contents asm among organizational constituents? Does it generate interest in the field?
Effective. Does it solve the problem or answer the need it was designed to address? Does it stimulate creativity and increase capacity within the organization? Does it help attract top talent and facilitate access to resources (time, money, staff )? Does it focus on new prospects/patrons who are not already committed to the art form? Does it keep traditional subscribers and patrons loyal and engaged? Does it produce revenue? Does it enhance audience demographics? Sustainable. Can the method or activity be replicated? Is it adaptable? Does it perpetuate a culture open to novel solutions and approaches? Does it build the infrastructure required to support innovative activity and process, including broad ownership among constituents? Does it provide a framework for evaluating impact and making decisions? Does it capture lessons learned and turn them into institutional knowledge that enhances skills and capabilities? Does it enable a cycle of continuing investment in innovative activity? Does it generate ongoing support from the organization’s leadership and Board?
Innovation in today’s orchestras is characterized by aggressive questioning of long-held orthodoxies and traditions and the emergence of new approaches to all aspects of the traditional orchestra model.
6 Preface: Why “Fearless” Journeys? 7 Foreword Case Studies
12 Los Angeles Philharmonic For the People: Democratizing Artistic Vision
26 Memphis Symphony Orchestra Service to Citizenship: Building Artistically Engaging Community Partnerships
40 Pacific Symphony
efforts. They were successful because they occurred at the right time in the life of the orchestra, because they emerged naturally from the context in which the orchestra was operating, and because they reflected consensus within the organization rather than being imposed arbitrarily. Solutions were individualized, and they made sense for the orchestra in its time and place. In all the orchestras studied, innovation consistently was
inspired and led by a committed and courageous team of leaders.
driven by an expansive vision that was well articulated and communicated internally and externally.
fueled by an open artistic model. In some cases, the open artistic model took form as a new way of making artistic decisions. In others it was a redefinition of what should be included in the orchestra’s standard programming. In still others it emerged as a new understanding of how artistic talents could be deployed differently. In every case, however, the key was that artistic issues were fueling the discussions, and they were being examined in new and interesting ways.
What do innovative orchestras have in common?
The immediate impetus for change in all five orchestras studied was some form of crisis. Financial difficulties, leadership transitions, a poorly defined artistic identity, declining audiences, community apathy, and prolonged labor disputes are examples of conditions that inspired innovation in these orchestras. The changes developed organically, as a result of specific events, with all participants thinking through next steps and capturing the lessons learned along the way. Yet these innovations created far greater strategic and transformational impact than typical incremental
5 About the Author
coordinated by someone filling an explicitly identified integrator role. Having someone clearly responsible for keeping parallel activities on track and for managing the complex relationship dynamics of the work was critical to ensuring communication and maintaining momentum.
Illuminating Meaning: Putting Music in Context
56 The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra To Boldly Go: Creating a New Artistic Leadership Model
72 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra From Silos to Synergy: Building a Collaborative Organizational Culture
86 The Road Less Traveled: Toward a New Foundation 96 Acknowledgements 98 Photographer credits
based on a strong foundation of artistic excellence. Technical performance and the quality of concerts are generally high throughout the industry, and the fear of compromising quality by changing conventional practices is deeply ingrained. But these five orchestras forged new ground. Liberated by the security of their artistic strength rather than constrained by the fear of losing it, these pioneers showed that innovation is indeed the friend of artistic excellence.
The stories of these five orchestras are meant to illuminate possibilities, inspire curiosity, raise questions, and provoke discussion both among orchestras and between orchestras and their communities and stakeholders. Together they form an exciting new paradigm for American orchestras’ journey toward a more vital and vibrant future.
Got an opinion? Join the discussion! Are the innovative practices documented in this new book widely applicable at orchestras? What might work for your orchestra—and what might not? Click the Discussions tab below to comment.