member Lori Schiff; the Feldenkrais Method with Uri and Hagit Vardi (“a power couple from Wisconsin who come at it from both the artistic and medical side,” according to Adler); performance psychology with Dr. Noa Kageyama, another Juilliard
Preventive Alternatives: The Big Three hen a musician is hurt or simply wants to play with more ease, she will try a variety of approaches. The three most popular alternative methods—the Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais Method, and yoga—all aim to integrate the mind and body through development of greater awareness of movement and breath. Here’s a closer look. ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE Origins: Developed by F. M. Alexander (1869–1965), an Australian-born actor. Hampered by vocal problems, he began to investigate how use of his body might be contributing to his difficulties and developed a new approach. Alexander Technique is typically taught one-on-one, but is also offered in workshops and to groups. Champions: Guitarists Julian Bream and Sharon Isbin, conductor Colin Davis, Paul McCartney A practitioner speaks: “Alexander teaches people how to recognize when they’re doing something harmful, to become more sensitive to their habitual posture and movement and how to change it. You don’t just lie there and get fixed. You take responsibility for yourself.” — Robert Rickover, an Alexander teacher for more than 30 years who specializes in working with musicians
considerably. When you’re doing any activity, you want to minimize unnecessary muscular effort; Alexander teaches you that. As a brass player, it’s quite practical. If you’re tight in your neck, then you’re tight in your chest and that means you can’t fill your lungs. When you’re practicing Alexander, you’re focusing on sensations in your body. That has a calming effect.” —Alexander Kienle, French horn, Dallas Symphony Orchestra FELDENKRAIS METHOD Origins: Developed by Moshe Feldenkrais (1904–1984), a Russian-born physicist, judo expert, and mechanical engineer. Crippled by a knee injury, he was told he had only a 50 percent chance for recovery. Dissatisfied, he created and refined a method based on principles of physics and biomechanics, training a generation of practitioners. Exercises are performed in a class setting or in private sessions. Champions: Pianist Richard Goode, guitarist Narcisso Yepes, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Yehudi Menuhin
in 2001, I developed some tension, fatigue in my arms. I really had to work to find power, and in doing so I was getting less power. I went to every great sports-medicine doctor in South Florida, physical therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors. A few things worked, but they were not close to a solution. Then I found Feldenkrais and I learned that I would have had the same issues whether I played the drums or picked up tennis or wrote poetry—the problem was the way I was holding tension in my body. I also use Feldenkrais in my teaching. I have many students who play the snare drum, using just their wrists, while their shoulders, chest, and rib cage are locked. If you want to master your instrument and make better music, you need to deal with the physicality of it. It’s as artistically important as practicing your instrument.” —Marc Damoulakis, Principal Percussionist, The Cleveland Orchestra; percussion faculty member, DePaul University School of Music and Cleveland Institute of Music
YOGA Origins: Born in India, yoga A practitioner speaks: “A has evolved over thousands musician’s difficulties are directly of years, developing many related to the way they use branches and schools. Yoga themselves—that is, in a fixed or can be physically vigorous asymmetrical position, often with or restful and meditative, excessive work by the flexor depending on which “brand” of muscles, which inhibits freedom yoga one practices. It is taught of the arms. Musicians find it A musician’s tale: “I started in groups or one-on-one. piano in third grade and French hard to take care of themselves Champions: Conductors Seiji unless their ability to play is horn in fifth grade. In high Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein, inhibited by discomfort or injury. school, I played piano for hours violinist Yehudi Menuhin, Paul However, in my experience, a day and was going to the gym McCartney musicians are exceptionally without understanding how to quick to learn new ways.” — A practitioner speaks: use myself well, so I ended up David Zemach Bersin, who “Every artist realizes the with chronic back pain at age studied with Dr. Feldenkrais and dynamic mind-body-instrument eighteen. When I got to Juilliard, is a founder of the Feldenkrais connection. Even a slight I saw a poster for Lori Schiff’s Institute, New York imbalance dramatically impacts Alexander Technique class performance and, possibly, and signed up. After a year, A musician’s tale: “When I long-term health. Yoga is my back pain had lessened was in New World Symphony, americanorchestras.org
a breathing practice that physiologically calms, focuses, and strengthens mind and body. Yoga can help reduce performance anxiety and prevent or rehabilitate repetitivestress injuries. Unfortunately, too many musicians rely on beta blockers and other choices. A daily ten- to fifteen-minute yoga practice is a healthy alternative.” —Nicole Newman, founder of Yoga for the Arts; flutist and yoga educator who works with individual musicians, conservatories, and orchestras Lori Schiff teaches the Alexander Technique to Julie Pilant, assistant principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera. Jonathan Estabrook
A musician’s tale: “I haven’t had any terrible injuries, but I have been close to people who have, and that scared me. So when I had any kind of pain or tension issues, I thought, ‘I’m not going to wait.’ During my undergrad years at the Hartt School of Music, I started doing Feldenkrais. That solved my lower back problems, but at a certain point I needed some strengthening. Yoga is really great for that. It balances strengthening, flexibility, and awareness. I also had some performance-anxiety issues, and using breath to calm the nervous system and control your fight-or-flight response is so helpful.”—Emily Kalish, a freelance violinist, member of the Binghamton Philharmonic, and on the faculty of the Concordia Conservatory of Music and Art and the Music Conservatory of Westchester, New York
TIMELESS 3 GENERATIONS SING THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK Now Available for Symphonies and Pops Concerts
“ The level of outstanding talent in “Timeless“ absolutely knocked our audience out. Maye, Callaway & Ziobro have incredible chemistry together. The standing ovations, bravos, and cheers were well-deserved! “ Anna Becker, Executive Director, On Stage At Kingsborough
A concert for all ages, the musical torch is passed between three generations, featuring such timeless standards as “Here’s to Life,“ “Memory,“ “It’s Today“ and more.
Photo credit: Kevin Alvey Photo
MARILYN MAYE, LIZ CALLAWAY AND NICK ZIOBRO, MICHAEL FEINSTEIN’S PROTEGE
Violist Ed Gazouleas, a recently retired violist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and current faculty member at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, offers a prevention workshop to string players at the New World Symphony. He’s shown here with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
for a neck injury, he signed up for Feldenkrais; like his colleagues, he was soon back to work, and has also become a certified Feldenkrais practitioner. At the Minnesota Orchestra ten years ago, musicians got together and, with a private donor, raised enough money to pay Kathy McClure, chiropractor and masseuse, to accompany them on tour. In the second year, the orchestra administration paid half her way. Although no longer subsidized,
McClure continued traveling with the orSymphony cellist, went through a process chestra at her own expense, offering treatlike that during her recovery. Although ment on a fee-for-service basis and seeing it was more than 20 years ago, she still reas many as 50 musicians on any given tour, members it: “The orchestra and my colplus the truckers and stage crew. leagues were wonderful. I was amazed at Although prevention and self-care are up how understanding the orchestra was.” to the individual musician, orchestras now To Lori Schiff, whose Alexander Techprovide a more supportnique course at Juilliard Julie Haight-Curran, ive environment for those is always full, prevention orchestra personnel who do sustain injuries. makes sense both for inmanager for the Starting in the mid-1980s, dividual musicians and for Minnesota Orchestra the Minnesota Orchesmanagement. “You need tra developed a program from 1979 to 2013, has your people to be healthy,” called “work hardening.” witnessed “an increase she says. “You don’t want It has gained wide accepto be paying big insurance in awareness of selftance, according to former bills for them to run around care and prevention.” personnel manager Julie from doctor to doctor. And Haight-Curran. Under work hardening, a if they have to lay off for a while, then you musician who has been out with an injury have to hire subs. In that regard, the orchesgoes through a structured protocol that eastra is no different from corporate America. es him back to work. Musicians are allowed A healthy worker is a valuable one.” to sit on stage in the back of their section, playing as much as they are comfortable doMADELINE ROGERS, former director of ing, with their doctor’s blessing. As they get publications at the New York Philharmonic, is stronger, they can play more and eventually a writer, editor, and creative consultant serving return to full-time playing. New York’s cultural, nonprofit, and educational Paula Skolnick-Childress, the Baltimore communities.
THE INTERNATIONAL VIOLIN COMPETITION OF INDIANAPOLIS presents the 9th Quadrennial Laureates
Ji Young Lim Bronze Medalist
Jinjoo Cho Gold Medalist
“The International Violin Competition of Indianapolis is admired as having a sterling record for picking winners.” - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Dami Kim 4th Laureate
Ji Yoon Lee 6th Laureate
Yoo Jin Jang 5th Laureate
For availability, contact: Glen Kwok Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org 317.637.4574 www.violin.org
Photo by Denis R. Kelly, Jr.
Tessa Lark Silver Medalist
by Jennifer Melick
What are today’s conductors and solo artists wearing onstage? Everything from tuxes to mini-skirts. A survey of the scene, and what it all means.
ack in the day, Ivo Pogorelich created a ruckus when he wore leather pants and grew his hair long, and Nigel Kennedy came in for criticism with his punk hair and raggedy look. More recently, Yuja Wang has received a lot of media attention for her ultra-miniskirts, and what would a performance by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter be without one of her strapless gowns? Yannick Nézet-Séguin recently stopped wearing a necktie while conducting, opting instead for an open collar, which prompted one journalist to question whether this was disrespectful. And at one 2014 Tanglewood concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it was hard not to zoom in on Renée Fleming’s spectacular, voluminous white shawl brushing the shoulders of violins and violas as she swished on and off the stage. Fleming quipped that like musicians carrying cellos and double basses on airplanes, she wouldn’t mind an extra seat for the many gowns she likes to wear.
Opting here for white tie and tails is Thomas Wilkins (right), music director of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and family and youth concerts conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Karina Canellakis (below), assistant conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, is among conductors who have been known to wear ponytails in performance, perhaps signaling a less formal approach to appearance among young female conductors.
“I can wear long skirts when I’m 40,” pianist Yuja Wang said in a 2014 newspaper interview.
Brian David Braun
Sybarite5’s members aim to look as if they were going on a first date, looking nice but trying “not too hard to impress.”
Most people would probably agree that, since what we see is intimately tied up with what we hear, the visual aspect of a classical concert is not a minor matter. And that includes clothing. “Attire is important,” says bassist Louis Levitt, a member of the string ensemble Sybarite5—Levitt plus two violinists, a violist, and a cellist. “It’s part of your presentation, and one of the many things that includes is what you’re wearing. And that will change the audience’s perception of what you’re doing.” Sybarite5 goes for a “casual yet polished” look, says the quintet’s cellist, Laura Metcalf. “We felt like if we were going to do all the other things the we do as a group—how we present ourselves onstage, talking to the audience and so forth—but then
Anja Frers/Deutsche Grammophon
When it comes to orchestra concerts, the conductor and the soloist are the most visible figures in the concert hall. That’s not to ignore the attire of an orchestra’s critical core, the ensemble itself, another topic for another article. But—as the late Joan Rivers would have said—can we talk? In a time of rapid change for orchestras, just how conservative are they, and does increased openness to change extend to the area of concert attire? Are women held to a different standard than men? With conductors like Gemma New, Karina Canellakis, and Anu Tali on the U.S. orchestra scene, is the swinging ponytail set to become a new fashion for music directors? And why does Joshua Bell often leave his shirt untucked? If these seem like silly or superficial questions, consider the findings of a 2013 study from University College London, which found that when asked to pick eventual winners of international music competitions, the study’s more than 1,000 participants on average chose correctly 53 percent of the time when watching six-second videos of a performance, with no sound, but just 26 percent of the time when listening to audio of complete live performances. The effect was actually more pronounced among participants who were professionally trained musicians.
Anne-Sophie Mutter often performs in strapless gowns.
Violinist Joshua Bell in his role as music director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Bell likes seeing people dressed up at concerts but thinks casual concerts are a good idea, too—especially for attracting younger audiences.
wear gowns, it just wouldn’t make any sense. We try to keep our look the same regardless of where we’re performing. We’re not going to be wearing ripped jeans in Carnegie Hall—we don’t want to be disrespectful to a venue—but we want to maintain this image all the time and break down the boundaries between us and the audience, even in a very traditional, formal venue.” A typical outfit for them is (for the men) jeans / buttondown shirt / vest, and jeans / (often sleeveless) top for the women. For soloists and conductors, and for a chamber ensemble like Sybarite5, attire is a way to make an artistic statement, to stand out from the crowd, and—let’s be candid—provide something nice for the audience to look at. For this unscientific “state of the state of orchestra fashion,” we spoke to several soloists and conductors who are highly visible on today’s orchestra stages. A random sampling of their opinions on this subject: Tuxedos are archaic, uncomfortable, and should be abolished. The outfit you wear should adapt to reflect the style of music you are performing. Your attire should be consymphony
sistent from performance to performance, regardless of repertoire. You should perform wearing the same style of clothing as in publicity photos and posters promoting the concert. Your outfit should be physically, and psychologically, comfortable. Your clothes should never distract from the music. A performer should dress as if going out on a first date. Your outfit should help lower barriers between you and your audience. In short, there is no one attitude, and views on concert attire are as numerous as the musicians who perform on today’s concert stages.
chaos of the outside world. Part of me enjoys that. There’s a time and a place for that. But there’s another part of me that thinks that may be scaring away some of the younger people who associate that with being stuffy, and stuffy is just a word I don’t ever want to hear associated with classical music! So if it helps bring younger people for the orchestra and the soloists to be dressed a little more current, then I am all for that. Casual concerts are a great idea.” And, Bell adds, “Nobody should be talking about your clothes. I would get tired if every concert review mentioned my clothing. As an artist you want people to be talking about the music.” Still, he says, “I get a lot of comments! Lately I’ve been getting a lot of nice comments about my new Louis Vuitton shoes. I’ve thought a lot about coming up with a comfortable sneaker that would look really dressy, but I haven’t done that yet. The nice thing about being a man in today’s society: basically we get our uniform and we stick with it. And nobody worries “There are too much about it. It’s no rules so much harder for the today. One women. They seem to can wear be scrutinized.”
The Soloist: Quest for Comfort
almost anything— anything that fits,” says Anu Tali, music director of the Sarasota Orchestra.
For Anu Tali, the Finnish-born music director of the Sarasota Orchestra, embracing her own style and trusting her own instincts are key to what she wears. “When the musical substance is there, one can wear most anything—anything that fits,” says Tali. “For me it is more about how people carry it off. I wear a more conservative, formal outfit on stage, but that is me. There are no rules today. So, no need to get mad or irritated. The world is what it is today. The only way to change it is to act differently. Some people tolerate or enjoy attention more than others, but we all have one thing in common—we are onstage first to be heard and second to be seen. My advice to artists looking to push the boundaries on concert attire: trust your inner feeling of taste and comfort. Get over the prejudice and the fact that people will always talk. Everybody is different in shape and personality, so there is no one answer.” For Sarah Ioannides, music director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic in South Carolina and the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra in Washington, practical considerations come first. “I am a busy person. I am a mother of three children, and I have
Courtesy of Sarasota Orchestra
For violinist Joshua Bell, comfort is key, whether it’s performing as a soloist or in his role as music director of London’s Academy of St Martin in the Fields. “The criteria I’m looking for when wearing something is, number one, comfort,” though he jokes, “The most comfortable thing probably would be tattered jeans and a t-shirt, but of course I don’t want to go out in that!” In the beginning of his career, he says, he wore “what everybody else wore—tails with white tie, which for a violinist is awful. The tie, right where the violin is supposed to go, just gets in the way. I abandoned wearing tails around 1996 or 1997. I wanted to find something more comfortable, so I dropped the tie, and then eventually I dropped the jacket. The last couple of years I’ve been trying something new. Instead of a tucked-out shirt, which I wore for many years, I’ve been wearing a tucked-in shirt with a vest. A vest kind of keeps it looking a little neater, and it has no sleeves, so it leaves me a lot of room to move. I prefer black shirts because white shirts can get grimy. Also, white on black can look a little bit like a waiter! A black shirt is more economical. I’ve been toying around with slight color changes, like underneath the vest, wearing a dark blue, so there’s a tiny bit of contrast, a little bit of color. Leading the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, I wear the same thing as playing a solo concert. Your outfit affects how you play, and how you feel, so consistency is also really important. Every little thing you do, even how you feel in your shoes, can actually affect your technique as a player.” Bell is torn in his feelings about traditional concert attire. “There is something nice about seeing the orchestra dressed nicely and you really feel like you’ve escaped the
Conductors: Changing Rules— and Roles
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two orchestras. I have limited time to shop, to decide what to wear, to get my clothes pressed, picked up from venue to venue. “Sometimes I’m traveling with a ton of weight in scores. I choose lightweight clothing that breathes, and heavy suits tend not to be my favored things. I do vary what I wear, and it also goes along with the style of music. I tend to go for black, because the baton is more visible [against it]. I don’t “There are almost as many variations want what I’m wearing to be distracting, and I do want it to conductor attire these days as to be stylish. I try not to be too there are conductors,” says Yannick casual, because it’s not my per- Nézet-Séguin, music director of the sonality anyway. But I do like to be comfortable, too. Those Philadelphia Orchestra. Here, he opts are the three things: style, com- for an open collar. fort, and not being overly distracting. tails and formalwear is very appropriate. But “It’s an interesting topic. First of all, a midday Family Concert is more casual, you’ve got an orchestra dressed in essentially and for a concert in the community we may late-18th- or early-19th-century costume. want an even more informal look. On the other hand, that’s a male costume: “Orchestras are wearing ‘uniforms’ that tailcoat. It’s not a woman’s costume, and date back over 100 years, and in Philadel9/4/05, 12:21 PM you have a lot of women in orchestras. So phia the musicians are open to exploring althat opens up a multitude of possibilities. ternatives,” says Nézet-Séguin. “We all made These days we have such differing standards a decision together for our PopUP concert for what is okay to wear, in some people’s last fall to wear brightly colored tops. The opinions, and not okay in others. There’s a audience was delighted that they could pick mixing of modern thought versus antiquatout their favorite performers more easily. It ed thought on the subject and they are all was a big success, and we continue this praccoexisting and there’s a lot of vibrant discustice now for certain concerts, including our sion about it as a result of us not all being Neighborhood Concerts and other commuin the same place. Quite often I get told by nity concerts.” people, ‘You should wear this.’ Or someIoannides also says she enjoys when the times somebody says, ‘What she wore was musicians change up their attire. “I like it feminine’ or ‘too feminine.’ Well, I’m sorry, when the orchestra has a sense of style as I’m female. And I’m not going to wear a suit well. A few times I have experimented with just because men wear suits. That’s fine for the orchestra’s clothing, and it really seemed some women, and occasionally I will wear a to change the atmosphere in the audience. suit, and that’s fine too.” In 2005 with the El Paso Symphony, we Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of performed Jan Sandström’s A Short Ride on the Philadelphia Orchestra, says that there a Motorbike and Short Ride in a Fast Machine are “almost as many variations to conducby John Adams. The orchestra were offered tor attire these days as there are conductors,” the option to wear, if they liked, motorbike noting that what he wears “reflects who I gear when performing. And they totally got am: my age, my generation, my sense of carried away. The concertmaster walked on style are always expressed.” Like Ioannides with a white helmet, some wore bandannas, and Tali, he points out that what he wears leather trousers—it just made it a whole unshouldn’t detract from the music, and needs stuffy, relaxed atmosphere. On the flip side to be comfortable, but that “Different attire of that, I also see young audience members may better suit different concert experiences. dress up. I was at the Seattle Symphony’s Perhaps Saturday night is date night, and so Sonic Evolution concert in June, when the symphony
League Conference was happening, and it was amazing to see it absolutely packed with young people. They were dressed up! Young people wearing their best outfits, and they were happy to be there.” Sybarite5—violinists Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violist Angela Pickett, cellist Laura Metcalf, and bassist Louis Levitt— might be best known at this point for their concerts featuring virtuosic arrangements of songs by Radiohead. But this alternative chamber ensemble is strongly connected to the orchestral world as well, much like the JACK Quartet and the ensembles eighth blackbird and ICE. Among Sybarite5’s upcoming performances is Beatbox, a commissioned concerto by Dan Visconti, with a world premiere in March 2015 by the South Carolina Philharmonic, followed by performances at orchestras including Michigan’s Midland Symphony and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra in Minnesota. Sybarite5’s members say it’s important to have a consistent look, and that the look is something they all take seriously.
Soprano Renée Fleming with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, led by William Eddins, July 2014. Fleming jokes that she should buy an extra seat on the airplane to accommodate the gowns she likes to wear when appearing on concert and gala programs.
Conductors Daniel Boico Christoph Campestrini Steven Fox Nir Kabaretti Bernard Labadie Richard Lee Dirk Meyer James Paul Jonathan Tessero Gregory Vajda Pianists Anderson & Roe Piano Duo Katherine Chi David Kadouch Alexander Korsantia Benedetto Lupo Dubravka Tomsic Gilles Vonsattel Violinists Nikki Chooi Yossif Ivanov Mayuko Kamio Elina Vähälä French horn David Jolley Ensembles I Musici di Roma Jasper String Quartet Kelemen Quartet New York Brass Arts Trio Signum Quartet Trio Cavatina Trio Valtorna Special Projects Cirque de la Symphonie+ Festival Pablo Casals Prades Collective Ute Lemper Sopranos Catherine Affleck Tracy Dahl Karina Gauvin Jonita Lattimore Christy Lombardozzi Shannon Mercer Christina Pier Katherine Whyte Mezzo-Sopranos Cherry Duke Margaret Lattimore Abigail Nims Barbara Rearick Claire Shackleton Counter-Tenor José Lemos Tenors Noah Baetge Frank Kelley Jesús León Tilman Lichdi Christopher Pfund Steven Tharp Daniel Weeks Lawrence Wiliford Baritones Anton Belov Daniel Cilli Jochen Kupfer+ Richard Zeller Bass-Baritones Stephen Bryant Michael Dean Kevin Deas Basses Jeremy Galyon+ Nikita Storojev Chorus La Chapelle de Québec
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Perfecting the Group Image
“You’ve got an orchestra dressed in essentially late18th- or early-19th century costume. That’s a male costume: tailcoat. You have a lot of women in orchestras, so that opens up a multitude of possibilities,” says Sarah Ioannides, music director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic and the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. “On the stage, we make an effort to look more like we look in real life. We decided we would wear what we’d wear if we were going out,” says Angela Pickett. “It’s important for people to relate to what’s onstage, that they feel like it’s not outdated,” says Sami Merdinian. “One of the things I always think about is what I would wear on a first date. You’re dressing to impress, but not trying hard to impress,” says Louis Levitt. “Before the group started wearing less traditional concert attire, I don’t think I realized how important it was,” says Sarah Whitney. “People kind of listen with their eyes sometimes. It can be intimidating for a new audience to go to a concert where everyone is onstage in tuxedos, especially for a younger crowd that may not be used to that very formal kind of event. A less formal look makes it more accessible.” With five members, Sybarite5’s discus-
sions about what to wear can get heated. “Oh, yeah, there’s conflict,” jokes Levitt. “We can talk about shoes for a half hour! We have gotten into fights—not fistfights, but intense discussions over footwear have been had.” Says Merdinian, “I can say that I went shopping with Sarah and Angela in L.A. on one of our tours to get the shoes that I usually wear. Because I have to get their approval.” On the subject of the traditional tuxedo, Sybarite5’s opinions are united. Says Merdinian, “Everyone says you should love your work, be happy. If you have to dress in a tuxedo and tails four nights a week, it’s getting in the way of being comfortable at work.” Levitt adds, “As a double bassist if I have to perform in a tuxedo, it’s two sizes too big, so I can go around my instrument. I believe the reason why people wear tails is because at some point in time that was the highest expression of the most formal wear, and that was showing the most respect. That was maybe 100 years ago, and things have changed. Maybe the Oscars, or the Grammys, what are people wearing on the red carpet—that’s maybe a more accurate expression of what is formal now. Nowadays, unless you’re selling yourself as a period ensemble, or if you’re in a production of Rigoletto, I just don’t understand why an orchestra wears tails. What is interesting and what I think is very healthy is to have the discussion about it.”
Sybarite5 seriously considers feedback about how they look, and in some cases it has changed their approach. “We’ve gotten positive feedback, we’ve gotten negative feedback,” says Levitt. “I’ve had people say, ‘Why is one person wearing spaghetti straps and one person wearing pink?’ I’m a guy— I don’t think I even know the difference.” Pickett says, “That comment made us really aware that we maybe weren’t all dressed for the same event, and that’s something we should try to have as a rule.” For Levitt, “It’s very strange if I see someone’s bio picture—say they’re a soloist—and they’re very casual, and they show up and they play with an orchestra, and they’re wearing something that doesn’t fit their picture. For people not familiar with classical music, they think, ‘It’s not what I thought I was getting into.’ ” Metcalf says, “We want to be recognizable. In this field there is so much competition, so we want to do everything we can to make ourselves recognizable across the board, and if presenting ourselves in this way helps us to do that, then it’s just one more way we can advance ourselves.” In the end, it’s not always possible to please every audience member. Says Levitt, “My grandmother always said, everything we do is great, except, could we just dress a little bit nicer?” JENNIFER MELICK is managing editor of Symphony.
Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in classic summer attire.
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2Cellos is Stjepan Hauser and Luka Šulić, classically trained cellists whose “Smooth Criminal” became a YouTube sensation. The Croatian and Slovenian natives, who play everything from Vivaldi to AC/DC, speak to Symphony about playing in rock-music arenas and their passion for bringing classical music to a wider audience.
Cello Shredders Stjepan Hauser (left) and Luka Šulic
linists, pianists, and of course cellists. I will never forget when I first heard a recording of David Oistrakh playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. I was twelve years old. Everything was just perfection. He didn’t move much on stage, but he looked and sounded larger than life. I was also very much influenced by the cello playing of Daniil Shafran and Lynn Harrell. The colors that Shafran could draw from his instrument were incredible, and I loved Harrell’s sound a lot as well.
Stjepan Hauser: Cello is such a univerAC/DC. I was very much influenced by sal instrument. It has so many possibilities electronic music, the whole studio producand is capable of doing so many different tion side of music. I would also often play things, different sounds, effects. What we samples on cello for my brother’s beats— try to do is take a great rock or pop song he worked in hip-hop and electronic and turn it into a classical masterpiece! music production. Hauser: In summer 2013 in Croatia’s We try to give them this classical dimenArena Pula, the venue and atmosphere sion and sensitivity. Very often we use Hauser: I was lucky enough to have were magical. We had other big shows dynamics that range from pianissimos to lessons with Mstislav Rostropovich and before that, in Arena Zagreb for 12,000 fortissimos that you never hear at the rock Bernard Greenhouse. Rostropovich played people, in Split an outdoor concert for shows—where you only hear loud all the with so much drama and energy, it was re50,000 people! Of course we use amplitime. Our arrangements of U2 or Coldally inspiring. After that, I was completely fication—our shows are really play songs, for example, sound loud, especially towards the like classical pieces written for end when we start to rock. It the cello. They fit perfectly to would be cool and interesting the sound and range of the cello. to collaborate with the Rolling We treat them that way and play Stones, AC/DC, U2, Sting, them that way! Eminem, Dudamel. We wanted to expand the We believe that classipossibilities of playing the cello. cal music could reach bigger Our imagination and creativity audiences, but very often it is were limited by playing only one presented in a boring, dry, old kind of music. There was always fashioned way, with so many this rock animal inside of us that rules, and young people are wanted to explode! One side of simply not interested in going us wanted to fill up arenas, to those concerts. Many teachstadiums—we wanted to ers don’t teach you how to open experience this euphoria, crazy 2Cellos (Hauser left, Šulic right) performing at the Highline Ballroom in New York City, April 2013. your heart, to broaden your screaming fans, light show, horizons, to enjoy yourself, to be comfortadrenaline, wild rock atmosphere. obsessed with Jacqueline Du Pré. She able onstage. They teach you how to worry blew me away with her energy and pasabout every little detail. The symphonic Luka Šulić: Apart from classical music, sion, power and intensity—she overpowworld could learn how to make a better my big passion has always been film muered every man that ever played the cello! show, more interesting for the audience, sic—soundtracks by Vangelis, Morricone, and be more relaxed in approach. Orchesand later Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, Šulić: I grew up in a quite isolated clastras could also teach the rock world to James Horner, and James Newton Howsical environment. And most of my family play music with more attention to details, ard. I also listened to a lot of hip-hop and members are connected with classical colors, dynamic range, and subtlety. later to bands like U2, Guns N’ Roses, and music. So naturally my first idols were vio-