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fearless journeys: innovation in five american orchestras

Foreword from Fearless Journeys: Innovation in Five American Orchestras

fearless journeys: innovation in five american orchestras


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Edited by Catherine Maciariello

league of american orchestras


By Lela Tepavac, Ph.D.

A publication of

Made possible by

The front cover of Fearless Journeys: Innovation in Five American Orchestras was designed by Kim Bieler of Apt Media to suggest that orchestras are charting new courses.

tinue to confront major challenges despite their good work. Rather, “promising innovation” in this context is defined as new practice that helps orchestras continue to fulfill their missions amid the reality of shifting environments, and enables them to be more flexible in adapting to change. In the book’s Foreword, editor Catherine Maciariello provides the general outlines of the study—its intention and scope, the basics of the research process—and explains how the term “innovative” was defined for the purposes of the project. The Foreword also summarizes some fascinating conclusions about common factors that enable innovation to take hold in orchestras, and raises questions about how these locally

appropriate initiatives might apply elsewhere. The Foreword is reproduced below. Please let me know what you think. The League of American Orchestras views this book as a beginning. We hope that it will encourage all orchestras and their stakeholders to reflect on their own capacity for innovation, and to pursue it at all levels of organizational activity. It is also a call to action. It is time to accelerate the recognition that orchestras must embrace innovation if they are to continue offering exciting musical experiences that are vital to American life. Jesse Rosen President and CEO League of American Orchestras

American orchestras have long defied predictions of their imminent demise. They have consistently met difficult challenges with creative leadership, successfully managed their complex institutions, and developed new sources of revenue to sustain their business models. This problemsolving journey has taken the field in rich new directions in recent years as orchestras across the country have accelerated their efforts to test new approaches and explore unconventional ideas. Orchestras arguably have never needed this new thinking more than they do today. Faced with continuing challenges to their operating models, they are working hard to keep the art alive as a vital component of American society. In 2006 the League of American Orchestras committed to help orchestras build their capacity for innovation, as part of a strategic plan that also called for driving research and development and fostering the exchange of ideas across the field. In 2008 the League initiated a study, funded by the MetLife Foundation, to explore and document promising innovation in American orchestras. The purpose of this research was to understand the organizational enablers that underpin such innovation and stimulate the sharing of best practices across the industry. The League appointed a Steering Committee from the field to oversee the study and provide guidance to consultants. Research Process

The principal investigator for the study was Dr. Lela Tepavac of Fit Leadership LLC. An organizational psychologist, Dr. Tepavac created a conceptual framework for the research based on a review of existing innovation literature, her knowledge of innovation models in other industries, and interviews with fifteen experts in the orchestra field. She developed a working definition of innovation in orchestras and identified initial innovation criteria. Concurrently, the League administered a short survey to member orchestras, asking them


Symphonyonline may jun 2010  
Symphonyonline may jun 2010