Symphony Winter 2014

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symphony WINTER 2014 n $6.95



Concert Experiment The

New research on alternative concert formats yields surprising results

Next-Gen Composers and Emerging Artists on the Rise Hispanic Music Directors Make Their Mark Composers Respond to Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

Explore Alaska with Holland America Line A special offer for the 2014 League of American Orchestras conference attendees Heading to Seattle this June for the 2014 conference? Why not extend your trip and enjoy a 7-day cruise to Alaska with Holland America Line, departing from Seattle the day after the conference? Watch whales breach, glaciers calve and eagles soar before your eyes. Enjoy onboard amenities and delightful dining options as you experience the culture, history, and spectacular beauty of Alaska. Special pricing offered for League of American Orchestras members. GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK


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Conductors & Executive Directors: Orchestral Soloist for the 2014-15 Season



2015 honors the 100th anniversary of composer Alexander Scriabin’s death (1872-1915) Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, Op. 20 is part of Thomas’ orchestral repertoire

For orchestral repertoire list, visit: Orchestral performance videos available on type: Thomas Pandolfi

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symphony win t e r 2 0 1 4

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


7 The Score Orchestra news, moves, and events 14 At the League How the League is helping orchestras on multiple fronts. 20 Critical Questions What do musician-entrepreneurs add to our already rich orchestra scene? For one thing, they are captivating audiences with their intensity, energy, and collegiality. by Jesse Rosen



Kristen Loken

Lucerne Festival Ark Nova Matsushima

4 Prelude by Robert Sandla


First Notes Programs at orchestras show teen composers the ropes. by Dan Visconti

32 40

Guide to Emerging Artists

The Concert Experiment Tracking the effect of adventurous concert formats—with data. by Heidi Waleson


Podium Powers Hispanic music directors on the rise. by Brian Wise


Northern Exposure The newly revitalized Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, at the heart of the city’s bustling cultural scene. by Holly Harris


Post-Traumatic Soundscapes Grappling with devastating conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, through music. by Ian VanderMeulen

Chris Lee


Beyond Nutcracker Collaborations between dancers and orchestras are sparking connections to the wider cultural community. by Eesha Patkar

78 Coda Composer Gabriel Prokofiev is shaking up the classical-music world. Throughout this issue, text marked like this indicates a link to websites and online resources that can be accessed by visiting SymphonyOnline l at

Ben VanHouten

76 League of American Orchestras Annual Fund

about the cover


New World Symphony Conducting Fellow Joshua Gersen leads a PULSE concert at the New World Center. A recent study examines the impact of innovative concert formats at New World and five professional orchestras. Cover photo by Rui Dias-Aidos. See story, page 40.


VO LU M E 6 5 , N U M B E R 1

symphony WIN T E R 2 0 1 4

It isn’t just Dudamel. The announcement of Gustavo Dudamel as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2007 got lots of attention—for his youth (mid-twenties), his background (Venezuelan, fluent in Spanish), and his fashion sense (that hair). Some view his arrival as sparking further appointments of Hispanic music directors at American orchestras. But his hiring is part of a larger trend. There have long been Hispanic conductors at the helms of American orchestras, but over the last several years, about a dozen American music directorships have gone to Hispanic conductors. That might just be part of the usual flux, or it might be orchestras responding naturally to demographic shifts: the rapid growth of the Hispanic population. In this issue, we look at some of the Hispanic music directors at American orchestras, their qualities as artists, and the implications of ethnic identity on the podium. Are there tectonic shifts at orchestras today? A recent study examines several alternative concert formats, with visuals, projections, post-concert parties, and DJs just part of the artillery. At a time when some orchestras are facing significant financial challenges, this heady experimentation is winning orchestras new—and younger— audiences. It’s exciting, but is all this hubbub ultimately a distraction from the music, from what is a definitively auditory experience? Flip the example around: No one says that gazing at a painting at a gallery is boring and that you need to “enhance” the painting with flashing lights and a throbbing musical score. Few experiences are greater than listening to an orchestra of finely honed musicians playing in a concert hall devoid of distractions. But there are other possibilities. Surely there is room for both.


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






PUBLISHER Jesse Rosen DESIGN/ART DIRECTION Jeff Kibler McMurry/TMG Washington, DC

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ASCAP Congratulates the 2013 ASCAP FoundAtion Morton Gould YounG CoMPoSer AwArd honoreeS

Samuel Carl Adams

Timothy Andres

Tyler Capp

Ryan Chase

Jaehyuck Choi

Yie Eun Chun

Francisco Cortés-Álvarez

Viet Cuong

Tamzin Elliott

Stephen Feigenbaum

Michael Gilbertson

Stella Gitelman-Willoughby

Huang Tiange

Takuma Itoh

John Liberatore

Loren Loiacono

Grant Luhmann

Yangzhi Ma

Sky Macklay

Maxwell McKee

Garth Neustadter

Michael D. Parsons

Brendon Randall-Myers

Matthew Ricketts

Gabriella Smith

Lawrence Suh

Renata Vallecillo

ASCAP makes it possible for music to touch the lives of millions of people.

Gabriel Zucker

The League of American Orchestras is pleased to recognize the following orchestras on their noteworthy milestones: 100 years

Erie Philharmonic Green Bay Symphony Orchestra Houston Symphony

75 years

Bemidji Symphony Orchestra Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Society Pioneer Valley Symphony West Virginia Symphony Orchestra

50 years

Albany Symphony Orchestra (GA) Boston Ballet Orchestra Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra Fremont Symphony Orchestra Livermore-Amador Symphony South Carolina Philharmonic Tacoma Youth Symphony Association Vermont Youth Orchestra Association

25 years

Artis-Naples LaGrange Symphony Orchestra Lake Forest Civic Orchestra Oakland East Bay Symphony Oklahoma City Philharmonic

20 years

Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus

10 years

Boulder Chamber Orchestra Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra


SCORE News, moves, and events in the orchestra industry The

The Nashville Symphony has appointed CHAD BOYD chief financial officer. MAIKEN KNUDSEN has been named artistic manager and assistant to the music director. WAYNE BROWN , director

of music and opera at the National Endowment for the Arts from 1987 to 2013 and former executive director of the Louisville Orchestra, has been appointed president and CEO of Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit.

Jeff Curry


eadlines about labor negotiations at orchestras this fall continued to be dominated by the still-unresolved situation between musicians and management of the Minnesota Orchestra. The musicians are not performing in the newly renovated Orchestra Hall, but have announced plans to present ten concerts on their own between January and May at other venues. The musicians also filed paperwork to establish Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra as a nonprofit organization, allowing them to solicit tax-deductible donations. The Minnesota Orchestral Association announced a $1.1 million deficit for fiscal 2013 at its December annual meeting; the organization also re-elected Jon Campbell as chairman. In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (below, in Uihlein Hall) announced a $2 million deficit and said it needs to raise $5 million to continue. The MSO eliminated seven administrators and is reopening the musicians’ contract to reduce the size of the orchestra next season. “It’s a shared-pain plan for everybody,” said MSO President and Executive Director Mark Niehaus, formerly the orchestra’s principal trumpet. Nine orchestras announced new contracts this fall. The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra in Michigan has a new contract through July 31, 2018, which includes annual pay increases for musicians and plans for a radio broadcast. In South Carolina, the musicians of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra voted to end their affiliation with the American Federation of Musicians. Yuriy Bekker, the orchestra’s concertmaster and acting artistic director, said, “This is what our musicians want, and this is right for Charleston. What’s important is that musicians took charge.” The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera in Tennessee announced a new one-year contract, with a self-imposed pay freeze for musicians and staff. Pennsylvania’s Erie Philharmonic has reached agreement on a new contract through 2017-18, which includes musician wage increases, guaranteed service minimums, and an increase in travel reimbursements. The New York Philharmonic’s new contract, running through September 20, 2017, includes a modest salary increase, adjustments in healthcare coverage, and maintenance of pension benefits for the first three years, with benefits in the final year to be negotiated. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra has a new agreement through September 30, 2015, which maintains the orchestra’s current five New York concerts, increases touring, and includes provision for a recording. Under the new contract at California’s Pacific Symphony, which runs through 2015-16 and is retroactive to last season, musicians will receive a 2 percent increase in 2014-15 and two 1.5 percent increases in 2015-16. Ohio’s Toledo Symphony has a new contract for the 2013-14 season, with pay reductions for musicians, executive and artistic leadership, and administrative staff. The Wichita Symphony Orchestra in Kansas signed a new agreement through June 30, 2016, which includes a 4 percent wage increase for musicians in 2013-14, following a 23 percent cut in wages in 2011 and flat wages in 2012-13.

BARRY H. BERACHA has been elected chairman of the St. Louis Symphony Board of Trustees.


Four staff appointments have been announced by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra: REBECCA CAIN , director of production: ALI HOLLENBECK , house production manager; RYAN KREISER , patron services coordinator; and LISA LaFLEUR , director of program development.

Musical Chairs

Labor Update

Musical Chairs

At the Lexington (Ky.) Philharmonic, PEI-SAN CHIU has been named principal flute and ANDREW DUNCAN principal trombone.

PETER CZORNYJ has been appointed director of artistic planning at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

California’s Long Beach Symphony Orchestra has announced that ENRIQUE ARTURO DIEMECKE will step down as music director at the end of the 201314 season.

The Knoxville (Tenn.) Symphony Orchestra has appointed PHILLIP CHASE HAWKINS principal trumpet and AARON APAZA principal bassoon. The orchestra has also announced that LUCAS RICHMAN will conclude his tenure as music director at the end of the 2014-15 season. has been named principal harp in the National Symphony Orchestra.


The Westchester Philharmonic (White Plains, N.Y.) has appointed JAIME LAREDO and TED SPERLING principal conductors. As part of a new artistic triumvirate they are joined by JOSHUA WORBY, who was named executive director in 2006 and is now executive and artistic director. MILLICENT KAUFMAN , a longtime member of the orchestra’s Board of Directors, has been elected to the newly titled position of chair.

TSUNG YU LEE has been named assistant concertmaster of the Lansing (Mich.) Symphony Orchestra.

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra has appointed JETH MILL executive director.

At the Portland (Me.) Symphony Orchestra, CAROLYN NISHON has been promoted to general manager. Mill ROSE KUE has been named director of education and community engagement, and BETH ANSHELES director of finance. JACOB NISSLY

has been appointed to the principal


percussion post at the San Francisco Symphony.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra normally selects a single individual as its Composer of the Year, but this season the PSO expanded the series eight-fold with its “Year of Pittsburgh Composers.” The series launched this fall with the Sixth Symphony by David Stock, one of eight composers from the orchestra’s home city who are featured during the 2013-14 season. Stock, an emeritus professor at Duquesne University, used elements of his Jewish heritage in the symphony, which includes klezmer and music from the synagogue service. Other local composers this season are Leonardo Balada, Nancy Galbraith, Patrick Burke, Bomi Jang, Mathew Rosenblum, Reza Vali, and Amy Williams. In February, Music Director Manfred Honeck will lead Williams’s The Elements, which wraps in music by each of the eight composers as it depicts Pittsburgh’s rivers, trees, and industrial roots.

The Southwest Florida Symphony (Fort Myers, Fla.) has named AMY GINSBURG PADILLA vice president of development and strategic marketing. MAIYA PAPACH has been named principal viola at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra has appointed JONATHAN PARRISH executive director. has been elected chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association Board of Directors.


At California’s Oakland East Bay Symphony, MAYA RATH has been named general manager and LESLIE FAY MARKS development director.


Musical Chairs

Astral Artists, a nonprofit management and career-development firm based in Philadelphia, has appointed JULIA RUBIO executive director, AMY SUE BARSTON artistic programs director, and KRISTEN GOLIA director of development.

Anita Davis

BENJAMIN ROUS has been promoted from associate to resident conductor at the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. GABRIEL CAMPOS ZAMORA has been named principal clarinet.

Left to right: Kate Nowlin (as Laura Starr), Henry Stram (as Charles Ives), Drew McVety (as John Starr) in Charles Ives Take Me Home at Manhattan’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, June 2013

The Butler County (Pa.) Symphony Orchestra has appointed TANYA SATTESON concertmaster. At the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa, Canada), ALEXANDER SHELLEY will succeed PINCHAS ZUKERMAN as music director in September 2015.

The Charleston (S.C.) Symphony Orchestra has named MICHAEL SMITH , formerly principal trumpet, as executive director. trumpet in the New York Philharmonic since 1988, will retire from the orchestra in June 2014 to assume a professorship at the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

MARISA SORAJJA has been named first assistant concertmaster of the New West Symphony in Thousand Oaks, Calif., which also has five new principals for 2013-14: LAUREN CHIPMAN , viola; LARA WICKES , oboe; JOSHUA RANZ , clarinet; DUNCAN MASSEY, bassoon; and P. BLAKE COOPER , tuba.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has named STUART STEPHENSON principal trumpet. has been appointed president and CEO of the Memphis (Tenn.) Symphony Orchestra.


The Austin (Tex.) Symphony has appointed TODD WALDMAN director of development.


Interlochen (Mich.) Arts Academy has named CAROLYN WATSON director of the Arts Academy Orchestra. Several staff appointments have been announced by the Philadelphia Orchestra, including ROGER WIGHT, artistic administrator; KATE KAMMEYER , orchestra manager; and MARILYN RIFE , orchestra personnel manager.

has been named music director of the Richmond (Va.) Philharmonic.



Sandra Coudert Graham

PHILIP SMITH , principal

Spirit of Charles Ives

It’s rare to encounter a theater work that hinges around a classical composer, but a three-person play has been making the rounds, with no less than Charles Ives as a main character. Jessica Dickey’s 80-minute Charles Ives Take Me Home had an off-Broadway run in New York in June and another at Pittsburgh’s City Theatre in November and December. In Dickey’s play, Ives serves as ghostly narrator, refereeing battles between two estranged family members: a professional violinist ( John Starr) and his basketball-playing daughter (Laura Starr), who has no interest whatsoever in classical music. Music and sports both figured in Ives’s life: he played varsity football at Yale in the 1890s before going on to write Yale-Princeton Football Game as well as more famous works.

Rutter to Head Kennedy Center The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., has announced the appointment of Deborah F. Rutter as president, effective September 1, 2014. Currently president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she will succeed Michael M. Kaiser at the Kennedy Center, becoming the third president in its 43-year history and the first woman to hold that post. As chief executive she will oversee all facets of the center’s theater, dance, chamber music, and jazz presentations; its extensive education programs; and its affiliates the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera. As an orchestra administrator, both in Chicago and in her previous post as executive director of the Seattle Symphony, Rutter has spearheaded initiatives incorporating a wide variety of music as well as theater and dance. Highlights of her decade-long CSO tenure include Silk Road Chicago, MusicNOW, and the multimedia concerts known as Beyond the Score; establishment of the Institute for Learning, Access, and Training; the Citizen Musicianship Initiative, which expands the role of music-making in civic life; and the recruiting of Riccardo Muti as music director and Yo-Yo Ma as creative consultant. Todd Rosenberg

Year of Pittsburgh Composers

Musical Chairs


winter 2014

New Leadership at Louisville Orchestra

O’Neil Arnold

The Louisville Orchestra began this season with a new executive director in place and plans for a successor to Music Director Jorge Mester on the expiration of his contract. The appointments came in the wake of restructuring and transitional management following the orchestra’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in December 2010. Andrew Kipe, formerly general manager of the Phoenix Symphony, was installed as Louisville’s executive director in mid-November, taking the reins from consultant David Hyslop, who had served as interim CEO since January 2013. Teddy Abrams, currently assistant conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and music director of Oregon’s Britt Classical Festival, will become the Louisville Orchestra’s eighth—and, at 26, its youngest—music director in September 2014, when Mester will assume the title of music director emeritus. “We are extremely lucky to have gotten Teddy at this juncture in his career,” says Kipe. “He is on a meteoric trajectory that will be an asset to Louisville.”

Teddy Abrams (left) with Louisville Orchestra President Jim Welch (center) and Executive Director Andrew Kipe at the October 28 announcement of Abrams’s appointment as music director designate

Peoria Symphony Helps Tornado Victims After a fierce tornado hit Central Illinois in November, the Peoria Symphony sprang into action by organizing a benefit concert. For the November 26 event at the Peoria Civic Center, area musicians and singers were invited to join the orchestra and chorus to perform Handel’s Messiah, led by Peoria Symphony Music Director George Stelluto. Concert tickets were $20, and all proceeds went to the American Red Cross-Illinois Tornado Relief Fund. Before the concert, the Civic Center lobby hosted performances by members of the Central Illinois Youth Symphony, with all proceeds from refreshments sold going to the relief At Peoria Symphony benefit (from left to right): effort. In attendance were the mayors Laurie Barra, mayor, Pekin, Illinois; George of Peoria, East Peoria, Washington, and Stelluto, music director, PSO; Dave Mingus, Pekin, as well as Ray LaHood, former mayor, East Peoria, Illinois; and Gary Manier, Secretary of Transportation. The event mayor, Washington, Illinois raised more than $11,000.

Spook your Audience!

A concert morphs into a horror movie! The audience screams with delight! It’s The Haunted Orchestra, another sickening example of the decline of Western civilization. “Absolutely captivating!” — Baltimore Symphony

Screw up your courage and check it out at

Dan Kamin

Comecdeyrtos Con (412)563-0468


Inspired by Ford Made in America—the commissioning project underwritten by Ford Motor Company Fund and coordinated by the League of American Orchestras and Meet The Composer that resulted in performances of Joan Tower’s Made in America (2004) and Joseph Schwantner’s Chasing Light… (2008) in all 50 states—a group of smaller-budget orchestras has formed a consortium called New Music for America to commission an orchestral work from Christopher Theofanidis. The composition will be given its world premiere by the Plymouth (Mass.) Philharmonic during the 2015-16 season, with subsequent performances by the co-commissioning orchestras. A $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will help defray the participating orchestras’ costs. As of mid-December the consortium included orchestras from 28 states. Chairing New Music for America’s steering committee is Robert Rosoff, former executive director of the Glens Falls (N.Y.) Symphony, the orchestra that premiered Tower’s Made in America. To learn more about New Music for America, contact Rosoff at


Craig Mathew/Mathew Imaging

New Music for America

Disney Marks a Decade The Los Angeles Philharmonic launched “insideOUT,” its celebratory tenth-anniversary season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, with a September 30 gala featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma and video installations by Netia Jones; pictured onscreen (above) are Walt and Lillian Disney, whose images were accompanied by “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Disney’s Pinocchio. The previous day, Music Director Gustavo Dudamel led the LA Phil and its six-year-old Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) in their first-ever side-by-side concert (right), an event that was simulcast on a screen outside the hall.

Rebuilding Haiti’s Music School Efforts to rebuild Haiti’s Holy Trinity Music School got a boost this fall with a benefit concert at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. Donato Cabrera— resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and music director of the California and Green Bay (Wisconsin) symphonies—conducted the October 2 concert, which was hosted by soprano Deborah Voigt and presented by Sing with Haiti, a nonprofit based in San Francisco. Performers included mezzo-soprano Young musicians from the Holy Trinity Music Susan Graham, composer/pianist Jake Heggie, and School in Haiti, with Sing With Haiti benefit’s host, Les Petits Chanteurs and Chorale des Fillettes, the Deborah Voigt boys’ and girls’ choirs of Holy Trinity’s Cathedral Music School, which were joined by choirs from eleven San Francisco Bay-area schools. The Holy Trinity Cathedral complex in Port-au-Prince was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. The concert raised $250,000.


winter 2014

Lucerne Festival Ark Nova Matsushima 2013

Exterior and interior of Ark Nova, which made its debut in Matsushima, Japan, October 2013

An inflatable mobile concert hall that’s purple on the outside, pink on the inside, and can hold up to 500 people made its debut this fall in Japan’s Matsushima Bay, an area hard-hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Known as Ark Nova, the hall was designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and British sculptor Anish Kapoor; stands 59 feet tall; and takes three hours to fill with air. The hall is the Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto leads the Tohoku brainchild of Michael Haefliger, executive Youth Orchestra in Ark Nova, October 2013, director of Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival, during two-week edition of the Lucerne Festival held in Japan. who wanted to find a musical way to help bring hope to communities in Japan affected by the 2011 disaster. Performers in the inaugural two-week event included the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tohoku Youth Orchestra, and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. At press time, Lucerne—which operates the hall—had not announced the next site for the hall. Stay tuned.

Kiyotaka Shishido

Ark Nova Lands in Japan

Double Play Seems like it’s always the brass players who are up to something. With the Boston Red Sox and Saint Louis Cardinals sparring for the 2013 World Series title last fall, brass musicians from hometown symphony orchestras of both cities joined forces to make a YouTube video called “The Orchestral World Series, BSO vs. SLSO.” The video was a mash-up of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better),” performed by the St. Louis Symphony from the stage of Powell Hall in St. Louis, and by the Boston Symphony Orchestra from the roof of Symphony Hall, led by BSO Music Director Laureate Seiji Ozawa, a longtime Red Sox fan. To watch the video, visit http://


Peter Schaaf

Awardees attending Musical America’s December 17 ceremony at Lincoln Center (from left): soprano Audra McDonald; composer George Benjamin; ICE musicians Claire Chase, Rebekah Heller, Joshua Rubin; pianist Jeremy Denk

Musical America Honors Five Soprano and multiple Tony-winning actress Audra McDonald was presented with Musical America’s 2014 Musician of the Year award at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on December 17. Named Conductor of the Year was Orchestra of St. Luke’s Principal Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, whose major podium debuts this season include the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Metropolitan Opera. Other awards went to pianist and music writer Jeremy Denk as Instrumentalist of the Year; George Benjamin as Composer of the Year; and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) as Ensemble of the Year.

CentralWisconsin Symphony, in Black and White When the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra opened its 2013-14 season on October 12 at the Sentry Theater in Stevens Point, the lobby featured photos of its principal musicians and music director, Patrick Miles. The black-and-white portraits, marking the orchestra’s 65th season, were taken by local photographer John Hartman during the past year and mounted on backlit LED panels. The photos, featuring musicians in traditional concert dress but in nontraditional settings, include Music Director Patrick Miles on a bicycle, oboist Stacey Berk in a field of cattails, and double bassist Dave Poffinbarger with his dog. Sentry Insurance funded the installation of the portraits, which are also featured in the orchestra’s new hardcover book, Looking Good at 65.

Music for Life International

Music for Life International, a New York-based organization dedicated to “transformative action for global social good through music and for music,” presented Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony at Carnegie Hall on January 13 as part of its Children of Syria initiative to aid Syrian war refugees. A benefit for Doctors Without Borders, the concert was led by MFLI Founder and Artistic Director George Mathew (left) George Mathew and included and Mark Kuss at musicians from more than 40 a Children of Syria ensembles including the New benefit in Panama City on June 4 York Philharmonic, Orpheus, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Philadelphia Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, and American Composers Orchestra. Mathew launched Children of Syria last April with a benefit event in New York, and appeared in June at Panama City’s Ateneo Auditorium, partnering at the keyboard with pianist Mark Kuss. Proceeds from the April and June events went to UNICEF.


Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra

For the Children of Syria

CWSO Music Director Patrick Miles

CWSO principal oboist Stacey Berk

CWSO principal double bassist Dave Poffinbarger


winter 2014

OrchKids Receives National Honor

― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Ralph Alswang

In November, eighth-grader Asia Palmer headed to the East Room of the White House to meet First Lady Michelle Obama, who presented the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program with one of thirteen 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. Palmer, who has played flute in the program since its inception in 2008, accepted the award along with OrchKids Artistic Director Dan Trahey. “The recognition from the White House and the First Lady confirms what we’ve known for some time now: music education can change lives,” Trahey said. That same week, OrchKids musicians performed during halftime at the Thanksgiving Day football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.

Michelle Obama, Asia Palmer, Dan Trahey at the White House on November 22, 2013

Princeton Symphony Orchestra

Listening Up in Princeton

Composer Aaron Kernis (right), onstage with Princeton Symphony Orchestra Music Director Rossen Milanov, tells a middle-school audience about his Holocaust-inspired cello concerto, Colored Field.

“A man of superior talent… will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.”

For a November 3 concert titled “Eternal Light,” New Jersey’s Princeton Symphony Orchestra paired two works of Richard Strauss—Death and Transfiguration and Salome’s Dance—with a 1994 cello concerto inspired by the Holocaust, Aaron Jay Kernis’s Colored Field. Susan Babini was the featured soloist. Attending the preconcert talk, which is called Listen Up! and is part of the orchestra’s PSO BRAVO! education program, were 36 specially selected middleschool students, who heard Kernis’s thoughts on the piece and were invited by their teachers to create works of literary or visual art based on the experience. The results were displayed at the Arts Council of Princeton offices, at the PSO’s January Classical Series concert, and at the Jewish Center of Princeton.

Mozart understood the benefit of touring, and today’s leading orchestras do, too—not only for musicians, but also for PATRONS. R. Crusoe & Son gets it. Travel CONNECTS patrons with musicians and development staff through shared experiences. But the creation of a tour is a full-time job, one that the staff is often too pressed to take on. R. Crusoe & Son has had YEARS of experience developing, marketing, and operating SUCCESSFUL custom patron tours filled with insider entrée. Allow us to help your donors feel as SPECIAL as they are. CONTACT REBECCA WRIGHT 888-490-8005

A favorite wow moment: after-hours Sistine Chapel tour with an a cappella choir performing under Michelangelo’s stunning ceiling.

R. Crusoe & Son The work is ours. The kudos are yours. 13


At The

Leadership, Community Service, and Advocacy Governance, public value, protecting charitable giving, and more—just some of the areas where the League is working to support orchestras on multiple fronts


MetLife Governance Grants

n November, the League of American Orchestras announced the names of the six orchestras to receive 201314 MetLife Governance Grants for Board Development. This League program supports orchestras that are seeking to strengthen board governance practice by providing grants ranging from $2,700 to $7,200. The six orchestras are: Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra; Columbus Indiana Philharmonic; LaGrange Symphony Orchestra (Georgia); Oakland East Bay Symphony, Chorus and Youth Orchestra; Plano Symphony Orchestra (Texas); and Virtuosi of Houston. Orchestras were selected through a competitive application process that assessed their plan for board development, its long- and short-term impact, and the measurement of results. Board members of each orchestra that applied were required to complete the League’s Board of Directors SelfAssessment Tool, which was created in partnership with BoardSource, to help boards analyze and define strengths and weaknesses, roles and responsibilities, and priorities for board development. Orchestras in League budget groups 3-8 and youth orchestras were eligible to apply. “Strong board leadership is crucial to an orchestra’s artistic and financial health and its overall sustainability,” says League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “We are very fortunate that MetLife Foundation provides orchestras with the valuable assistance in improving the performance of these key members of the orchestra community.”


Getty Education and Community Investment Grants

In December, 23 orchestras from across the country were selected to receive Getty Education and Community Investment Grants from the League for educational, health and wellness, lifelong learning, and social-service programs. The orchestras, encompassing a full range of budget sizes, will receive individual grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 for a variety of community-based programs during the 2013-14 season. A total of $443,000 was awarded for the grants this year. The recipients for 2013-14 are: Allentown Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Central Ohio Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Kidznotes (Durham, N.C.), Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Music in the Mountains, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Pacific Symphony, Portland Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, Stockton Symphony, and Yakima Symphony Orchestra.

This year’s grants, the second series in the League’s three-year, $1.5 million regranting program made possible by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, will fund both new and established innovative programs including long-term in-school partnerships and afterschool programs; lifelong learning opportunities; health and wellness initiatives in hospitals; and programs for the underserved and underprivileged, including adults and adolescents in the criminal justice system and the special needs population. Of the grants, 65 percent were awarded to in-school or afterschool educational programs, 17 percent to health and wellness programs, 9 percent to lifelong learning opportunities, and 9 percent to those serving other populations, such as those in the criminal justice system. A prerequisite for qualifying orchestras was the existence of partnerships with local community or social service organizations. For a detailed look at each of the selected programs, visit and look for Getty Grants.

Talk to Us If you have any questions about the League, here’s how to get in touch. Advocacy • 202-776-0214 Development • 646-822-4034 Executive Office • 646-822-4062 Learning and Leadership Development • 646-822-4091 Marketing and Membership Development • 646-822-4080 Public Relations • 646-822-4027 Research and Development • 646-822-4019 Symphony • 646-822-4068 symphony

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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

For Protect Giving Day on November 20 at the U.S. Capitol, the League’s Vice President for Advocacy Heather Noonan (second from right) and representatives from other nonprofits met with lawmakers. From left: Martha Schumacher, Association of Fundraising Professionals International; Ford Bell, American Alliance of Museums; Julie Fishman, American Jewish Committee; Heather Noonan; and Heyward Smith, Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Emerging Leaders Program

In January of this year, the League launches the new Emerging Leaders Program. The intensive two-year program combines on-the-job training for administrators currently working at orchestras with strong mentoring and peer network-building opportunities. Participants, who will remain employed by their home orchestras while in the program, were selected based on their capacity to make even greater contributions to their current orchestras and their potential to make a significant impact on the orchestra field as future leaders. Identifying and developing leaders remains a core commitment of the League, and this program is aligned with the expectations and realities of current workforce needs. The Emerging Leaders Program is made possible by generous grants from American Express Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Facilitated by John McCann, a national expert in executive training, the Emerging Leaders Program will offer strong networking opportunities, including frequent in-person meetings at the League’s New York City offices; the chance to jointly curate content at the League’s National Conference; and a group visit to other organizations. In addition, participants will work with designated mentors both at their home orchestras and outside the field, and will receive financial resources to address individual professional development needs. The curriculum will focus on developing participants’ leadership capacity in high-stress environments, how to balance priorities, conflict resolution, internal and external relations, governance, the evolving art form, and cross-cultural competency. The inaugural Emerging Leaders Program participants are: • Caleb Bailey, orchestra manager, Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra (Lincoln, Neb.) • Jennifer Barton, individual giving manager, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra ( Jacksonville, Fla.) • Nicholas Cohen, director of community engagement, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra • Bradley Evans, assistant orchestra personnel manager, San Francisco Symphony • Yoo-Jin Hong, director of Civic Orchestra and training programs, Chicago Symphony Orchestra • Michael Reichman, general manager, Symphony Nova (Boston, Mass.) • Rebecca Zabinski, artistic associate, Houston Symphony Protect Giving Day

On November 20, 2013, the League and member orchestras across the country joined nonprofit advocates for Protect Giving Day in urging Congress to preserve incentives for charitable giving. Congress is exploring proposals to cut, cap, or limit the charitable deduction—

Identifying and developing leaders remains a core commitment of the League, and the Emerging Leaders Program is aligned with the expectations and realities of workforce needs. 16

For Protect Giving Day on November 20 at the U.S. Capitol, the League’s Government Affairs and Education Advocacy Director Najean Lee (second from right) and representatives from other nonprofits met with lawmakers. From left: Brigid Flynn and Anne Metcalf, both from the Saint Louis Art Museum; Terri Hasdorff, from Convoy of Hope; Najean Lee; and Kristen Sabella from the National Association of Evangelicals. Seated in front is Rep. Lacy Clay, of Missouri’s First District; the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is in his district.

with potentially devastating impacts on giving. As part of a long-term effort to prevent policies that would reduce donations to nonprofit programs, advocates—including League President and CEO Jesse Rosen, Vice President for Advocacy Heather Noonan, Government Affairs and Education Advocacy Director Najean Lee, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids leader, Dan Trahey—met with key policy leaders on Capitol Hill, while hundreds of others sent messages to their elected officials. The community-based programs that orchestras provide are not alone in being affected by potential reductions in charitable giving allowances. Like thousands of other nonprofits in the arts, education, and human services, and other community organizations, most of America’s orchestras are classified as 501(c)3 tax-exempt organizations. If it were not for this exemption and the deductibility of private donations, orchestras and many other charitable organizations would be unable to serve community needs. At the November Protect Giving Day, the League was a leading partner in the Charitable Giving Coalition—a group of more than 60 nonprofits, foundations, and other symphony

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Rachel Ford, executive director, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Invest in one, invest in many Through our leadership programs, the League invested in Rachel, who now invests in the healing power of music – exactly when patients need it the most. Through live performances in healthcare facilities, the KSO’s awardwinning Music & Wellness Program helps the healing process of more than 4,500 patients every year. Supporting the League means investing in people and their communities. Donate now at

charitable organizations—in organizing efforts to influence elected officials, sharing powerful examples of the public value the charitable sector provides to communities. In addition to the League, the richly diverse nonprofit groups in the coalition include United Way Worldwide, American Institute for Cancer Research, Association of Art Museum Directors, Girl Scouts of the USA, and more. As budget decisions and tax-reform efforts move ahead, the League encourages member orchestras to describe how services to your community would be harmed by declines in charitable giving. Visit and look under Advocacy for “Tax and 501(c)3” to find news, key facts, talking points, and information on how to take action on preserving the charitable deduction and increasing the capacity of the nonprofit sector to serve communities.

Quick Orchestra Facts October 2013

Orchestras are a vital part of America’s musical landscape and civic life… With more than 1,800 symphony, chamber, collegiate, and youth orchestras across the country, America is brimming with extraordinary musicians, live concerts, and orchestras as unique as the communities they serve. Orchestral music making is flourishing in our country, encouraging creativity and bringing people together to share the experience of live music. Orchestras fuel local economies, attract new business development, educate young people, and - through the power of music - unite individuals and cultures in times of public celebration and healing. How many communities and people are involved with orchestras? Orchestras exist in all 50 states, in virtually every community, with annual budgets ranging from less than $12,000 to more than $100 million. 350-400 professional orchestras, which means they have paid musicians 800-900 volunteer orchestras 150-200 collegiate/conservatory orchestras 400-500 youth orchestras More than half a million individuals are involved in orchestras, including conductors, staff, board members, musicians, and volunteers. And that’s not even counting millions of people in the audience! Who goes to orchestra concerts? Orchestras are helping to expand access to music by working collaboratively with more— and more diverse—communities. In the 2010-11 season, orchestras played to an audience nationwide filling nearly 26.5 million seats. America’s orchestras provided nearly 36,000 performances, with almost 1 in 3 events offered free of charge. 10,694 9,187 4,309 2,371 1,754 7,654

education classical community engagement pops chamber/ensemble other performances (including choral, opera, ballet, summer, family, and festival events)

What is the financial structure of orchestras? The public value orchestras create in communities nationwide is supported by a critical combination of public and private support. Orchestras are not supported by ticket sales alone. As members of the nonprofit charitable sector, orchestras depend upon private philanthropy and civic support to fuel programs that serve community needs. Orchestra revenue totaled more than $1.8 billion in 2010-11. Their economic impact exceeds several times that amount as orchestras create jobs, engage in commerce with local businesses, and spur local expenditures on related goods and services (hotels, restaurants, parking, and more).

2010-2011 Fiscal Year Revenue 10%

3%3% Private Support (41%)


15% 15%

41% 41%

31% 31%

Concert Revenue (31%) Endowment Earnings (15%) Other Earned Revenue (10%) Government Support (3%)

Quick Orchestra Facts

Looking for a straightforward way to make a persuasive case for the public value of orchestras? The League’s Quick Orchestra Facts is a short, information-packed document with statistics about the activity and impact of American orchestras. It


provides an overview of the who, what, where, and why of the orchestra scene in this country—League representatives use it as a handy leave-behind when speaking with outside groups about orchestras, and the League’s advocacy team members in

experiential learning around all aspects of running orchestras: artistic programming; business, operational, sales, and marketing areas; community engagement; and diversity. They examine relationships among presidents, boards, managers, staff,

The League’s Quick Orchestra Facts is a short, informationpacked document with statistics about the who, what, where, and why of the orchestra scene in this country. Washington, D.C., bring along copies whenever they visit leaders on Capitol Hill. It is also included in the annual Arts Advocacy Day handbook every spring, ensuring that a wide audience knows and understands these orchestra stats. What’s in the document? Facts about the astonishingly high level of participation in symphony, chamber, collegiate, and youth orchestras in this country; statistical breakdowns of the number and type of concerts that orchestras give; the varied roles orchestras play in the lives of their communities; and a look at how and why communities support their orchestras. The updated version of Quick Orchestra Facts, which reflects 201011 data from the League’s Orchestras Statistical Report, is available at; search for Quick Orchestra Facts. Essentials of Orchestra Management

From February 4 to 13, administrators from orchestras and arts organizations around the country will gather in New York City to participate in the League of American Orchestras’ annual Essentials of Orchestra Management course. The intensive ten-day program immerses emerging orchestra executives in stateof-the-art leadership training, giving them an overview of how the complex components of an orchestra and its multiple constituents come together to produce extraordinary musical results that provide service to the community. Essentials of Orchestra Management provides participants with interactive,

and musicians; labor and human resources management; and the development of long-view perspectives. The League’s Essentials program helps to build a strong pool of orchestra leaders for the future. Co-directors for the 2014 course are Brent Assink, executive director of the San Francisco Symphony, and Deborah Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who in fall of this year will take over as president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing arts in Washington, D.C. The 30 faculty members include Jay Blumenthal, director, Symphony Services, American Federation of Musicians; Ben Cameron, program director for the arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Gloria dePasquale, cellist, The Philadelphia Orchestra; Vince Ford, director of digital media, New York Philharmonic; Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director, Carnegie Hall; Jennifer Higdon, composer; Bo Young Lee, senior vice president, global diversity and inclusion, Marsh Inc.; and Beth Fisher-Yoshida, academic director, negotiation and conflict resolution program, Columbia University. Essentials of Orchestra Management is made possible, in part, by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. For more on Essentials of Orchestra Management, visit and look under “Leadership.” symphony

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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



Why Orchestras Need Entrepreneurial Musicians


erious music students today expect that they will have to create their own career path. They must be entrepreneurs, educators, grant-writers, marketers, and performers. Anyone following the professional training of musicians will surely notice that programs in entrepreneurship and leadership have become de rigueur at major conservatories and schools of music. New England Conservatory’s Entrepreneurial Musicianship department states that “excellence is just a starting point. Musicians must be more than virtuosi; they must be their own businesses.” The Eastman School of Music’s Arts Leadership Program’s goals are “to inspire students with a personal vision, to equip them with the professional skills and experience that will allow them to take charge of their career prospects, and to encourage them to provide leadership in the musical culture and marketplace.” And the USC Thornton School’s Arts Leadership program is perhaps most ambitious in staking a vision of the future, stating that the program will “help current and future arts leaders find success in an environment in which old models no longer apply, innovation is constant, resilience trumps stability, and where personal creativity, courage, and sense of possibility are the keys to a rich and rewarding life in the arts.” Amen! What are all these entrepreneurial musicians doing when they graduate? One


thing at least some of them are doing is forming their own ensembles. And I don’t mean string quartets and brass quintets, or at least not the traditional kinds. Musicianlead ensembles today tend to each have a distinct profile associated with the founder or founders, instrumentation is flexible, and they work with a vastly expanded creative palette. And they are not entirely new. Some of the most exciting musicmaking today is coming from innovative

Musician-led ensembles today tend to each have a distinct profile associated with the founder or founders, instrumentation is flexible, and they work with an expanded creative palette. And they are not entirely new. young ensembles that began playing together in school—Alarm Will Sound at Eastman, eighth blackbird at Oberlin, The Knights at Juilliard, for example. For many, these are friendships as well as professional relationships. They have chosen the people they want to make music with. Collaboration also extends to a blurring of the roles between performers and administrators. While to some degree this is simply a function of smaller-scale operations, there is also a conscious effort to have performers take responsibility for the operating success of their organizations. Claire Chase, founder of ICE, seeks out

Klaus Lucka

by Jesse Rosen

Jesse Rosen, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras

members who can not only play, but can also raise money or do operations. (Chase was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, or “genius” grant, in 2012.) The ur-entrepreneur was probably Philip Glass and the Philip Glass Ensemble. Philip built his following outside of the normal channels, performing his own music in art galleries, and being possibly the most affable, accessible, media-savvy and communicative artist of his time. A generation later “Bang on a Can” is on the scene. The name alone was a far cry from other ensembles of the day whose no-nonsense names like “The Group for Contemporary Music” or France’s “IRCAM, the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music,” made you feel like you needed a Ph.D. to get in the door. “Bang on a Can” sounds inviting, like something we can all do. And “Bang on a Can” opened our ears to new music that inhabited the edges of genres beyond traditional concert music and, as their name suggested, created performance experiences that were consistently accessible, lively, and fun. Working our way toward the present, eighth blackbird define themselves as combining “the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band, and the audacity of a storefront theater company.” So what is it about today’s ensembles— symphony

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In the aggregate, these ensembles seem to view music from the Western classical tradition as part of a continuum across genres, across time, and across other art forms. Members of each group seem to share a musical vision that informs repertoire as well what it takes to provide for the musical sustenance of the members. The Knights devote two weeks each season to Knights Camp, a time for the group to recharge, explore new repertoire, or figure out their future. (Colin Jacobsen and Eric Jacobsen, co-founders of The Knights, wrote about the group’s beginnings in the July-August 2010 issue of Symphony.) ICE has mounted ICElab, intensely collaborative incubation residencies for emerging composer/performers to develop new evening-length works. As for repertoire, I would only observe

Peter Serling Sarah Small Marianne Williams

A Far Cry, wild Up, Alarm Will Sound, Brooklyn Rider, ICE, Ethel, So Percussion, The Knights, etc., etc.—besides their intriguing names, that is so captivating? What gets me as an audience member is the communication from the stage. While the nature of the communication varies from group to group—ICE hits you over the head with their intensity, The Knights win you with their joy and collegiality—each of them always makes you part of the experience. They look at you, look at one another, and are intentional about the experience of the audience. Most of all they own the performance, they inhabit the music, and put it across with brilliance and urgency. I’ve wondered why this seems so consistently to be the experience when listening to these ensembles. I suspect the entrepreneurship thing has something to do with it. Each of these groups is paving its own way. Rather than fill a pre-existing role or job, they have created their own paths. I would imagine this raises the stakes for achievement. They continually have to establish proof of concept.

lected the repertoire and play it the way they want to play it, and in the space they have Bang on a Can co-founders David Lang, Michael Gordon, and chosen to play it in? Sounds Julia Wolfe like all that could have something to do with it. And by the way, notwithstanding a few grey heads like mine, the audiences are young. I will admit that my observations are casual and skewed to New York groups as a consequence of circumstance. Readers should check out a thoughtful look at these groups by Emily S. Wozniak and Paul R. Judy. They have The Knights made a serious attempt to study these ensembles in their 2013 research paper Alternative Ensembles: A Study of Emerging Musical Arts Organizations, which you can download at http://www. uploads/2013/06/Alternative-Ensembles-Report.pdf. One of many findings worth noting is that these groups are experiencing a major The California-based wild Up ensemble growth in funding. Paul Judy, that in the aggregate, these ensembles incidentally, recently made a $1 million seem to view music from the Western gift to the Institute for Musical Leaderclassical tradition as part of a continuum ship to create the Paul R. Judy Center for across genres, across time, and across Applied Research at Eastman. The Center other art forms. I find the breadth bracing, will be “devoted to understanding and surprising, engaging, and generally a relief stimulating the development of innovative from the hyper-specialization we’ve grown ensemble models that can find success in accustomed to in classical music. (Why the changing music world.” can’t we hear chamber music and orchesSo what’s this got to do with orchestral music on the same program?) As to tras? First, let’s be clear about two things: venues, intimacy seems to matter. Producorchestras also give concerts that blow you tion capability surely is a factor, whether away. It’s been over two weeks since I heard for lighting or video, or whatever. And the Saint Louis Symphony’s fantastically context too: think of wild Up’s residency gripping performance of Peter Grimes, and at the Hammer Museum in L.A., where yet not a day has gone by since that I don’t the group presented intimate concerts that find myself reflecting on the experience of transformed the museum’s galleries. the performance and the emotional knots So back to the audience experience: why Britten ties us up in. And second, orchesis it so consistently engaging and satisfytras have entrepreneurial musicians within ing? Could it be that the musicians have their ranks. defined their own mode of existence, choI would observe, though, that entresen the people they want to play with, sepreneurs in orchestras, with some notable


Brooklyn Rider

exceptions, tend to fulfill their ambitions outside of the orchestra. This is not surprising when you think of the structure of employment, i.e., remuneration is generally based on rendering of services in 2-to-2.5hour blocks of time limited exclusively to rehearsals and performances. Entrepreneurship does not easily fit this mold. Even if it did, does the music director model, vesting all artistic decision-making in a

One of the wonderful things about orchestras has been their ability to find and nourish important talent in the service of growing our art form and the orchestral experience. single leader, provide any room for musicians to spread their programming wings? I would argue that entrepreneurship within the scope of the orchestra can yield great creative rewards for musicians, the orchestra organization, and the community. There are already some great examples: the Opus One series of concerts curated and performed in Memphis clubs by members of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra’s recent Gordon Square residency, which grew out of the musicians’ performances in a local pub. But if we could imagine that entrepreneurial musicians are essential elements for the creative life of an orchestra—not just because they play superbly but because they can stretch pro-


Armen Elliott SarahSmall

International Contemporary Ensemble

gramming, the concert experience, and the audience that shows up—then I wonder if orchestras are doing all they can to attract them, nourish them, and keep them. In my unscientific poking around at the question of attracting them, I find many early-career musicians who express admiration for orchestras yet little interest in playing in them, finding them too constraining. Are we really in a position where we can afford to lose those musicians who will stretch our orchestras artistically and organizationally? Can we afford that loss of multifaceted talent? Successful businesses know that talent and leadership must be cultivated and given opportunities for growth and success. Why not orchestras? If an orchestra were inclined to move in this direction there would undoubtedly have to be some changes. Orchestras would have to create capacity for realizing the aspirations of the entrepreneurial musicians, which would presumably extend beyond the traditional concert schedule and format. The current audition system would have to be retooled for discovering, in addition to how well a candidate played, the other creative contributions the musician might make to the orchestra. And the eight-service week may not in every instance be the best way to conceive of scheduling activity. New and different venues may need to be identified, and music directors may need to yield some programming ground. At least one orchestra has started to implement these ideas. Consider the words of Kyu-Young Kim, who is both the senior director of artistic planning for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the orchestra’s principal second violin. In his address at the SPCO’s annual meeting in December, Kim described the newly written position description for a violin opening: “Successful candidate will be expected to take part in the SPCO’s community engagement programs, to excel in working in a collaborative environment with orchestra, staff, and board, and to be thoroughly invested in the artistic evolution of the SPCO.” The preferred-experience section included, “entrepreneurial experience in ensemble formation and

project development.” Why go through all this trouble? One of the wonderful things about orchestras has been their ability to find and nourish important talent in the service of growing our art form and the orchestral experience. I’m thinking of John Adams, Peter Sellars, and Esa-Pekka Salonen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, for example. Together they have expanded our idea of how theatrical elements with new music and old can enrich the performance experience. Or think of Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony, who almost single-handedly created our 20th-century repertoire. This may just be the moment when we need to look to the instrumentalists themselves, those already in orchestras, and those of the coming generation of entrepreneurs as the next great source of creative energy.

First Person At the December 2013 annual meeting of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kyu-Young Kim, the orchestra’s principal second violin and senior director of artistic planning, discussed what it takes to be an entrepreneurial artist. Visit about-us/why-i-stayed-at-the-spco to read or watch his speech. In June 2013, Claire Chase, founder and artistic director of International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), delivered a commencement address at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. Chase spoke about the key creative and leadership roles that musicians can play. Visit http:// to watch the speech. For the 2013 research paper Alternative Ensembles: A Study of Emerging Musical Arts Organizations by Emily S. Wozniak and Paul R. Judy, visit symphony

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First Notes by Dan Visconti

Young-composer programs sponsored by orchestras offer talented teenagers exposure to peers, mentoring from expert musicians and composers, and that allimportant chance to be heard.



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Tucson Symphony Orchestra

At the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in Arizona, young composer Alex Garcia discusses his score with Music Director George Hanson prior to a public reading of his work by the TSO.

rying to figure out how to compose music can be a bewildering experience, especially at a young age. Family and friends likely have no idea where or how an aspiring young composer might begin learning the ropes, and schoolteachers— who may have never encountered a young person interested in writing classical music—may not be much help, either. Composing, already a solitary experience, is positively isolating within this vacuum; it’s no wonder that young people instead opt to form garage bands with their friends, rather than brave the hurdles necessary to compose notated music. What’s a young composer to do? It’s understandable why today’s aspiring composers might feel more than a bit lost in the wilderness. But in recent years more

opportunities have sprung up for very young composers—those under eighteen years of age. The youngest composers not only face particular obstacles; they also come with a set of needs wholly unlike those of composers in their twenties and thirties. Absent the structure of a college composition program, and lacking the scores and recordings required for most opportunities, beginning composers need to be introduced to important concepts that lay a solid foundation for their own sonic exploration. And they need constructive feedback while building a portfolio that can help forge a path to further opportunities. “Why should musical literacy be a deferred, or often totally untapped, priority?” asks Polly Kahn, vice president for learning and leadership development at the League of American Orchestras. “Just as we encourage young people to write their


Chris Lee

The New York Philharmonic’s Credit Suisse Very Young Composers Program includes NYC as well as U.S. and international cities; here, VYC founder and director Jon Deak works with young composers during the Orchestra’s residency with Bravo! Vail in Colorado.

Kenny Trice


Mathew Imaging

Photos bottom from left: A.J. McCaffrey, teaching artist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Composer Fellowship Program, works with young composer Sharon Hurvitz at a read-through by LA Phil musicians of the Composer Fellows’ new works, to be premiered by the LA Phil this February. Finalists Matthew White and Brennan Anderson review their scores just before the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s Texas Young Composers Concert. At an event for the BMI Student Composer Awards, Paul Frucht and 2013 BMI Student Composer winner Stefan Cwik peruse the winning scores.

own stories as a component of their ability to read and articulate ideas, providing opportunities to create music—and to become more skilled at it over time—makes sense. And, of course, those with the greatest passion should have the chance to take that interest as far as it might go. How exciting that so many orchestras have entered into this arena. Many of them support young instrumentalists, and supporting young creators of the art is an equally important investment.” U.S. Orchestras Lend a Hand

A look at U.S. orchestras reveals a growing network of opportunities for composers eighteen and under. Many orchestras have expanded their young-composer programs into annual events that get young people out of the classroom and into a real-live orchestra rehearsal, where students whose interest in composing goes beyond casual


dabbling can acquire the hands-on experience they’ll need going forward. The Austin Symphony Orchestra has been running its Texas Young Composers Competition and Concert for four seasons. Open to Texas student composers age eighteen and younger, the program seeks annual submissions of orchestral works for readings and performances as part of the orchestra’s high school concert tour, with a number of selected works programmed by the orchestra at its home venue, Austin’s Long Center for the Performing Arts. The program provides young composers with archival recordings of their works (crucial for learning, as well as securing further opportunities), and it helps with travel costs for those living outside of the Austin area. and identify the Austin Symphony Butler “Seeing the students when their compoPops Series. The fanfare will be played at sitions are being performed and the electhe start of each of our pops concerts betricity that’s in the air on concert night is ginning in 2014.” probably one of the best things throughout Interestingly, Austin’s program requests our season,” says Jason Nicholson, marthat submitted works not involve the use keting director for the Austin Symphony. of electronics. In one sense this is a dis“Audiences are going absolutely crazy after connect from the emerging mainstream, they hear each composition. I think they where big names on the orchestral circuit go in there thinking, ‘OK, this is going to frequently weave electronics be good,’ but in the end they into their orchestral music. hear something exceptional.” The Austin Yet it’s an understandable Nicholson also sees the proSymphony is restriction that surely allows gram’s impact on the young motivated not the Austin Symphony to participants as an investment only by providing focusing squarely on effecin our shared musical future: an important tive orchestral writing that “You’re probably going to resource to young might become diluted with hear these kids’ compositions composers, but by in video games, in movies, the excitement and the addition of too many bells and whistles. The Texas and on symphony orchestra anticipation with Young Composers Competistages. These kids are absowhich audiences lutely amazing.” have responded to tion aims to prepare participants by giving them a strong In May 2013, Austin pubthe venture. foundation of skills: helping lic television station KLRU young composers learn music notation and broadcast a documentary about the proorchestration through interaction with a gram that takes viewers into the lives of the real, live orchestra. young composers. The documentary won In Arizona, the Tucson Symphony a Lone Star Emmy Award in November. Orchestra’s Young Composers Project, (Visit launched in 1993, has been lauded as “exepisode/texas-young-composers/ to watch.) traordinary” by no less a musician than YoAustin Symphony Executive Director Yo Ma. Andrew Birgensmith, the orchesAnthony J. Corroa says he is keen on extra’s president and CEO, says that the goal panding the program as well as maintainof the TSO Young Composers Project is “to ing relationships with past participants: create a program that would bring children “We have recently found funding to offer to the deepest level of understanding and modest scholarship prize monies to the top connection with music. For us, encouraging three winners: $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 orchestral composition represents not just respectively. I have also just retained one of a commitment to young composers, but a our past winners, Jared Beu, for a commisway of engaging with orchestral music that sioned orchestral fanfare that will introduce


Members of the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra and Crescendo visit the Scoring Stage at Skywalker Sound in November 2013. A related Marin Symphony program is the National Young Composers Challenge, which includes a workshop, feedback, and a performance of the composers’ works by Marin Symphony musicians.

has the potential to create audiences of the future.” In its 20-year history, the program has engaged composers as young as nine years old through high school age in a year-long curriculum that includes monthly composition workshops, tips on music-notation software, and attendance at TSO concerts. The program culminates in three public reading sessions and recordings of the new works; compositions are featured on TSO youth concerts and have been programmed on the orchestra’s subscription concerts. Since its inception, the program has produced more than 275 new works by young composers. In recent years, enrollment in the Tucson program has averaged 25 to 30 students annually. The program recently expanded to two levels, with more advanced composers writing for full orchestra and the beginners writing for smaller instrumental subsets. Graduates of the Young Composers Project have continued to pursue composition at the undergraduate and graduate level at colleges and conservatories. Participant Anthony Constantino received one of only three positions in the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute’s Carmina Burana Project, a nationwide call to high-school-aged composers to compose a work for chorus and orchestra, which led to a world premiere of his composition at Carnegie Hall in 2012 by David Robertson and the Orchestra St. Luke’s. Participants have had their music featured on NPR’s radio show From the Top, and one participant has been commissioned by the TSO’s former concertmaster (now concertmaster of the Phoenix Symsymphony

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phony) to compose a new violin concerto. “One of the extraordinary things about this program is the level of access and interaction the students have with professional musicians,” says Birgensmith. “They get direction straight from the source: musicians who may someday be playing their compositions. They can hear it played live with immediate input and suggestions.” Immediate feedback is one of the most necessary prerequisites for continued artistic development. Another program that emphasizes feedback as an essential part of development is the National Young Composers Challenge (currently administered in partnership with the Marin Symphony in California and previously with Florida’s Orlando Philharmonic). The program is divided into two parts: a composition workshop, and something dubbed the “Composium.” Young Composers Challenge Executive Director Stephen Goldman explains that the Composium “is like a concert, plus a master class, plus a competition. It’s informative and yet entirely thrilling.” Open to applicants ages thirteen to eighteen, each year the Composium features three submitted compositions for full orchestra, and three compositions for smaller ensembles, for performance under the baton of Marin Symphony Music Director Alasdair Neale. Perhaps more crucially, a panel of four professional composer-judges reviews each submission and offers ten to fifteen minutes of recorded comments that provide accepted and rejected composers alike with valuable feedback. The Marin Symphony also offers a separate free annual composition workshop for music students thirteen to eighteen years of age. The workshop is available on a first-come, first-served basis; attendees learn the principles of composition, orchestration, music notation, scoring software, and MIDI technology from nationally recognized composers. And the Marin Symphony’s efforts to make their programs accessible even to those without a finished composition to submit helps remove one of the biggest obstacles to enrollment for beginning composers. “It’s practically impossible to have a professional orchestra play your piece,” says Goldman. “If you don’t support young composers, you won’t have any old composers.” The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s

Young Voices “This program has had an incredible effect on me. Not only have I gained a large understanding of all the instruments of an orchestra, but I have discovered a passion for composition.”

was going to go wrong; like you’re going to fall off the stage or your shoes are going to slip off. But it sounded really good. It was how I wanted it to sound.” —Milo Poniewozik, 10, New York

in the professional world of music, and it was a delicious taste. The experience has already helped me in my first year of college as a music composition major, so I can only imagine how well the younger composers are going to thrive in college.”

itself was all me. I always have trouble with endings, but I was able to finish this one with a bang.” —Ray Kim, 14, Marin Symphony National Young Composers Challenge

“It’s not just a fellowship in name. I was surprised Orchestra Young at how little Composers Project “We have weekly competition there —Sam Melnick, 18, is between us. “When I compose, sessions, we talk Austin Symphony Texas Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m taking about music and Young Composers certain pieces. If we each have such part in today’s Competition and it wasn’t for the Concert individualized voices culture. I wrote a NYYS I’d have had or sounds that piece based on a lot less exposure “At the end of my there’s no niche to a painting by Piet if any to the guests piece, when all of fight over. We can Mondrian, and a the instruments are do exactly what we they bring in, all piece dedicated stars of the musical brought together want, and we won’t to the earthquake with ascending world.” be elbowing into victims in Haiti.” chords, it makes —Jake Landau, 16, any other fellow’s —Isabel de Luca, my heart jump. New York Youth territory. I wouldn’t 13, New York Philharmonic Symphony Composition There is this have the knowledge Program ineffable feeling Composers’ Bridge I do without the that just makes other three [young “I was part of the my blood pump. “It was really cool composers], and First Annual Texas I’m proud of the to be able to stand hopefully the others Young Composers fact that this has up in front of the feel the same way.” Competition and been accomplished —Richard An, 17, entire audience through my hard and have my piece Concert, and I Los Angeles can’t say just how Philharmonic Composer work. My teacher performed. I was Fellowship Program amazing it was! It was very helpful, a little nervous, at was my first taste but the creativity first, that something —Nicolas Mariscal, 17, Tucson Symphony

Philharmonic Very Young Composers Project

poser Fellowship Program expands on the typical one-year timeline to provide four high school-aged composers at a time with an intensive, multi-year fellowship. Founded in 2007 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky, the program has been directed by composer James Matheson since September 2009. The program entails 200 hours of lessons and workshops over two years, plus access to renowned guest artists including chamber ensembles. Fellows’ works are performed during reading sessions and in two concerts by the LA Phil at Walt Disney Concert Hall. This February 6 and 7, CFP compositions are part of the orchestra’s “Symphonies for Schools” concerts, for middle- and high-school students. All four new, fully orchestrated CFP

works will be performed, alongside works by Tchaikovsky. “New music, its creation and performance, is at the very heart of the LA Phil’s identity,” says Chad Smith, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s vice president of artistic planning. The Composer Fellowship Program is one of several LA Phil creations designed to fill a gap in the orchestra’s engagement efforts: “We realized we were great at introducing children to music, but we were not doing enough for accomplished musicians,” says Gretchen Nielsen, the orchestra’s director of educational initiatives. Working intensely with a small number of gifted composers has led to the program jump-starting the careers of several young composers. Program graduates who have



PROGRAM NOTES Informative and entertaining, with accessible discussion of the music itself, as well as lively historical and cultural background information.  Program book editing and layout  Special program book articles  Understandable musical analysis  Text translation  24-hour turnaround on rush jobs  Notes for chamber ensembles  Audio examples for web sites See samples at: Elizabeth A. Kahn, Ph.D. Joseph S. Kahn, Ph.D. phone: 919 851-2410


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or no musical background opportunities gone on to receive acclaim include Tazmin to create, notate, and hear their own muElliott, who completed her fellowship in sic performed by New York Philharmonic 2011 and has since garnered rave reviews musicians. Participants then graduate into from The New York Times and The Washingexperiences that help them develop further. ton Post, and Saad Haddad, who was part of Among them are the Composers’ Bridge, the very first Composer Fellows group that which offers middle-school graduates of graduated from the program in 2009, and the VYC Program the opportunity to prewhose recent orchestral work Maelstrom pare for formal study in composition; sister was performed last April by the American programs in Denver and Vail, Colorado, Composers Orchestra in New York City. and Stevens Point, Wisconsin; and internaAt the American Composers Orchestional offshoots in Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, tra, high-school-age composers study with and Helsinki that collaborate with VYC some of today’s most adventurous comstudents in American cities, who exchange posers, among them Lisa Bielawa, Kenji “musical postcards” with children from Bunch, and Vivian Fung. The Compose other cultures. The VYC Program’s work Yourself program, in which each young with Venezuela’s El Sistema (now entering composer is paired with a working comits second year) seems likely to provide a poser for a series of hands-on lessons, dovefertile ground for expansion and exchange, tails with the ACO’s overall focus on the with VYC Program teaching artists makcreation and performance of contemporary ing several trips to Caracas to engage local American music. schoolchildren since 2010. Another noteworthy initiative is the As part of the program, in 2011 stuNew York Youth Symphony Composition dents in New York composed works for Program (formerly called “Making Score”), both Korean and Western instruments, in directed by composer Kyle Blaha and one a collaboration with Korea Arts and Culof the few programs of its kind, based ture Education Service. These ties will be around a youth orchestra. Students between strengthened during the ages 12 and 22 attend workMany orchestras Philharmonic’s Asia tour in shops from October through May in which they explore have expanded their early 2014, in which compoyoung-composer sitions by students aged ten music by a wide variety of programs into to twelve from across South composers, with a focus on annual events Korea—who are participatinstrumentation and orchesthat get young ing in the VYC Program tration. Examples are drawn people out of the run by Kumdarak Saturday from the classical repertoire as well as musical traditions classroom and into Cultural Schools—will be throughout the world. Us- a real-live orchestra performed by an ensemble rehearsal. including New York Philharing tools such as study scores monic musicians in a free concert in Seoul. and orchestration books, the course aims to A February 11 concert for families in Tocultivate the students’ own voices through kyo’s Suntory Hall, sponsored by the Sony class discussion, written exercises, and free Music Foundation, will also feature music composition. Past sessions have been led written by New York–based students of the by composers including John Corigliano, VYC program, who range in age from elevMaria Schneider, Stephen Sondheim, and en to thirteen. The works were inspired by Michael Torke, helping to bring young pieces written by four young composers in composers into contact with acknowledged Fukushima, ages ten to fourteen, who have masters of the craft while they compose for been engaged in musical correspondence an ensemble of their peers. with their U.S.-based counterparts in expression of one of the VYC Program’s main Spreading New Music tenets: that music and creativity transcend Around the World national borders. Since its 1995 debut, the New York PhilJon Deak, a composer and former assisharmonic’s Credit Suisse Very Young tant principal bass at the New York PhilComposers Program has expanded from harmonic who is founder and director of after-school workshops to include multiple the VYC Program, says, “We are looking ongoing initiatives. At its core, the program for that ‘tipping point’ whereby it becomes gives students in grades 3 to 5 with little 9/4/05, 12:21 PM


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publicly ‘cool’ and normal for kids to compose for live concert ensembles, just like joining the basketball team or ballet class. Our ultimate aim is not to produce spectacular one-time concerts celebrating children’s art—as laudable as these events have been. We are dedicated to learning from children, nurturing an art that takes root, flowers, and develops into a indigenous expression.” According to Philharmonic Vice President of Education Ted Wiprud, “What began as an inquiry into what kinds of music kids might imagine has blossomed into a whole community of composers at the New York Philharmonic. Ten-year-olds who have the amazing experience of creating music for members of the Philharmonic graduate into The Bridge, where they really learn notation and begin to compose independently for many different public venues. High-school-age composers teach them, alongside experienced teaching artists. We’re excited about showcasing that whole continuum of composers from ten to eighteen years old, and professionals too, as part of NY Phil Biennial this coming spring, because as much as this has inspired similar programs around the U.S. and around the world, we think this could be the kernel of a ‘school’ of composers that could really contribute to the future of music.” “Classes begin with group warm-ups, which frequently involve physical movement,” says teaching artist associate Eric Nathan, who worked with VYC students throughout the 2012-13 school year. “For example, in teaching about musical texture, we had fifth-grade students stand in a circle and asked each to invent their own specific sound, either by striking something or using their voice. The hands-on experimentation with sound, combined with a respect for every student’s unique contribution to the whole, has allowed students to incorporate these ideas into their compositions in a very personal way, stripped of pre-conceived notions of what music ‘should’ be, and allowing them to let their imaginations run free.” In Wiprud’s view, “When the full New York Philharmonic performs children’s compositions for children’s audiences, the level of attention spikes, and afterward, the music from the canon of greats is far less remembered than the ten-year-old who composed about her grandmother’s stories.”


Other Avenues

Orchestras are not the only organizations that encourage young composers, although they remain perhaps best-equipped to mount the effort necessary to create an immersive experience that unfolds over an extended period of time. The performingrights organizations ASCAP and BMI host annual competitions for composers up to age 30 (for the ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composer Awards) and age 28 (for the BMI Student Composer Awards) that provide the youngest winners with valuable recognition and motivation. Both ASCAP and BMI offer cash prizes. Conrad Tao, nineteen, may well be the poster boy for programs supporting young composers. He first made his mark at age eight as a piano virtuoso, and he continues to win raves for his growing artistry during concerts with orchestras. He entered his post-prodigy period by moving into composing, and has won eight ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Tao has written for solo piano and chamber ensembles, and has recently started writing for larger forces. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Jaap van Zweden commissioned a seventeen-minute orchestral piece from Tao: The World Is Very Different Now premiered November 21, 2013, on a memorial program also featuring works of Sibelius, Milhaud, and Beethoven. At seventeen, Michael Parsons has already logged two wins each with the ASCAP and BMI composer competitions. He studies with Ira Taxin at the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division, and is in his fifth year of the New York Youth Symphony’s Composition Program. Parsons says that winning ASCAP and BMI awards helped give him the confidence to devote his future to composing: “My awards have been helpful in starting conversations with various performing ensembles, and as a result, I have received some of my first real commissions. There is pressure in the world around young composers to pursue a craft more practical than music. So for an under-eighteen composer to receive recognition is an affirmation that the potential for a career in music is there.” Dalit Warshaw recalls that her early ASCAP and BMI wins—and I do mean “early,” beginning with her first BMI award


ing: in being well rounded in the stylistic at age nine was for a composition she wrote sense, and also by dint of the ensemble’s when she was eight—were especially helpequal emphasis on composing and perful, since she did not begin formal composiforming—and on the emerging breed of tion studies until she turned eighteen. “My composer-performers of which Mazzoli first BMI Award in 1983 was the first major and Roumain are certainly a part—it sugoutside acknowledgment of my achievegests a path forward for orchestras. ment, capability, and potential as a creative artist, and it had a life-changing impact on my future as a composer,” says Warshaw, Encouragement Is Key now a professor of composition at Boston Sometimes it’s the simple act of letting Conservatory. “It certainly helped to genkids know that living composers exist, and erate interest in my music from conductors that composing music can be exciting and and other professionals, and enabled musirewarding, that can have the most impact. cal relationships with menAustin Wintory, the first “If you don’t tors such as Jacob Druckman, composer ever to receive a support young Milton Babbitt, and others Grammy nomination for a composers, you who had a profound effect on video-game score—for the won’t have any my development.” haunting, unconventional old composers,” The ComposerCraft proJourney—recalls, “When I says National gram at the Kaufman Cenwas about sixteen, growYoung Composers ter’s Special Music School ing up in Denver, a group Challenge Executive and Lucy Moses School, on of musicians from the ColoDirector Stephen Manhattan’s Upper West rado Symphony who called Goldman. Side, engages composers age themselves ‘Up Close and nine to fourteen to “write fugues, klezmer Musical’ came and performed at my high tunes, electronic works, and a lot in beschool. I’d been to the Colorado Symphotween,” as program director Robinson Mcny many times, but Up Close and MusiClellan puts it. ComposerCraft’s emphasis cal was just that: up close. Eric Bertoluzzi, on multiculturalism, and its openness to their founder and cellist, was very kind to electronic amplification and looping techme. He offered me a hundred-dollar comniques, has a counterpart in Face the Mumission; it was the first time I was ever sic, Kaufman’s student ensemble dedicated paid to compose. It was an incredibly emto the creation and performance of music powering experience.” by living composers. Face the Music has Early success is not always predictive of performed at Carnegie Hall, New York later achievement, and one of the world’s Public Radio’s The Greene Space, Bronx harsh realities is that composers (like Museum of the Arts, Roulette, and LinWintory and the handful of others who coln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium. eventually “make it”) must learn to create During the 2013-14 season the ensemble their own opportunities as their careers performs works by Bang on a Can founder mature. Not all children who participate Michael Gordon, Vijay Iyer, Terry Riley, in a composer-training program will go on George Crumb, and others, including preto find the same success with their music. mieres of fifteen new pieces composed by But each and every one of these programs Face the Music’s own members. can help form an adult who appreciates “By devoting itself solely to the work of and engages with musical culture, and who living composers, Face the Music provides rejects the notion that composing is only students with a focused experience that for long-deceased masters scrawling music the traditional youth orchestra normally with quill pens. doesn’t provide,” says Jenny Undercofler, Face the Music’s co-founder and director. DAN VISCONTI is a composer and recipient “Frequent visits by composers and perof the 2013-14 Samuel Barber Rome Prize from formers such as Missy Mazzoli, Daniel the American Academy in Rome; he also designs Bernard Roumain, and the Kronos Quareducation programs for young composers as a tet give students access to an ‘oral tradition’ member of Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble. He that is not accessible through older works.” will deliver a talk on new music’s potential for Face the Music represents one cutting engaging social issues at the TED conference in edge of current contemporary music trainMarch 2014. symphony

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vibrant energized engaging! 1 Ko-Eun Yi, piano



2 Alexi Kenney, violin 3 Steven Lin, piano 4 Hye-Jin Kim, violin 5 Daria Rabotkina, piano 6 Jay Campbell, cello



7 Mischa Bouvier, baritone 8 SYBARITE5, string quintet 9 Jay Campbell 10 WindSync, wind quintet Steven Shaiman Director, Artist Management Midwest & Europe

7 Concerto Commissioning Opportunities

Cindy Hwang Senior Associate West Coast & Asia Vincent Russo Senior Associate East Coast & Canada




Rachel Christensen Associate Southeast/Gulf States Please contact a member of the artist management staff to learn more about CAG’s new Orchestra Partnership Initiative (OPI). photos 1 Ho Chang 2 Matthew Washburn 3 Arthur Moeller 4 Balazs Borocz 5 Kate Lemmon 6, 9 Beowulf Sheehan 7 Janette Beckman 8 Braun & Tomlinson 10 Richie Hawley


emerging artists


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 Marcelo Lehninger Opus 3 Artists 212 584 7555

Evan Rogister Opus 3 Artists 212 584 7555

Matthew Troy Diane Saldick, LLC 212 213 3430

Eugene Tzigane Opus 3 Artists 212 584 7555

Ensembles Performing with Orchestra Classical Jam Sciolino Artist Management 212 721 9975

Known for its creative programming, Classical Jam consists of violin, viola, cello, flute, and percussion. Classical Jam unites acclaimed soloists and chamber musicians for engaging, high-caliber concerts and interactive performances that delight new and established audiences. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

Lysander Piano Trio Concert Artists Guild 212 333 5200

The New York Daily News called this 2012 CAG Competition-winning ensemble “A trio with brio.” Repertoire includes triple concerti by Beethoven, Martinu, Nico Muhly, and Lera Auerbach’s Serenade for a Melancholic Sea. Photo by Richard Blinkoff

Donald Sinta Quartet Concert Artists Guild 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 Tom Bray

Sybarite5, string quintet Concert Artists Guild 212 333 5200

“Their rock star status…is well deserved. Their classically honed technique mixed with grit and all-out passionate attack transfixes the audience…” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune). Premiering a concerto by awardwinning composer Dan Visconti in 2014-15. Photo by Braun & Tomlinson


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Ensembles (continued) WindSync, wind quintet Concert Artists Guild 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


DUO Brasil Guitar Duo Sciolino Artist Management 212 721 9975

Varshavski-Shapiro Piano Duo Astral Artists 215 735 6999

The Jasper String Quartet Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Instrumentalists Jay Campbell, cello Concert Artists Guild 212 333 5200

2011 CAG First Prize-winner’s “electrifying” performances “conveyed every nuance” (New York Times). Concerto highlights: The Juilliard Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Academy, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

Christine Lamprea, cello Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Astral Auditions winner and First Prize at the 2013 Sphinx and Schadt competitions. The ColombianAmerican was a Gluck Community Service Fellow at Juilliard. Debuts with Houston Symphony and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Kate L. Photography

Cicely Parnas, cello Young Concert Artists, Inc. and Latitude 45 Arts 212 307 6655 (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, and a tour with L’Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire. Photo by Christian Steiner

Narek Arutyunian, clarinet Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

Performed Artie Shaw’s Concerto for Clarinet and Jazz Orchestra with the Boston Pops. Other highlights: Prague Radio Symphony, Kaliningrad Philharmonic, Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Moscow State Symphony; Meridian, Albany, and Longwood symphonies. Photo by Christian Steiner


Instrumentalists (continued) Benito Meza, clarinet Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Astral Auditions winner and “daring force of nature” (New York Times). Highlights: Boston Philharmonic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Affiliate Artist. The Colombian graduated from El Sistema and the Simón Bolivar Youth Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Adriano Batti

Simon Thomas Jacobs, organ Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists 860 560 7800

First Prize and Prize of the Audience winner at 50th International Organ Competition, St. Albans, England, 2013; music staff, Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis; Organ Scholar, Clare College, Cambridge UK, honors graduate. Photo by Arthur Moeller

Benjamin Sheen, organ Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists 860 560 7800

First Prize winner at first International Organ Competition, Longwood Gardens, PA, 2013; Assistant Organist, St. Thomas Church, Fifth Ave, NYC; Juilliard Master’s ’13. “Brilliant Organist” (New York Times)

Photo by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists

Michael Brown, piano Sciolino Artist Management 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 a powerful technique, often interweaving the classics with contemporary works and his own compositions. Photo by Janette Beckman

Sara Daneshpour, piano Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Astral Auditions winner with “pianism of rare poise, perception, and warmth” (Washington Post). Highlights: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Musée d’Orsay, National Gallery. Winner: Morocco and Russian Music International competitions. Photo by Stephanie Lane

Claire Huangci, piano Barrett Vantage Artists 212 245 3530

Claire Huangci has demonstrated her diversity and interpretational skills by performing with esteemed orchestras worldwide. She is already regarded as one of the premier Chopin interpreters of her generation.

Photo by Barrett Vantage Artists

Gleb Ivanov, piano Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

“Eerily like the ghost of Horowitz” (Washington Post). Wide range of concerto repertoire; performances with the Missouri, Johnstown, West Michigan, South Bend, Knoxville, Dearborn, and Grand Rapids symphonies, and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Christian Steiner


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winter 2014

Ji, piano Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

“A gifted young pianist who is clearly going places” (Chicago Tribune). Orchestra highlights: Toronto Symphony (Oundjian), BBC Symphony (Belohlávek), Nashville and New Jersey symphonies. Released Lisztomania album (Universal Music). Photo by Christian Steiner

George Li, piano Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

2012 Gilmore Young Artist. “Staggering technical prowess” and “depth of expression” (Washington Post). Orchestra highlights include Cleveland Orchestra, Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Boise Philharmonic, Edmonton, Stamford, and Pasadena symphonies. Photo by Christian Steiner

Steven Lin, piano Concert Artists Guild 212 333 5200

Taiwanese-American winner of 2011 CAG Competition plays with “dazzling brilliance and a lot of personality” (Washington Post). Career concerto highlights: New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic, Sendai Philharmonic. Photo by Arthur Moeller

Alexandre Moutouzkine, piano Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Astral Auditions winner with “playing of heart-stopping intimacy and elegance” (Dallas Morning News). Appearances: Berliner Symphoniker, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the national symphony orchestras of Tivoli, Panama, Cuba, Israel, Canary Islands. Photo by E. Appel

Ilya Poletaev, piano Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Astral Auditions winner, early keyboard specialist, and “among the most significant pianists of his generation” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). Winner of the Grieg and Leipzig’s Bach international competitions. Highlights: Orchestra of St. Paul’s, Moscow State and Toronto symphony orchestras. Photo by Christian Steiner

Daria Rabotkina, piano Concert Artists Guild 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

Louis Schwizgebel, piano Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

BBC New Generation Artist; 2nd Prize 2012 Leeds International Piano Competition. Highlights: L’Orchestre National de Lyon, London Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Knoxville Symphony, and Verbier Festival (Dutoit). Photo by Caroline Doutre


Instrumentalists (continued) Andrew Tyson, piano Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Terence Judd-Hallé Orchestra Prize, 2012 Leeds International Piano Competition. Highlights: Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Prieto), National Orchestra of Belgium (Alsop); Kansas City, Colorado, and Hilton Head symphonies. Photo by Christian Steiner

Ko-Eun Yi, piano Concert Artists Guild 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

Juan-Miguel Hernandez, viola Sciolino Artist Management 212 721 9975

This prize-winning soloist and chamber musician, a founding member of the Harlem Quartet, Boreal Trio, and Trio Virado, and interim violist in the Fine Arts Quartet, has electrified audiences and students around the world. Photo by Jeffrey Hornstein

Veit Hertenstein, viola Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

“Plays with maturity, technique, thoughtful musicianship, and a tone of dark honey” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Highlights: Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra (Harada), Slovak Radio Symphony (OlivieriMunroe), Bayerische Kammerphilharmonic, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Basel Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Christian Steiner

Benjamin Beilman, violin Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

2012 Avery Fisher Career Grant, 1st Prize 2010 Montréal International Competition. Highlights: London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Kahane), Fort Worth Symphony (Harth-Bedoya), Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra (Marriner), L’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal (Nézet-Séguin). Photo by Young Concert Artists, Inc.

Bella Hristova, violin Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant. “A player of impressive power and control” (Washington Post). Concertos this season: Korngold, Vivaldi, Prokofiev, Saint-Saëns, Brahms, Barber, Beethoven, Bruch, Ritchie, and Ludwig; Mendelssohn at Carnegie Hall (Laredo). Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Paul Huang, violin Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

Praised by The Strad for “stylish and polished playing.” Highlights: Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Prieto), Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Mexico), Louisville Orchestra; Bilbao, Hilton Head, Taipei, and National Taiwan symphonies. Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco


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Alexi Kenney, violin Concert Artists Guild 212 333 5200

Praised by Strings Magazine for his “beautiful, aching tone,” this nineteen-year-old American violinist is a winner of the 2013 CAG International Competition and also a prize-winner of the 2012 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition. Photo by Matthew Washburn

Hye-Jin Kim, violin Concert Artists Guild 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

Kristin Lee, violin Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Astral Auditions winner with “rare stylistic aptness” (The Strad). Highlights: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Philadelphia Orchestra; St. Louis and New Jersey symphonies, (le) poisson rouge, collaborations with Questlove and The Roots. Photo by Arthur Moeller

Aleksey Semenenko, violin Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

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




Sebastian Bäverstam Concert Artists Guild 212 333 5200

Angel Hsiao Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Sean Chen The Cliburn 817 738 6536

Lionel Cottet Astral Artists 215 735 6999 CLARINET Romie de Guise-Langlois Astral Artists 215 735 6999

GUITAR Jordan Dodson Astral Artists 215 735 6999 HARP Caroline Cole Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Fei-Fei Dong The Cliburn 817 738 6536 Vadym Kholodenko The Cliburn 817 738 6536 Andrea Lam Astral Artists 215 735 6999


Instrumentalists (continued) piano (continued) Soyeon Kate Lee Diane Saldick, LLC 212 213 3430 Pallavi Mahidhara Astral Artists 215 735 6999 Gabriela Martinez Sciolino Artist Management 212 721 9975 Nikita Mndoyants The Cliburn 817 738 6536 Beatrice Rana The Cliburn 817 738 6536

Tomoki Sakata The Cliburn 817 738 6536 Dizhou Zhao Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Jennifer Stumm Concert Artists Guild 212 333 5200 VIOLIN


Nikki Chooi Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Jonathan Wintringham Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Luosha Fang Astral Artists 215 735 6999

VIOLA Ayane Kozasa Astral Artists 215 735 6999 Born Lau Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Clara-Jumi Kang International Violin Competition of Indianapolis 317 637 4574 Eunice Kim Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Vocalists Geoffrey Sirett, baritone Dean Artists Management 416 969 7300

District winner, Met Council Auditions; winner, Jim and Charlotte Song Competition (Toronto); Count Almaviva/Le nozze di Figaro – Aspen Opera Center; Messiah – Buffalo Philharmonic; La serva padrona – Canadian Opera Company; Chautauqua Symphony. Photo by Dean Artists Management

Jeremy Bowes, bass Dean Artists Management 416 969 7300

Sächisches Staatsoper Dresden; Pistola/Falstaff – Pacific Opera Victoria; Master’s Degree from Yale; Walton’s The Bear – Ischia Summer Festival, Naples; Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal; engaged by Bad Hersfeld Festival and Vancouver Bach Choir. Photo by Dean Artists Management

Jessica Renfro, mezzo soprano Harwood Management 212 864 0773

“Provocative, sexy and vocally outstanding.” Performances include engagements at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Opera Tampa, Dicapo Opera, New Jersey State Opera. More information at Photo by Harwood Management


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Julia Bullock, soprano Young Concert Artists, Inc. 212 307 6655

Title roles in Purcell’s The Indian Queen (Peter Sellars), Cendrillon, and Cunning Little Vixen (Juilliard Opera). Pamina in A Magic Flute (Peter Brook); West Side Story with San Francisco Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas). Photo by Christian Steiner

Erica Cochran, soprano Harwood Management 212 864 0773

Hailed for her flexibility and stage presence. Performances include Kentucky Opera, Opera Memphis, Des Moines Opera, Skylight Opera, Lincoln Center Library, Louisville Orchestra, and Memphis Symphony. More information at Photo by Harwood Management

Eve-Lyn de la Haye, soprano Dean Artists Management 416 969 7300

Tanglewood Music Center; International Vocal Arts Institute, Israel; Nannetta, Falstaff – Calgary Opera; Echo/Ariadne auf Naxos – Pacific Opera Victoria; Olympia/Les contes d’Hoffmann – Jeunesses Musicales du Canada; Britten-Pears Festival, Aldeburgh, UK. Photo by Dean Artists Management

Kathryn Guthrie, soprano Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Astral Auditions winner whose aria in her New York City Opera debut “outshone any other single moment on stage” (Huffington Post). Highlights: Madrid’s Teatro Real, Philadelphia premiere of Golijov’s Ayre.

Photo by Claire McAdams

Yulia Van Doren, soprano Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Astral Auditions winner, “the Anna Netrebko of early music” (Opera Now!). Highlights: top prizewinner in all four U.S. Bach vocal competitions, Boston Early Music Festival, Lincoln Center, Opera de Versailles, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony. Photo by Daniel Iannini

Isaiah Bell, tenor Dean Artists Management 416 969 7300

Tanglewood – Madwoman/Curlew River and Written on Skin; L’enfance du Christ – Montreal Symphony (Nagano); Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal; Mass in B minor – Toronto Mendelssohn Choir; Ferrando/ Cosi fan tutte – Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. Photo by Dean Artists Management




Mischa Bouvier Concert Artists Guild 212 333 5200

Adam Fry Astral Artists 215 735 6999

Sarah Wolfson Concert Artists Guild 212 333 5200


Large photo: At the New World Symphony, the orchestral academy in Miami Beach, one of the programs included in the study of innovative concert formats is the “Encounters” concert, a one-hour concert incorporating spoken narration and visuals. Inset photo: For New World Symphony’s Yoga Night, yoga enthusiasts attend a 30-minute “Mini-Concert” and then go to the front lawn of the New World Center for a one-hour yoga class, during which they listen to classical music.

Rui Dias-Aidos

Bottom: The Memphis Symphony’s Opus One series combines classical and contemporary music by bringing the orchestra and guest artists to local clubs. In photo: the Memphis Symphony with the North Mississippi Allstars, January 2013 in the Soulsville neighborhood


A new study documents the effect of unusual and adventurous concert formats—with provocative findings.

Memphis Symphony Orchestra



The Concert

lashing lights; throbbing electronic dance music mixed by a DJ; 1,600 twenty-somethings dressed up and dancing, texting, and drinking at midnight. It sounds like a club, and that’s the idea behind PULSE at the New World Symphony, a successful new format that segues between classical sets and party mode—in a concert hall. Experimentation with non-traditional concert formats has a long history in the orchestra world. And today, more and more orchestras across the country are trying new things as they work to attract and re-

tain audiences. However, for the past several years, the New World Symphony, the professional training orchestra in Miami Beach headed by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, has taken experimentation to a new level. In addition to test-driving a whole series of alternative formats, New World has been rigorously documenting its efforts and compiling extensive data about who attends the programs, how that audience intersects with the traditional audience, and how the experiences affect them. That data is now available to others seeking solid information about what works and what doesn’t. A four-year study of New World’s efforts, conducted by the consulting and research group WolfBrown, funded symphony

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Rui Dias-Aidos

eriment by Heidi Waleson

by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Kovner Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and released in 2013, showed some significant results. Initial findings of the study were presented in a variety of sessions and meetings at the League of American Orchestras’ 2013 National Conference this past June. From 2010 to 2013, the period of the study, three alternate formats comprised 10 percent of New World Symphony’s concert offerings, yet brought in 31 percent of its first-time ticket buyers and greatly increased its audience diversity. In addition, 42 percent of the first-time purchasers introduced to NWS through an alternate format bought another ticket, either to an alternate-format

concert or to a traditional one. Attendees at concerts in the new formats reported levels of intellectual and emotional engagement that matched those of traditional concerts. (Read the report, written by Alan Brown and Rebecca Ratzkin, at http://www.nws. edu/pdfs/FinalAssessmentReport.pdf.) And the data is not just for one orchestra. Soon after the study began, five professional orchestras—the Detroit Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, and San Diego Symphony, each with one experimental format—signed on as partners for 201113 and had their non-traditional concerts tracked, evaluated, and compared with NWS data. In 2013, three more orches-

tras—the Atlanta, Dallas, and Indianapolis symphonies—joined the project, which will continue for two more years. According to Howard Herring, president and CEO of the NWS, and Alan Brown of WolfBrown, who supervised the research, this information should prove invaluable for the orchestra field. “We are an educational institution,” Herring says of New World. “We hope to get good at the research, come up with well-supported opinions, and provide enough information so that orchestras and presenters that are intent on attracting new audiences can take an informed risk.” Indeed, Brown sees the New World Symphony evolving into a research and


Cat Szalkowski

development center for orchestras; as a training orchestra with musicians who are “fellows” receiving a stipend and housing as part of their education, NWS has a high level of institutional flexibility, interested funders, and a new concert hall equipped with a broad range of cuttingedge technology. “Nonprofit arts groups are not appropriately capitalized to do research and development,” Brown says. “They are designed to produce art efficiently. R&D requires a whole other mind set and skill set. The orchestra field can benefit from having New World serve as a and 9:30 pm. Tickets cost $2.50. Listeners greenhouse site. Instead of having 100 ormay attend more than one concert in an chestras experimenting and no one keeping evening, but must buy a ticket for each one. track, you get a more focused, more coor“Encounters” are 60-minute classical condinated approach to program development. certs, often organized around a theme and That way, when a wonderful new program incorporating spoken narration and visual bubbles up, there’s a pipeline through which enhancements. The $25 ticket price includes experiments can move and be replicated.” a social hour, with drinks, after the concert, “Everything about this activity is induring which concert patrons can socialize dicative of the great progress being made informally with NWS musicians. at orchestras today,” says League President NWS’s biggest innovation, PULSE, is a and CEO Jesse Rosen. “Collaboration late-night club format that integrates live among orchestras is a growing trend, as we classical music with a DJ playing electronic saw in the nine-orchestra ‘churn’ research dance music, deliberately blurring the lines about retaining first-time buyers and as we between a concert and a party. The venue is see in the four-orchestra ‘Music Unwound’ transformed with ambient light and visual consortium creating contextual programeffects, and attendees can sit, stand, dance, ming. Increasingly, orchestras are workand socialize as they wish. They may also ing together to create efficiency come and go: doors open at 8 and shared learning. Equally im- “Young people pm, the event ends at 1 am, and portant, orchestras are taking a want to play attendees may stay for as long or disciplined approach to rigorous an active role. short a time as they like. Tickets research, and using it to inform They construct cost $25. For comparison purtheir actions in real time. New poses, the NWS used its Journey their own World Symphony has really takconcerts—three-hour, singleplaylists and en the lead in this project, which composer programs with two offers a wealth of solid informa- share them; intermissions—as the traditional tion and new ideas about the their tastes are format for the study. (Of course, forms concerts might take.” New World also presents tradieclectic,” says tional concerts in the standard Alan Brown, mold.) Experiments in the who supervised The study was conducted Concert Hall the new study. using database analysis, focus New World Symphony develgroups, and audience surveys oped three alternative formats for concerts held between Febdesigned to appeal to new auruary 2010 and March 2013. diences, each using a different Seven Mini-Concert evenings, assortment of unconventional seven Encounters concerts, six elements. “Mini-Concerts” are PULSE events, and two Journey 30-minute classical programs, concerts were included. scheduled serially at 7:30, 8:30,

For its Screenland at the Symphony concerts, the Kansas City Symphony showed the films of South Pacific and Carousel while playing the scores under the direction of Associate Conductor Aram Demirjian.


Through the surveys, NWS gathered information about age, race/ethnicity, relationship status, household income, and NWS history (first-timers or repeat attenders). Response rates ranged from 12 percent to 25 percent; a total of 3,003 surveys were collected. Respondents rated their knowledge of classical music, their satisfaction with different elements of the experience, and whether they were likely to attend again. The survey also measured intrinsic impact: respondents were asked to rate their captivation by the program, their emotional response to the concert, their aesthetic growth as a result of it, and whether they reflected on the program afterwards. Some data specific to particular concert formats was collected, such as purchase decision-making and sources of information (Mini-Concerts) and frequency of concert attendance and familiarity with particular composers (Encounters). For PULSE concerts, respondents were asked how long they stayed, what they did during the event, and what kind of post-performance discussion they engaged in. The research indicated that these new formats opened doors for classical music to a wide range of audiences. For example, Mini-Concerts, with their short duration and nominal ticket price, served as a strong, low-risk introduction to NWS, with 47 percent of the audience made up of first-time NWS attenders, averaged over the three years of the study; 45 percent of the audience was 55 or younger. Shorter concerts also demonstrated a big impact on their audiences: scores for “emotional resonance” were even higher for the Mini-Concerts than they were for the Journey concerts. symphony

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Charts: WolfBrown

Among the Charlotte Symphony’s KnightSounds concerts are “ballroom” events at which samba, cha-cha, and other high-energy dances add movement and visual interest.

John Graham

Many listeners also wanted The alternative formats appealed to “We hope to traditional concertgoers as well as to provide enough some kind of contextualization of what they heard, young and inexperienced ones: there information so regardless of their level was no discernible difference in satisthat orchestras of knowledge of classical faction with the Encounters concerts between high- and low-frequency and presenters music: both experienced concertgoers and newcomNWS attenders. Finally, the educa- can take an tional and visual programmatic ele- informed risk,” ers said that they liked the educational elements of the ments incorporated into all the new says Howard Encounters concerts. formats evoked a high level of satisfacHerring, The PULSE contion from attendees. president certs, designed to attract Along with creating an in-depth a younger, wired demoportrait of how people responded to and CEO at graphic, achieved that goal. concert formats, the study results also New World Attendees had a median provide a wealth of data about how Symphony. age of 38, as opposed to an people today want to consume music, average age of 65 for Enand how orchestras may need to revise counters and 68 for Jourtheir thinking to accommodate these ney, according to the study. changes. For example, how far in adThey were twice as likely vance did the concertgoers decide to as other NWS buyers to attend? For Mini-Concerts, 44 perbe single/never married (38 cent of survey respondents decided to percent) and to be racially attend within three days of the event, diverse (46 percent African-American, Hisand 25 percent bought their tickets on the panic, Asian or other/mixed). Attendees same day as the concert, indicating that participated in multiple activities, includlate decision-making is a significant factor. ing socializing with those they came with (75 percent) Average Rating of Impact by Format 2010-2013 and with others they saw 5 Strong / A Great Deal Emotional Resonance: there (48 percent), sitting Strength of Emotional Response and listening to the music 4 Aesthetic Growth: (61 percent), taking phoBetter Equipped to Appreciate Classical Music tographs with cell phones (60 percent), and texting or 3 emailing while at the event (37 percent). The report 2 states: “In general, younger respondents engaged in more activities than older 1 Weak / Not At All Journey PULSE Mini-Concerts Encounters respondents, particularly (n = 1136) (n = 994) (n = 309) (n = 564) texting, dancing, taking Doorways into NWS Programming photographs, and socializPercentage of First-Timers by Format ing. This neatly encapsulates the divergence in cultural norms between older and younger audiences, and illustrates the viability of flexible, social, multi-layered formats as a strategy for engaging younger concertgoers.” The results also indicat44% 31% 21% 10% Mini-Concerts PULSE Encounters Journey ed that satisfaction with the ambiance of the space was a Charts from the recent report compare audience response for much higher predictor for alternative concert formats at the New World Symphony (at top, “n” represents the number of survey respondents to each concert type). satisfaction with the event than the particular music on Read the full report, by Alan Brown and Rebecca Ratzkin, at http:// the program.

Multiple Audiences

Impulse buyers, education fans, club kids: this universe of attendees requires a profoundly different way of looking at the potential audience for an orchestra’s services. Not only are the segments of the audience different, but one size does not fit all. A major lesson of the NWS experience is that orchestras need to develop a broad range of programs, and not expect that a new entry point will necessarily lead a new attender sequentially to the traditional concert. “The big breakthrough in this survey is seeing programming not as a ladder, but as a neural network,” Brown says. “People can move among the nodes based on their interests. Orchestras can certainly curate pathways in classical music. But this notion of loyalty being a ladder, that you are climbing it to become a subscriber or we don’t care about you—that is over.” “We’ve begun to track the migration patterns [around the network],” Herring says. “What I hope is that people will have a positive first experience. They come back for a second. Then, they make a decision, and realize there are other ways to come into the NWS family, and begin to move around inside this network as they get older, and their lives change. And here’s the kicker: it’s their choice.” With assessment built in, the NWS format experimentation is analogous to product development in the commercial sector. Herring explains, “We’ve developed a cycle. It starts with identifying the audience, designing the content, and marketing it to fit with the audience’s lifestyle. Then we survey the audience, and adapt and adjust both the content and marketing, and bring it back. That cycle of development is getting refined, as are formats.”


To enrich the study, several other orchestras that are experimenting with alternate formats were invited to join the survey group. The report presented data from events between 2011 and 2013 by the Detroit Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, and San Diego Symphony—all of which have reconfigured the concert experience using various elements, including socializing, visual effects, educational elements, and crossing musical genres. (The Pittsburgh Symphony, which presented a single new format event, was also included in the data; PSO is not an ongoing partner.) Jonathan Martin, who joined the Dallas Symphony as president and CEO in 2012, started experimenting with concert formats in 2010, when he was heading North Carolina’s Charlotte Symphony. (Robert L. Stickler is currently the Charlotte Symphony’s president and executive director.) “I’ve been in the orchestra business in the U.S. for 35 years, and I’ve


Michelle Andonian

State by State

mographic, and there were a lot had to learn to manage for “How should of first-time concertgoers. the systemic changes in how we adapt and Martin believes that statistithis society consumes what we still maintain cally valid information will help produce,” Martin says. “Five or the Dallas Symphony continue six years ago, it became clear the essence to shape elements like programto me that putting our heads of what a ming and concert length. It will down and going forward with live classical also help make the case for cona 225-year-old concert format symphony tinuing the experiment. “These in the 21st century would give concert is?” concerts are not going to make us exactly the results you would asks Jonathan money in the first years,” he expect. So how should we adapt says. “The pricing is lower, and and still maintain the essence Martin, it takes time to build. But we of what a live classical sympho- president have to stick with it, or we will ny concert is? Of the 25 things and CEO of continue to lose audience share.” that make up the concert expe- the Dallas Martin also wants to find out rience, which are fungible, and Symphony. how much churn there is in the which compromise the essence new audience. “It’s a reality for a of what a concert is? In Charyounger generation of consumlotte, we took things that we ers, especially millennials, that felt to be barriers to consumpthey don’t buy in the patterns tion and changed them.” that older people do. You have Charlotte’s KnightSounds to know that going in, and not events are socially oriented, let it make you despondent. You themed concerts, with general have to spend more money on marketing, admission tickets sold for $29. Food and because you are constantly in acquisition drink are offered before the concert and mode. It’s a new world order.” allowed in the hall during the perforThe Detroit Symphony Orchestra, mance. Other artistic disciplines (ballet, which has also been experimenting with opera, video animation) are incorporated different formats, joined the WolfBrown in some performances. The CSO’s parresearch with its new Mix@theMax, a ticipation in the WolfBrown study, Marmore casual, interactive concert in a blacktin says, “put more structure, science, and box space, with cabaret-style seating and data” behind a “seat-of-the-pants” project. new artists. Mix@theMax has already atThe data, he says, “reinforce what we betracted a much younger demographic. lieved, but we needed some evidence, some Having multiple partners collecting the forensics, when it came to assessing all same data will enable orchestras to get a these elements—programs, price, interacsense of how different communities retivity from stage, taking a more theatrical spond to different initiatives. Detroit approach to lighting and staging—in the context of a high-quality conThe Detroit Symphony’s Mix@TheMax concerts are casual and cert experience.” interactive, with cabaret-style seating and emerging talent, This season, Martin launched among them pianist and composer Conrad Tao (at left in photo). an alternative format in Dallas, with two programs in the new 750-seat Dallas City Performance Hall. The concept, which includes food and drink, speaking from the stage, and a shorter program, will expand to three programs for 2014-15. Attendance was 90 percent of capacity over two nights. Survey data is not yet in, but anecdotal evidence, Martin says, indicates that the enthusiastic audience was about 20 years younger than the usual Dallas Symphony deMark Kitaoka

Audience feedback is a key factor in the cycle. Encounters, for example, was originally set up with a one-hour reception before the concert, and titled “Symphony with a Splash.” “The surveys told us that we had the wrong name and the wrong format,” Herring says. “What people valued was the chance to meet the NWS fellows”—the musicians in this training orchestra—“in a relaxed way.” The social hour now follows the concert instead of preceding it, and the name change emphasizes the interaction rather than the cocktails—which are still part of the mix. NWS also tweaked its PULSE events in response to audience comments. The event alternates between the DJ and live classical music; at 11:30, after the last classical set, Herring says, “We tell the DJ to turn it loose, and it’s a full-on party. We found out that some people wanted something quieter and more formal than the classical performances between the DJ sets, so for the second PULSE last year, at midnight, we had chamber music in the 100-seat performance space adjacent to the main hall. About 100 people walked out of the party, bringing their drinks, went to the other space, and listened to chamber music in silence.”


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Symphony Orchestra President and CEO Anne Parsons thinks that the entire body of research will be enormously helpful to the field. “The more organizations that work together on this project, the better,” she says. “Getting out of your own swim lanes is great.” WolfBrown has recently completed another Mellon-funded study, this one for university presenters looking at how best to bring college students into their concert halls, and the results dovetail with the NWS findings. (Engaging Next-Generation Audiences: A Study of College Student Preferences towards Music and the Performing Arts can be read here.) “We found that for college students, the same trends are driving behavior patterns,” Brown says. “Young people want to play an active role. They construct their own playlists and share them; their tastes are eclectic. Events like the PULSE concerts—a holistic, multisensory, eclectic experience—are an ideal entry point for them. Format experimentation was one of the recommendations for the orchestra study, particularly putting concerts in unusual settings and thereby sidestepping the perceptual baggage that is associated with a formal setting.” For Herring, one of the most exciting aspects of WolfBrown’s research is the intrinsic-impact information, which gets closer to what the work of a symphony orchestra is all about. “Finally, we can get beyond attendance data,” he says. “What do people feel? What’s the level of intellectual stimulation? What’s the aesthetic growth?” The finding that a 30-minute concert proved to be just as powerful as a traditional format was a milestone. “This was one of Michael Tilson Thomas’s ideas, when we first started with this project,” Herring says. “Michael said that when he was living in New York City, he would go to the Metropolitan Museum, see three pictures, and then leave, having had this really strong experience. Spending the next two hours in the museum would have been a constant diminution of that moment. The NWS fellows know that this Mini-Concert audience is filled with new people, and they have 30 minutes to make the case.” Heidi Waleson writes about the performing arts and is the opera critic for the Wall Street Journal.

FOR YOUR POPS AND CROSSOVER PROGRAMMING Brian Gaber, composer and arranger of jazz and jazz-inspired symphonic music INTRODUCING: Three

American Voices

A three movement work for orchestra and rhythm section, each movement is a remembrance of a person who has left an important and positive mark on American culture. (16:00) I. Duke Ellington

II. Langston Hughes

III. Satchel Paige

Three American Voices has had many performances including the

Nashville Symphony, the Baton Rouge Symphony and the Columbus Symphony. For more information visit •


José-Luis Novo, music director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in Maryland

Kristen Loken

Margaretta Mitchell

Joana Carneiro, music director of the Berkeley Symphony in California

Donato Cabrera, music director of the California Symphony, the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, and resident conductor at the San Francisco Symphony

Andrés Orozco-Estrada, music director of the Houston Symphony



Growing numbers of Hispanic conductors are being appointed music directors of orchestras across the U.S. What’s behind this trend?

by Brian Wise



hen José-Luis Novo was asked to conduct Latin American music early in his career, he frequently declined, fearing people would peg him as a Hispanic specialist. Novo, who left his native Spain to study at Yale University as a Fulbright Scholar, would sometimes conduct Spanish-flavored works by Ravel or Falla,

but also made sure to include plenty of Berlioz or Tchaikovsky on his programs. But increasingly, Novo is happy for the chance to conduct repertoire from his home country and by other Latino composers. He opened a recent season at the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, where he has been music director since 2007, with music by Revueltas, Ginastera, Piazzolla, and Gabriela Lena Frank. In May he will symphony

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Jacomo Rafael Bairos, music director of the Amarillo Symphony in Texas

Pablo Heras-Casado, principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York

Carlos Miguel Prieto, music director of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Cheryl Gerber

Giancarlo Guerrero, music director of the Nashville Symphony

Bill Steber

Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

Vern Evans

Long Beach Symphony

Richard Rodriguez

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Enrique Arturo Diemecke steps down as music director of California’s Long Beach Symphony Orchestra at the end of the 2013-4 season, his 13th at the orchestra. He is in his 25th season as music director of the Flint Symphony Orchestra in Michigan.


conduct Diez Melodías Vascas IERTO UN CONCTA COMUNI RIO RGET (Ten Basque Melodies) by the GRATIS DE TA Spanish composer Jesús Guridi. “Now at this point in my career I’m eager to do more of it,” says Novo of Spanish-themed programming. “I like to think I have a special affinity that other conductors don’t have. It makes a special CONVIERTE TUS VIE A VIERNES CASUAL RNES SOCIALES... ES. connection with the musicians. You have access to information that othT a las 4pm SÁB, 3 de OC D BOWL ers don’t.” HOLLYWOO Novo’s experience attests to the ATIS* ENTRADA GR underlying tensions that Latino conductors face as they assume a sometimes uneasy variety of roles: as de facto standard-bearers for their native traditions—highlighted in communityengagement events—and as artists who grasp the core canon of Bach through Stravinsky. When, in the 1930s, the Mexican composer and conductor Carlos Chavez toured the U.S. and led nearly all 323.850.2049 of the top American orchestras, attitudes were starkly different. Despite advocacy 323.850.2046 from an establishment figure like Aaron Copland, Chavez was seen as somewhat of an exotic specimen, with one music critic Spanish and bilingual marketing materials from expressing amazement at “his genuine Gustavo Dudamel’s first two seasons at Walt grounding in the classic tradition.” Disney Concert Hall as music director of the But in the last five years or so, roughly a Los Angeles Philharmonic dozen American music directorships have ®

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Flea (del conjunto la Banda Jazz de la Escuela Preparatori Mahal con Los Cenzontles k con y Taj Herbie Hancoc David Hidalgo O dirigada por Gustavo Dudamel Centro EXP stro de L.A. ta Juvenil del mel El Coro Mae Gustavo Duda YOL A - Orques nica de Los Ángeles,nidad dirigidos por ! s artificiales la comu La Filarmó as y coros de ¡Además fuego

Un Programa Music al Casual. Una Experiencia Inolvi dable.

Descubre una manera los Viernes Casuales única para disfrutar la música clásica, con la Filarmónica de Walt Disney Concert Hall. Deja tu ropa formalLos Angeles en y vive la música en en casa una atmósfera casual y relajada.

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gone to Hispanics, including those at the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel), Houston Symphony (Colombian Andrés Orozco-Estrada), Nashville Symphony (Giancarlo Guerrero, from Costa Rica), and Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Pablo Heras-Casado, from Spain), along with several smaller-budget ensembles. Assistant and resident directorships have seen similar trends, reflecting a growing pipeline of talent. Latinas are underrepresented but not altogether absent, with women like Gisele Ben-Dor (born in Uruguay), Joana Carneiro (the Portuguese-born music director at California’s Berkeley Symphony), and Alondra de la Parra (who led the New York-based Orchestra of the Americas from 2004 until its collapse amid labor troubles in 2011, and is now active in Mexico). Aaron Dworkin, founder of the nonprofit Sphinx Organization, which encourages and supports the participation of blacks and Latinos in classical music, believes that the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s hiring of Dudamel in 2008 largely triggered the current trend involving conductors. “Once the field saw how tremendously successful that was, to have someone young and representing a

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Orchestra of St. Luke’s

Pablo Heras-Casado, principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, speaks at an open rehearsal/ concert “preview and chat” with the OSL at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City. In November of 2013, Heras-Casado was named Conductor of the Year by Musical America.



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Ralph Duke

Jacomo Rafael Bairos leads his first concert as music director and conductor of the Amarillo Symphony at the AGN Media Fireworks Festival on July 4, 2013.

community not often represented on the podium, sometimes it takes that for us to get it,” he says. Dworkin cautions that conductors, while important, are just one piece of a larger matrix. “Seeing more Latinos on the podium is a fantastic thing in and of itself—a transformation for an institution,” he continues. “But it will never be enough. All of those orchestras need to see how can we have this impact on our audience, our repertoire, our membership on stage, even our staff and our board.” Indeed, as with American orchestra musicians, Hispanic conductors active in the U.S. still lag far behind their demographic representation in the country as a whole; the 2010 U.S. Census showed that Hispanics account for 16.7 percent of the U.S. population but, according to a 2010 report by the League of American Orchestras, only 2.3 percent of orchestra musicians are Hispanic. Still, some observers are encouraged by the outcomes of vast public music education initiatives like El Sistema in

hired Jacomo Rafael Bairos last July as its ela and Batuta in Colombia. What’s more, music director, the organization was canthis vibrant mix of nationalities is also the did about its desire to reach Amarillo’s largest-growing segment of the classical growing Hispanic community. “Part of music audience according to another study the process there was getting to know the by the League, the 2009 Audience Demoneeds of the town,” says graphic Research Review, In the last five years Bairos, who was born in and there is a growing Portugal, raised mostly in awareness that this auor so, roughly a dozen Miami, and speaks Spandience must be better American music ish and Portuguese. The served. The census undirectorships have population of Amarillo derscored this, showing gone to Hispanics. is 29 percent Hispanic. that racial and ethnic miAssistant and resident “Having that as part of norities accounted for 90 directorships have seen my culture growing up percent of the population growth over the past de- similar trends, reflecting definitely influenced my musical tastes and style. cade, and that Hispanics a growing pipeline I’m excited now I get to are by far the largest part of talent. share that in Amarillo.” of that increase. MoreBairos says discussions over, as Hispanics’ buyabout reaching Hispanic audiences have ing power increases, they are proving to be mostly centered on programming: including voracious consumers of entertainment and more Latin-American pieces throughout media—more so than white audiences, acthe season, and possibly presenting a festival cording to a 2013 Nielsen Research study. in spring 2015 centered on music from the When the Amarillo Symphony in Texas


Dave Weiland

Joana Carneiro, music director of the Berkeley Symphony


Americas. “If we start to infuse programs with a sort of Latin tinge, we can hopefully start to reach out to different demographics,” he notes. Six months before Bairos’s appointment, another Texas orchestra, the Houston Symphony, announced that Colombianborn Andrés Orozco-Estrada would be its next music director. In an online promotional video, the orchestra’s managers tout the fact that Orozco-Estrada “possesses personality and a Hispanic background” and they note that he is fluent in Spanish, German, and English. The city’s mayor, Annise Parker, makes an appearance in the video, noting that the conductor has a “diverse story to fit into the local community.” Thanks to a large influx of immigrants over the past several decades, Houston has become what is sometimes termed a “majority minority” city, with 60 percent of its residents of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent. Hispanics constitute a 44 percent share, according to the 2010 Census, up from 37 percent in 2000. Orozco-Estrada follows Hans Graf, a 64-year-old Austrian who has led the ensemble for twelve years. Orozco-Estrada declined to be interviewed for this article, citing schedule conflicts. But there remains a reticence among Hispanic conductors to draw attention to their ethnicity, and in interviews, some dismissed suggestions that Spanish- or Latin-themed programs can serve as a community-engagement strategy. If anything, most conductors try to blend works by Hispanic composers with Latinthemed pieces from the European canon; a piece by Ginastera, Villa-Lobos, or Golijov will often sit beside Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole, Copland’s El Salón México, or Bizet’s Carmen. “Music is music,” says Miguel HarthBedoya, the Peruvian-born music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra since 2000. “Only certain politicians have used music at certain times for a purpose. I want to stay away from that. If anything, our Hispanic community has become more attached to what we have become as an institution than to coming to hear music from Latin America.” Harth-Bedoya has been working steadily to bring more Hispanic music into the repertory through his multimedia project, Caminos del Inka, which he started in 2007 and has brought to a number of U.S. symphony

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Richard Rodriguez

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, speaks to the audience at a recent Open House event.

potential for growing an audience among orchestras. The multimedia project was inSpanish-speaking people, but it’s hard to spired by the Inca Trail, a series of ancient imagine that would be a driving force in pathways that link Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, hiring a music director. Colombia, Chile, and Argentina, as it ex“Still, in every instance,” Rosen adds, plores and highlights the classical music of “what’s most important South America. But Harth“Music is music,” says is the chemistry that hapBedoya says it’s not about pens with an orchestra targeting audiences, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and the kind of musicthat he has taken it to cities the Peruvian-born making that happens. like Oslo, Norway and Helmusic director of the Having said that, I’m sinki, Finland—neither of Fort Worth Symphony sure in some communiwhich has a large Hispanic Orchestra since 2000. ties it’s a huge plus to population—and received “Only certain politicians have a conductor of Hisan enthusiastic response. panic descent.” Much of Jesse Rosen, president have used music at the activity by orchestras and CEO of the League certain times for a to connect with Spanishof American Orchestras, purpose. I want to stay speaking communities, believes current trends are away from that.” Rosen notes, is driven not part of the natural ebb and by the music director but flow. He disputes the idea by other departments in the organization, that orchestras select conductors specifisuch as education and marketing. cally to connect with Hispanic commuRecent audience trends suggest that nities. “I don’t think orchestras are seekmore targeted engagement with Hispanics ing that out particularly,” he says. “There’s will be necessary to turn them into repeat definitely a heightened awareness of the

concertgoers. The 2009 Audience Demographic Research Review by the League— which combined data from the NEA and the Experian Simmons National Hispanic Consumer Study—found that participation rates among classical music audiences declined 9.3 percent between 2003 and 2007. Among Hispanics, the drop was not quite as steep, at 8.1 percent. But more telling was the study’s ten-year forecast: Hispanics’ share of the classical audience is expected to grow from about 12 percent in 2008 to 20 percent in 2018. This is driven chiefly by population increases, but also to some degree by a growth in interest and spending power among Hispanics. Nevertheless, significant challenges lie ahead. The League’s 2009 report acknowledges that “marketers are struggling to convert Hispanics to repeat attendance,” whether through Spanish-language media, grassroots awareness building, or festivals around cultural themes (Cinco de Mayo, Día de los Muertos). The report was also published well before the recent


spate of conductor appointments and new Census data. Knowing Your Community

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra set out two years ago with a plan to build its Latino audience. While the orchestra had long produced a patchwork of events for the city’s Mexican population, now it enlisted the Purple Group, a communications firm focused on the Hispanic community, to conduct market research. “Knowing that our community’s Latino population is growing, our marketing has to change with it,” says Liz Madeja, the orchestra’s director of marketing. In January 2013, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra formed the CSO Latino Alliance, a networking group that aims to spread the word about the orchestra through professional connections. The orchestra hosts quarterly pre- and post-concert events for the group, whose eighteen members invite their colleagues from the Hispanic business community. The CSO is building a database and has established goals of a 10- to 20-percent annual growth in Hispanic audiences, with

YOA Orchestra of the Americas. “In other a particular focus on 30- to 50-year-olds. words, I don’t think the Houston SymMadeja says that the CSO Latino Alliance phony is doing this—or should be doing events have centered on Latino programthis—because of the fact that Houston has ming—reflected in the conductor, soloist, such a big Latin community. I think it’s or program—though the orchestra is findjust worthy, period.” ing that members are also happy to come Orchestras are also wary of seeming to hear Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet. pigeonhole an audience they may not fully Indeed, conservative musical tastes are understand. Institutions like not to be underestimated, Improved, the CSO have found that regardless of ethnicity. A ongoing dialogue improved, ongoing dialogue May 2013 CSO concert of music by Revueltas and with a community is with a community is more crucial than top-down, oneGinastera was marked by more crucial than time engagement events. empty seats, according to a top-down, Current thinking is that Chicago Tribune review. The one-time concertgoing habits, no matconductor, Carlos Miguel engagement ter where one is from, don’t Prieto, recently led a similar events. come naturally. But orchesprogram with the Houston tras can count on the asSymphony. (The orchestra pirational factor: people of all colors and did not respond to requests for comment classes want their children to have expoon the program, though a review in the sure to music, and that may be a real key to Houston Press suggested a more successful bringing Latinos to the symphony. audience response on the opening night.) Ultimately, one-off concerts aimed at a “Doing diverse repertoire doesn’t mean specific ethnic community may have little playing for a certain community,” says Priimpact. The Annapolis Symphony reports eto, music director of the Louisiana Philthat it has seen little if any uptick in Hisharmonic since 2005 and since 2011 of the

Conductors Daniel Boico Christoph Campestrini Scott Ellaway Nir Kabaretti Bernard Labadie Richard Lee James Paul Carlos Miguel Prieto Jonathan Tessero Gregory Vajda Jean-Marie Zeitouni Pianists Anderson & Roe Piano Duo Katherine Chi David Kadouch Alexander Korsantia Benedetto Lupo Dubravka Tomsic Gilles Vonsattel Xiayin Wang Violinists Yossif Ivanov Mayuko Kamio Elina Vähälä French horn David Jolley Ensembles I Musici di Roma Jasper String Quartet New York Brass Arts Trio Trio Cavatina Trio Valtorna Special Projects Festival Pablo Casals Prades Collective Ute Lemper Sopranos Catherine Affleck Mireille Asselin Tracy Dahl Karina Gauvin Jonita Lattimore Christy Lombardozzi Shannon Mercer Mezzo-Sopranos Cherry Duke Margaret Lattimore 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+ Cameron McPhail Richard Zeller Bass-Baritones Stephen Bryant Michael Dean Kevin Deas Basses Jeremy Galyon Chorus La Chapelle de Québec



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panic patrons since Novo assumed the directorship. But Novo believes the current influx of Latino conductors itself is encour-

aging. “Being a Latin American or Hispanic, now there are role models,” he said. “Now you can tell there is a lot of Hispanic

Carlos Miguel Prieto, music director of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

talent in the conducting world, and people can tell you it’s there. The fact that Hispanic conductors and composers are pretty much accepted because we have some very good examples makes it easy for us, because we don’t have to fight as much.” More than ever, as classical music works to entice new listeners, it will be essential for a music director to be a cultural leader in the community, a proselytizer-in-chief for the art form. Just as Yo-Yo Ma became a figurehead for Asian classical musicians a generation ago, and singers like Leontyne Price and Jessye Norman carried the flag for African-Americans in opera, Hispanic conductors may have a similar ability to reach kids from Paraguay to Portugal: they may see someone on the podium who looks like them, who speaks their language, who comes from their same country, and be inspired.

Benjamin Ealovega

BRIAN WISE is an editor at WQXR Radio, New York’s classical music station. He writes about classical music for BBC Music Magazine, Listen, and other publications.

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very year as winds howl during the frozen Canadian winter, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra ushers in its New Music Festival. For seven consecutive nights each January, thousands of patrons living in the geographically isolated Manitoba city brave temperatures plummeting to 40 below to hear the latest in cutting-edge contemporary music. Fondly known as “Winterpeg,” this heartland city with a population of 750,000 just over 200 miles north of Fargo, North Dakota might seem an unlikely place for any arts organization to survive—and thrive. Yet the Winnipeg Symphony has been doing just that for the last 66 years, by forging strong bonds with the


province’s diverse cultural communities, and maintaining close connections to sister organizations: the Manitoba Opera, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, all of which prominently feature Winnipeg Symphony players. The New Music Festival, co-founded in 1992 by former music director/conductor laureate Bramwell Tovey (now with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) and former composer-in-residence Glenn Buhr, has become one of the jewels in the orchestra’s musical crown. Its commitment to the festival is measured by the fact that it has survived economic crises, hobbling sponsorship cuts, a high degree of staff turnover, and other vagaries of shifting tastes and times. Embedded within the orchestra’s regular Masterworks series,

by Holly Harris

the New Music Festival boasts a legacy of distinguished guest composers, including John Corigliano, Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Kaija Saariaho, and Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. More recently, Iceland’s celebrated composers Daníel Bjarnason, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Valgeir Sigurdsson, Kjartan Sveinsson (formerly of the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós), and Atli Heimir Sveinsson have been added to the creative mix, reflecting both the province’s relatively large Nordic community and the Winnipeg Symphony’s burgeoning relationship with the isolated country, launched during its 2012 NMF, Icelandia. WSO Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate, who co-curates the festival with Composer-in-Residence Vincent Ho, is now in his seventh season with the orchessymphony

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The wintry Canadian city of Winnipeg is a surprising hotbed of artistic activity. Firmly at the center: a newly revitalized Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

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tra. The former associate conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic enthuses about his current orchestra’s ongoing collaboration with Iceland’s “Bedroom Community,” a composer collective and record label co-founded in 2006 by Sigurdsson, Nico Muhly, and Ben Frost that has already borne fruit. Two years ago, the orchestra presented the North American premiere of Sigurdsson’s environmentally conscious Dreamland. This year it performs the world premiere of Eighteen Hundred and Seventy Five, which commemorates the 125th anniversary of Manitoba’s Icelandic Festival, Islendingadagurinn, held each August in Gimli. The picturesque fishing town located on the shores of Lake Winnipeg is home to the world’s largest concentration of people of Icelandic ancestry outside the motherland, with the region formerly


Keith Levit Photography

Large photo: The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate in performance at Centennial Concert Hall below: Composer-in-Residence Vincent Ho and Alexander Mickelthwate on stage at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s 2012 New Music Festival

known as New Iceland settled in 1875 by the immigrants. After originally being introduced to Iceland’s music by NMF Artistic Associate Matthew Patton, Mickelthwate visited Reykjavik in May 2011 to meet its composers and become acquainted with it “calm, meditative, and ambient” artistic ethos. “For these amazing Icelandic composers, music is music. They don’t have that same sense of history based on a traditional European canon,” the German-born maestro says. “When we played Kjartan Sveinsson’s absolutely, beautifully harmonic piece Credo last year, many in the audience were crying. Suddenly there was a real connection between music and the soul.”

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate perform at The Forks, a major scenic and visitor destination, on Canada Day 2013.


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While the NMF’s longevity and success paint a rosy picture of the organization’s status, that certainly hasn’t always been the case, says Executive Director Trudy Schroe­der, who joined the organization in 2008. What Schroeder initially encountered was an organization in shambles. The orchestra had narrowly escaped extinction in the early 2000s, paralyzed by a traumatic five-week lockout of its then65 musicians in 2001 that still resonates as a painful memory. A revolving door of no fewer than thirteen executive directors between 2000 and 2008 had also propelled the organization into deep trouble, creating turmoil with corporate and private donors. Forced to slash its annual operating budget from $6.4 million in 2003 to $5.8 million the subsequent year, the Winnipeg Symphony hit rock bottom; there simply was nowhere to go but up. “That year marked a real turning point for the organization. It made all the musicians very pragmatic, and quite flexible with whatever is being asked of us,” states longtime Concertmaster Gwen Hoebig, now in her 27th season and, notably, only the musicians’ fourth leader in more than six decades. “Trudy has been such a godsend for the orchestra, as she already had that background of knowing the community, and was able to completely restructure the organization,” says Hoebig. Two other key figures in the organization’s turnaround are Director of Artistic Operations Jean-Francois Phaneuf and Board of Directors Vice President Richard Turner. They are finely attuned to the

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Turnaround Tales

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Trudy Schroeder

Gwen Hoebig, concertmaster of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

musicians’ needs owing to their own experiences as former assistant principal trumpet and longtime current principal harpist, respectively. As the organization navigates its process of rebirth, they are helping to maintain clear, open lines of communication between administration and players. Not least of all, the WSO musicians are highly collegial. They take an interest in each other both as professional artists and, for many, longstanding friends who teach one another’s children—perhaps grooming the next generation of players. They also regularly socialize together, and they are able to afford their own homes due to the city’s moderate cost of living. The result: a stable, contented core of musicians, with many approaching their 20th, 30th, or even 40th year of service. “We are each other’s support network, and do get along extremely well with each other,” says Hoebig, a Juilliard graduate who performed with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for three years prior to coming to Winnipeg. “And guest artists feel that. They say, ‘Wow, this place is unusual.’ And it is—it’s very unusual.”

Schroeder, the down-to-earth, affable executive director—who previously managed the 40-year old Winnipeg Folk Festival, one of North America’s premier outdoor festivals—credits the League of American Orchestras’ Essentials of Orchestra Management “boot camp” for helping her stay on track. “I am grateful for that kind of support, and found it to be a really extraordinary group,” she says of the intensive tenday course. “Attending that program early in my tenure here helped me focus knowledge and thinking for managing symphony orchestras. Having educational support and contact support within that broader symphony world also was extremely helpful,” adds Schroeder, who was awarded Canada’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal last April (subsequent to Mickelthwate’s 2012 medal) for her significant contribution to the arts, including an ability to turn struggling organizations around. Now with an $8.5 million operating budget—and a 40 percent growth in total revenue that includes a 60 percent increase in subscription sales and 170 percent rise in single-ticket revenues over the past five years—the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is flourishing. It cleared its accumulated deficit, which in 2001 stood at $3 million, in May 2012. It continues to enjoy steadily climbing corporate and private donations, and a $5.8 million endowment fund that has increased $2.2 million since 2008. The latter is partly due to the Winnipeg Symphony’s recent participation in the Manitoba Arts Stabilization Program, a one-time initiative designed to bring steadiness and sustainability to arts and cultural organizations by providing worksymphony

winter 2014

is also key to the organization’s success. We into how music and culture interact.” ing capital grants. With $100,000 Canado this because we understand that withNo doubt they were also inspired by the dian added to the endowment fund each of out a symphony there would be no opera, Winnipeg Symphony’s annual Indigenous the last five years, the orchestra’s financial no ballet, or musical theater. The WinniFestival, held between 2009 and 2012. The situation has never looked better. “This is peg Symphony Orchestra plays a lead role four-day, eclectic event celebrated native an organizational success story that’s been in upholding the vibrancy of Winnipeg’s cultures from countries around the world, hard won,” states Schroeder. “We’ve won in flourishing performing arts sector.” including China, India, Brazil, Chile, and the trenches program by program, donor One initiative launched in 2007, “Up Pakistan, in addition to North America’s by donor, and ticket by ticket, and not by Close and Orchestral,” saw the foundation Aboriginal and Metis peoples. One of its looking for a miracle.” providing an initial grant of $100,000 to most memorable highlights was seeing Carol Phillips, executive director of the sponsor orchestral concerts in seven local nine modern dancers join thirteen AborigWinnipeg Arts Council, explains that high schools to mark its own 150th aninal powwow-style dancers in Stravinsky’s Canada’s “multi-part formula,” birthed in niversary. The venture proved so successful The Rite of Spring, conducted by Mickel­ the 1940s by the Arts Council of Great that it has continued to this day, with 49 thwate. Inspired by the Berlin PhilharBritain, ultimately gave rise to provincial schools now having experienced classical monic Orchestra’s 2003 Rite of Spring arts councils. A carefully weighted balmusic right in their own gymnasiums. Project—later repeated in New York City ance of municipal, provincial, and federal with Harlem children—the WSO’s powfunding, in partnership with corporate and erful cross-cultural performance two years private sector support, allows arts organiTaking the Initiative ago remains a potent memory. zations to sustain themselves, she says. It’s “Music Connections,” created as a joint iniAnother WSO program, “Adventures in this closely integrated funding pie—which tiative with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Music,” brings together more than 15,000 includes ongoing support by the Winnipeg in 2008, explored the rich tapestry of Abstudents each spring to dance, sing, and Arts Council, Manitoba Arts Council, and original and Western cultures embedded perform in recorder ensembles and fidThe Canada Council for the Arts—that within the city’s past. Winnipeg currently dling groups at the Centennial Concert has helped create a solid financial base for has the largest urban Indigenous populaHall, surrounded by their own colorful the Winnipeg Symphony. “I think the fortion in Canada, with one third of the provart projects. One of the curriculum-based mula works, and hopefully it will continue. ince’s 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and program’s key features is its “stage-door But not one part of it can be removed,” she Metis peoples residing in its metropolitan philosophy” where the youth enter the cautions. “Every piece is important, and if area. Now subsumed under the organizahall from backstage. “It’s actually amazyou remove or decrease one, that’s when tion’s growing education and engagement ing,” says Schroeder. “The kids are not just trouble starts.” programs, the innovative “Music Conlistening to the music, but seeing it from However, Phillips also says she is optinections” project, which wrapped up last mistic about the orchestra’s future. “I think the Winnipeg Symphony The WSO’s “Music Connections,” a joint initiative with Ottawa’s National Arts Orchestra is in the best shape it Centre, explored the rich tapestry of Aboriginal and Western cultures. Winnipeg has been in for the last twenty or so has the largest urban Indigenous population in Canada, with one third of the years,” she continues. “Caution and care will always be important, but province’s First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples. right now the organization looks behind the scenes, which can potentially very good, and especially with its education March, invited 150-plus young students change their lives.” and outreach programs.” each year from inner-city schools with a Last year, the Winnipeg Symphony also Another factor in the orchestra’s growhigh percentage of Indigenous populations kicked off its gritty new satellite series ing financial stability is ongoing support by to create their own Native American-style Pop Nuit, two wildly successful late-night the Winnipeg-based Richardson Foundainstruments, songs, and dances over an programs performed in additional venues tion. Hartley Richardson, president and eight-week period in collaboration with following NMF main-stage shows. The chief executive officer of James Richardson Winnipeg Symphony players. Two free sub-festival targeted to younger crowds & Sons and a trustee of the Foundation, is community concerts were then presented continues this year, headlined by acclaimed closely involved with the orchestra and its at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House, Michigan-born circular-breathing saxostrategic planning—including the developwith the youth and professional musicians phonist Colin Stetson, and one of Winment of youth-based initiatives. “Several coming together as one in a final celebranipeg’s best-kept secrets, Venetian Snares, factors have contributed to the Winnipeg tory showcase. a.k.a. Aaron Funk, an über-hip electronic Symphony Orchestra’s achievements the “The program was meant to encourage sound artist, known for his manic clusters past several years,” Richardson says. “It balstudents to explore and listen to different of samples, drum beats, and synthesizers. ances sound business practices with worldkinds of music from their own and other Pop Nuit tickets sell quickly, either indiclass creative excellence, and recognizes the cultures,” says Tanya Derksen, the WSO’s vidually or as NMF pass add-ons, with last critical importance of educational outreach director of education and outreach. “By winter’s shows playing to standing-roomprograms to ensure audience sustainability the end, the students were teaching others only crowds. in the years to come. Community support about their journey and sharing insights


Chronic Creative

Three students in the Sistema Winnipeg program

But perhaps the Winnipeg Symphony’s proudest achievement is its new baby, Sistema Winnipeg, inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema model (“the System”), which was founded by José Antonio Abreu in 1975, and only the fourth program of its type in Canada. Establishing the revolutionary pro-


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gram, where inner-city youth are provided with three hours of free, daily after-school instruction on donated instruments, has been a dream of Mickelthwate’s since he first arrived in Canada. After meeting one of the program’s foremost proponents— and products—Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who now serves as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mickelthwate was hooked. During a 2011 guest-conducting stint in Caracas, Mickelthwate toured the poverty-stricken schools where El Sistema first took hold, and he vowed to someday establish a program of his own. Mickelthwate’s dream became fully realized last October when he led 100 Sistema Winnipeg students in an arrangement of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” Many were moved by the youths’ pure joy and exhilaration at performing onstage with professional musicians, which officially launched the orchestra’s 2013-14 season. “It was so inspiring, and goes back to why we make music in the first place,” Mickelthwate says. “At an early age, you can create music lovers where Beethoven becomes the hero, not Britney Spears. The children love classical music because they do it. They would never have that opportunity otherwise. They play, and it changes their entire life forever.” Lydia Hedrich, assistant superintendent for Seven Oaks School Division, one of two school divisions currently participating in the program, is intimately aware of the impact Sistema Winnipeg is already having on young lives. “We’re seeing an increase in students’ confidence levels, focus, and positive attitudes towards school,” she says. “I believe it can be transformational, and that they will be more able to realize their dreams because they have the tools to do so. And often their families are brought to tears. They could not have believed that their children could be involved in something like this.” What’s Ahead

Further afield, the orchestra anticipates its appearance this May at Carnegie Hall as part of the 2014 Spring for Music Festival, which celebrates innovative programing at North American orchestras. This will be the WSO’s first appearance at Carnegie Hall since 1979. The Winnipeg Symphony’s quintessentially Canadian program at Spring for Music includes Derek Charke’s symphony

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cography that famously includes Canadian evocative Thirteen Inuit Throat Song Games Winnipeggers likely won’t bat an eye. They pianist Glenn Gould’s inaugural perforfeaturing throat singer Tanya Tagaq, and are used to the fact that their winter city, mance of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 R. Murray Schafer’s Symphony No. 1. Its designated “2010 Cultural Capital of Canin 1959; and hosting a weeklong Nordic Spring for Music program also features ada,” has long been home to intense artistic Festival next fall to build on the organizaComposer-in-Residence Vincent Ho’s The activity. tion’s growing artistic ties with Iceland and Shaman: Concerto for Percussion and Orches“We feel very positive about the WinniFinland. tra performed by Scottish virtuoso percuspeg Symphony Orchestra’s future, our role Until then, the Winnipeg Symphony sionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, who gave the here in the city, and the ability of classical Orchestra remains focused on putting the world premiere during the 2011 New Mumusic to connect with people of every kind sic Festival. The 33-minute work, composed specially for Glennie and Perhaps the Winnipeg Symphony’s proudest achievement is its new baby, co-commissioned by the Winnipeg Sistema Winnipeg, inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema model. Symphony, Manitoba Arts Counfinal touches on this season’s New Mucil, and National Arts Centre, is a powerof background,” says Schroeder. “When sic Festival, titled “Beyond,” which runs ful showcase for a musician described as a there is a community that is celebrating, we January 25-31. One of the nightly conmodern-day shaman by Ho. “She has the want to be part of it. If we can be a part of certs, “Forgotten Winnipeg,” showcases uncanny ability to draw the audience into their success, then we also become successmusic composed by Winnipeg-born/ a magical world and take us on wondrous ful. If we are a part of each other’s success bred composers who have been making journeys that are beyond material exisstory, then suddenly the sky is the limit. It inroads internationally, such as film comtence,” the composer says of Glennie. really is a story of great optimism.” poser Mychael Danna—who garnered a Other future WSO projects include a 2012 Academy Award for his score of Ang commemorative concert next September Holly Harris is an opera/classical music/ Lee’s Life of Pi—and eclectic musical artmarking the grand opening of the Canadance critic and columnist for the Winnipeg ist Eyvind Kang, raised in Winnipeg and dian Museum of Human Rights. Also in Free Press. She also writes for Opera Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan. Although the prothe works are plans to expand Sistema Dance International, The Dance Current, and The gram might surprise many, most die-hard Winnipeg to more schools; add to a disCanadian Encyclopedia.

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Canadian artist Louie Palu’s U.S. Marine Gysgt. Carlos “OJ” Orjuela, age 31, Garmsir District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from Project: Home Front, 2008


Soundscapes by Ian VanderMeulen

The classical music world is just beginning to grapple with the impact of devastating conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. 62


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Courtesy Jake Runestad

This evocation of modern military combat is not, as you might imagine, a quote from a soldier’s memoir or a scene from the latest Hollywood war flick. It is in fact one particularly adrenaline-charged sequence in composer Jeffrey Ryan’s Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, a work for orchestra, chorus, and four soloists given its world premiere by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in November 2012. The text is by Suzanne Steele, the first poet to participate in the Canadian Forces Artists

Wasin Prasertlap


magine the scene: An improvised explosive device or IED has just been set off, leaving a soldier clinging to dear life. A flurry of voices bursts into the air. “T Triple C tourniquet 9-line”—“Role 3 jet to Germany”—“Hideous misstep!”—“Breathe, hang on! Fight soldier, fight!”—“02 SATS, 9-liner, 9-liner!”—“Limbs bleeding out”— “Not Apache, fast air, Chinook, fast air over”—“Hang on, breathe, hang on, son! You’re almost gone…”

Composer Jake Runestad

Program, who spent two years off and on embedded in Afghanistan with a Canadian rifle company, and lived to tell—and write— about her experiences. The work was an opportunity to show Western audiences a different side of war in the Middle East. “I haven’t been to Afghanistan, and I don’t know anyone who’s gone to Afghanistan to fight,” Ryan explains. “My experience of Afghanistan, like most people, is from the safe distance of my living room. And here was someone [Steele] who was actually there and could write about real experiences and real emotions. So that gave the project a real immediacy and real relevance.” At the time of Requiem’s 2012 premiere, there had already been multiple high-profile films addressing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan—among them In the Valley of Elah (2007), Hurt Locker (2008), Standard Operating Procedure (2008), and Restrepo (2010)—but the number of contemporary classical works overtly dealing with those conflicts could be counted on one hand. One of them was a 2006 string sextet by Houston-based composer Karim al-Zand, Lamentations on the Disasters of War, from which he would later create a string-orchestra version that had its premiere at Chicago’s Fulcrum Point New Music Project on a program marking the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Much has happened since 2006, and now more orchestras and artists are weighing in on the legacies of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They are addressing these controversial conflicts head-on, with an acute focus on the personal tolls that war takes, on both sides of the rifle barrel. The Louisiana Philharmonic’s November 11, 2013 premiere of Dreams of the Fallen—based on poetry by Iraq war veteran Brian Turner—kicked off a mini-flurry of new works. Composer John Harbison has taken on the topic of torture at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons as inspiration for a new piece for cello and piano, set for its debut on January 28, 2014 as part of New England Conservatory’s year-long Music: Truth to Power festival. Apart from NEC’s Truth to Power festival, another large-scale work is scheduled

A manuscript page from Jake Runestad’s Dreams of the Fallen, premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in November 2013


The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist Jeffrey Biegel premiere Jake Runestad’s Dreams of the Fallen under the direction of conductor James Paul at the National WWII Museum’s Freedom Pavilion in New Orleans, November 2013.

for June 2014 in the nation’s capital, when Washington National Opera performs the world premiere of An American Soldier, an opera about the racist abuse of AsianAmerican soldier Danny Chen, with a libretto by playwright David Henry Hwang and music by Huang Ruo. Perhaps now—six months after Pvt. Chelsea Manning’s conviction of espionage for leaking internal Iraq war documents, ongoing criticism of President Obama’s failure to close the Guantanamo detention center, and increasing controversy around drone warfare—artists and orchestra leaders are feeling a greater need to take stock of American involvement in the Middle East. “Now that the wars are winding down,” Ruo says, “it’s a good time for us, as American citizens, or even


for world citizens, to really find out what happened. Not just what happened to our soldiers and to civilians in those countries, but to investigate our reasons for going to war and what it brought us.” Ruo contrasts the strong artistic response to 9/11, when “it was clear we were the victim,” to how divided opinions are over the legacies of Iraq and Afghanistan. “We as artists need to have a clear idea of where we stand on the issues,” Ruo says. “David and I began this opera project because we are very clear how we feel about the subject.” Sounds of War, Then and Now

The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are by no means the first wars to find their way into orchestral works. Tchaikovsky’s Overture to 1812, commemorating Rus-

sia’s defense and eventual victory against Napoleon’s invading army, is one of the best recognized works in classical music. Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony (“Leningrad”) references the siege of Leningrad by the Nazis during World War II—with strings representing the Soviet citizens and trumpets and percussion representing the Nazis. In the war genre, one of the most frequently performed works during the past year has been the War Requiem of Benjamin Britten, whose birth centenary was in November 2013. A pacifist, Britten wrote his setting of the Requiem Mass, a large-scale work for two orchestras, vocal soloists, and choir, in response to the horrors of World War II. Like many of the recent and upcoming works about our contemporary wars, symphony

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Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation was built upon a story that needed telling, but also through a serendipitous meeting-ofminds. Poet Suzanne Steele recounts that while working on her Elegy for an Infantryman she “got stuck on the color of the dust in Afghanistan” and decided to call up the military to find someone to talk to. Upon their recommendation she applied for the Canadian Forces Artists Program, which allows Canadian musicians, actors, writers, and fine artists to accompany Canadian Forces at home and abroad, and before long she found herself on the program’s “Road To War,” spending time with troops training at a base in Alberta, followed by roughly two years flying in and out of Kandahar, Afghanistan, and embedding with a rifle company there. Twelve

Canadians didn’t return home alive; Steele knew seven of them well. A vocalist by training, Steele early on thought of a requiem as the best vehicle for telling her stories, but what jumpstarted the project was an encounter with Michael Greene at the Calgary-based theater company One Yellow Rabbit, which shares an office with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. When Steele mentioned her requiem idea to Greene, it was only a few steps down the hall to the office of Heather Slater, artistic administrator at the Philharmonic. From that initial meeting, it wasn’t long before the trio settled on Vancouver-based Jeffrey Ryan as composer for the project. “We knew that this subject—and that of war in general—was a risky choice,” Slater says, “and one of our challenges was to help shape this work, which tells the story of the dark reality of war and its aftermath, into one that encompassed all perspectives.” But the community’s response to the work’s initial idea kept driving the creative process forward. “Each time we reached out to a potential partner we could immediately sense their connection to the subject matter,” she says. “We realized that everyone had been affected by this war in some way, and there was a universal feeling amongst all involved that this was something we simply had to do.” “One thing I realized in talking with Suzanne,” Ryan says, “was that she was so close to this material. She was there, these poems are inspired by people she knows, people who were killed, people who survived but have PTSD. I needed to be a little more distant.” This meant taking a practical approach—making sure each soloist had equivalent material and that Steele’s poetry would work in context. Meanwhile, Steele’s own vocal training generated musical ideas as well. When a soldier steps on an IED in the “Dies Irae,” the text quoted at the beginning of this article is undergirded by a rhythm that mimics the dits and dahs of the Morse code call for “S.O.S.” Another arresting moment in Afghanistan is the “Libera Me,” about a triage nurse in the midst of a flood of injured bodies. Ryan wanted to capture the sense of panic: “Looking at all these injured piling up around you and wondering which one do you help first. Do I help this soldier who’s bleeding out?

Do I help this woman who’s in labor? Do I help this child? You can’t help them all but you want to.” To create this effect, the orchestra, in the midst of playing, begins speaking out loud—counting bodies— while the soprano sings the nurse’s lines. The counting accelerates to the point where “the numbers just pile up on top of each other,” Ryan says. “The first time I heard that in rehearsal I got goosebumps.” After a nearly two-year process that included Steele writing the text, Ryan composing, and the choir and orchestra rehearsing, the Philharmonic premiered Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation in 2012. The Canadian Broadcasting Company also picked up a live stream of the performance. Another new orchestral work, Jake Runestad’s Dreams of the Fallen, was recently premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic and is based on poetry by a U.S. soldier who fought in Iraq, Brian Turner. Runestad been struck by Turner’s surreal, horrific rendering of the combat experience, exemplified in the title poem of his book Here, Bullet: If a body is what you want then here is bone and gristle and flesh. Here is the clavicle-snapped wish, the aorta’s opened valves, the leap thought makes at the synaptic gap. Here is the adrenaline rush you crave, that inexorable flight, that insane puncture into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish what you’ve started. Because here, Bullet, here is where I complete the word you bring hissing through the air, here is where I moan the barrel’s cold esophagus, triggering my tongue’s explosives for the rifling I have inside of me, each twist of the round spun deeper, because here, Bullet, here is where the world ends, every time.

The Dreams project got its start when Runestad and pianist Jeffrey Biegel met in Minneapolis during a rehearsal break for William Bolcom’s Prometheus with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, scored for orchestra, choir, and piano. Biegel, who has put together commissioning consortiums for several works—the Bolcom work, as well as Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s 2000 Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra—was looking for a composer for a similar project. The instrumentation presented a unique challenge for Runestad, 28, but it also suggested an opportunity to pursue something he’d been mulling over


fort to make Requiem for a Generation an acknowledgement of everyone affected by the conflict. “American” Wars?

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

While Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation and Dreams of the Fallen aim to reveal a side of the soldiers’ experiences that North American audiences rarely see, a number of other works grapple with tragedies resulting from war’s broader impact, outside combat itself. For Karim al-Zand, a Houston-based composer of Iraqi descent, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq took a similarly personal toll, though from a different cause. Sometime in the postinvasion chaos of 2005, al-Zand’s cousin Husam—a husband and father in his mid30s—was kidnapped, ransomed, and eventually killed in circumstances that remain Left to right: pianist Jeffrey Biegel, conductor James Paul, actor John Goodman, and composer murky. This story provided the inspiration Jake Runestad at the Louisiana Philharmonic premiere of Runestad’s Dreams of the Fallen, for the composer’s Lamentations on the Difeaturing Biegel on piano. The November 2013 program also included Goodman narrating sasters of War. Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait. Seeking a more universal analogue for Pavilion, a recently completed part of the the tragedy of his cousin’s death, al-Zand for some time: namely, the physical and museum that features aircraft mounted turned to a set of famous etchings by the psychological toll war takes on soldiers. “I overhead. Spanish artist Francisco de Goya titled thought it lent itself well to the piano, or Present in the audience at the premieres The Disasters of War. The etchings, which the soloist, essentially being the [voice of ] of Afghanistan and Dreams of the Fallen depict in graphic detail the horrors expeone who has experienced war,” Runestad were large contingents of veterans. Both rienced by Spanish guerrillas during the says. Meanwhile, the choir provided a veworks were conceived as an War of 1812, are “probhicle for Turner’s poetry. opportunity to raise awareably one of the first artistic Biegel then set about finding orchestras “We didn’t program ness about what soldiers go portrayals of war that don’t for a commissioning consortium. While Dreams of the Fallen through during and after glorify conflict in any way,” in New Orleans rehearsing for another to make a political combat, and during their al-Zand says. Displayed as Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra perstatement about transition back to civilian a backdrop at many performance, Biegel visited the city’s National the conflicts or the life. Runestad intended formances of Lamentations, WWII Museum. That’s when he decided Dreams as, in part, a rethe artwork is a surprisingthe LPO would be a perfect fit to lead the wars that we’ve sponse to Karl Marlantes’s ly salient metaphor for the consortium. “We weren’t quite sure in the had,” says Louisiana call (in his 2011 book What Iraq invasion. “Some of the beginning whether this was something we Philharmonic It Is Like to Go to War) for, images—such as torture— could fit in,” says Louisiana Philharmonic Executive Director as the composer puts it, resonated with what was Orchestra Executive Director James Boyd. James Boyd. “The “some sort of ceremony going on in the Iraq con“But then the concept of doing something audience will have documenting the end of flict,” al-Sand says. “Even if like this on Veteran’s Day in affiliation with that period of one’s life, you look at Napoleon’s letthe WWII Museum popped up, and there that conversation on as the soldier moves back its own. We really just ters, some of the things he were just so many connections to be made. home.” Steele and Ryan rewas saying to his generals We got really excited about it. And from viewed this as a way fer to Afghanistan as “a reabout the Spanish guerillas the team Jeffrey put together, between Jake to connect with our quiem for a post-religious were very strongly echoing as a composer and Brian’s experience as an generation,” hence the em- veterans’ community.” things that were coming Iraq war veteran, it was clear this work was phasis on Steele’s original out of the American adgoing to say something very important at poetry over the traditional Latin requiem ministration during the time of the invaa time when we’re still very significantly text. Steele adds that the use of English, sion.” The piece has enjoyed a number of involved overseas. This was something that French, Pashto (spoken in Afghanistan other performances in its string-orchestra the orchestra needed to take on.” The orand northwestern Pakistan), and Métis—a incarnation since the 2011 Fulcrum Point chestra premiered Dreams with Biegel and Canadian language of mixed heritage—in premiere, most recently by the Alabama the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans on addition to minimal Latin, reflects the efSymphony Orchestra this past April. a Veteran’s Day program at the Freedom



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Victims of war can often be found in unexpected places. That couldn’t be truer than in the case of Pvt. Danny Chen, an Asian-American soldier whose story inspired a new opera, An American Soldier, by composer Huang Ruo and playwright David Henry Hwang. On the morning of October 3, 2011, Chen was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head in a watchtower in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. He was nineteen, and had been struggling against racial abuse from peers and superiors for much of his training and tour. A military trial followed, and the Army charged eight members of Chen’s

Vicki McFadyen

Chick Rice

Jeffrey Ryan, composer of Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation

Roberto Minczuk leading the Calgary Philharmonic in Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, composed by Jeffrey Ryan with text by Canadian war poet Suzanne Steele, November 2012

battalion with a range of crimes, including five for involuntary manslaughter. The story came to Ruo’s attention through a New York magazine article three months after Chen’s death. When the Washington National Opera approached Ruo with a commission proposal based on “an American story,” Ruo thought Chen’s tragedy would be a unique approach. He enlisted Hwang, a successful Broadway playwright-screenwriter and longtime collaborator, to write the libretto. One motivation for Ruo and Hwang was to bring comfort to Chen’s parents, for whom the trial provided little closure or explanation. Another was to address the deeper issues underlying such racist behavior in a way that a simple verdict cannot. “The goal of the opera is not only to raise the problem, but also raise awareness for us as a society to discuss what really happened, and what can we do about it in the future,” Ruo says. This is something that opera is uniquely equipped to do, Ruo asserts, because the music can intensify the impact of the text, and thus delve into each



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in November 2014, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus the following November. In aiming to reveal a side of war not typically covered in the media, artists are being careful not to be politically prescriptive. “I try to not be pro-war or anti-war, I really am trying to let my listeners and readers make up their own minds,” says poet Suzanne Steele about Afghanistan Requiem. “It’s easy to be jingoistic or antiwar. But that’s my baseline: not to judge, and to really respect my readers and listeners and whoever allowed me to come into their lives.” As composer Jeffrey Ryan sees it, “Suzanne talks about witnessing, and the piece really does just lay the stories out on the table, as if to say, ‘You need to know that this is what it’s like and you need to think—is it the right thing to do, is it the wrong thing to do, is it always right, is it always wrong?’ We as artists can’t provide the answers, but we can make you think about the questions.” For many artists, “witnessing” also means presenting a more personal side of the war that often escapes public discourse, even in—or perhaps particularly in—a heavily digitized age. Composer Karim al-Zand notes how easy it is to be-

character’s deep feelings and intentions. “The opera isn’t about war itself,” Ruo says, “but from the back channel, revealing what happens inside the Army camp, so we see a different side of the war.” The story Hwang and Ruo plan to tell is anchored by the relationship between Chen and his mother. Mrs. Chen initially opposed Danny’s decision to enlist, which Ruo sees as representative of the generational dynamics of the immigrant experience, where parents push their children toward intellectual pursuits in the hopes of a better life financially. But making their relationship central to the opera also offers a very universal reminder that every American soldier “is also someone’s child,” Ruo says. Connecting with Veterans

War has been the jumping-off point for larger explorations of the topic by orchestras and other arts organizations. The Oregon Symphony’s war-themed program at the 2011 Spring for Music Festival encompassed works by Ives, Adams, Vaughan Williams, and Britten’s War Requiem. Despite the U.S.’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time, Music Director Carlos Kalmar—who reprised the Britten at Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival in the summer of 2013—stated that the program wasn’t a direct response to those events, but simply “a program that reflected my beliefs regarding the futility and horrors of war as played out over time.” In addition to John Harbison’s piece on Abu Ghraib, topics covered in New England Conservatory’s


Truth to Power concerts and lectures are both world wars as well as the French and Russian revolutions; civil rights struggles in the U.S.; and conflicts in Ghana. The festival’s 30-plus performances during 2013-14 include Viktor Ullmann’s opera The Emperor of Atlantis, written while Ullmann was imprisoned at the Nazis’ Theresienstadt concentration camp; Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 10, dedicated “to the victims of fascism and war”; and a program of vocal music based on chorales written by Martin Luther, the leader of the German Reformation. At the festival’s heart is “the idea that music has always served as an expression and catalyst of change, whether political, societal, psychological or artistic,” according to NEC President Tony Woodcock. For the Louisiana Philharmonic’s James Boyd, addressing these recent wars means opening up a space for discussion, not offering a distinct view. “We certainly didn’t program Dreams of the Fallen to make a political statement one way or the other about the conflicts or the wars that we’ve had,” Boyd says. “The audience will have that conversation on its own. We really just viewed this as a way to connect with our veterans’ community.” And bringing the concert to the WWII Museum’s Freedom Pavilion is a natural extension of the orchestra’s positively-nomadic existence and aggressive partnership-seeking work ethic post-Hurricane Katrina, after it lost its regular hall in the storm. Dreams will be reprised by consortium members, including the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey and Illinois’s Rockford Symphony

Courtesy SMSteele

Composer Huang Ruo (above) and playwright David Henry Hwang’s An American Soldier will have its premiere in June 2014 at Washington National Opera. The opera is inspired by the story of Pvt. Danny Chen, an Asian-American soldier found dead in a watchtower in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, in 2011.

Canadian war poet Suzanne Steele on board a Chinook aircraft, preparing to fly “outside the line” in Kandahar province, Afghanistan

come inured to the round-the-clock coverage that is now common, “especially since it feels like we’re in a perpetual state of war, so how could you constantly be outraged at something? You’d lose your mind.” Runestad agrees: “With technology we’ve become so much more connected with the world around us—information comes to us immediately. But I think at times it can also distance us from that information and the experiences.” symphony

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Tarek Al-Zand

Karim al-Zand, a Houston-based composer of Iraqi descent, lost his cousin Husam in Iraq’s post-invasion chaos of 2005. His story provided the inspiration for al-Zand’s string sextet and string-orchestra Lamentations on the Disasters of War, performed most recently by the Alabama Symphony in April 2013.

Art’s antidote, it seems, is to reinvigorate the emotional aspect of conflict. Dreams of the Fallen “is not a cerebral piece,” pianist Jeffrey Biegel notes. “There’s nothing the audience has to figure out, there’s nothing to infer.” Biegel recalls that when he first got the music from Runestad, “I could tell exactly where the missiles are launched, where the bombs are falling. I could tell when a soldier is holding a fallen comrade and literally watching him die.” Requiem’s creative team had much the same approach. “Not to say that I didn’t put every element of craft and technique I’ve got into the piece,” Ryan notes. “But at the same time you want to convey emotion, you want to hit people in their hearts as well as their heads, and to a great extent you want to hit them in the gut.” It’s a visceral response to an eternal, unresolved issue. “War is not a hit-and-run kind of thing,” Ruo observes. “With every war throughout history there was no absolute winner. And it’s always humans who suffer. Yes, you damage the buildings, you damage the roads. But in the end it’s human bodies you damage the most, and whether soldier or civilian, the casualty is always great.” IAN VANDERMEULEN is a New York-based freelance writer on music and the Middle East, and former assistant editor of Symphony.

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CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: The Chicago Sinfonietta and Music Director Mei-Ann Chen opened the 2013-14 season with “eMotion,” featuring the Chicago-based hip-hop dance troupes Kuumba Lynx and FootworKINGz. Dancers from RIOULT Dance NY and the chamber orchestra Camerata New York, performing the world premiere of Michael Torke’s Iphigenia at the Joyce Theater in Manhattan, June 2013. A performer from the Calidanza dance company in the San Francisco Symphony’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration. The New York Philharmonic’s 2012-13 season-ending program, “A Dancer’s Dream,” featured New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns in Stravinsky’s Baiser de la Fée and Petrushka.

by Eesha Patkar

Beyond Chris Lee




you look at the wonderful ballet repertoire of the 20th century like Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, or Stravinsky’s Firebird, Petrushka, Rite of Spring—scores that have also turned out to be great orchestral masterpieces—I would say dance is a very popular choice for symphonic presentation,” says Mei-Ann Chen, music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta and Memphis Symphony Orchestra. But in September 2013, rather than opting to perform a well-known masterpiece with traditional choreography, Chen and the Sinfonietta undertook a more unusual

program called “eMotion,” featuring Chicago hip-hop troupes FootworKINGz and Kuumba Lynx dancing to a mash-up of music by Tchaikovsky, Khachaturian, and Rachmaninoff, among others. The Sinfonietta is just one of many organizations looking for newer and more imaginative ways to present their orchestras. That’s in addition to the more expected examples of dance-orchestra collaborations, such as the Dayton (Ohio) Performing Arts Alliance’s successful eight-performance run of The Nutcracker in December 2012 co-presented by its three component members: Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Opera, and symphony

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Chris Ocken

Orange Photography

Sofia Negron

Collaborations between dancers and orchestras are sparking connections to the wider cultural community.

At the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s collaborative performance with the Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet in September, audiences “went nuts,” says Music Director Neal Gittleman.


Andy Snow

featuring music by contemporary composers Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams, and Philip Glass, with choreography by the hyper-acrobatic Los Angeles-based dance company Diavolo. Camerata New York, a flexible ensemble based in Brewster, New York, has collaborated with the modern dance company RIOULT Dance NY, featuring music by Johann Sebastian Bach as well as newly commissioned music by Michael Torke. (Torke is no stranger to the dance world, having collaborated frequently during the 1980s with Peter Martins and New York City Ballet.) For a John Cage 100th-birthday celebration, the Dayton Ballet. Conducted by DPO MuNew World Symphony—the postgraduate sic Director Neal Gittleman and choreotraining orchestra based in Miami Beach, graphed by Karen Russo Burke, artistic Florida—worked with young dancers-indirector of Dayton Ballet, those perfortraining from New World School of the mances were greeted enthusiastically by Arts, a Miami public magnet high school audiences and revived for a second time and college, and it has also collaborated this past December. The Dayton alliance with the Miami City Ballet. Such partnerspotlights all three organizations togethships benefit both orchestras and dance er from time to time, and DPAA’s 2013 companies, providing increased opportuseason-opening Signature Series program nities for artistic experimentation as well this September at the Schuster Center was as a potentially expanded audience base. a “Spectacular” that Gittleman describes as Perhaps most important, the collabora“an evening of the orchestra accompanying tions can re-energize the concertgoing the ballet, or the opera, and in some cases, experience itself: dance audiences have the all three groups were performing simulincreasingly rare chance to taneously. The audience went Choreographer hear a live orchestra instead of nuts. The rousing success was recorded music, and orchestra a sign that this is something Jacques Heim audiences revisit well-loved that’s in tune with the mood generally music through the perspective of the times.” conceptualizes of a story told through dance. Dancing to the mood of the dance the times might be a good component first, description of many recent From Puppets to Moon but reversing collaborations between orCraters chestras and dance compa- tactics for the LA The New York Philharmonic’s nies. Among the more note- Phil’s L’Espace 2012-13 season-ending proworthy of these was a new du Temps was gram, “A Dancer’s Dream,” at take on Stravinsky’s Petrushka liberating for him. Avery Fisher Hall, presented and Baiser de la Fée at the two well-known Stravinsky New York Philharmonic last works through a brand-new spring, spotlighting principal lens. The production starred dancers from New York City New York City Ballet prinBallet and featuring newly cipal dancer Sara Mearns as created video. In California, a dreaming ballerina in the there’s the Los Angeles PhilBaiser de la Fée (The Fairy’s harmonic’s ongoing threeKiss) and as Columbine in part series L’Espace du Temps, Petrushka to the choreogra-


phy of Karole Armitage, first known for hard-hitting dances to percussive, hardrock scores. Director and designer Doug Fitch—who had previously collaborated with Music Director Alan Gilbert on the Philharmonic’s 2010 staging of Ligeti’s opera Le Grand Macabre and its 2011 production of Janáček’s opera The Cunning Little Vixen—returned for Baiser and Petrushka with miniature set-pieces and puppeteers. The concert featured live video projections, and Fitch even envisioned the musicians as jugglers, dancers, and facetious tea-drinking and caviar-eating comedians in traditional Russian costumes. The radical reimagining of Stravinsky’s score prompted an enthusiastic response from New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini: “Is this the future of the American orchestra?” The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s L’Espace du Temps (Space of Time), a trilogy commissioned with Diavolo dance company, suggests a positive answer. Chad Smith, the LA Phil’s vice president of artistic planning, was inspired by the troupe’s intensely physical, acrobatic choreography and use of abstract architectural forms. He invited Diavolo Artistic Director and Founder Jacques Heim to create a series of works based on contemporary music performed live by the orchestra. “Finding ways for the orchestra to engage with artists outside of our particular discipline is really important to us,” says Smith. “We want to make sure that the LA Phil is part of a broader cultural dialogue, to create discussions about how the arts interact with each other, and how they can directly impact people’s lives.” The collaboration was not without hurdles. Heim found choreographing and designing a production to be performed by live musicians especially challenging. Prior to this performance, he was accustomed to conceptualizing a dance piece first, while the music that followed—usually, new age or rock—was composed to suit his choreography. With L’Espace du Temps, Heim was forced to reverse his tactics, a task which he initially imagined to be inhibiting, but eventually found liberating. Starting with Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Foreign Bodies in 2007, which involved an 800-pound metallic cube reshaped into pyramids and walls by the dancers, the trilogy got bigger and more complex in John Adams’s symphony

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The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s performances of Philip Glass’s Fluid Infinities in September featured the dance company Diavolo slithering in and out of holes in a 1,600-pound abstract dome.

Fearful Symmetries in 2010, where dancers dressed as factory workers deconstructed, reconstructed, and reconfigured the aluminum-and-wood components of the cube, suggesting a metaphoric examination of concepts of time, space, and universe. The final piece in the triptych came last September in Philip Glass’s Fluid Infinities. The set featured a 1,600-pound abstract dome sitting on a stainless steel reflective deck, with holes that resembled moon craters for the dancers to slither in and out of as they explored “our voyage into the unknown future.” Rehearsal and preparation for each segment of L’Espace du Temps took a minimum of a year, Heim says. The responsibility of conducting the second and third programs fell on the shoulders of Bramwell Tovey, principal guest conductor of the LA Phil’s Hollywood Bowl summer concerts and music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. No stranger to conducting live dance and orchestra, Tovey, who had led the Scottish Ballet and the Birmingham Royal Ballet companies in the early ’80s, found Diavolo’s daredevil, geometric style vastly different from traditional forms of dance. “In classical ballet, the solo dancers are

like singers in an aria, where you basically tailor an aria to fit the singer,” Tovey says. “Music is just one of several partners in classical dance. But with the modern dance of Diavolo, the music was perhaps a little more preeminent in the process, and on equal terms with the choreography. All in all, it was staggeringly theatrical.” Perhaps because of their logistical challenges, these kinds of performances don’t happen frequently for orchestras. The biggest problem? Lack of space. While a large venue like the Hollywood Bowl can accommodate a full orchestra and a dance ensemble, staging a production of this magnitude can be difficult in a regular concert hall. “Concert halls were designed for a certain number of musicians on stage,” says Tovey. “When working with a dance company, unless you limit the number of musicians on stage and carve out space for the dancers to do what they do best, you end up with a compromise that can’t allow you to fully realize the pieces. In Fluid Infinities, the music was Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 3, which required a small string orchestra and left much more room for Diavolo. But during Fearful Symmetries, set to John Adams, we were pushed for space.

On top of it, the set was so heavy and huge that somehow we were always in fear that the dancers might lose control of it and we might have a physical problem. But in fact, they were brilliant.” Costs and Benefits

Choreographer Pascal Rioult, artistic director of the New York-based moderndance company RIOULT Dance NY, likes performing with live orchestra. A former dancer in Martha Graham’s company, which used to perform to live music, he takes an active role in commissioning scores from living composers. Most modern-dance companies no longer use live music, due to the expense, though the big ballet companies and a few others, like Mark Morris, routinely use live music. Last June Rioult and his dancers joined forces with Camerata New York to perform the world premiere of Michael Torke’s Iphigenia, a dance-drama inspired by the Greek heroine of Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis, at the Joyce Theater in Manhattan. During 2013-14 Rioult also created a repertory of his previous Bach explorations with the Bethlehem Bach Festival Orchestra in Pennsylvania: Views of the Fleeting World (2008), set to The Art of Fugue; City (2010),


set to Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 6 in G major; and Celestial Tides (2011), set to Brandenburg Concerto No. 6. That triptych was performed by Rioult’s dancers and Manhattan School of Music musicians in October, and with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in November. Rioult says that while he finds these “cross-pollinations” exciting, they can bring financial worries: paying musicians in addition to the dancers “adds a significant amount of money to the project. That’s why we can only do it on occasion and not all the time. When you have a medium-tolarge dance company and you need a sixteen-piece orchestra like we did for Bach, it’s a real costly challenge, and to do it is almost a counter-culture act.” Still, there are real benefits, says Rioult. “The hope,

whenever we embark on such ventures, is to generate new audience for both organizations. It’s not enormous, but it does bring both our audiences to see something they might not have otherwise, and they might follow us more from there on. The goal is to enhance and create a richer experience for the audience.” Attracting a cross-cultural and crossgenerational audience is also a motivation behind artistic decisions at the Chicago Sinfonietta, an organization that strives to be a “model for diversity, inclusion, and innovation.” While the LA Phil took an abstract route for its L’Espace du Temps, the Sinfonietta chose hip-hop as a new medium for expression. It opened its 2013-14 season with “eMotion,” featuring music by Tchaikovsky, Florence Price, KhachatuChildren perform at the San Francisco Symphony’s annual Chinese New Year Celebration.

Scott J. Kimmins

Dancers and singers from the Dayton Ballet and Dayton Opera join the Dayton Philharmonic at the Schuster Center, September 2013.

rian, and Rachmaninoff, with the Chicago-based dance troupes Kuumba Lynx and FootworKINGz. Mei-Ann Chen took her inspiration from a concert at the Memphis Symphony Orchestra that she led in 2012. That program featured cellist Yo-Yo Ma playing “The Swan” from Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals, accompanied by T.J. Benson of the New Ballet Ensemble, who performed in a Memphis-style hiphop dance called jookin. It was an interpretation of a previous duet between Ma and jookin expert Lil’ Buck to the same piece, captured in a YouTube video that swept the internet. For Chen, the Sinfonietta program was a way to “help the orchestra in continuing its mobility in the Chicago community. We thought FootworKINGz and Kuumba Lynx could really represent the Chicago style of hip-hop dance with our symphony orchestra,” she says. Chen believes the biggest benefit of the program was that “it hit different radars, and we saw one of the most diverse audiences at the Symphony Center.” FootworKINGz is already well-known from shows like America’s Got Talent, America’s Best Dance Crew, and tours with Madonna. But for the young dancers in Kuumba Lynx, a nonprofit arts and education organization where the dancers range in age from eleven to seventeen, the collaboration provided a nice publicity boost. “The economic climate is a hard one for nonprofits in the arts, and for different organizations to be working together is perfect,” Chen says. “When the mainstream economy suffers, it seems that the arts become more optional. Such partnerships only strengthen our relationship to the community. It is hard to try things that are outside the box and original at the same time. So, the fact that ‘eMotion’ still raised eyebrows and was successful meant it was true to our mission of finding unique cultural connections.” Collaborative Diversity

Oliver Theil

Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony, is a strong advocate of community collaborations. Every year the San Francisco Symphony celebrates Día de los Muertos (the Mexican Day of the Dead) and Chinese New Year with concerts to spotlight each tradition and promote cross-cultural understanding among different communities. For their



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presentations of symphonic music. The LA Phil’s Chad Smith says that even if an individual project is unsuccessful, there’s value in doing it “because experimenting with our art form is always positive. The process of having to consider problems or challenges will inform future decisions. Orchestras have an extraordinary opportunity to work with other disciplines, because music is central to so many of the Choreographer Pascal Rioult great artistic disciplines. If we “Dancing to (second from right) at a postthink of it in that way, then I prerecorded concert reception at the think we’re continuing to keep music, versus Manhattan School of Music, with (left to right) Dianne Flagello, orchestral and classical music dancing to live former director of MSM’s at the center of the cultural music, is an precollege division; MSM Provost discourse.” Marjorie Merryman; and RIOULT Heim and Rioult, both na- entirely different Dance NY Board Chairman Hope tive to France, have found the experience,” says Greenfield. cultural divide between art choreographer different art forms that we and society different than the Pascal Rioult. bring together, and underEuropean model they were “There are stand how powerful it can be. accustomed to. According to pieces of music People here [in North AmerRioult, the bridge can be navica] are hungry for the arts, igated by engaging communi- by Stravinsky more than we’d expect. Our ties with a conversation about and Ravel that work at Diavolo is visual and the importance of art in our were traditionally organic. Even if you don’t undaily lives, and the intellectual meant to be derstand modern dance, you merits of integrating dance played live for can appreciate what we do and music in a concert hall. a ballet, and because we work with physi“How can we reach out to cal structures, the actions of our audience and talk about over time are a human body, and the archihow and why this model being played by works?” Rioult asks. “Danc- orchestras as just tectural environment. For us, ing to prerecorded music, ver- orchestral music.” engaging with local audiences is a step forward in the right sus dancing to live music, is direction in developing this relationship.” an entirely different experience. There are There is no shortage of obstacles when pieces of music I have used by composers trying to achieve something new. But it all like Stravinsky and Ravel that were tradiboils down to desire, according to Tovey. tionally meant to be played live for a ballet, “You have to really believe in the idea, and over time are being played by orchesand believe that it will make a huge diftras as just orchestral music. It would be ference in the artistic product,” he says. interesting to see how the audience reacts “Whether it’s a concert opera at the Los differently to Ravel’s Bolero with two live Angeles Philharmonic or a small concert components—dance and music—and perperformance in a semi-staged format, I haps discuss how [it was commissioned] think it’s a very exciting way for orchestras for choreography and not just as a piece of to conduct, develop, and grow their premusic.” sentations.” “We’re looking into working with community and university orchestras to perhaps create a platform where ‘arts meet EESHA PATKAR is a recent graduate of the education,’ ” Heim says. “By exposing our Goldring Arts Journalism program at Syracuse audiences to live music and dance at the University, and writes about music, literature, same time, we allow them to appreciate and visual arts.

Eric Bandiero

sixth annual Día de los Muertos celebration last November at Davies Symphony Hall, SFS invited Mexican folk- and contemporary-dance company Calidanza to participate in pre-concert festivities and engage with approximately 2,600 concertgoers. An alliance like this brings in diverse audiences, which can build a relationship with the orchestra. “It’s always a very good thing for a community when different arts companies can find a way to collaborate, and it’s certainly what I’ve always believed in,” Tilson Thomas says. One benefit, in his view: “We’ve introduced young artists with those programs, and in many cases they’ve gone on to become regular guests in the Symphony series itself.” Tilson Thomas applies the same principles to the New World Symphony, where he is also artistic director. “The New World Symphony is consistent about exploring different kind of concerts and projects that will open up new kinds of work for both the performers and the audience,” he says. Last February, NWS celebrated what would have been John Cage’s 100th with a three-day series of concerts featuring well-known and lesser-known works. Since many of Cage’s compositions involved dance—and specifically dancers from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company—a John Cage retrospective wouldn’t be complete without it, according to Tilson Thomas. He invited Cunningham dancers Brandon Collwes and Andrea Weber to realize the Cage-Cunningham collaboration Second Hand, at New World Center, the orchestra’s venue in Miami Beach. Tilson Thomas also included young dancers from the New World School of the Arts to perform pieces like Sixteen Candles and Renga with the Merce Cunningham dancers. Besides giving visibility to young musicians and dancers alike, it also opened up a line of communication between the two groups. Tilson Thomas saw similar possibilities during the NWS’s previous interactions with Miami City Ballet. “What’s also happening now is that the musicians from the NWS have gotten to know the dancers from the Miami City Ballet and they have their own projects separate from what the organization is imagining.” Underlying these collaborations is a desire to push boundaries and challenge audience perceptions through innovative


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Turning Tables


Ben VanHouten


ext year will be the tenth anniversary of my organization Nonclassical, which is really exciting. It started out of a frustration that my friends, and young people in general, weren’t coming to many classical chamber concerts. For them the image of classical music is something very oldfashioned and historical and quite formal, so they don’t even consider going. I felt strongly as a young composer that they would really identify with my music, so I started Nonclassical to present classical music in a nonclassical way—putting on chamber concerts in clubs and bars. Nonclassical is not in any way anticlassical or against classical. The way I came up with the name was that I was doing quite a bit of electronic dance music, and even some hip-hop. I studied the French horn as a kid, and as a teenager used to play in orchestras, but I was also in a sort of punk band, playing keyboards and singing. I have a record label called Nonstop, and I was going to call the new label Nonstop Classical, but that felt like a mouthful. I thought, “What if I just cut out the ‘stop’ and it becomes Nonclassical?” With contemporary music I’ve found there’s a tendency to program a lot of work by one composer, or by several composers that are quite similar. I think that’s a massive mistake. When the music’s very new, it can be completely overwhelming. We do three or four sets of 20 minutes, with 15-minute intervals in between. That way the audience has a chance to talk about it with their friends, and when the next set

Ben VanHouten

Whether he’s remixing a Beethoven symphony, writing a concerto for turntables, or presenting chamber music in London rock clubs, Gabriel Prokofiev’s goal is the same: to get people his age to listen to the music he loves. His grandfather, Sergei Prokofiev, surely would have approved.

Gabriel Prokofiev

velope or something, anything to help me remember the idea. I often record ideas into my iPhone, listening to the voice memo. If I’m on my bicycle, I’ll stop my bike and just quietly sing something into my phone. The Seattle Symphony and DJ Madhatter performed Gabriel I really love my Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra to launch grandfather’s music, the orchestra’s [untitled] series in October 2012. and he’s been a big starts, they’ll be refreshed, ready for it. influence on me. I’m obviously in awe of My Concerto for Turntables and Orhim. But I was born 22 years after he died, chestra has been performed quite a bit— and I grew up in London. I think that was including by the National Youth Orchesa blessing in disguise. Had I grown up in tra of Great Britain in 2011 and by the Russia, the pressure of being related to Seattle Symphony in 2012; the Chicago this great composer might have been too Youth Symphony Orchestra will perform much. People haven’t compared me much it this May. The piece is for virtuoso with my grandfather. They see I’m doing turntablists, who practice hours and hours things in a different way, my own way. every day, scratching and manipulating Last year I wrote a concerto for cello, recorded turntable sounds. When I was a commissioned by Alexander Ivashkin, a student, I’d gone to these deep turntablist Russian cellist who lives in England. It battles where you see they’re doing incredwas premiered in Russia by the St. Petersibly fast, complex rhythms with all differburg Academic Symphony Orchestra in ent sounds. DJs don’t notate it, but they May 2013 at the St. Petersburg Philharlearn all these techniques and use them monic Hall. It’s such a historical concert to make up their improvisations. When hall, and my grandfather also had his I wrote the score, I got out a percussion music performed there. It was an amazing part, with all the rhythms in, but I also experience for me, quite overwhelming. wrote the names of the ornaments of the techniques they should do at each point. GABRIEL PROKOFIEV is a composer and It was quite a challenge. record producer based in London. In June, the I generally use a computer when I comSeattle Symphony will premiere Prokofiev’s new pose. When I’m away from the computer, work produced in collaboration with the SeattleI write ideas down on the back of an enbased hip-hop artist Sir Mix-A-Lot. symphony


Food Drive

Orchestras Feeding america



The 2013/14 season is the sixth year of Orchestras Feeding America, a project that has seen over 250 orchestras from across the country collect nearly 450,000 pounds of food. The efforts of these orchestras have helped spread the word about how and why orchestras are so necessary to their communities, beyond providing amazing music. Join the effort this year to help those in need in your community. Visit for details including a list of this year’s participating orchestras.