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The Orchestra Next Door


Family Concerts 2.0 Mergers & Acquisitions Classical Recordings Today A Passport for Instruments?

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VO LU M E 6 4 , N U M B E R 3

symphony SU M M E R 2 0 1 3


homas Edison has a lot to atone for. Yes, he ushered in the modern age by helping to make electricity widely available. And yes, his invention of the phonograph made possible the recording and preservation of music—which until then was as evanescent as the sound waves that carried it. Recordings spread music everywhere, profoundly democratizing the musical experience. Yet they also turned music into a dematerialized commodity, something you switch on and off: hit a button, and an invisible orchestra roars to life. Recordings effectively eliminated the need to go to a physical place to hear musicians create their art, and arguably led to the steep decline in amateur music-making (a statistician might have fun charting the rise of recordings against the fall in piano sales). Thanks to recordings, music is everywhere now—but musicians are invisible. And while everyone used to pay for recordings, nowadays an entire generation expects to own music for free. If recordings have, in a weird way, devalued music, orchestras have assumed increasing value in the world around us. Orchestras today go boldly where none have gone before, performing in neighborhood venues, schools, night clubs, even food markets. Musicians are connecting with kids in ways that make the music up close and personal. Tried-andtrue family concerts are taking surprising new shapes, programs inspired by El Sistema make the discipline and joy of playing an instrument into vital parts of young people’s lives, and orchestras are showing up where their audiences live and work. Great concert halls are still community hubs, but more and more orchestras are bringing the music to the people in ways that go far beyond just flipping a switch.


symphony®, the award-winning quarterly

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4 Prelude by Robert Sandla 8 The Score Orchestra news, moves, and events

Stu Rosner

18 Critical Questions What can orchestras do to help develop future leaders? by Jesse Rosen 22 In Memoriam Seymour L. Rosen, May 8, 1925 – March 16, 2013.


26 At the League Coming soon: an instrument “passport” for musicians traveling internationally. An interview with Heather Noonan


Close to Home More and more orchestras are bringing music to neighborhoods where their audiences live and work. by Chester Lane



Allied Forces Mergers offer orchestras greater opportunities not just for efficiency but also creativity and community impact. by Ian VanderMeulen


The Community an Orchestra Makes A snapshot of a few of the El Sistema-inspired music-education programs blossoming in North America. by Leah Hollingsworth


Welcome to the Orchestra The family concert isn’t what it used to be. by Tom Keogh


77 Advertiser Index

80 Coda St. Louis’s baseball team and symphony orchestra are both hometown icons, says the St. Louis Cardinals’ John Mozeliak. Throughout this issue, text marked like this indicates a link to websites and online resources that can be accessed by visiting SymphonyOnline l at symphony.org. about the cover

Knoxville Symphony

78 League of American Orchestras Annual Fund


Clockwise from top photo: A quintet from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs at a local parish as part of the orchestra’s Neighborhood Residency Initiative. Photo: V. Valentin Fotografie. Tune Up Philly instructor Daniel Sharp works with Nasir Love, 11. Tune Up Philly is an El Sistema-based project of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Photo: Jano Cohen. A young violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s new education program inspired by El Sistema. Photo: Fred Stucker. Cleveland Orchestra cellist Paul Kushious performs at Stockyard Meats, May 2013, as part of the orchestra’s residency in the city’s Gordon Square neighborhood. Photo: Roger Mastroianni. At a March 2013 Boston Symphony Orchestra family concert, BSO volunteer Leslie Miller introduces young Gabriel to the cello at Symphony Hall. Photo: Stu Rosner. New York Philharmonic trombonist David Finlayson with a young musician at a Young People’s Concert. Credit: Michael DiVito.

Taka Yanagimoto

Fast Forward Assessing the classical recording industry as it exists today. by Jayson Greene

Randall Schieber


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

MUSICAL CHAIRS has been named music director of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra in Bellingham, Wash.


The New West Symphony (Thousand Oaks, Cal.) has appointed KIREN BANSAL director of community engagement and development.

The Boston Symphony n the aftermath of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings, Orchestra dedicated several Boston-area arts groups responded quickly with its April 18 program special concerts and benefits. The Boston Symphony to all those affected Orchestra dedicated its April 18 concert to those affected by the Boston by the bombing, and invited the injured and their families to the Marathon bombings. BSO Assistant Principal concert as the orchestra’s guests. Meanwhile, the Boston Pops offered Watertown residents free admission to its May 9 “Fantasia Viola Cathy Basrak (third from left), who ran the in Concert” show at Symphony Hall. Boston University’s Boston Marathon on April Medical Campus and College of Fine Arts joined forces for 15, wore her marathon student performances for patients injured in the bombings, while jacket in place of concert BU doctoral piano student Anna Arazi organized a free Musical attire. She was joined by BSO members Rachel Marathon at BU on May 1, joined by performers from New Fagerburg, Jonathan England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Longy School of Menkis, Jennie Shames, Music, and Harvard University. Students and faculty from New Steven Ansell, and James England Conservatory performed “Music Heals: A Concert Cooke, who have all run in Boston Marathons in for Boston,” a free concert at the Church of the Covenant on previous years. Newbury Street, organized by Colin Thurmond, a doctoral candidate at NEC. And Longwood Symphony, which draws musicians from Boston’s medical community, dedicated its May 9 concert to bombing victims.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The dream of a nationwide youth orchestra becomes a reality this summer when Carnegie Hall launches the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. From July 11 to 21 top orchestral musicians ages sixteen to nineteen are meeting for a tuition-free two-week residency and subsequent five-concert tour, led by no less than Valery Gergiev, that takes them to Purchase, New York; Washington, D.C.; Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia; and London. The orchestra’s 120 musicians arrive on the campus of Purchase College, SUNY, on June 30, for a two-week training residency led by James Ross, associate director of The Juilliard School’s conducting program and director of orchestral activities at the University of Maryland, with faculty from top U.S. orchestras and music schools. The final July 21 concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall will be recorded for a future television broadcast on BBC Four. Beginning August 1, musicians may apply for the second year of NYO-USA in 2014, to be led by conductor David Robertson.


At the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, MICHAEL has been named director of volunteers and special events, and RACHEL KIRLEY director of major gifts. BETTS

Musical Chairs


New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has announced the appointment of JED BERNSTEIN to succeed REYNOLD LEVY as president in January 2014.

Stu Rosner

In Boston, Healing Concerts

ARIEL BARNES has been appointed principal cello at British Columbia’s Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

has been appointed music director designate of the Naples (Fla.) Philharmonic, a title he will hold through the 2013-14 season; in 2014-15 he begins full-time duties as music director.


has been named chief executive officer of the New Orleans-based Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.


The University of MassachusettsAmherst has named BRANDON KEITH Boyd BROWN director of orchestral activities, assistant professor of music, and music director of the University of Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra.

has been appointed executive director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, effective July 1, 2013.


Ohio’s Mansfield Symphony Orchestra has named conductor of its Youth Strings ensemble.


The San Antonio Symphony has appointed JACK president and CEO.


has been named to the Charles Simonyi Principal Horn Chair at the Seattle Symphony. JEFFREY FAIR

Bakersfield (Cal.) Symphony Orchestra Music Director JOHN FARRER has stepped down from that post following a 38-year tenure. DINA GILBERT has been appointed assistant conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, effective in September 2013.

The Denver Philharmonic Orchestra has appointed LAWRENCE GOLAN music director, effective with the 2013-14 season. Colorado’s Arapahoe Philharmonic has named music director.


The Juilliard School has appointed ELIZABETH HURLEY vice president for development and public affairs.



Fatta Named Chair-Elect of League Board

MusiCaL Chairs Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, based in Madison, has named MICHELLE KAEBISCH conductor of its Philharmonia Orchestra. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has promoted SYLVIA KIM KILCULLEN to assistant principal second violin. At the Nashville Symphony, MYLES MacDONALD has been appointed chief operating officer, and LAURENCE TUCKER director of artistic administration.


Seattle Symphony Music Director has been named chair of the University of Washington’s Orchestral Conducting Studies program, effective this fall. LUDOVIC MORLOT

JON P. MOSBO has been appointed general manager of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Ben VanHouten

One hundred ninety-one days. That was where the lockout of musicians at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra stood on April 29 when players ratified a new collective bargaining agreement good through 2015-16. Musicians’ negotiating team leader Carole Mason Smith noted “a sense of relief that we can play again,” while SPCO President Dobson West stated, “We believe this agreement will allow for the preservation of artistic quality while ensuring financial sustainability.” The new contract cuts base salary 18.6 percent to $60,000 for a 32-week season, and trims the ensemble size from 34 to 28 players. An enhanced retirement package has also been added. That news was followed days later with the announcement that the board had recommended Bruce Coppock to resume duties as president of the SPCO, a post he had held from 1999 to 2008. On the West Coast, musicians of the San Francisco Symphony had gone on strike March 13 due to disagreements with management over base pay and benefits. Exactly a month later, the orchestra announced a new agreement calling for an initial wage freeze with a 4.5 percent increase over the contract’s 26-month term. The Seattle Symphony and Opera players’ organization ratified a new agreement on May 14 that calls for a 5.5 percent salary cut for the remainder of the 2012-13 season, a salary freeze in 2013-14, and a 4.6 percent increase the following year, for a 45-week season. Musicians and management had agreed in October 2012 to extend the previous contract until a new long-term deal could be reached. At press time negotiations at the Minnesota Orchestra were at a standstill, with musicians contending that a third-party audit of the orchestra’s finances must be completed before returning to the bargaining table. In early May, Music Director Osmo Vänskä broke with the standard practice of conductors remaining silent on labor issues with a letter to the board stating that if the orchestra’s November 2013 visit to Carnegie Hall becomes jeopardized by the current lockout, he will be forced to resign. For the most up-to-date information about contract negotiations and other orchestra news, visit The Hub at hub.americanorchestras.org. To help develop best practices for contract negotiations, the League is hosting a free “Fundamentals of Collective Bargaining” seminar by Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services Commissioners, June 16-18, held in conjunction with the League’s National Conference in St. Louis.

The Van Cliburn Foundation has named JACQUES president and chief executive officer.



The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in Manitoba has named JULIAN PELLICANO resident conductor for the 2013-14 season. KYLE WILEY PICKETT has been appointed music director of the Topeka (Kan.) Symphony Orchestra.

Musical Chairs

Deal Makers

Courtesy SPCO

Angelo M. Fatta has been chosen as chairelect by the League of American Orchestras Board of Directors. He will assume that post in June 2013 and hold it until June 2014, when his election to succeed Lowell J. Noteboom as chair will occur. League President and CEO Jesse Rosen said that the League was “fortunate to have found such a gifted Angelo M. successor Fatta to Lowell Noteboom.” Fatta, a member of the League board since October 2011, has been a major force at his hometown orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, where he chaired the Board of Trustees and a Secure the Future endowment campaign that surpassed its $30 million goal. Fatta is co-founder and former CEO of ACTS Testing Labs, a global consumer products testing company specializing in toy safety. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Buffalo’s Canisius College. Fatta has held leadership roles promoting science and technology in western New York, and his Fatta Foundation supports the welfare and development of children in that part of the state.

The saint Paul Chamber Orchestra received a standing ovation after their May 9 concert—the first after signing a new contract—at shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in apple Valley, Minn., one of the orchestra’s neighborhood venues.

The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (Punta Gorda, Fla.) has appointed RAFFAELE PONTI music director.

has been named assistant concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra.



Kentucky’s Owensboro Symphony Orchestra has announced that WILLIAM O. PRICE will retire as executive director on July 1, 2013. The El Paso (Tex.) Symphony Orchestra has appointed BOHUSLAV RATTAY music director.

has been appointed executive director of the Yakima (Wash.) Symphony Orchestra.


The Round Rock (Tex.) Symphony Orchestra has named STEFAN SANDERS music director.

has been appointed vice president of development at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.


Mobile (Ala.) Symphony Orchestra Music Director has been named to an additional post as artistic director of the Chicago Philharmonic. SCOTT SPECK

The Charlotte (N.C.) Symphony Orchestra has appointed ROBERT STICKLER president and executive director.

has been appointed president of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has named SUZANNE SWEENEY vice president of finance.

has been appointed general director of the newly merged Sacramento Philharmonic and Sacramento Opera, effective July 1, 2013.



The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has appointed vice president for public relations. CELESTE WROBLEWSKI

NESS ZOLAN has been named general manager of the Eugene (Ore.) Symphony, effective July 1, 2013.


Two Mime Superstars Dan Kamin— as The Classical Clown. Charlie Chaplin— in two film classics. See for yourself at www.dankamin.com

Dan Kamin

Comecdeyrtos Con (412)563-0468 dan2@dankamin.com



summer 2013

Sigrid Rauchdobler

This spring was a good season for new homes for classical music in Europe. In Austria, the Bruckner Orchestra Linz got a second venue—at the other end of town from its landmark 1974 concert hall. The new Musiktheater am Volksgarden, which opened on April 12, is an 1,800-seat opera house where the orchestra will settle in when performing with Linz Opera. A vast fullorchestra rehearsal hall that can accommodate small audiences, modern dressing rooms, and a flexible “black box” space for small-ensemble performances make it a state-of-the-art facility any musician would envy. The new opera house came in on budget at $236 million—95 percent of that from public funds. Top: The Mariinsky II Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, In St. Petersburg, Russia, new home to the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet. Above: the long-awaited opening of Exterior and interior of Musiktheater am Volksgarden, the new Mariinsky Theatre new home to the Bruckner Orchestra Linz in Austria. took place on May 2, which happened to be the 60th birthday of Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky’s general and artistic director. The theater, known as Mariinsky II, has 2,000 seats in the main auditorium and a rooftop terrace and amphitheater for smaller performances, with breathtaking views of the city. The building was financed by the Russian government at a cost of $700 million. It will serve the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet as a second, additional space to the historic 1860 Mariinsky Theatre, still in use, which sits just across the Kryukov Canal. For orchestra concerts by the Mariinsky Orchestra, home will continue to be the nearby concert hall, completed in 2006.

Sigrid Rauchdobler

Natasha Razina

Two Hours of Comedy and Music!

Stages of Spring

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

Students at University Heights Charter School in Newark, N.J., are learning to play the violin in a new partnership with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

In April, 25 elementary-school students in New Jersey got to show the public what they had learned in the three weeks since receiving their new violins, thanks to a partnership between the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the University Heights Charter School in Newark. The students in the pilot program, launched in March, receive free violin lessons three days a week after school, and participate in music activities such as attending performances by NJSO chamber ensembles. The program is modeled after Venezuela’s El Sistema, which promotes music education as a vehicle for social change. The buzzing energy in the room of fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders at the University Heights school in April was captured in a brief video posted at SymphonyNOW.org.

Championing the Arts Arts Advocacy Day took place on April 8-9 this year, co-sponsored by the League of American Orchestras, Americans for the Arts, and other organizations, with musical luminaries like cellist Yo-Yo Ma and rock drummer Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses) speaking about the importance of the arts and lending their voices to the call for greater government support. League President and CEO Jesse Rosen attended a special White House briefing on the government’s role in the arts. And in an Arts Advocacy Day highlight, Ma gave the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Art and Public Policy, using visuals and musical performance to illustrate his passionate arguments about the essential role of the arts and the need for artists to be world citizens. Advocating for the League President and CEO Jesse Rosen, left, chats with former Guns N’ Roses arts is a year-round activity, and League Vice drummer Matt Sorum, who spoke and President for Advocacy Heather Noonan and performed on April 9 alongside Yo-Yo Ma. Najean Lee, the League’s government affairs and education advocacy manager, not only train arts advocates, they provide regular updates and background on public arts policy as well as information on how to contact Congress on arts issues. For more, visit the Advocacy and Government section of the League website, americanorchestras.org. americanorchestras.org

Fred Stucker

Can You Spell “Violin”?

― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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 rwright@rcrusoe.com www.rcrusoe.com

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. 11

Christopher Houlihan M. Hoffa



The instrument was lavishly displayed by Christopher Houlihan, a young American organist of formidable skill and considerable flamboyance…. Dispatching those notes with such authority and élan was a major accomplishment. Constantly, and deftly, shifting and nuancing sonorities…added to the amazement.”

Tokyo Rising The March 2011 disaster at Fukushima seized worldwide attention, but the massive earthquake that rocked Japan caused devastation in the Tokyo region as well. Among the buildings damaged was Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall in Kawasaki, home of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra (at right). Damage to the hall forced the cancellation of concerts by the Tokyo Symphony and other musical artists. During the two years without a concert hall, musicians of the Tokyo Symphony presented multiple concerts for the benefit of those affected by the quake, and a portion of the proceeds of a CD of the orchestra’s performance of the Mozart Requiem was donated to the Foundation for International Development/ Relief. This April 7, the Tokyo Symphony opened the newly restored hall (top photo), led by Music Director Hubert Soudant. On the program: Bruckner’s sprawling, unfinished Symphony No. 9 and his Te Deum, a work of thanksgiving.

(The Dallas Morning News, March 2013)

Recycled Orchestra

www.concertartists.com email@concertartists.com

Courtesy of Landfill Harmonic Production

One of this year’s feel-good news stories has been about the resourcefulness of families living in a shantytown on top of a landfill in Cateura, Paraguay. They have created an orchestra of instruments from recycled garbage, and are the subject of an upcoming documentary, Landfill Harmonic, whose trailer went viral shortly after it was released. Directed by Graham Townsley, the film chronicles music teacher Favio Chávez’s efforts to form a youth orchestra in a community where a violin can cost more than a house. Recently put on display at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix are eight of the orchestra’s instruments, built from items like metal coins, bottle caps, spoons, plastic buttons, oil containers, and old x-ray film. MIM Curator Daniel Piper has been working with the film team for more than a year, and at press time plans were being hatched to bring the orchestra’s young musicians to the museum in July or August.


The Recycled Orchestra, from Cateura, Paraguay



The Great Orchestrator: Arthur Judson and American Arts Management by James M. Doering. University of Illinois Press, 281 pages, $55. As manager of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the largest artist management firm in America, Judson (1881-1975) wielded a power not seen in the classical music world before or since. Doering, a music professor at Randolph-Macon College, traces Judson’s formidable career in this extensively researched biography. Lina and Serge: The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev by Simon Morrison. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 328 pages, $26. Drawing on a trove of family records, a Princeton professor and distinguished Prokofiev scholar compellingly traces the life of the Madrid-born, Brooklyn-bred woman who loved—and lived in the shadow of—the famous composer, enduring a tumultuous marriage and harsh treatment in her husband’s homeland during the Stalinist era. Sergey Prokofiev Diaries 19241933: Prodigal Son translated and annotated by Anthony Phillips. Cornell University Press, 1,125 pages, $60. Recorded in this third and final volume of the composer’s diaries, covering his years as a Russian exile living in Paris, are his thoughts about creating art away from the homeland, politics and daily life, his Christian Science faith, and a host of artistic colleagues including Shostakovich, Diaghilev, Koussevitzky, Stravinsky, Ravel, and Rachmaninoff. americanorchestras.org

All-Stars on TV

It’s rare these days to see much classical music on television, but in September there will be a welcome exception when PBS begins airing a new series featuring the All-Star Orchestra. The program was taped at New York City’s Manhattan Center in August 2012, with series creator Gerard Schwarz conducting top orchestral musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and more. In the program, the orchestra is shown rehearsing and performing challenging repertoire that balances established classics with contemporary works—think Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony colliding with Philip Glass’s Harmonium Mountain. The goal, according to Schwarz, is to bring classical music—and musicmakers—up close and personal for a broad television audience. The series will be aired over eight consecutive Sundays. For air times and other information, visit allstarorchestra.org.


ELIZABETH HAINEN, harp New: Tan Dun Concerto for Harp

Chris Brubeckʼs Triple Play Georgia Guitar Quartet Gershwin on Broadway THE AHN TRIO Mark OʼConnor Concerto Kenji Bunch Concerto

Julianne Baird, soprano Klezmer and All that Jazz Louise Toppin, soprano LEON BATES, piano Performs Forty-five Concerti

Steve J. Sherman

First and Lasting Impressions: Julius Rudel Looks Back on a Life in Music by Julius Rudel and Rebecca Paller. University of Rochester Press, 194 pages, $49.95. The nonagenarian conductor reflects on a boyhood spent in Nazi-occupied Vienna and an American career that included 22 artistically innovative years as general director of New York City Opera, six as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and service as the first artistic director of Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Gerard Schwarz conducting the AllStar Orchestra during the filming of a PBS TV special at Manhattan Center, August 27, 2012. One of the aims of the All-Star Orchestra project was to capture the orchestra at work with camera angles and tracking shots not possible in a concert setting.

Monica Huggett, baroque violin Prism Saxophone Quartet Sergiu Schwartz, violin Storioni Piano Trio


email: artists@rilearts.com 215-885-6400 www.rilearts.com 93 Old York Road, Suite 222 Jenkintown, PA 19046


Fisher’s High Five This year’s Avery Fisher Career Grants go to four instrumentalists and a string quartet. The awards, each carrying a $25,000 stipend, were presented May 15 at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to violinists Bella Hristova and Itamar Zorman; pianists Kuok-Wai Lio and Andrew Tyson; and the Escher String Quartet. All are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., as stipulated in the Avery Fisher Artist Program grant guidelines. Tyson and the

Akustiks Symphony Ad-2013_Layout 1 4/26/13 1:29 PM Page 1

quartet were unable to participate in the awards ceremony due to scheduling conflicts; performances at that event by Hristova, Zorman, and Lio were taped

Gary Hanson, Executive Director, The Cleveland Orchestra about Reynolds Hall at the new Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas

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Kelly Hall-Tompkins “Beyond technique…expressively wrought... rich tone colors...intense flowing finale… searing intensity… In brief, she compels you to listen.”

Chris Lee

—American Record Guide


photo© Jan Roehrmann


Ann Marsden

“The acoustics are terrific. Franz [Welser-Möst] and I both feel it’s the best new hall in the country in a long, long time… It’s a GREAT hall.”


by WQXR-FM, the program’s longtime broadcast partner, and aired May 22.

Bruce Coppock

Coppock Returns to Saint Paul

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has appointed Bruce Coppock president, returning to its top management post an experienced executive, musician, and educator who had previously led the organization from 1999 to 2008. The orchestra recently resumed performances under a new collective bargaining agreement. Coppock had resigned from the SPCO in 2008 for health reasons, and in a statement issued by the orchestra this May he declared himself to be “healthy and vigorous again after a long battle with cancer.” Trained at New England Conservatory, he began his career as a cellist and educator, teaching at NEC and elsewhere in New England and performing with such groups as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Handel & Haydn Society. Coppock was executive director of the St. Louis Symphony from 1992 to 1997. He subsequently served as a vice president at the League of American Orchestras— where he was instrumental in founding the Orchestra Leadership Academy—and as deputy director of Carnegie Hall. His most recent post was with the Cleveland Orchestra during the 2011-12 season, when he served as managing director of the annual residency known as Cleveland Orchestra Miami. symphony


Celebrating Volunteers

A golden anniversary is about to get a bit more golden. At its National Conference in St. Louis, June 18-20, the League of American Orchestras will honor its national Volunteer Council for 50 years of outstanding service to orchestras across the country. The Volunteer Council provides leadership skills and assistance to orchestra volunteers through ongoing education and communication, informing volunteers of important issues and delivering learning and leadership development to orchestra volunteer associations nationwide. Four members of the Volunteer Council recently spoke to Symphony about their love of volunteering for their home orchestras, the importance of the League to the volunteer community, and advice they would give to others considering volunteer work. Visit SymphonyNOW.org to see the video interviews.


Wishes Granted

Orchestras across the country were busy helping fulfill young dreams this spring through The Make-A-Wish Foundation. In March, Hanna Waters, a fifteen-yearold French horn player from Dallas who is battling cancer, lived her dream of playing with musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Waters rehearsed with the CSO horn section and was then invited onstage for a full orchestra rehearsal. Later that month, Seattle Symphony Principal Cellist Efe Balticigil and others from the orchestra surprised another Make-aWish recipient with a new carbon-fiber cello made by Luis & Clark of Boston, which the teen promptly gave a test-run on the Benaroya Hall stage. In May, South Carolina’s Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra hosted Peter Rosset, 12, born with Down Syndrome and diagnosed with leukemia in 2011, who performed Rhapsody Brillante by Melody Bober at the beginning of the orchestra’s season finale concert, below. After the concert, Rosset took home the donated Steinway piano on which he performed.

League of American Orchestras Volunteer Council members at the 2012 National Conference in Dallas

Carnegie Hall Debut | Nov 1, 2013

with The New York Pops Steven Reineke, conductor

“An incredible

musical artist, great performer, fantastic band & great arrangements... what more could you want?” — Jeff Tyzik

Principal Pops Conductor Seattle, Detroit, Oregon, Rochester & Florida Orchestras




Courtesy Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra




Pete Checchia

Left to right: Tokyo String Quartet members Martin Beaver, Kikuei Ikeda, Clive Greensmith, and Kazuhide Isomura

Quartet Finale

The famed Tokyo String Quartet is in the midst of its farewell season, during which it has been touring widely throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. During the tour, the ensemble is performing a new “farewell” quartet written for them by Lera Auerbach, as well as works by Bartók, Brahms, Mozart, Haydn, and Schubert. The Tokyo will make its final U.S. performance at Connecticut’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival on July 6. Tokyo’s decision to disband followed the news in 2011 that violinist Kikuei Ikeda and violist Kazuhide Isomura would be retiring.

Steven Holl Architects

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will build a new facility to expand its education programs

Room to Grow This season saw some big news from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which announced a $100 million expansion following a $50 million lead gift from Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. The expansion will add classrooms as well as multipurpose and rehearsal spaces just south of the Kennedy Center. The new campus, to be designed by Steven Holl Architects, will allow the center to significantly expand its education programs, which up until now did not have a dedicated facility. In recent years the National Symphony Orchestra, affiliated with the Kennedy Center, has broadened its education programs, which include initiatives with students in Washington, D.C.’s neighborhoods that are part of efforts to serve communities without access to a traditional concert hall. In other education news, The Juilliard School announced that it had received $5 million for its Music Advancement Program, whose students, ages eight to fourteen, participate in Juilliard’s Saturday instrumental music program. The gift, from Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman, will help the school continue to offer a sliding scale of tuition for the program’s students, many of whom are from groups underrepresented in the arts.



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Great Expectations What can orchestras do to help develop future leaders?


n 1981, orchestra leaders and League staff imagined a future robust with effective leaders in place throughout the field. That vision informed the launch of the League’s Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, which provides intensive training in what it takes to lead an orchestra. Thirty-two years later, we look back with pride on the impressive results: out of a total 177 OMFP alums, 35 hold executive director positions, and 81 serve in other staff positions with orchestras and related classical music organizations. While we celebrate these accomplishments, we must also acknowledge that there is still much, much more to be done. Many boards still report a shortage of candidates qualified to fill CEO posts, some of our best young talent leaves the field, and our workforce remains predominantly white. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the persistence of these challenges. We live in what the military has coined a “VUCA world”: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous, requiring new leadership skills. The Millennial generation—primarily those born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s—is introducing new and challenging expectations for job satisfaction. And, I recall a quick survey we did at the League measuring orchestras’ dollar investment in professional development as a proportion of all expense. The finding was that less than 1 percent of expenditures went to professional development as compared to the national benchmark of 8 percent in the private sector.


Klaus Lucka

by Jesse Rosen

What is our vision for the future today? A few years ago Independent Sector—the organization that represents our entire nonprofit sector—launched an Initiative for Non-Profit Talent and Leadership. That initiative framed the leadership opportunity for the sector in a way that also applies directly to orchestras, so I have adapted it here as follows: Vision: Orchestras are thriving, healthy, sustainable, and fueled by a diverse network of inspired and innovative leaders. Theory of Change: Valuing talent and leadership through focused investment of time, attention, and resources is one of the most effective ways to catalyze transformational results for thriving orchestras. Core Beliefs: • Leadership isn’t about a person or a position. • Leadership is an ongoing practice exercised at all levels. • Equipping leaders to make an impact requires sustaining them as healthy, thriving, and whole individuals. • Leadership embraces and respects diversity as essential to creating the conditions that elevate community solutions. • Leaders do not work alone: collaboration among organizations and individuals is essential. • Highly capable and diverse leadership is a consistently effective and efficient means to achieve impact in orchestras.

Jesse Rosen, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras

For orchestra leaders, the important question to ask is, “What can be done to close the space between our current reality and our beliefs?” I’ve always considered this question through the lens of “What can the League do to help find and support talent?” But what if we also asked,

Equipping leaders to make an impact requires sustaining them as healthy, thriving, and whole individuals. “What is the untapped potential among our member orchestras to meet our talent and leadership challenges?” This dial twist reminds me of one of management guru Ron Heifetz’s leadership tenets: The people who have the problem are the best able solve it, or as Heifetz calls it, “giving the work back to the people.” He illustrates this vividly in Leadership on the Line, his book with Marty Linsky, by describing Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson’s handling of an explosive personnel and morale issue. With a playoff game tied at 101, trailing by two games against the Knicks and only two seconds left on the clock, a Bulls ball and a timeout called, Jackson tells Scottie Pippen (the team’s number one star) to inbound the ball to Toni Kukoč, who will take the shot. Pippen, insulted that he was not asked to symphony

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take the expected game-winning shot, sits down on the bench and refuses to play. Jackson sends in a reserve player and great passer who successfully gets the ball to Kukoč, who miraculously makes the shot and wins the game. In the locker room afterwards, the team is more aggrieved than exhilarated. Jackson enters, and recognizing that the issue is much deeper than Pippen’s insubordination, looks at the whole team and says simply, “What happened has hurt us. Now you have to work this out.” The League is not going to stop investing in professional development and let our members “just work it out.” But what if we asked our membership to become fully engaged in working on this issue? After all, the leadership challenge affects every orchestra. I decided to look for clues in a few places where we know our members are already developing their own talent with good results. Readers may be familiar with two recent appointments, groomed from within, at the Los Angeles Philharmonic: Gail Samuels as chief operating officer and Chris Ayzoukian as vice president for Philharmonic and Production. Samuels joined the Philharmonic in 1990 and Ayzoukian in 1999. Interestingly, Los Angeles Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda, with whom I spoke recently, picks up on Heifetz’s theme of “giving the work back to the people.” Borda says, “You must give talented people truly meaningful and challenging work and responsibilities, supporting them as they go. This is how talent stretches, grows, and reveals itself.” Borda also cites the LA Phil’s staff structure, which integrates junior, mid-level, and senior staff. The operating committee, comprising middle and senior managers, meets regularly and has an annual day-long retreat. Through the frequency and depth of engagement of this group, directorlevel managers participate in planning and strategy and see the modeling done by the senior team. Borda also appoints cross-departmental teams that frequently have entry-, middle-, and senior-level staff working together, again promoting flow of information, knowledge, and responsibilamericanorchestras.org

ity across the organization as well as vertically. Borda reports that these processes successfully grow talent from within. But she is quick to add that when an opening occurs, inside candidates must compete against outside ones. For a completely different perspective I turned to Barbara Zach, executive director at Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra

“You must give talented people truly meaningful and challenging work and responsibilities, supporting them as they go. This is how talent stretches, grows, and reveals itself,” says Deborah Borda of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. in Nebraska, whose staff count is four full-time members with a budget of $800,000, compared to the LA Phil’s staff of over 100 and budget over $100 million—quite a difference. Zach is quick to cite the challenge of retaining staff in such a small shop. There simply aren’t many places to go within the organization, and the compensation the orchestra can afford often requires her to hire people right out of college. Within two years they are usually gone. But Zach has not been deterred. She begins with the lessons she learned

from her own board, which invested in her own development as executive director, making it possible for her to participate in the League’s Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar as well as a local leadership program. To help position her in the community they introduced her to key nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. Zach now passes on these practices with her team. Most notably, she sent Caleb Bailey, her general manager, to the Essentials seminar. And she has made an arrangement whereby Bailey—who as a recent college graduate has demonstrably high potential but is short on field experience—will spend the summer managing one of the orchestras at the Aspen Music Festival and School. On a larger scale, Zach has negotiated a barter deal with a local gym that provides free annual membership to all her staff, and she has made an arrangement with her board members to donate cultural-event tickets they cannot use to her staff. Finally, she makes sure that her board fulfills one of its key responsibilities by benchmarking staff salaries against industry norms. Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, proudly explains that his senior staff members, with only one exception, have each been in place for fifteen years or more. Surprisingly, he cites Tanglewood as a major contributing factor to both staff recruit-


UNDERDevelopeD A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising

A Joint Project of CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund



Jeanne Bell & Marla Cornelius

Jill Casey jdcPartnerships


Erin Lingren CompassPoint

This study reveals that many nonprofit organizations are stuck in a vicious cycle that threatens their ability to raise the resources they need to succeed. Under DevelopeD: A national Study of Challenges Facing nonprofit Fundraising


The Center for Creative Leadership’s Eighty-Eight Assignments for Development in Place offers practical exercises for individual leadership development. UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising looks at difficulties many nonprofits face in retaining gifted fundraisers—and offers insight in how to address the issues.

ment and retention. At ground level, he explains, the BSO operates a Guides Program for college-age students who help out in numerous ways: filling in at the office, driving, taking care of artists, and so forth. The young enthusiasts are treated as part of the family along with

At the Boston Symphony Orchestra, extra effort is made to bring young staff members fully into the family and regard them as potential future leaders. Isn’t that something we can all do?

the musician fellows; together they comprise an elite talent pool. BSO senior staff teach them about functional activities of orchestras, and the Tanglewood Guides often go on to fill administrative posts in orchestras. On a larger level, though, Volpe says that the ethos of Tanglewood— teaching, mentoring, living, and working together—creates an environment and culture conducive to supporting talent, whether musical or administrative. Volpe does not think this environment can easily be replicated, but I wonder. Many orchestras take on part-time people or interns. The BSO lesson seems to be to


make an extra effort to bring these young people fully into the family and to regard them as potential future leaders. Isn’t that something we can all do? These examples give me confidence that there is indeed capacity within orchestras to meet challenges in talent and leadership development, and that to some degree that capacity is already being tapped. I suspect, though, that there probably is a lot of unfulfilled potential. I will admit that as I read, talked with colleagues, and thought more deeply about this issue, I discovered opportunities to do better work with our own staff here at the League. In the coming weeks we will be asking what role the League can play in helping member orchestras adopt practices that will grow and develop their own talent. Meanwhile, there is something you can do right away, and it doesn’t cost more than the price of a couple of books. The Center for Creative Leadership publication Eighty-Eight Assignments for Development in Place and its companion, Developmental Assignments, are concise, practical, down-to-earth guides you can use immediately. I’ll leave you with one final resource and thought. “Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit

Fundraising,” downloadable at http://bit. ly/W18ovG, illuminates the issues surrounding the seemingly thin talent pool of development directors, the frequent turnover of these posts, and the lengthy vacancies. The study’s most important contribution, though, lies in its assertion that no development leader can deliver to full capacity without a culture that supports fundraising throughout the organization. It goes on to recommend how organizations can support development leaders and their efforts. We can easily apply this thinking to leaders in any organization. In order to thrive, our organizations must actively create the conditions for their success.

How does the League support professional development for administrators, musicians and conductors, boards, and volunteers? • Free webinars, e-books, and downloadable resources on governance, advocacy, public value, finance, diversity, music director searches, volunteerism, and more • Self-assessment tools focusing on community engagement; diversity; and governance • Peer-to-peer communication and mentoring via League 360 and peer-facilitated conference calls • In-person gatherings including Orchestra Leadership Academy seminars, National Conference, Mid-Year Meetings, and National Conductor Preview • Grants and awards to support best practice in new music performance and residencies, education/ community, governance, and executive and musical leadership For more information, visit Learning and Leadership Development at americanorchestras.org. symphony


A continent’s worth of premieres Looking towards the 2013–14 season

BoSTon Symphony orcheSTra Mark-Anthony Turnage Speranza (October 24–29, 2013)

new york philharmonic Mark-Anthony Turnage Frieze (October 3–9, 2013) Christopher Rouse Symphony No. 4 (June 5–7, 2014)

World and Territorial Premieres in North America

Sean Shepherd New Work (June 18–21, 2014)

BalTimore Symphony orcheSTra John Adams New Work (Saxophone Concerto) (September 20–22, 2013)

ToronTo Symphony orcheSTra James MacMillan Three Episodes from The Sacrifice (October 10 & 12, 2013) Piano Concerto No. 3 “Mysteries of Light” (May 7–8, 2014)

SeaTTle Symphony

Magnus Lindberg Piano Concerto No. 2 (March 1, 2014)

James MacMillan The Death of Oscar (April 17–19, 2014)

John Adams Slonimsky’s Earbox (March 5, 2014) Absolute Jest (March 7, 2014)

chicago Symphony orcheSTra Anna Clyne New Work (Date TBA)

ST. louiS Symphony orcheSTra loS angeleS philharmonic

John Adams New Work (Saxophone Concerto) (October 5–6, 2013)

Brett Dean The Last Days of Socrates (October 10–13, 2013) Michel van der Aa Up-close (January 28, 2014)

DeTroiT Symphony orcheSTra David Del Tredici Dum Dee Tweedle (November 30–December 1, 2013)

piTTSBurgh Symphony orcheSTra Christopher Rouse New Work (April 4–6, 2014)

caBrillo feSTival of conTemporary muSic Brett Dean Fire Music (August 3, 2013)

Duke univerSiTy James MacMillan St. Luke Passion (April 13, 2014)

naTional youTh orcheSTra of The uniTeD STaTeS of america Sean Shepherd Magiya (July 11, 2013)



Remembering Seymour Rosen Seymour L. Rosen—“Sy” to his friends and close colleagues—died March 16 in his home in Valhalla, N.Y.,

at the age of 87. During a long career in classical music management, he had served as top executive at three major orchestras—the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra—at Carnegie Hall, and briefly at the organization then known as the American Symphony

Orchestra League and today as the League of American Orchestras. The League is now headed by his son,

Jesse Rosen. Seymour Rosen’s League tenure lasted only a few months in 1966, ending when he accepted the

top management post in Pittsburgh, but it was marked by an important milestone in the League’s history: its gift to the federal government of acreage in Vienna, Virginia, for what is now Wolf Trap National Park for

the Performing Arts. In his later years Rosen lent his talents to the world of higher education, where as dean of the Herzberger School of Fine Arts at Arizona State University he established a multidisciplinary Institute for Studies in the Arts. A distinguishing feature of Rosen’s orchestral career was his pioneering role in

the professionalization of what had hitherto been a part-time or avocational pursuit: orchestra management. And in 2004 the League awarded him its highest honor, the Gold Baton, “for serving music and orchestras with vision, passion, integrity, and courage.”

Captured in the following remembrances are some of the talents and special qualities he brought to the

field, and to those around him.

When I fIrst met sy rosen 44 years ago, he was managing the Pittsburgh Symphony and I was in New York with the American Symphony. Sy came to New York frequently, and my friends David Foster, Tom Graham, and I always looked forward to those visits. We had huge admiration for Sy, not only because of the great work he was doing in Pittsburgh, but because we felt that he was genuinely interested in us. We were in our early twenties. We were not important. We were not running anything except errands for the people who were important. But Sy always had time for us. He took us seriously. He asked questions, he challenged us, and he made us think in bigger, broader ways. He was always approachable; he didn’t pontificate. He certainly earned the right to be self-important, but he wasn’t. He could be impatient and frustrated when progress was too slow or when he thought things were going off track. But he never lost his vision, or his hope, for what could be.


Harold Schonberg, longtime senior music critic for The New York Times, once described Sy as “a lusty type who enjoys a joke, and [is] perhaps something of a healthy cynic with few illusions. But that does not prevent him from having ideals.” It was both his ideals and his ideas that drew people to Sy. He was far ahead of his time in how he thought about orchestras and their role in society: the concept of an orchestra as a community musical resource; the idea that education should be central rather than peripheral to the mission of an arts organization; the importance of building endowment; the possibilities for electronic media; the appropriate role of government in funding the arts. Sy was a true thought leader and a trailblazer. His work made a real difference for music and orchestras. And he had a profound effect on those of us who were lucky enough to be his friends. —Catherine French joined the League of American Orchestras staff in 1974 and

served as CEO from 1980 to 1996. For the past fifteen years, the Catherine French Group has recruited executive leadership for performing arts organizations. I met sy rosen fIfty years ago this May, in Columbus, Ohio. Sy was leaving the Columbus Symphony for the Buffalo Philharmonic, and I was one of two final applicants to replace him. Columbus chose the other guy, but after Sy and I had spent two hours together I knew that whether or not I got the job, we were destined to be friends. That friendship lasted for the rest of our lives. At the League’s Orchestra Management course in 1960, one of the other participants warned me not to have any illusions about ever managing one of the great American orchestras—those jobs did not go to Jews. That may seem hard to believe today, but the major managers of the sixties were white, male, straight (or pretending to be), Christian, and not from symphony

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New York. Sy was not only one of the great managers in the history of American orchestras; he was the first New York Jew to manage one, and that made him even more of an inspiration to me. He was inspiring not just for that reason, of course. He was blunt, funny, smart, tough, and totally honest. He was an accomplished musician, an innovative manager, a faithful friend, a fearless leader, and a totally unpretentious human being whom you would never guess, if you didn’t already know it, was a towering figure in the orchestra world. When Joe Scafidi retired as executive director of the San Francisco Symphony in 1977, the board interviewed two possible successors: Seymour Rosen and me. They saw Sy first, and he decided he would stay in Pittsburgh. We spoke after his interview, and before mine. When I was offered the job a few weeks later, it was with a starting salary $10,000 lower than the one I knew they had offered Sy, and I said so. “You’re not Sy Rosen,” was the reply of the chair of the San Francisco search committee. I thought about that for a day or two, decided he was right, and took the salary he’d offered, and the job. Seymour Rosen’s life was a shining example of integrity, commitment, vision, and love. That’s what it meant to be Sy Rosen. —Peter Pastreich managed the Greenwich Village Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Kansas City Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque, and San Francisco Symphony. He directed the League’s Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar, consulted to orchestras in Europe, the U.S., and Australia, and mediated orchestra and opera union negotiations. My relationship with sy Rosen began in 1980 in Philadelphia, when I was a Fellow in the American Symphony Orchestra League’s inaugural Orchestra Management Fellowship class. From that very first moment, and for more than 30 years following, Sy helped shape my thinking, assisted in solving problems, and was a touchstone for creative answers. americanorchestras.org

At a White House ceremony on October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson (at right) signed the Wolf Trap Farm Park Bill, which created Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts using land donated by the American Symphony Orchestra League. Among the League officials at the signing were Seymour L. Rosen (left), the League’s recently appointed executive director. Others in attendance included Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall; Carlos Moseley, manager of the New York Philharmonic and League board member; Helen M. Thompson, executive vice president of the League; and Mrs. Johnson, the First Lady.

As I look back, I am reminded how Sy helped craft the lens through which I viewed the career before me. As a Fellow, I saw Sy as “larger than life.” He had already accomplished so much in his career, yet he took me under his wing, included me in critical thinking, and allowed me to contribute in meaningful ways. This was a hallmark of Sy’s leadership—to offer wisdom, encourage independence, and be kind in correction. He once told me that to be successful, “you need to collect life’s bruises,” and I have kept that notion front-of-mind ever since. In 1980, The Philadelphia Orchestra was in the midst of one of the industry’s

most storied and well-publicized transitions, the change in artistic leadership from the legendary Eugene Ormandy to the young and charismatic Riccardo Muti. Instead of pushing me aside during this exciting and challenging time, Sy was inclusive, bringing me into the inner circle, giving me the first glimpse into his strategic and visionary mind. Sy always looked ahead, seeking answers to changes he saw coming for our industry. He never stopped searching for solutions. So 30 years later, when I returned as CEO to the remarkable Philadelphia Orchestra during another challenging transition, Sy was still helping



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me find my path, looking for answers, guiding, and teaching. Sy Rosen was a caring and warmhearted soul, a soft touch of sorts, and a wonderful teacher, ever focused on making me think creatively, testing my mind and my capacities, and never doing so with the easy question. Whether it was learning how to truly listen to the music, understanding repertoire, opening the window on recording, exposing me to different venues or the key characteristics of a new hall, I am forever indebted. Witty, fun, charming, warm, caring, brilliant, visionary, inclusive, fatherly… words that inadequately describe my dear friend, mentor, and confidant, Sy Rosen. —Allison Vulgamore is president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra. She previously served as president and CEO of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Prior to Atlanta, Vulgamore served in leadership roles with the New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra.

Seymour Rosen and his son, Jesse Rosen, at the 2004 League National Conference at which the senior Rosen was awarded the Gold Baton, the League’s highest honor, “for serving music and orchestras with vision, passion, integrity, and courage.” Jesse Rosen has been the League’s president and CEO since 2008.

Sy waS a good friend and the best of colleagues—warm, friendly, smart, savvy, and willing to share his wisdom and experience. He was a giant in our field in every way. He had an endless supply of stories of the orchestra business. I remember one that dealt with that rara avis, the music director. At the Philadelphia Orchestra, Sy towered over the legendary Eugene Ormandy, who was quite short and extremely conscious of his height, going to inordinate lengths to deny it, like never standing next to an artist who was taller than he and staying on the podium to take a bow. Ormandy lived in The Barclay, an elegant Rittenhouse Square apartment hotel directly across the park and in direct line of sight of the tall apartment tower where Sy and his wife, Bunny, were planning to live. Unexpectedly, Ormandy asked Sy what floor his apartment was on. When told, Ormandy forbade him to move there. When asked why, he said, “I don’t want to look up to you!” My first orchestra job was at the New York Philharmonic in 1962, and I soon learned that Sy was held in very high regard by his peers. After moving to Cincinnati as orchestra manager ten years later I got to know Sy. He was then manager at Pittsburgh and a member of what was then called “the Hungry Five,” a

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group of managers from the five orchestras ranked just below Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and Philadelphia. I was invited to join the group and my first meeting was on the beach at Longboat Key in Sarasota, Florida. Sy was one of the prime movers of this group. I was quite nervous, or clueless, and in a bit of misplaced bravado I decided I didn’t need to bother with sunscreen—a very big mistake! The Florida sun is intense, and I was badly burned. On the plane north I was wretched, but luckily Sy was with me. Instead of pooh-poohing my misery he was solicitous, tender, and caring. This was the beginning of a lasting friendship. Sy was that special kind of friend— though not seen regularly, there was an instant bond between us whenever we were together. I took counsel with him often and knew he was always there for me. I loved this man deeply and will miss him very much. —Nick Webster is an independent arts consultant and the former executive vice president and managing director of the New York Philharmonic, and former general manager of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He has been a board member of the League of American Orchestras since 1974, and has served on many National Endowment for the Arts Music Panels. symphony

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At the

Something to Declare A new “passport” for instruments may change international travel for musicians. by Robert Sandla


ay you’re a musician who is about to tour. You’ve booked the gig, purchased airline tickets for yourself and your cello, updated your passport, and dealt with the visa. You’ve followed up on the usual duty requirements and carnet process. It’s a gig you’ve done before, in a country you’ve visited many times. You hit the airport and bang: some official tells you your bow includes an endangered type of ivory, and it is seized. Your instrument—your livelihood, and, often, your pride and joy—vanishes. Welcome to the confusing world of international travel with musical instruments. The worst-case scenario just described may happen with rising frequency as authorities begin beefing up enforcement of laws governing the transport of objects containing material from protected animal and plant species. Those laws have been on the books since 1973, but many orchestras and musicians may have had no idea they existed. It’s surprising that musical instruments fall under the same jurisdiction as white rhinos, but the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) aims to protect the natural world, no matter where its products are found. That’s a laudable aim, but a lack of clarity concerning compliance and enforcement, and the existence of regulations such as the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act, add up to a complicated web of laws that can make life for musicians and orchestras challenging. Recently, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, which regulates trade in and


travel with protected species, proposed a “passport” for instruments that would streamline the CITES permit requirements for musicians. At a conference this March in Bangkok, 178 nations approved development of the proposed passport. The League of American Orchestras has partnered with the American Federation of Musicians, the National Association of Music Merchants, the Recording Academy, and the International Society of Violin and Bowmakers to work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife as it pursues implementation of the passport. The League and its partners are working to ensure that practical issues of cost and time are considered. Advocating for the interests of orchestras and musicians on travel with instruments is just one of the many issues in the portfolio of Heather Noonan, the League’s vice president for advocacy, and Najean Lee, senior manager for government affairs and education advocacy. Noonan recently spoke with Symphony about the League’s work on this front. Robert Sandla: Could you provide some history concerning the rules for travel with instruments? Heather Noonan: CITES, the international agreement, came into being in 1973, so this agreement among countries to regulate trade in endangered species has been around for some time. As various plants and animals have come into protected status, the stakeholders, from small violin and bow makers to the broader industry of manufacturers as well as traveling musicians, have come to the table when species like rosewood, ebony, pernambuco, and ivory have drawn

international attention. We get involved to make the case for what new permit rules will mean for traveling artists. Sandla: Why are things heating up now? Noonan: Every three years, the nations that are a party to CITES meet, and this year the U.S. delegation to the convention proposed a passport concept as a way of streamlining the permit process to relieve the burden on the musicians—and to relieve the burden on the agencies of each country issuing permits. Few musicians are aware of the existing permit requirements, so the implementation of this form of relief may feel like a whole new set of requirements. There is a lot of work needed to bring folks up to speed on what is required to travel with instruments without the danger of being out of compliance. Sandla: Will this new passport cover all regulations concerning instruments with material from endangered species? Noonan: No. There are domestic rules in many countries, in addition to the international rules concerning endangered species. In the U.S., in addition to CITES, there is the Endangered Species Act, which has its focus on conservation, and the Lacey Act, which relates to the illegal harvesting of materials. There is a rich climate for confusion among these points. There have been a few stories about an artist having his or her instrument confiscated, or even having the instrument confiscated and destroyed for being out of compliance. U.S. authorities have informed us that immediate destruction of instruments is not part of their protocol. But all it takes is two or three stories like this to strike fear in the community of musicians. We want to help get good, reliable information to musicians. Sandla: Many older instruments were created before the agreement. Are they grandfathered in? Noonan: There are two things to consider. One is whether the instrument was manufactured before those materials came on the CITES protected-species symphony

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listing. That’s the first threshold—is it a legal product? If you satisfy that, the next concern is: you need to have proper documentation to cross international borders. If you can document that your instrument includes these species and it was produced legally, the next step is securing permits from each country that allow you to move it from one country to another. Currently, you need permits to take it out of where you are and bring it to where you are going. And you may need permits to allow you to bring it back to your country of origin. These are separate permits, need to be obtained anew for each trip, and the process varies from country to country. Sandla: Can an orchestra, as an employer of musicians, coordinate these permits? Noonan: There is a Traveling Exhibition Permit that allows a group to obtain a single permit to cover multiple instruments, but the instrumentation cannot change while traveling. In a touring ensemble, musicians often splinter at some point and carry their instruments individually. So the single group permit isn’t always feasible. Navigating the permit process may be coordinated by orchestra administrators, but would likely also involve action by individual musicians to document their particular instrument. Sandla: When did you become involved in this? Noonan: Before the 2007 CITES meeting, when there were discussions around pernambuco wood. Pernambuco is frequently used in fine bows, and it was being contemplated that instruments containing pernambuco would require permits for travel. Our goal was to make sure that musicians didn’t have to go through a burdensome permit process. We partnered with bowmakers, who have a serious stake in conserving the pernambuco tree. Ultimately, the U.S. delegation to the 2007 CITES meeting successfully championed a permit exemption for finished musical instruments that contain pernambuco wood. [See the SeptemberOctober 2007 issue of Symphony for coverage of pernambuco.] We have been encouraged that U.S. americanorchestras.org

Fish and Wildlife continues to acknowledge the challenges that musicians face when traveling and create policies that will be helpful, while also meeting the mandate of conserving and protecting threatened species. We are working with them on an ongoing basis as they shape new permitting policies. Sandla: A naïve question: When you talk about helping to shape policy, how does that work? Face-to-face meetings, phone calls, public appearances? Noonan: All of the above. We meet face to face with officials at U.S. Fish and Wildlife. We appear at public engagements and forums. There is a formal process agencies must undertake for engaging the public when they are developing new policy, and we submit comments for the federal record. We take each opportunity we can to be present during that formal dialogue as well as meeting one-on-one with the people who craft the policy. The most important part of what we do is engage with the League membership to help understand the issue from their point of view. We have been in very close communication with orchestra operations personnel, especially at orchestras that travel and tour frequently, to understand the challenges in securing permits, what could be helpful in the new passport concept, and what the practical realities are. Sandla: What about your collaboration with partners such as the AFM? Noonan: We have a strong and long history of collaborating on a wide range of policy issues. For more than a decade we have been working intensely side by side with the AFM on three issues related to traveling musicians. One is improving the visa process for international musicians, another is working on Federal Aviation Administration regulations to make it easier to transport instruments in airplane cabins, and the third is the endangered species permit process. Sandla: The passport process has been approved in theory. Do you have expectations for a timeline for implementation? Noonan: We anticipate that by midJune U.S. Fish and Wildlife will put into place an initial process for obtaining a

The League of American Orchestras has compiled a list of resources regarding international travel with musical instruments made of protected materials that includes a free, on-demand webinar with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services about current regulations; fact sheets; permit application forms, and contact information. Visit americanorchestras. org and look for Advocacy and Government.

passport good for up to three years of travel. We are communicating with them while they refine their process. One reason the permitting process remains complicated is that the CITES passport only covers one aspect of permit requirements. CITES is the minimum permitting threshold set by all 178 of the participating countries. Each country could have its own domestic requirements, as we do here. The CITES passport will help musicians satisfy one layer of permitting with a single document. Musicians will still need to check with each country to which they travel to see if additional permits are required. We hope that there will eventually be some central resource that musicians could access so they can understand the requirements of each country. As yet that kind of resource doesn’t exist. Sandla: Did you ever expect to become an expert in exotic woods? Noonan: [Laughs.] I would use the term “expert” cautiously—or probably not at all. But yes, at the same time that the League is working on tax-reform policies that impact nonprofit arts organizations, and visa issues, and the ever-present threats to the NEA and arts education, we’re also wrapping our minds around endangered-species policy. But it’s inspiring when you think that music is so embedded in our life and culture that nearly every aspect of public policy touches it. That’s another indicator to me of how essential music is in daily life. ROBERT SANDLA is Symphony’s editor in chief.


Concluding this year’s “NSO in Your Neighborhood” in January was a concert at Howard University led by National Symphony Orchestra Music Director Christoph Eschenbach (center) and Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke (downstage left, purple tie). Standing to Reineke’s left are violinist Elena Urioste (green dress) and pianist Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center’s jazz programming advisor. Performers also included Howard’s jazz vocal ensemble, Afro Blue (lower right), and the Howard University Choir.

Close to


by Chester Lane

kelly Hicks

LittLe RoCk

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra violist Phoebe Duff chatted with patrons Oscar and Polly Casteneda at a reception following the ASO’s March 14 neighborhood concert at Christ Church.

Downtown venues still anchor the main subscription series at most orchestras, but bringing music to neighborhoods where audiences live and work is an increasingly vital part of their mission.



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Scott Suchman




a group of neighborhoods encompassing Howard University and the residential areas Shaw and Logan Circle was alive with free musical and educational activities presented by the National Symphony Orchestra. The seven-day “NSO in Your Neighborhood” included a Saturday-afternoon family concert at the historic Lincoln Theatre; ten school performances, eight master classes, and a variety of recitals and ensemble concerts; joint appearances by NSO musicians and local jazz artists; a screening of the documentary Duke Ellington’s Washington at the African American Civil War Museum; and

V. Valentin Fotografie

n May of this year the Cleveland Orchestra made two unprecedented appearances at St. Colman Catholic Church on the city’s west side, both led by Assistant Conductor James Feddeck: a Thursday evening classical program and a concert for local schoolchildren the following morning. But it wasn’t just the mighty band from across town that came to the neighborhood that week. For five days preceding those concerts at St. Colman, musicians from the orchestra—and a few members of its affiliated youth orchestra and youth chorus as well—appeared at thirteen other venues in the area, ranging from Battery Park Wine Bar and the Cleveland Public Theatre to St. Augustine Health Ministries and a local mom-and-pop grocery store called Stockyard Meats. It was all part of “The Cleveland Orchestra at Home in Gordon Square.” Planned in partnership with the Gordon Square Arts District, the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, and local businesses, all events were free and open to the public. Earlier this season, the nation’s capital witnessed a similar cultural encampment by a major orchestra. In Washington, D.C.,

A quintet from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs in January at St. Jane Frances de Chantal parish in Sterling Heights, Michigan, as part of the DSO’s Neighborhood Residency Initiative.

a concert at Howard University saluting the centenary of that historically black institution’s music department. As with the Gordon Square residency in Cleveland, all performances were free, although some venues required a cover charge for food and drink. At the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the concept of neighborhood embraces music and social service, city and suburbs. A Neighborhood Residency Initiative, launched in fall 2011, encompasses essentially all of the DSO’s considerable activity that takes place outside of Orchestra Hall: orchestral concerts, ensemble performances,





As Symphony reported in Winter 2011, the Cleveland Orchestra has a major wintertime presence in Miami, makes regular visits to New York City, and has residencies in Lucerne, Vienna, and Bloomington, Indiana. Local residents enjoy its concerts at Severance Hall, at Blossom Music Center in nearby Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and at a free community con-

Cleveland Orchestra musicians visited fourteen venues on the city’s west side (see detail) for its weeklong “Cleveland Orchestra at Home in Gordon Square” residency this May. Severance Hall, in the University Circle area, is circled at upper right on the metro Cleveland map.

cert downtown that has taken place each year since 1990. But the Gordon Square residency this spring was the first time in 33 years that the orchestra had presented performances on the west side of its own city. General Manager Julie Kim notes that Severance Hall, the orchestra’s main venue, “is east of downtown, in the University Circle area. On the west side there’s Gordon Square and some other neighborhoods that are basically suburban. There isn’t really a direct route from east to west, so there’s something of a geographical barrier. The Gordon Square neighborhood has really embraced the arts, tried to make it more feasible for small businesses to start up, and for artists to live and work. Some of the local residents are on the lower end of the income spectrum, and few of them have come to hear the orchestra at Severance Hall. But there are people who go to Gordon Square, maybe from the east side or from more affluent suburban areas on the west side, as a destination for movies


Top: Cleveland Orchestra musicians performing in small ensembles as part of the May 11-17 Gordon Square residency included Shachar Israel, assistant principal trombone; Miho Hashizume, violin; Derek Zadinsky, bass; and Marisela Sager, assistant principal flute.



Roger Mastroianni

venue are many and varied. To some extent, bringing music to neighborhoods may be a means of enhancing subscription revenue, or an investment in future ticket sales on the main series. But as these projects and many others demonstrate, it’s also a way to forge ties with local businesses, community associations, and alternative performance spaces. It can be a celebration of the neighborhood’s ethnic character, educational institutions, or cultural amenities; a chance to perform repertoire better suited to intimate spaces than to a large concert hall; a goodwill gesture from an arts organization that may be the most prestigious one in town but has been regarded as aloof or inaccessible; and a prime opportunity to bring community residents face-to-face with the talents and personalities of the professional musicians in their midst.

Google map courtesy Cleveland Orchestra

recitals, education activities, audience engagement events, programs in senior centers, and visits to healthcare facilities. The full orchestra appears regularly in half a dozen Detroit suburbs, bringing to each community a four-concert subscription series. These six Neighborhood Concert Series—priced lower than the Orchestra Hall concerts, at $25 per concert or $75 for the series—are what Heather Mourer, the DSO’s manager of neighborhood audience development, calls “the core revenue-generating component of the Neighborhood Residency Initiative.” And they are significant audience multipliers: about 88 percent of the subscribers do not also hold a subscription to one of the Classical series at Orchestra Hall. Recitals and chamber-music performances that are part of the Neighborhood Residency Initiative take place in the suburban subscription neighborhoods, at other venues outside the city, and in such downtown spaces as Detroit Institute of Arts and the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Center. The Chicago Sinfonietta performs regularly in the downtown area known as the Loop—at Harris Theater and at Symphony Center, also home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—as well as in suburban Naperville. This season the Sinfonietta is also reaching an audience that is underrepresented at these venues—Latino families—with “Encuentros,” a new five-concert neighborhood series on Chicago’s southwest side. For a different set of reasons, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra began performing at a variety of neighborhood venues this season in its home city of Little Rock. With funding from the estate of ASO founder Stella Boyle Smith, it has launched the Stella Boyle Smith Trust Intimate Neighborhood Concert Series. What all of these orchestras have in common is a commitment to reaching local residents with music, not just in the palaces of art that constitute their main subscription venues but in the neighborhoods where they live, work, or shop. Cleveland, National, Detroit, Arkansas, and the Chicago Sinfonietta are just five examples of a growing movement in the orchestra world towards greater public access to live music in communities close to home. The motivations for performing locally but outside an orchestra’s main

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But choosing an urban community on which to focus a week’s worth of intensive activities is a relatively new idea at the NSO: the prototype for this year’s “NSO in Your Neighborhood” was established only in January 2012, when a similar weeklong constellation of events took place in the northwest Washington community of Columbia Heights. NSO Executive Director Rita Shapiro notes that the “In Your Neighborhood” moniker itself pre-dates her tenure, which began in 2001. “As a title and a concept it was languishing,” she says. “But as a result of our most recent strategic plan several years ago we did a very big push for community work. I feel strongly about this, as does the whole NSO staff. And the Kennedy Center supports it enthusiastically. It’s really significant that we bring this kind of work to neighborhoods.” In its present form, “NSO in Your Neighborhood” is a descendant of the American Residencies program, a joint NSO/Kennedy Center venture that operated between 1992 and 2011, taking the orchestra to a different state each year. Shapiro says that due to cuts in the Kennedy Center’s federal Department of Education funding, American Residencies is now “on hiatus. We’ve had to be creative and reinvent a program that our musicians are really invested in and love doing. We’ve remade it for our very own backyard. We don’t do exactly what we did in the different states, but we try to take a similar approach, in that for whatever

Google map courtesy National Symphony Orchestra

in many more Northeast Ohio neighboror theater or some great restaurants. “A challenge for us with this residency,” hoods.” The geographical focus of next year’s local residency had not been announced at Kim continues, “was trying to serve two press time, but Kim says she and her colconstituencies. Some of the venues are more leagues “have ideas about where we’d like to frequented by visitors, others are places go. We’re hoping the energy that comes out where the locals go to buy produce and of this inaugural residency will spur intermeat. We tried to make sure we weren’t just est from other communities that feel this is going there for the visitors or the people something they want.” who might have already heard the orchestra; we wanted to make sure we were touching everybody in the community. There is Washington, D.C. definitely ethnic diversity in this neighborThe National Symphony has long been hood. Gordon Square has a large Hispanic committed to performing locally outside population, and Irish Catholics were some of its cultural enclave at the Kennedy Cenof the first immigrants to the Cleveland ter. Concerts have occurred on The Mall area, which is why you have all those Irish and in such places as Carter Barron AmCatholic churches. More recently, Vietnamphitheatre in Rock Creek Park, the city’s ese and Thai constituencies have started largest green space. In to crop up. The neighborhood is gentrirecent years, there has “We’ve had fying, but a lot of those ethnic pockets been an annual foray to be creative are still somewhat segregated and we’re into Washington’s and reinvent a trying to bring it all together. Anacostia neighborprogram that “For our own organization internally, hood: a visit to Town our musicians one of the most interesting aspects of Hall Education Arts are really this residency is that, apart from the Recreation Campus invested in and full-orchestra concerts on Thursday and (aka THEARC), a love doing,” Friday, the musicians themselves got culturally and socially says NSO to choose what they would play. They vital complex that Executive submitted proposals, and a commitincludes a middle Director Rita tee involving both musicians and staff school for girls and Shapiro. determined which ensemble size and satellite campuses for “We’ve remade program would work best for any given the Washington Bal[American venue.” The musician-initiated activities Residencies] for let, Levine School of included impromptu performances on Music, and Corcoran our very own each floor of 78th Street Studios—forGallery of Art. backyard.” mer home to the giant card company American Greetings, now a multi-level art gallery—and music interspersed with poetry by William Blake at the Cleveland Public Theatre. Helping to lay the groundwork for this Gordon Square residency had been the periodic presence of Cleveland Orchestra musicians at the Happy Dog, a beer-and-hotdogs joint on Detroit Avenue where their appearances as Ensemble HD are wildly popular. Happy Dog co-owner Sean Watterson was “really integral in moving this along, The National Symphony Orchestra, getting the right people from the combased at the Kennedy Center (above, munity involved,” Kim says. circled left) staged events at 29 venues “The Cleveland Orchestra at Home in Washington’s Shaw, Logan Circle, and in Gordon Square” has been billed by Howard University neighborhoods this the orchestra as its first annual residenJanuary (see detail). THEARC, a cultural center in southeast Washington (above, cy in the Cleveland area, and Executive circled at right) is the site of an annual Director Gary Hanson has stated that visit by the NSO. he’s looking forward to “being ‘at home’


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neighborhood we decide to work with we really try to find the flavor of that neighborhood, and find community partners who are willing to brainstorm with us. We have several planning meetings to find the best venues and take suggestions from these community partners.” One important partner in this year’s “NSO in Your Neighborhood” was the Logan Circle Community Association. LCCA President Tim Christensen had been in-

vited to those planning meetings as a member of the nonprofit organization Cultural Tourism DC. He says he was instrumental in getting the Logan Circle neighborhood added to a plan that had originally focused mainly on Shaw’s U Street corridor— “Black Broadway,” Christensen calls it— and the Seventh and Ninth Street corridor running south from Howard University (see map). “As president of LCCA I reached out to a lot of the local organizations—schools,

churches, nonprofits, community centers, art galleries, even grocery stores. None of them had known about this, because the NSO doesn’t have a community email list the way LCCA does. I was able to get the local elementary school, the Jewish Community Center, and the Whole Foods Market in the heart of the Logan Circle neighborhood added to the plan.” Christensen speaks of the Shaw/Logan Circle area as diverse, but increasingly a destination area inhabited by “pioneering souls” drawn to an urban lifestyle and handsome Victorian architecture. And Shapiro says that having attended most of this year’s residency, “anecdotally I can say there was a preponderance of young professionals. It’s a demographic that everybody is trying to capture.” As for what has motivated people to attend the “NSO in Your Neighborhood” activities, Shapiro cites online surveys that were done following the 2012 and 2013 residencies. “Overwhelmingly people said they came because all of the events were free,” she says. “But the second biggest takeaway from the surveys was this: they were there because we came to their neighborhood.” Little Rock

As a member of the National Trustees advisory board of the National Symphony Orchestra, Arkansas attorney Michael R. Mayton was quite familiar with the NSO’s American Residencies program, and in his capacity as a trustee of the Stella Boyle Smith Trust he had secured funding for the NSO’s Arkansas residency in 2009. He was impressed with how Shapiro and the NSO had re-invented American Residencies for their own backyard. Mayton says he told Shapiro and Marie Mattson, the Kennedy Center’s vice president for development, that he was tempted to establish neighborhood concerts at the Arkansas Symphony, but hated to steal their idea. Their response, he recalls, was, “go right ahead. That’s why we do these things.” The ASO’s Stella Boyle Smith Intimate Neighborhood Concert Series launched on January 17 of this year, with a program of Rossini, Poulenc, Ives, and Mozart at Little Rock’s Pulaski Heights Methodist Church. A second concert, featuring smaller-scale works by Elgar, Jennifer Higdon, Vaughan Williams, and Bartók followed on March 14 at Christ Church. And on May 16 the




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ASO teamed up with the Arkansas Chamber Singers to perform Mozart’s Requiem at First United Church. Music Director Philip Mann, who assumed leadership of the orchestra in the 2010-11 season following three years in the League of American Orchestras’ American Conducting Fellows Program, notes that the ASO has “a long relationship with the Stella Boyle Smith Trust. The [neighborhood concerts] grant was an endorsement

of the mission and philosophy behind creating this new series. It’s not the prototypical neighborhood series where you’re just bringing the orchestra to new listeners. We’re trying to build, in a shortened timeframe, the amount of contact people can have with their symphony, particularly those who are our core contributors and subscribers. “But the genesis of the series really lies in artistic vision,” Mann continues. “We have a very large hall”—Robinson Center


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Music Hall, located on the south bank of the Arkansas River, seats 2,600—“and that presents some challenges with respect to intimacy, both acoustically and physically. I wanted an opportunity to connect with our audiences in a really new way, a visceral way, where people could be surrounded by the music. Where we could play repertoire that was well suited for the spaces, and repertoire that for me is so important in building an orchestra and advancing it artistically— things like Haydn and Schubert and Mozart, with a smaller Classical- or Baroquesized orchestra. “The third thing that’s important about this series is trying to build connections with our public. All of the concerts are followed by receptions where the musicians mingle with the audience. Intermissions are a little shorter, but Music Director during that time the Philip Mann orchestra is encouraged says the to go out into the hall. Arkansas In our big hall there’s Symphony is an enormous barrier “trying to build between the stage and the amount of audience, and we haven’t contact people been able to cultivate can have with individual musician their symphony. relationships with the And I wanted public. In this new series to connect with we’ve made huge strides our audiences with that already.” in a really new Mann also notes that way, a visceral the shortened format of way.” the neighborhood concerts “resonates with people. And they’re all on Thursday evenings. This was a little bit of an experiment to see if we could engage some of the people who typically leave town on the weekends and aren’t around for our Masterworks Series concerts.” The neighborhood concerts’ intimate settings have made for palpable changes not only in the musical experience, but in how ASO musicians can connect socially with their audience. Oboist and English horn player Beth Wheeler recalls the dramatic effect of a lone trumpeter performing from the balcony of Pulaski Heights Methodist Church in Ives’s The Unanswered Question. Christ Church, says Wheeler, was a gratifying venue in which to perform Jennifer Higdon’s Soliloquy for English horn and strings—and as her services were not needed for the rest of that program she was able to experience Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia symphony

summer 2013

on a Theme by Thomas Tallis from the audience, where she marveled at the “organ-like” sounds of the ASO’s Quapaw and Rockefeller string quartets, both drawn from the ranks of the orchestra. During intermissions at these shorter concerts—Wheeler calls them “pauses”—she and her ASO colleagues were able to “infiltrate” the audience, engaging them face-to-face in a manner not possible in a traditional concert setting. Bringing the Arkansas Symphony to new venues this season and next has significant implications for management: Robinson Hall, scheduled for a major overhaul, will shut down at the end of next season and be unavailable for an extended period. “Another reason we wanted to launch this series now,” says ASO Executive Director Christina Littlejohn, “was to dip our toes in the water in performing outside of Robinson. What are the price points? What would people be willing to pay for general admission? What would it mean for the production team? This is a way for us to gather data before we’re out of the hall. “Frequency of attendance is another issue,” Littlejohn continues. “In our analysis

we found that it took an average of sixteen concerts, or 3.9 years, before people started making donations. Was there a way to speed that up? We made the strategic decision to do these concerts in neighborhoods where our subscribers tended to live. But we’re also encouraging others in the neighborhood by making it easy for them to get to concerts.” Mann notes that the churches hosting this year’s neighborhood concerts were selected based on their “infrastructure”—an existing music series, perhaps, or a physical amenity such as the Nichols & Simpson organ used for the Poulenc concerto—and as spaces where “people were comfortable attending events.” Numerous Little Rock venues are under consideration for next season, he says, including the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion and “other historic public spaces that are strategically located in our community and offer beautiful aesthetic settings.” Chicago

Last fall, in announcing a new five-concert family series on the southwest side of Chicago called “Encuentros,” Chicago Sinfo-

SAM workS cloSely with preSenterS, orcheStrAS, And feStivAlS to deliver excellent MuSiciAnShip while Meeting their progrAMMing And budgetAry needS

nietta Executive Director Jim Hirsch said that while the orchestra regularly showcases music by Latin American composers, “we realize that it can be a challenge to come downtown to a big concert hall to experience this music. [‘Encuentros’] is our way to turn that around a little.” The goal of “Encuentros,” a new program underwritten by The Chicago Community Trust, was to feature chamber-sized ensembles from the Sinfonietta in collaboration with musicians from the community. The series opened last December with a holiday concert at UNO Soccer Academy, a charter school in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood dedicated to helping Latino youngsters assimilate into American society. The concert paired the Chicago Sinfonietta Brass Ensemble with a children’s choir from the Pilsen/Little Village Neighborhood Choir of Chicago and an advanced guitar ensemble from the school. In February the Sinfonietta’s Percussion Ensemble performed with Chiara Mangiameli Ensemble at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Concerts in March and May, involving the Sinfonietta’s Project Inclusion Ensemble

ROSTER Soloists Michael Brown PIANO Misha Dichter PIANO Gabriela Martinez PIANO Elena Urioste VIOLIN Juan Miguel Hernandez VIOLA Carter Brey CELLO Amy Porter FLUTE Eileen Strempel SOPRANO Duos Misha & Cipa Dichter PIANO DUO Brasil Guitar Duo Carter Brey & Gabriela Martinez CELLO PIANO DUO Elena Urioste and Michael Brown VIOLIN PIANO DUO Conductors David Amado MUSIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR, DELAWARE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Piotr Gajewski MUSIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR, NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC

Chamber Ensembles Bernard Woma Ensemble AFRICAN PERCUSSION TRIO Harlem Quartet STRING QUARTET Carter Brey with Harlem Quartet STRING QUINTET Misha Dichter with Harlem Quartet PIANO QUINTET Trio Virado FLUTE, VIOLA, GUITAR Boreal Trio CLARINET, VIOLA, PIANO




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and its Wind Ensemble, took place at Benito Juárez Community Academy. The last concert, scheduled for August 15 at UNO Veterans Memorial Campus, is a collaboration between the Chicago Sinfonietta Chamber Ensemble and Sones de México Ensemble Chicago. The Chicago Sinfonietta bills itself as “the nation’s most diverse orchestra.” Hirsch says that its roster “typically includes between 30 and 45 musicians of color, black or Hispanic. Ever since our founding, the audience has also been quite diverse. The majority of that has been represented by the African-American community. We’ve always had Latino, Asian, and other diverse audience segments, but we hadn’t done much outreach into the Latino community; we felt it was slightly under-represented. “For the last four years, we’ve programmed one concert around the theme of Día de los Muertos”—last November’s “Day of the Dead” program, performed in both Naperville and at the Harris Theater, included such composers as Piazzolla, de Falla, Márquez, and Moncayo—“but we really felt that in order to cultivate a relationship with that community we needed to have a consistent presence, and even more importantly to consistently program things that would reflect their cultural identity and allow us to work with Latino conductors and soloists. When the Chicago Community Trust began underwriting programs specifically intended to take place in Chicago’s various neighborhoods, we thought this offered an opportunity to raise the ante and actually take programming into the community at a fairly regular, predictable rate.” The future of “Encuentros” will depend on funding. With concerts priced at $5 to $20, the series is “not sustainable based on ticket sales alone,” Hirsch says. “Ticket prices could be higher than they are now, but raising them would make it a less attractive offering to the public. We’re not sure whether the [Chicago Community Trust] grant will be ongoing, or whether other people will want to fund it. There are certain budgetary issues that affect how much we’re able to do with the series. “What I can say unequivocally is that we’ll continue to invest in developing relationships with this incredibly important segment of the population in Chicago.”

The Chicago Sinfonietta’s February “Encuentros” concert at the National Museum of Mexican Art featured the Chiara Mangiameli Ensemble.




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CHESTER LANE is senior editor of Symphony. americanorchestras.org


The Dayton Ballet’s December 2012 performance of The Nutracker (below) got a boost from the addition of live orchestral music, courtesy of the Dayton Philharmonic.

Allied P

aul Helfrich has a favorite phrase when describing the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s merger with the Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet: “Finances brought us all to the table, but what kept us there was realizing the collaborative opportunities a merger would provide.” Indeed, Helfrich recalls, when he arrived as the Philharmonic’s executive director in August 2008 the economy had just gone into a tailspin. Helfrich, Music Director Neal Gittleman, and other Philharmonic leaders sat down to assess the organization’s financial situation and plan for the future. At some point, a thought occurred to Gittleman:


“What if we had a completely different business model?” What about a Europeanstyle structure, “one where we would be aligned with the opera and ballet, the two other primary classical music organizations in Dayton”? In some ways the idea wasn’t completely new stateside. The Utah Symphony and Opera were then going into their sixth year as a unified entity, a relationship that had brought a variety of artistic benefits and administrative efficiencies, but which also presented some challenges in the realm of organizational identity. Looking even further back, the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera had been operating under the same umbrella since 1984. Following Gittleman’s epiphany, it took another

couple of years before the Dayton Philharmonic, Opera, and Ballet worked out the necessary kinks to merge back office operations under the newly formed Dayton Performing Arts Alliance in July 2012. “The fact that no one organization had a gun to its head or was in crisis helped,” Gittleman says. “We had the time to talk it over, be careful about it and be slow, and not feel forced. If we’re a model for other cities, I think that’s the model.” Though it may be early for Dayton to be the model, other orchestras are exploring mergers with local performing arts groups as a viable option, from nearby Columbus to Phoenix to Sacramento and elsewhere. symphony

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Andy Snow

Music Director Neal Gittleman leads the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra during its New Year’s Eve Concert, December 2012.


Mergers may offer orchestras and other arts groups opportunities for greater administrative efficiency, but the real benefits often lie in creativity and community impact.

And many are employing a similarly deliberate approach. Officials at the Sacramento Philharmonic and Sacramento Opera figure their merger, which takes effect July 1, was roughly two-and-ahalf years in the making, while the Phoenix Symphony is still in the early stages of exploring collaborative endeavors with the Phoenix-based Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona. Meanwhile, the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera recently finished a “ten-year retrospective,” an internal review to see americanorchestras.org

what lessons might be learned from their own merger a decade ago. The League of American Orchestras is looking to build on this emerging knowledge with two sessions at its National Conference in June that will explore some of the benefits and challenges that mergers can bring. (See sidebar, page 45.) Motivations for mergers vary. For many, opportunities for savings—through insurance, shared resources, or combined of-

fice space—are primary drivers. For musicians, mergers can mean more work of a greater variety, though individual cases differ. But those advantages are often accompanied by painful cuts for staff and can be outweighed by challenges in donor retention. For other groups that have already scaled back, mergers can offer a way to stabilize financially and refocus on future growth. And while integrating art forms with vastly different cultures and workflow rhythms presents a further challenge, the process



by Ian VanderMeulen

can also be highly productive. “Where there’s more scale there’s more interplay, more creativity,” says Bill Connor, president of Ohio’s Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), which is in its second year handling back-office operations for the Columbus Symphony. “Scale gives you a platform to take chances and be creative in ways that just aren’t there when you’re small and on your own.”

Combining back offices with the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts has helped the Columbus Symphony revive its Summer Series in downtown Columbus.

Long and Short Courtships

In Dayton, a merger was never a foregone conclusion. The Philharmonic initially responded to the financial meltdown by instituting a three-year bridge funding plan and formed the Business Model Review Group, which met for the first time in 2010. The group came up with a number of cost-saving measures, but it was clear, Helfrich says, that a more substantial rethinking was required. It was then that Gittleman proposed the European-style model. When Helfrich approached the local opera and ballet companies, says Jeremy Trahan, then-chairman of the Dayton Ballet board, they were intrigued, though they met the “My idea with some trepidation. counsel “We had taken extraordinary to anyone austerity measures,” both seeking in the back office and on to do this the production side, Trahan is take says. The process had left the the time company, like the Philharto work monic, concerned over its through all own survival. the issues But the process had also and be reaffirmed a sense of identity, prepared something Trahan saw refor it to flected in the Philharmonic take a long and Opera. “The Philhartime—a monic is over 100 years old, long the Ballet was entering our courtship, 75th anniversary, the Opnot a era was coming up on their shotgun 50th anniversary,” he notes. marriage,” “We were all very cognizant says of where we fit in the hisDayton’s tory of this town, and it was Paul immensely important to our Helfrich. patrons as well that we preserve that. We wanted to make sure a merger was the right thing to do, not just the bailout thing to do.” So the three organizations took their time. Two board


members and the administrative director from each organization formed a steering committee for preliminary discussion of concerns and ambitions for the potential merged entity. All forms of collaborative structures were considered, Trahan asserts, but as an official merger looked more and more enticing, additional subcommittees were organized to focus on specifics. One was the board subcommittee, tasked with forming a 36-member board from more than 100 board members of the three merging groups, a potentially divisive process that, with clearly stated guidelines for future board membership, in fact went smoothly. The process on the whole was “organic,” says Gittleman. “My counsel to anyone seeking to do this is take the time to work through all the issues and be prepared for it to take a long time—a long courtship, not a shotgun marriage,” says Helfrich, now President and CEO of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, the umbrella organization under which the Philharmonic, Opera, and Ballet operate. “I think a lot of it comes down to the personalities of the people involved and what they’re willing to accept in terms of compromise and collaboration.” Helfrich, Gittleman, and Trahan all point

out that they haven’t yet had the opportunity to plan a full-on, collaborative season, since seasons are typically planned well over a year in advance. But the merger already demonstrated artistic success when it put the Philharmonic in the pit for the Ballet’s December 2012 Nutcracker, which previously had been performed to recorded music. Ticket sales shot up, Trahan says, and brought significant artistic benefits as well. Gittleman says the audience “went nuts” each of the three times that he signaled to the players in the pit—at the beginning, after intermission, and at the end. “That was a response the musicians were not used to getting when they’d accompanied the opera, and I think it really validated the experience,” he says. “And I could see the difference in the dancers, to have the flexibility and the supple support of a live orchestra as opposed to dancing to a recording. The audience sensed that too.” Musicians are also seeing a welcome increase in work. “The two biggest additions this year,” Gittleman says, “are the eleven services for Nutcracker and the fact that we’ve done away with what had been the Opera’s standard practice in recent years of using reduced orchestrations for some of symphony

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Randall Schieber

the bigger operas. So the opera work is being offered to a larger group of musicians. In this climate, any orchestra that can be offering more work to its musicians, you call that a win.” Anne Ewers, president and CEO of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera for the five years immediately after their merger, from 2002 to 2007, recalls similar impact there. As in Dayton, orchestra players would often be contracted to play in the opera pit, so americanorchestras.org

Randall Schieber

Columbus Symphony Music Director Jean-Marie Zeitouni in performance

live music was nothing new, but a merged organization allowed for better schedule coordination and a more consistent roster of musicians. “I’ll never forget the first rehearsal of Otello—the sound of the orchestra was so palpably different it was stunning,” says Ewers. “I went into the pit and said, ‘Guys, this is great! What’s happening?’ They said, ‘Anne, we’re no longer the hired help.’ ” Players not performing in the pit on a given program began coming more often to support their colleagues, Ewers recalls. And the new organization was freed up to program works that an orchestra or opera company might not do on its own, like Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins, “things that are a cross between art forms,” Ewers says. In retrospect, however, such artistic cohesion may have come at the expense of organizational identity. “I think in the excitement of creating a new and novel organization we didn’t understand the branding needs of the previous organizations,” says Patricia Richards, a board member of the Utah Opera at the time and now president of the joint board. One reason for the oversight may have been the speed of the merger. Struggling financially in the post-9/11 downturn and seeking a new president and CEO, the Utah Symphony board turned to Ewers, who had just brought the Utah Opera back to financial solvency as general director there. Ewers wasn’t interested in the Utah Symphony job but was intrigued by the idea of a merger. Ewers and then-Utah Symphony Music Director Keith Lockhart began speaking with members from both boards in March 2002, and by July submitted the merger plan to both boards for a vote. The merger was projected to save about $700,000 annually—in part through combined executive leadership—but ended up introducing unexpected financial challenges. “For example, for some donors, if they had been giving $10,000 to each organization, they didn’t feel comfortable giving $20,000 to the combined organization,” says Richards, who also sits on the League of American Orchestras board. “It was largely, I think, psychological—‘$20,000 to one organization? I can’t do that!’ ” Melia Tourangeau, who became Utah Symphony | Utah Opera CEO in 2008, notes that while the merger may have allowed the organization to weather the current recession, the downturn also “brought

out some skeletons” during “I think in the recent ten-year retro- the past the spective. “We’ve been work- orchestra ing on some pretty signifi- was really cant turf issues because, like focused everyone else, we’re cutting on our everywhere,” she says. Ad- Classical ditionally, Tourangeau notes, season, and musicians had been kept in our Pops the dark about much of the and our process, resulting in linger- summer ing issues that had to be seasons addressed. Furthermore, were more differences in staff culture apologetic,” and workflow may not have CAPA’s Bill been fully considered at the Connor time of the merger. “I think says. “Now Anne and Keith knew the we see cultures were different, but distinct until you’re living it I don’t brands.” think there’s any way you could know how different,” says Tourangeau. The Columbus Symphony and Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) have experienced surprisingly little cultural friction despite the speed of that merger process. As reported by Rebecca Winzenried in the Spring 2012 issue of Symphony, the Columbus Symphony’s actual hand-over of administrative duties to CAPA was driven by such financial duress—the orchestra had a small endowment and only about 60 days of operating funds at the time—that the process was accomplished in just six weeks. “I think we were very fortunate from the beginning of the relationship in that there was a tremendous amount of respect at the staff levels for each of the different areas of the orchestra and performing arts center,” says Bill Connor, president of CAPA. The decision to integrate the Symphony and CAPA staff by job function—they had previously been on separate floors of the same office building—was key. “I think it instantly created a really positive culture,” he says. Spurred by that new sense of cohesion, the two organizations made a joint effort to revive the Columbus Symphony’s sevenweek summer season, resulting in a 20 percent increase in attendance and 28 percent increase in revenue. It’s one example of the orchestra’s revitalization across a spectrum of artistic offerings. “I think in the past the orchestra was really focused on our Classi-


cal season, and our Pops and our summer seasons were more apologetic,” Connor says. “Now we see four distinct brands: Masterworks, Winter Pops, Picnic with the Pops, and our educational programming.” A similar approach to branding in Dayton helped disprove Trahan’s fears that the DPAA might suffer from some of the identity and donor issues that cropped up in Utah. The Philharmonic, Opera, and Ballet have each retained their artistic directors, and donors can target their gifts to any of the three organizations, or DPAA as whole—a model Helfrich likens to a university. “You can give to the general fund for Ohio State University, or you can give to the School of Law, the School of Medicine, or the Graduate School.”

Julian Dixon, director of education and community engagement at the Sacramento Philharmonic, at one of the orchestra’s “Petting Zoo” events. Merging with the Sacramento Opera in July will give both groups greater reach through their education programs.

Utah Symphony and Opera officials’ assumptions about the merger creating cost savings are not uncommon among nonprofits. In fact, this may be the biggest myth when it comes to performing arts mergers, says Bob Harrington of La Piana, a strategy and leadership consulting firm

L. Sterling

Looking for the Win-Win

for nonprofits. Harrington advises nonprofits of all stripes on the various aspects of mergers—what he prefers to call “strategic alliances”—including the recent ones in Sacramento and at the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and is leading two sessions on mergers and creative alliances June 18 and 19 at the League of American Orchestras National Conference in St. Louis. Getting past the expectations of cost savings, he says, “requires organizations to start thinking about, ‘What are we creating here? What’s going to be new about this?’ This particularly applies to arts and culture organizations. This is an opportunity to ask, ‘How do we not only consolidate our back-office functions and be more efficient, but also create new excitement and new programming that will bring in new audiences?’ ” The Sacramento Philharmonic and Sacramento Opera merger, announced in January and taking effect July 1, is a case in point. Faced with a dismal Northern California economy, the Opera had scaled back to one full-time and two seasonal part-time staffers and cancelled most of its 2011-12 season. The Philharmonic had recently feared complete closure. Merging



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seemed like an opportunity to create some stability for the struggling organizations, but with both having already “cut to the bone,” according to Philharmonic Executive Director Jane Hill, the merger became more mission-driven. “We don’t have any illusions about their audience becoming ours and our audience becoming theirs,” Hill says. “But we are counting on this alliance enabling us to reach out to new audiences with some new projects that neither of us could do independently.” Furthermore, with offices right next door to each other, both Sacramento groups had long been sharing resources as well, such as a clerical assistant directing calls to either organization while assisting both in other ways as needed. More recently, the Philharmonic enlisted the services of the Opera’s bookkeeper. “We weren’t waiting to be a merged entity to look for ways in which we could ally and help each other improve our situations,” Hill says. To be sure, merging will mean some growing pains. Sacramento’s Merger Task Force had set a budget of $1.8 million—less than the $2.1 million in com-

Conceptualizing Collaboration


he League focuses on mergers and other creative alliances with two sessions at the National Conference in St. Louis.

Mergers and Creative Alliances, scheduled for Tuesday, June 18, examines the why, when, and how of mergers and creative alliances. Participants learn about various types of partnership options and how to determine the best option for a particular mission and environment. The session also examines the benefits and challenges of restructuring and phases of the strategic restructuring process. (The session is a PreConference event and requires an additional fee.) Presenters: Robert Harrington, partner, La Piana Consulting; Paul A. Helfrich,

president and CEO, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance; Patricia Richards, board chair, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera The schedule for the following day, Wednesday, June 19, 2013, includes Introduction to Mergers and Creative Alliances. Orchestras and other non-profits are looking at what organizational mergers and creative alliances bring to the table. Some are looking for perceived opportunities for back-office savings, others at expanding the creative landscape. This session offers participants a “101” overview of mergers and creative alliances to help determine if they are the right strategies to explore. Presenters: Robert Harrington, partner, La Piana Consulting; Paul A. Helfrich,

president and CEO, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance; Patricia Richards, board chair, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera; Marc Scorca, president & CEO, OPERA America

Conductor Daniel Boico Christoph Campestrini Stephen D’Agostino Maxim Eshkenazy Nir Kabaretti Bernard Labadie Richard Lee James Paul Carlos Miguel Prieto Jean-François Rivest Jonathan Tessero Gregory Vajda Jean-Marie Zeitouni Piano Anderson & Roe Piano Duo Katherine Chi Alexander Korsantia Benedetto Lupo Dubravka Tomsic Gilles Vonsattel Xiayin Wang Violin Yossif Ivanov Mayuko Kamio Elina Vähälä French Horn David Jolley Ensemble Jasper String Quartet New York Brass Arts Trio Trio Cavatina Trio Valtorna Special Project Festival Pablo Casals Prades Collective I Musici di Roma Soprano Tracy Dahl Karina Gauvin Elizabeth Keusch Jonita Lattimore Kristine Biller Mattson Shannon Mercer Erika Miklosa+ Sharla Nafziger Mezzo-Soprano Cherry Duke Margaret Lattimore Quinn Patrick Charlotte Daw Paulsen Barbara Rearick Wendy White Counter-Tenor José Lemos Tenor John Daniecki Frank Kelley Jesús León Tilman Lichdi Christopher Pfund Steven Tharp Daniel Weeks Lawrence Wiliford Baritone Anton Belov Daniel Cilli Zeffin Quinn Hollis Jochen Kupfer+ Richard Zeller Bass-Baritone Stephen Bryant Won Cho Michael Dean Kevin Deas Bass Terry Cook Jeremy Galyon Chorus La Chapelle de Québec



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ficult topics.” But community support for the merger is strong. The City of Sacramento has offered three years of free office space for the new organization, named the Sacramento Regional Performing Arts Alliance. Once the Philharmonic and Opera had done their financial due diligence under La Piana’s guidance the board issued its own stamp of approval with a unanimous vote in favor of the merger. “In performing arts


bined budgets for the groups previously. Salary cuts seem all but inevitable, and Hill has been careful to be transparent about that with current staff. The merger will also require a renegotiation of the musicians’ contract. “Right now, the opera services don’t count towards our contract, they’re not part of our guaranteed services,” Hill says. “So we’re going to have to talk about the size of the core, rates, and guaranteed services, and those will be dif-

Guest conductor Ari Pelto leads the Phoenix Symphony during its TRIO! gala, a collaboration with the Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona.

mergers you’re always looking for the winwin,” says Michael Morgan, the Philharmonic’s music director and frequent conductor and artistic advisor for the Opera. “Especially with the classical arts, in most cities everything seems to rise and fall together. So if groups don’t get together and figure out how to present themselves as vital parts of their communities, they’re probably both going to suffer.” Morgan should know: his other orchestra, the Oakland East Bay Symphony, merged with the Oakland Symphony Chorus and Oakland Youth Orchestra under East Bay Performing Arts in 2010. Applying that experience to Sacramento, Morgan is particularly looking forward to offering a more coherent package of arts programming for the community. He’ll be aided by a fresh face on the administrative side, with Robert Tannenbaum taking over for Hill and Sacramento Opera General Director Rod Gideons when the merger goes into effect. The Phoenix Symphony has been taking a test-the-waters approach to its recent collaborations with the Phoenix-based Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona, spearheaded in large part by Phoenix Symphony President and CEO Jim Ward. When he arrived as interim CEO in January 2011, talks about creative partnering were already underway between the three groups with consultant Joe Kluger and funding from the Piper Foundation, Ward says, but had “stalled out.” His initial attempts to revive the process met with little enthusiasm. But, he says, “I was just a dog with a bone that didn’t let go.” A committee of board members from all three organizations came up with three conceptual “buckets” through which they could explore collaboration. One was a consortium allowing Symphony employees to train




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staff from the Opera and Ballet in Tessitura’s ticketing software, saving money at all three groups. Another was to join together for healthcare and insurance costs, as well as the staffing for related areas like human resources and finance. Most visible, however, was TRIO!, a joint fundraising gala on February 6, which reportedly exceeded its financial goal.

Scott Jarvie

Interior of Maurice Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony.

“My point of view is that we needed to have a couple of successes under our belt to feel confident moving the ball down the field,” Ward says. The hope, he explains, was that a successful gala might “provide a platform to say, ‘All right, guys, we’ve proven we can work together. What are areas where we can take next steps? What should we explore?’ ”


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A long-term approach to collaboration gives organizations time to rally community support. When the Phoenix Symphony and its TRIO! partners were looking for sponsorship for the event, Ward says, “We went to Wells Fargo Bank, a big supporter of all three organizations, and they said, ‘This is exactly what we think you should do. Not only will we support you at the same level as last year individually, we’re going to up the ante because we believe in this and we want to signal the rest of the corporate community to support this kind of strategic thinking.’ So that kind of lit a fire for us.”

“I think in the excitement of creating a new and novel organization we didn’t understand the branding needs of the previous organizations,” says Utah’s Patricia Richards.

Is Bigger Better?

At the onset of the financial meltdown nearly five years ago, experts were quick to suggest that nimble arts groups with low fixed costs would be best equipped to adapt to a challenging economic climate. But with many arts organizations across the country long entrenched in belttightening mode, the benefits of greater scale can be highly attractive. Despite fears about cutbacks, mergers can have surprising advantages on the staffing side. While Dayton’s merger required a few staff cuts, Helfrich claims they were mostly offset by staff additions in other areas, as previously outsourced functions like marketing and human resources have been brought back in-house under the larger DPAA. Training production staff from each performance group in the other two disciplines has, rather than create redundancy, instead given the crew greater flexibility and coverage in the case of a staffer’s absence. Tourangeau notes that the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera was able to attract more top candidates for its choral director position when that became a full-time job under the merged organization. And she’s hoping to use the Utah Symphony’s international reputation to entice high-caliber guest conductors over to the opera side as well. Furthermore, the combined structure provides significant customer-service bensymphony

summer 2013



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efits, including ticketing: Sacramento’s if a patron can’t attend a Michael symphonic performance, Morgan trading for an opera show, points or vice versa, gives greater out that flexibility, Tourangeau says. organizations Sacramento’s Morgan that band also points out that orga- together have nizations that band to- more political gether have more political bargaining bargaining power. “Even power. “Even though we don’t get that though we much financial support don’t get from government, it makes that much a difference if political financial leaders speak positively support from about the arts,” he says. government, “It makes private donors it makes a more likely to give.” This difference bargaining power is par- if political ticularly relevant when leaders speak it comes to community positively engagement. The Utah about the Symphony and Opera arts.” maintain separate education programs, “but we’re able to combine resources to receive better funding, because our scope is now broader,” Tourangeau notes. Those involved in mergers repeatedly return to a theme of impact, or the orchestra’s “cultural footprint,” as Phoenix’s Ward and Columbus’s Connor put it. “For me, the definition of collaboration was always—How do we create greater impact for the community?” says Ward. “And secondly, how do we create longterm sustainability and stability in this community as well?” “Think about it from a donor perspective,” Connor suggests. “We took administrative costs down from about $1.2 million to $750,000. So that means for every dollar you’re giving to the Columbus Symphony a larger portion is going to the art. Donors really like that. I have a good friend in the social services world who’s always reminding me that UNESCO is one of the most efficient organizations in the world—something like 87 cents of ever dollar goes to social service. I’d never thought like that before.” IAN VANDERMEULEN is assistant editor of Symphony.




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Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

The Community an



Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel greets young musicians in Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA), the LA Phil’s Sistemabased program.

by Leah Hollingsworth

El Sistema-inspired programs are blossoming across North America as orchestras and others bring music into children’s lives. No two programs are alike, yet each finds its own way to serve the same ideal.


Chronic Creative

At Canada’s Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, two cello students in their first year of the Sistema Winnipeg program


here was not a poster or printed program to be found at El Museo del Barrio on a recent Saturday in New York City, but there was no doubt that I was in the right place. Entering the theater, I was greeted by the hubbub of children and instruments. Laughter rang out, kids bubbling excitedly while jumping up and down, “Is it time?” “Look at my violin!” The stage was set with four microphones of telltale height (about three feet tall) and a dozen thirteen-key xylophones. The cacophony of voices and violins was occasionally broken by long, low tones coming from what was likely a trombone but sounded more like a tugboat, announcing the approach of something great. The predominantly Hispanic audience also included Asian, Cau-

casian, and African-American families, all gathered for a Winter Showcase of four El Sistema-inspired programs in the New York area. Melina Garcia, founder and executive director of the New Jersey-based Union City Music Project, took the stage with colleagues from the Washington Heights and Inwood Music Project (WHIN), UpBeat NYC, and the Queens-based Corona Youth Music Project. Garcia briefly introduced the philosophy behind El Sistema to the enthusiastic audience and presented a slideshow featuring the four local programs before the music began. Founded in Venezuela by Dr. José Abreu in 1975, El Sistema aims to improve the lives of young people through music education; the program describes itself as “a tested model of how a music program can both create great musicians and dramatisymphony


cally change the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of a nation’s neediest kids.” The programs in Venezuela are intense, often offering instrument instruction six days a week and prioritizing ensembles and group learning. Most notably, participation is free and widespread. The Venezuelan government has provided almost all of El Sistema’s funding over the decades, despite changes in regime. In recent years, the program has explod-

ed across North America, especially after Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel won international recognition as a product of El Sistema. Performances in 2007 hosted by Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and other organizations by El Sistema’s elite ensemble, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, galvanized audiences. At its National Conference in 2008, the League of American Orchestras brought industry-wide attention

Waterbury Symphony Orchestra

Young musicians in Bravo Waterbury!, an El Sistema-based program of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut.


to El Sistema with sessions on the program and its impact, and a public conversation between Abreu and League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. Since then, U.S. orchestras, conservatories, and grassroots organizations alike have launched programs inspired by the El Sistema model. Outside Venezuela, El Sistema takes numerous forms. Not all U.S. programs begin with an orchestra. Some have many schools involved; others are held at a variety of sites. Some programs are state-funded; others receive their monies entirely from private donors. Some are run like a family business, others like a business that emphasizes the importance of families. Whatever the specific circumstances, El Sistema in North America aims to develop a community of young musicians: kids coming together and being supported by a system of rigorous training, performances, and people who believe in the power of music to change lives. What’s noteworthy about the development of El Sistema in this country is a widespread commitment to tracking the development of the young musicians. Research is embedded as a core component of U.S. programs, so that assessment of students’ musical, educational, and social growth is built in from the very start and progress can be measured over time. El Sistema is replete with heartwarming stories and inspiring examples of kids and parents who say their lives have been changed. But solid research and longitudinal evaluation that go beyond anecdote are woven into the fabric of El Sistema as it unfolds in this country, particularly at programs by orchestras. That systematic, ongoing assessment of impact will help make the case for these programs, showing that they deliver on their promise. “The exponential growth and maturation of El-Sistema-inspired programs in the U.S. is tremendously exciting for our field,” says League Vice President for Learning and Leadership Development Polly Kahn. “The discipline with which programs are committing to explicit and measurable goals, and tracking the progress of participants from the outset, is a critical added element that is required in our current educational and data-driven environment. The degree to which these programs, in all of their diversity, have come together around the need to track and share results will have a long-term impact on continued


investment in, and long-term sustainability of, this powerful work.” Orchestras are taking a variety of approaches to measuring student progress; some, for example, review the scores of their Sistema students on standardized tests as compared to those of the students’ nonparticipating peers. In Michigan, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra works with the well-regarded Communities in Schools program to conduct extensive evaluations of participants. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program has partnered with independent educational assessment organizations as well as the city’s public school system to track students’ progress on multiple fronts. The San Diego Youth Symphony collaborates with neuroscience and human-development research institutes to learn how music education affects brain development. In Pennsylvania, the Allentown Symphony’s Sistema program tracks academic performance scores via diagnostic tests and statewide testing, and preliminary results for 2012-13 strongly indicate that students are improving academically. Of course, it’s still early days for these programs, so hard data will take time to emerge. These programs and their assess-


The feisty Melina Garcia worked hard to raise the funds for Union City Music Project (UCMP), starting with money from her own pocket. As a child in Venezuela, she watched two aunts participate in the El Sistema núcleo in their town; a núcleo is the neighborhood-based center of an El Sistema program. Garcia wanted to be involved, but her parents couldn’t afford a violin. Years later, she saw Abreu’s talk at a TED conference encouraging the introduction of El Sistema to the U.S. (TED is the nonprofit that brings innovative thinkers to the attention of global audiences.) Garcia was excited that El Sistema might come to her new home in New Jersey. “Then it dawned on me,” she recalls, “that if I wanted it here in Union City, I’d have to do it myself.” Garcia describes the program, which has been operating for eleven months, as “phenomenal. It’s like having another child, only you have 40 kids instead of just one. When I wake up in the morning, that’s what I think about—we really are changSteven Krull

Cellists in Play On, Philly!, a grassroots program inspired by El Sistema, perform at a 2012 holiday concert in West Philadelphia.

programs. In November, the League announced that 22 orchestras were to receive the first round of Getty Grants as part of the three-year, $1.5 million regranting program, which is supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Of the 22 grants, eleven were designated for in-school and afterschool programs (see sidebar, page 55). A prerequisite for qualifying orchestras was the existence of partnerships with local cultural and/or community organizations, such as schools. Another key part is investment in tracking the impact of their Sistema-based programs over time. What does El Sistema look like in a country as diverse as the United States? The programs discussed in this article represent a handful of those cropping up at an astonishing rate. Others have appeared in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Las Vegas—the U.S. now has over 60 núcleos, and counting. Here’s a look at where things stand now at a sampling of organizations.

ment are very much in progress. But the goal is to collect meaningful data demonstrating improvement in students’ lives—in music and beyond. El Sistema-inspired programs in the U.S. recently got a big boost by the League with the new Getty Education and Community Investment Grants, designed to help orchestras respond to community needs through educational, health and wellness, social service, and neighborhood residency


ing these kids’ lives, and their families’ too.” With UCMP, Garcia wanted to start small and build since there was such limited funding—but over 150 applications arrived. She accepted 50 kids into a summer “paper orchestra” program that continued for the school year. (In a paper orchestra, used by many El Sistema programs, children learn on instruments made of paper before they get real instruments.) She raves about the parental support and the grants UCMP has received, and is working on plans to begin another paper orchestra while exWhat’s panding to three or noteworthy about the four sites. Working development closely with the mayof El Sistemaor of Union City as inspired well as with schools programs in and families, Garcia this country is sees her dedication a widespread to UCMP as a longcommitment to tracking the term commitment. Another thriving development El Sistema-based of the young venture, in Harlem, musicians. is the Harmony Program. Anne Fitzgibbon, Harmony’s founder and executive director, heard about El Sistema through a friend and then moved to Venezuela on a Fulbright Scholarship to “learn from the best,” an experience that she says helped her to expand Harmony beyond once-a-week classes. In Venezuela, she witnessed firsthand the role that music could play in kids’ lives, onstage and off, which she says challenged her “to think much more broadly about the impact that music can have on children and on communities.” That was five years ago, and now Harmony is one of the largest El Sistema núcleos in the United States. In 2012 alone they launched four new sites and hired a strategic planner to help expand. Harmony has a partnership with the City University of New York, which provides institutional and financial support. Despite their contrasting size and resources, UCMP and Harmony share the same values and goals. Fitzgibbon selects students through a rigorous application process and provides teacher training; like Garcia, she values the parents and develops relationships with them all. In Venezuela, Fitzgibbon says, El Sistema provides not only an orchestra and musical education, but “a community. Their orchestra becomes their community and their family.” symphony

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Harmony’s winter showcase took place at its Harlem site, Public School 129, and the enthusiasm of the small audience was contagious. Many of the kids were beginners, but their technique and stage presence were impressive. Ten-year-old violinist Khaliq Rodriguez stood out in his suit and bow tie. He told me that he first heard a violin in a subway station when he was in pre-kindergarten—and knew he wanted to play. When the Harmony program came to his school, Rodriguez was able to follow this dream, and his mother says that his experience with Harmony has boosted his confidence, developed his discipline, and given him access to a larger community. Worlds Opening

Established in 2007 by Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) flourishes in the underserved communities of Los Angeles. YOLA aims to level the playing field in LA by providing access to disadvantaged youth across the city, and then increase that access with the publicity the program generates. The program has expanded to three núcleo sites, serving more than 500 children and offering programming four days a week. Gretchen Nielsen, the LA Phil’s director of education initiatives, describes YOLA as a partnership model: “If we are going to work in a community that knows very little about the LA Phil, or music, or music education, then we need to hold hands with other institutions that people know and trust.” YOLA has developed deep partnerships with community organizations, and now tailors each núcleo to suit the needs of the neighborhood while leveraging the resources of the community centers where programs meet. At one site where kids get a lot of academic tutoring and college prep, Nielsen has invited conservatories and universities with strong music programs to demonstrate to the youth what is possible in music. YOLA’s program includes three orchestras, a preschool program, group lessons, master classes, and chamber music in addition to the educational initiatives. The relationship between YOLA and the Los Angeles Philharmonic is integral to the program and part of what makes opportunities such as performing at Walt Disney Hall or the Hollywood Bowl possible. “When programs connect to a major orchestra like the Philharmonic, it adds a americanorchestras.org

Innovative Educational Programs: The Getty Commitment


n November 2012 the League of American Orchestras announced the first round of Getty Education and Community Investment Grants in support of innovative educational programs and community partnerships at orchestras. The 2012-13 season grants were part of a three-year, $1.5 million re-granting program from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Of the 22 grantees, eleven are being funded in the area of in-school and afterschool programs: Allentown Symphony Orchestra: El Sistema Lehigh Valley Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: OrchKids California Symphony Orchestra: Sound Minds Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Young Strings Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra: Kalamazoo Kids in Tune Los Angeles Philharmonic: Youth Orchestra LA Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra: Progressions Omaha Symphony Association: More Than Music Pacific Symphony: Santa Ana Strings San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory: Community Opus Project Sphinx Virtuosi: Sphinx Performance Academy For more on the Getty Education and Community Investment Grants, visit americanorchestras.org. The program’s support for health and wellness initiatives was featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Symphony.

level of richness,” says Nielsen. “One of the many beautiful aspects of El Sistema is the importance of mentorship. Our own LA Phil musicians and guest artists are working with YOLA students. It gives the students someone to look up to.” Nielsen says that the energy and dedication of the students also motivate the Phil musicians—the students’ curiosity and intensity are infectious. Some musicians offer solo recitals at the núcleos; others bring their quartet or quintet. Still others co-teach in the program, working alongside a teaching artist every week or every other week. These musicians develop relationships with the YOLA students, getting to know their parents, investing in the work, and taking pride in the progress. “We are only at the beginning of seeing what’s really possible,” Nielsen says. “We are seeing human transformation child by child, due in part to the nurturing of their teachers, and the connection to people and resources they wouldn’t have had access to before. We are seeing worlds opening.” Training in the Sistema

Katie Wyatt, who began the El Sistemabased KidZNotes program in Durham, North Carolina three years ago, reports: “Families tell us that one of the most im-

portant things about [KidZNotes] is that it broadens their world, changes their mind about what’s possible.” Wyatt has a threepronged approach, developing partnerships with the public schools, Duke University, and the East Durham Children’s Initiative. She took a similar strategy in Raleigh, starting a núcleo this fall that she hopes will expand the overall program to 360 kids. KidZNotes began in three schools and now has five plus a Saturday program that brings all the kids together. Eighty percent of the students who first enrolled are still participating. Wyatt—who is an alum of the League’s Orchestra Management Fellowship Program—first heard of El Sistema when playing with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, where a teenager from the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra “blew me out of the water” and beat her in a chair placement audition. Wyatt witnessed how El Sistema was “revolutionizing music education and changing poverty” while also training kids who were “just as good as Juilliard grads.” She saw the high level of professionalism and talent cultivated among the poor kids in Venezuela and wanted to bring that home. Stanford Thompson says his first exposure to El Sistema happened while he was


Ken Adam

a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, when Simon Rattle told the student orchestra that they “all sounded like machines, and there was this group of kids in Venezuela that could outplay us.” Then, two years later, Thompson heard Abreu’s TED talk and was hooked. After completing New England Conservatory’s yearlong Sistema Fellowship, Thompson started his own music program in Philadelphia, an experience that was initially daunting. “In theory, this was a great idea,” he recalls, “but how do you fund it? Where does it really fit? Kids need it, schools need it. But even if you do find the funding for year one, how do you find it for year two, for year five?” Suitable funding took some time to come through, but now Play On, Philly! has strong financial support and is in year two of a $2.5 million, three-year plan aiming to establish ten sites by 2021. Thompson’s priorities include developing stronger relationships with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Curtis Institute, local universities, and current site partners, while also evaluating curriculum and teacher training. Play On, Philly! supports three youth orchestras, about 200 students, and two sites. “We are building a community that celebrates these kids for what they are doing, what they are able to do,” Thompson says. “No one would have invited these kids to their house unless they had a violin under their chin—but now kids in our city are doing positive things and working really hard. I want each neighborhood to fall in love with their orchestra of their kids.” Thompson and Wyatt are alums of New England Conservatory’s Sistema Fellows Program, a tuition-free, one-year postgraduate program founded in 2009 that admits ten musicians per year seeking careers that connect music, youth, and social change. Program Director Heath Mar-


At the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program, a T-shirt says it all.



low reports that the fellows not only learn about El Sistema, but “think deeply about how its core values may translate into programs in other cultures,” and are provided the time to think about their personal goals as musicians, administrators, and “citizenartists.” Nearly all alumni are now involved in Sistema-inspired programs, and about one-third have already founded new programs in the U.S. (Wyatt reported on New England Conservatory’s program for the January-February 2010 issue of Symphony, available at americanorchestras.org.) Although NEC offers the first Sistemaspecific training program, more are emerging. In Baltimore, the Certificate in Music Entrepreneurship program is a one-year collaborative program organized by the University of Maryland with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, BSO Music Director Marin Alsop, and the BSO’s Sistemainspired program OrchKids.

more’s poorest neighborhoods. Why is this significant? “Because of the kid from West Baltimore who says, ‘I want to be like Andrew Balio [BSO principal trumpet] when I grow up,’ ” says Trahey. OrchKids operates six days a week at four sites, with plans to expand to six sites next season. Each site caters to specific needs and reflects the surrounding community. “Just because one method is working well for4/3/13 one FSA 1301 Symphony Ad final site doesn’t mean it will work for another,”

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Dan Trahey, artistic director of OrchKids, was invited by Alsop in 2007 to start the program as an initiative of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Alsop knew of Trahey’s work with Tuned In, an El Sistematype program at Peabody Conservatory, and contacted him when she was ready to deepen the BSO’s community programming. Alsop asked Trahey what he would do with the BSO, and he told her that he would start a network of youth orchestras in the underserved neighborhoods of Baltimore. The next day Alsop offered him $100,000 to start the project. Trahey quickly recognized one hurdle: for the partnership with the BSO to be effective, the orchestra needed to think of itself not just as a performing-arts institution, but also as a community organization. Trahey realized that in order for this to happen, he needed to use the orchestra for what it was best at: performing. “Our musicians are not hired to be teachers and other things,” he says. “They are hired because they have an amazing skill set as performers. We use the orchestra for what the orchestra is—a performance ensemble. The inspiration for our kids comes from the musicians of the BSO.” Trahey reports that the growth of OrchKids has also changed its audience dynamic, thanks to ticket programs for participants in OrchKids and other BSO education programs who come from Baltiamericanorchestras.org

Trahey reports. However, every participating school has an orchestra, and the best kids from each come together three times a week to play in a combined full orchestra. In March of 2011, the program’s top-level orchestra performed onstage alongside the BSO as part of a subscription concert. “It’s important for our audiences to see what we’re doing with these kids,” Alsop has said. “It’s a musically valid1extension of what the 12:34 PM Page BSO does, and it’s representative of our

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before a WSO subscription concert. Jones dreams of seeing these kids to the end of high school, and is excited about upcoming performances and collaborations, including an exchange with some teachers from OrchKids as well as a collaboration with the Waterbury Youth Chorus. “It’s important for these kids to realize that they are all the same, making music together,” she says. “I want to show the community that even kids can effect social change and make it happen, in their own way.” Children and Art

Liza Austria, founder and director of UpBeat NYC, joined forces in 2009 with her husband, mother, and brother to carry out her father’s dream of starting an El Sistema-inspired núcleo. UpBeat NYC was founded in the South Bronx and began with piano lessons—using a handful of donated keyboards. It has since grown to include five days of programming at three sites, a pre-orchestra program, and its first full orchestra. UpBeat operates on a shoestring budget, relying on the dedication and talents of volunteer teachers for the past

A young violinistto-be tests out a paper instrument, at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra LA.

four years. Austria reports that initially the neighborhood youth didn’t have strong parental support, but that parents are becoming more involved as they understand what the program can do and how it can build community. Similarly, Tanya Derksen, director of education and outreach for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and founder of Sistema Winnipeg, reports that many of her students’ parents had never attended an orchestra concert before the start of Sistema Winnipeg in October 2011. Some hardly knew what an orchestra was. Now, the demographic of the WSO’s audience includes representation from Canada’s

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commitment to embracing every segment of our community.” In June 2012, Trahey and OrchKids staff traveled to Venezuela with Calida Jones and other staff from Connecticut’s Waterbury Symphony Orchestra. Jones had just been hired to implement Bravo Waterbury!, a Sistema-inspired initiative of the WSO. Halfway through its first year, Bravo Waterbury! is small but going strong, with three hours of programming four days a week. Jones started the kids, who are in kindergarten through second grade, in bucket band (using plastic buckets as percussion instruments), instrumental exploratory class, and choir, adding violin this January. Jones also incorporates a snack, movement, homework help, and field trips to hear the Hartford and Waterbury symphonies. She believes in the importance of frequent performances, and challenges the kids to play weekly for each other as part of her plan to build a community—of parents, children, and teachers—for the kids. Musicians of the Waterbury Symphony have performed at the núcleo, and in March, the kids gave a pre-concert performance


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Aboriginal groups as well as Asian and African communities. Derksen states that attending WSO concerts helps parents to realize what the future could hold for their children. Having seen videos of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra and attended the LA Phil’s 2010 Sistema conference, Derksen was inspired to start a similar program in Winnipeg, a city that she says has the second-highest child poverty rate and the highest murder rate in Canada. It’s also a city with a flourishing arts community, and Derksen felt that Winnipeg could support a Sistema program—and that the city’s youth really needed it. Derksen’s goal was to run a program for inner-city kids that would take them from first grade through high school graduation. Currently, Sistema Winnipeg is run at two sites in partnership with the Seven Oaks School Division, offering 80 students in first through fourth grades a daily afterschool program that includes violin, viola, and cello lessons as well as orchestra. “I truly believe that music can change the trajectory of their lives,” Derksen declares. Lorrie Heagy, director of Juneau Alaska Music Matters ( JAMM) and an alumna of

NEC’s Sistema Fellows program, states, “El Sistema is about more than music; it’s about giving kids the skills they need to succeed. The goal is to create exceptional human beings who contribute to their community.” JAMM’s núcleo offers music lessons before, during, and after school. Heagy explains that JAMM’s initial funding came from the Association of Alaska School Boards, so when schools faced budget cuts last year, JAMM was at risk. Heagy says that “thanks to strong parent, community and teacher support, along with a special visit from U.S. Senator Mark Begich, JAMM not only stayed intact, but also expanded to two more schools, reaching close to 300 kindergartenthrough second-grade students.” JAMM now serves these students at three sites, in ensembles ranging from orchestra to rock band to choir. A number of existing youth orchestras have launched Sistema-based programs, among them the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, whose Tune Up Philly, started in 2010, nurtures children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods by providing weekday afterschool music instruction.

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The San Diego Youth Symphony started its Sistema-inspired Community Opus Project in 2010 to provide free music programs for at-risk youth in San Diego County. In Texas, the Music After School Program of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA MÁS) offers group classes and one ensemble, but it is undergoing a significant restructure since its Anne inception in 2008. Fitzgibbon, The program’s direcfounder and tor, Aurelia Rocha, executive director of the has been working to Harlem-based enhance the musical rigor and achieveHarmony ment of YOSA Program, has seen firsthand MÁS by increasing that El Sistema the students’ time in Venezuela with teaching artists. provides Rocha recognizes not only an that the orchestra orchestra is an ideal place for and musical students to learn reeducation, but “a community. sponsibility, to take Their orchestra ownership for a part becomes their of a whole, and to excommunity and perience the importance of community. their family.” This was certainly evident that night at El Museo in NYC, which happened to take place just after the Newtown tragedy. Garcia called for a minute of silence before the concert, and dedicated the first piece to the children who had lost their lives. Onstage, the youngest members of UCMP sang joyfully, “All I really need is a song in my heart / Food in my belly and love in my family.” By the second chorus, the audience was clapping and starting to hum along. Nearly everyone was smiling. These same kids sat enthralled in the audience for the remainder of the concert, watching their older siblings and colleagues from other núcleos perform, often waving animatedly and cheering at the end of each piece. The afternoon ended with the Children’s Orchestra from the Corona Youth Music Project. Mothers of two students in the orchestra came to the stage, shy but proud, nervous but endearingly awkward in their bows, to perform for perhaps the first time in their lives. LEAH SWANN HOLLINGSWORTH is a freelance writer, violist, and program consultant in New York City. She previously worked at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.


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by Tom Keogh

The family concert isn’t what it used to be.


he time has come to introduce that seven-year-old child in your life to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor. How to proceed? Sure, it makes sense to talk about that famous da-da-da-daaa opening, a familiar, four-note motif: how it commands a listener’s attention, the way Beethoven expands upon it, how conductors have different ideas about the right tempo. Or you can take the approach advocated by Kelly Dylla, the Seattle Symphony’s vice president of education and community engagement. “You can work with a group of kids with basic recorder skills,” says Dylla, “and get them to talk about how you can take those four notes and make them louder and softer and mix them up in different ways. Then you say, look, Beethoven did all that in the first movement, taking those notes from one instrument to another, going faster, slower, louder, softer. All of a sudden, those kids are actually listening to what’s in the music, not to reasons why they should listen to Beethoven.” Welcome to the new world of engagement for children in the glories of orchestral music. When arts education was once a given in schools, many family traditions included outings to local concert halls, and Leonard Bernstein conducted the New York


Philharmonic in nationally televised “Young People’s Concerts.” But the old ways of connecting kids with symphony orchestras have changed dramatically. “Orchestras are experimenting with all kinds of creative ways to engage young people in the concert experience,” says Jessica Balboni, director of learning programs at the League of American Orchestras. “Many are designing concerts that build off the tremendous understanding we have gained about how children learn. We’re seeing examples across the country of orchestras that are creating concert experiences that appeal to young people’s different learning styles, make important thematic and personal connections, use other art forms such as theater and visuals to help illuminate the music, and perhaps most important, foster personal relationships with the musicians themselves.” Orchestras offer a variety of progressive programs for overlapping these goals. Much more is known today about the role of music in childhood development. Orchestras everywhere are trying to help fill education gaps—often in strategic partnerships with city governments, school districts, and other arts organizations—and proving flexible and adept at discovering how to encourage an iPod generation (and younger) to feel personal “ownership” of symphonic music. Such programs tend to be particularly

thoughtful and exciting when the mission stems from an overarching belief that a) anyone at any age is a potential member of an orchestra’s audience, deserving of targeted services; and b) it is possible—if challenging—for an orchestra to maintain a lifelong connection to an individual. “We establish our relationship with people when they are young,” says Theodore Wiprud, vice president for education at the New York Philharmonic. “But that’s not the same thing as saying we’re developing tomorrow’s audiences. The point is, even if someone is three years old, they are our audience now. We should be finding great ways to bring music to people at every stage.” Wiprud adds that for children of any age, whether through family or school concerts, the New York Philharmonic plays “real repertory music the same as we play for adults. But we break it down and find points of entry for younger audiences. We don’t do Peter and the Wolf. There are plenty of others who symphony




do that. We don’t do anything composed for kids.” For those children who are about to hear “real” music from orchestral repertoire, the organization has Tune Up, an activity book sent to patrons in advance of family concerts. There’s also a podcast for youngsters to hear as well as pre-concert visits to Kidzone Live, an interactive music fair in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall. Wiprud says it’s hard to hold the interest of little ones in the large space of Avery Fisher Hall. For that group, the Philharmonic offers Very Young People’s Concerts for ages three to six: chamber concerts in a smaller hall, built around stories and cartoon characters. At the Seattle Symphony, Dylla says, one key in reaching kids is stoking what she calls “musical curiosity,” as opposed to trying to reach kids through top-down, lecture-based, explanatory context. She calls Bernstein the “grandfather of engagement. He did use information, but he was so charismatic you gravitated toward how he demonstrated


Large photo: Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Bass Alexander Hanna and young audience members after a Once Upon a Symphony performance of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” November 2012 (photo: Todd Rosenberg). Above from left: An impromptu trumpet lesson at a Boston Symphony Orchestra family concert Instrument Playground (photo: Stu Rosner). Seattle Symphony Vice President of Education and Community Engagement Kelly Dylla at the symphony’s Soundbridge facility (photo: Tracey Marshall Photography). At a New York Philharmonic Very Young People’s Concert, Acting Principal Clarinet Mark Nuccio interacts with fans (photo: Michael DiVito). At the Louisiana Philharmonic, students at Airline Park Academy try out instruments through Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute Link Up program (photo: Louisiana Philharmonic). Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principal Trumpet Ryan Anthony works with students at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (photo: Dallas Symphony).

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it.” Historically, Dylla says, an orchestra’s programs for children have been a matter of “we’re going to give you this information. This is why you should like it. A lot of people like that, but not kids. What engages kids is finding entry points: activities and events that give them a personal experience of the music before a concert takes place.” The Seattle Symphony encourages engagement for kids from infancy through high school through various programs, some for families and others for school groups. Several, especially for ages ten and under, are offered through SSO’s Soundbridge facility—a combination of drop-in center with an instrument “petting zoo,” a performance space for listening to and interacting with musicians, and space for classes utilizing craft projects, dance, and percussion activity to gain a feeling for a concert before attending one in Benaroya Hall. Seattle Symphony offers Tiny Tots, targeted toward babies and their families, featuring early-childhood educator-performers Lisa Allison and Linda Sebenius in interactive performances heavy on repetition and basic themes. Seattle also has a pilot program underway called First Concerts, in which orchestra members bring their instruments and meet with very young kids in an intimate setting. For older, elementary-school children, Seattle Symphony has its Gilman Family Discover Music series. A recent performance included composer HK Gruber leading the orchestra through a movement from his own percussion concerto, Rough Music, as well as selections from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. The efficient intertwining of engagement with families and schools, in general, has been ramped up in the last decade, though those missions remain distinct for orchestras. “We’ve separated family and school concerts at the New York Philharmonic because they’re really different,” says Wiprud. “They may look alike because they’re hosted and there’s engagement and a lot of techniques are common. But school concerts are the high point of an ongoing process in the classroom. Kids come in with fairly uniform preparation, and you build on what they have been doing at school. We have performances aimed at grades three to six, and others for seven to twelve. The more we can differentiate, the better job we do of serving developmental needs at different stages.” americanorchestras.org

Customized Concerts

Concert programs for families are intended to be a win-win both for orchestras and parents who want to pass on their arts values to sons and daughters. “Studies have shown that adults who feel strongly about orchestral experiences are the ones who had those experiences themselves as kids,” says Jamie Allen, director of education for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “That goes for avid listeners as well as professional musicians. We want to provide as many of those family-friendly concerts as we can for multiple generations to attend.” Allen describes one such concert, a Dallas Symphony program in which John Williams’s famous scores for blockbuster Hollywood movies were enhanced by an actor reporting sightings of Superman and dinosaurs. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra channels music to kids through both family and school concerts. Some of these events involve dance, storytelling, costumes, and video-screen images. Kids enjoy the same programs whether in the company of their parents or teachers, but as students they also benefit from visits by trained docents and music educators. “When there’s robust support for school audiences linking classroom learning and concerts, we have incredible audience experiences,” says Jon Weber, director of learning programs at the CSO. The orchestra recently created an alliance called Music Activity Partnership with elementary schools in the city’s public school system. Weber says the program provides teaching strategies and learning resources for teachers. “It all leads toward attending one of our youth concerts,” Weber says. “In the classroom, kids are introduced to repertoire and concepts. Familiarity makes a huge difference if a student is coming to a concert. Kids will listen with intensity and focus, connect with ideas a conductor can speak about, or describe better how that concert has affected them. Students used to come to concerts and just hear whatever was programmed. We’ve increased the number of connections.” Weber points to the success of another CSO program, this one for the pre-kindergarten set called Once Upon a Symphony. Families can enjoy pre-concert activities with music educators at Saturday matinees, while weekday performances of the same shows (often built around folk- and fairytales) are for pre-K groups who have been

readied in classrooms by visit- “We changed ing educators. “Developmen- in 2003 from tally, it’s vital that a concert is children’s not the first time those kids programs hear this music,” he says. “You developed get kids excited to participate strictly in-house through movement or sing- to having input ing. It’s beautiful to see, and from teachers,” wonderful for our orchestra to says Jennifer feel that kind of engagement. Barnett, It creates a cycle of energy Knoxville that revitalizes and renews our Symphony commitment to this work.” Orchestra’s The relationship between director of programming for families and education and schools yields different results community depending on the specific partnerships. communities being served. “This year we Some orchestras, such as the did a concert Knoxville Symphony Orches- linking science tra in Tennessee, found that and music, concerts for pre-kindergarten hitting concepts kids and their caregivers were students are not selling well. But, says Jen- tested on from nifer Barnett, KSO’s director third to fifth of education and community grade.” partnerships, “there was huge interest among school groups in having field trips for children up to second grade. “We changed in 2003 from children’s programs developed strictly in-house to one having input from teachers,” says Barnett. “Our Education Advisory Council meets with us twice a year to develop thematic ideas and programming. Teachers choose what they are being asked to accomplish in their general curricula. This year we did a concert linking science and music, hitting concepts students are tested on from third to fifth grade.” In New Orleans, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra “repurposed a concert for school groups as a family concert,” says Amanda Wuerstlin, the LSO’s director of education and community engagement. “We were getting more and more adults at our school concerts asking the same or more questions than the kids. So we thought, let’s just do this as a family concert, too.” Other orchestras attach broader agendas than just music to music programming. The Houston Symphony’s Music Matters! education programs, serving more than 40,000 students, offers Explorer Concerts for fourth- to eighth-graders that are designed


to support the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for language arts. Houston’s parallel Detective Concerts (aligned with TEKS for social studies)—which examined the orchestra as a model of cooperation and leadership—includes a teacher’s resource guidebook and lesson plans to prepare for live performances. Jessica Schmidt, director of education and community development at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, says that Thomas Wilkins, the BSO’s Germeshausen Youth and Family Concerts Conductor, “builds content into concerts about character development, courage, and competition. You’re listening to Puccini and Brahms, and the conductor is guiding fourth- to sixth-graders through personal connections to music. He might talk about challenges Brahms faced as a composer, for instance, things students can identify with emotionally.” Regional Variations

One noteworthy element in children’s programming is the extent to which certain orchestras find it easier to engage kids where

there’s already a strong tradition of regional music. The Louisiana Philharmonic’s Wuerstlin sees her organization as one of many music resources in a part of the country strongly associated with New Orleans jazz and blues. The Louisiana Philharmonic is one of a large number of U.S. orchestras subscribing to Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute Link Up program, providing inclassroom, hands-on music curriculum for students in grades three to five. When Link Up students ultimately get to the concert hall, they sing or play a recorder or other instrument along with an orchestra. At one recent football-themed Lousiana Philharmonic Link Up concert, students and orchestra performed together on that Crescent City favorite “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Wuerstlin says wherever music is a strong part of regional identity, young people are drawn to music events of any stripe, including symphony orchestras. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, with its wide range of programming for families and schools, presents highly produced concerts involving a writer, director, actors, and video

components. These shows are built by creative teams inspired by music. Pre-concert activities help kids connect to the program and settle down for an hour. But one of the LA Phil’s many entry points for children, ages three to nine, to the world of music is its longtime SummerSounds program, which draws on the city’s ethnic variety. From the city’s very backyard, kids discover world music from Indian, Brazilian, reggae, Filipino, and Latino populations—all that culture in nearby neighborhoods. One programming challenge for orchestras is how to draw teens. As in the theater world, high school kids tend to vanish from the audience for symphony orchestras, some returning later as adults. Some orchestras are certainly trying to engage adolescents, sometimes with steep discounts for rush tickets, open rehearsals, or programs such as Beyond the Score. In the latter, created by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conductors face an audience of students and speak about the music being played. “Looking at the current life of a teenager, it’s tough to provide them opportunities to

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PERFORM AT THE WORLD FAMOUS LICEU see themselves in the art form,” says Boston’s Schmidt. “The open rehearsal program shows them the process and challenges of playing the music. They can watch the conductor’s face on a video screen, build that bridge to a human relationship with the orchestra.” One helpful precedent could be the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Teen Council, an advisory group of high school and college students dedicated to sharing their passion for music with friends and peers. The Teen Council works closely with Allen and other DSO leaders to organize special events meant to appeal to adolescents, such as a “Get to Know the DSO” concert this June with onstage activities to introduce the music and a post-concert party. At the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Wells Fargo ArtsVibe Teen Program is aimed at getting Atlanta teenagers, grades 6 to 12, involved as active participants in the arts. The year-old program is a collaboration among the divisions of the Woodruff Arts Center, where the symphony is based: the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, High Museum of Art, and Young Audiences. Designed for culturally oriented teens as well as those who are less familiar with the arts, ArtsVibe includes paid and free events such as designated “Teen Nights,” music lessons, poetry slams, acting classes, and performances by teens for teens via the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and Alliance Theatre students. It’s not surprising that contemporary orchestras are giving serious thought to cultivating and maintaining a rich relationship with patrons from infancy to old age. “We look at learning and engagement as things that happen throughout your life,” says Schmidt. “What we try to do is design programs that allow people to connect with the orchestra over the years. We’d love to engage children when they’re very young, hopefully see them again through middle school and high school, then college and beyond. We want to build that relationship but also think about people of every possible background, how our programs can bring individuals together, learn from them, and keep up that connection over time.” TOM KEOGH is an arts reporter and critic for the Seattle Times. He provides regular previews of the city’s classical music scenes and other cultural events, and reviews film and theater. americanorchestras.org


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Streamed music and digital downloads are the new normal, record stores are vanishing, and a generation is growing up without ever purchasing a physical record. Yet the marketplace is bursting with new orchestra recordings in every conceivable format—even, yes, the CD.


Forwa by Jayson Greene





rd americanorchestras.org

f you follow any news about the record industry, then you know that we live in interesting times, in the “Chinese curse” sense of the word. The CD format, while not yet dead, continues to suffer. When HMV, the last remaining big-box retailer (which withdrew from the U.S. market nine years ago), slumped into bankruptcy in the U.K. in January, the news was greeted in the British media with little more than mournful shrugs. Digital music consumption, meanwhile, continues to surge, albeit unpredictably: iTunes recently celebrated its 25 billionth download, while services like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio jostle for primacy in the chaotic and still-nascent streaming marketplace. Spotify, the frontrunner in market share and consumer awareness, spent the last year battling complaints that it doesn’t pay proper royalties to its artists and fielding industry demands that it make its payments to labels public. Back in November, Damon Krukowsky of the cult indie rock band Galaxie 500 wrote “Making Cents,” a frank assessment of his dealings with streaming services

for the website Pitchfork: “Immaterial goods,” he wrote dryly, “turn out to generate equally immaterial income.” Confusion reigns, and the only rule that seems to hold fast is screenwriter William Goldman’s old saw about the film industry—nobody knows anything. This industry-wide uncertainty grows more acute when it comes to the classicalrecording sector, a market sliver with a much smaller percentage of the revenue. Stranded between an old format (CDs), the first intimations of the current format’s obsolescence (mp3s), and whatever lies ahead, recording, for an orchestra, has become fraught. At one time, making a recording was as much a part of an orchestra’s daily life as planning a subscription series. Now, the very act of entering a studio, or committing resources and time to recording, has the undertone of a philosophical quest. And yet, recordings persist: in fact, the orchestral landscape appears to be bursting with new ones, made at every level and with a variety of means. The New York Philharmonic has been releasing live recordings for its in-house label and selling through the digital distributor IODA since 2009. The San Francisco Symphony has been self-recording with its renowned SFS Media recordings for years, and has racked up Grammy Awards in the process. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra just released its first digital album, a download-only Beethoven symphony cycle, on its Live from Orchestra Hall label. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra got in the self-recording game in 2007 with the CSO/Resound imprint. All this activity is a tacit acknowledgment that the days when a major organization could just sign with Deutsche Grammophon and issue a stream of recordings are long over—even though some orchestras, like the Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin for DG, are doing just that. And those are just a few of


the big orchestras—there is activity all over, and a lot of it is DIY. Why record? For many, recordings remain vital tools, means to a greater end—a demonstration to the community, or to donors, of an organization’s health and ambition, for example. For others, recordings are The Thing—the end unto itself, the raison d’être. Conversations with a broad range of record company employees, orchestra administrators, conductors, performers, and composers make it clear that everyone firmly believes recordings are still all-important, and that an undeniable link exists between organizations with multiple recordings to their name and organizations with the durability and vision to sustain themselves, thrive, and make their mark. But the why’s, as well as the how’s, remain as varied as the records and repertoire themselves. All CDs Go to Heaven

“Over the course of my career, I went from ‘What the hell is a CD?’ to ‘Oh my God, what the hell’s going to happen after CDs?’ All in twelve years,” laughs Albert Imperato. Imperato, cofounder of 21C Media Group,


left the record industry in 2000. “I was at Deutsche Grammophon toward the end of the boom, where very large rosters of conductors were basically recording extremely similar repertoire,” he remembers. “It was almost an assumption that you’d eventually get around to a Beethoven cycle, to a Tchaikovsky cycle. There was a famous conductor, and I won’t give his name, but I congratulated him on a recording, and he looked at me with wide eyes and said, ‘Did I record that?’ “There was rampant over-recording in those days,” says Imperato. “It felt good to load that Borders store up with a ton of repertoire, and walk in and go, ‘Wowee! Look at all this!’ But then at the end of the year, you’d get massive returns. Every year I would have to sign off and destroy all this product that would never sell. It was very depressing. I felt so awful for these unwanted recordings.” Enter Eric Feidner, president of Arkiv Music, who has built the classical music industry’s most successful solution to those unwanted recordings. In the fall of 2012, the online CD retailer celebrated its tenth anniversary, a period during which the retailer sold a rather astonishing 3.25 million classical albums. Arkiv boasts a network of twenty distribution centers across the country, from which it ships physical product to customers. It has also diligently sought the rights to long-out-of-print or deleted titles, which it stores digitally—artwork, liner notes, audio and all—until an order comes. If they get one order, they print one CD. And since it costs virtually nothing to store those files, the company can wait a long time for orders to come. It is this “all CDs go to Heaven” approach that has earned Arkiv a unique spot in the classical recording marketplace. In the classical-recording business, the notion of the “long tail” of the internet—which argues that “Even freed from the burden of though it storage costs, companies seems like can sell three copies a year no one of an item and still turn a buys CDs modest profit—has had a anymore, the surprising currency. “Our CD is still the on-demand production dominant system was built to handle format.”— selling very small quanti- Eric Feidner, ties of a given title,” says president of Feidner. “We sell more Arkiv Music symphony

summer 2013

Laura Landau

Amid a bewildering array of digital options, the CD remains. One of the aisles at the Naxos of America warehouse in Franklin, Tennessee.


J.M. Lennon

than 100,000 titles, and over 10,000 of those are stored digitally. Of that catalog of 10,000, we see sales activity on 95 percent. There’s almost nothing that doesn’t sell. When “There still is you’re dealing with this a buzz that type of production system, goes through you have the capacity to the music keep available something industry when that might only have deyou release a mand for 20 units in a disc of your year.” music, and that Arkiv does have an buzz is hard to mp3 store, but it is an afquantify. Our terthought to the main industry still business: “For us, the vast works largely majority of sales is still on word-ofthe physical CD,” Feidner mouth, and says. “It’s over 90 percent recordings for us. When we started give people a in 2002, there were a lot representative of conventional music repiece of you tailer stores—Tower Reto hand off cords, HMV, Virgin, Borto others.”— ders—but now they’re all Composer gone,” Feidner says. “Even Derek Bermel though it seems like no one buys CDs anymore, it’s the dominant format. It’s declining, but still the dominant format.” Collin Rae is senior manager of digital marketing for Naxos of America, the classical music distributor launched in 1987 and based just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Rae once worked at Tower Records in the San Francisco region and has been part of the music industry since 1989. When he started at Naxos five and a half years ago, his job, as it currently stands, did not exist. From Rae’s vantage point, the classicalrecording business isn’t struggling overall so much as relentlessly atomizing, and his job is to track the atoms. “There are so many different types of revenue streams that labels need to look at, and CD sales are just a portion of it,” he says. “Digital sales are just a portion of it. Streaming is a portion; so are licensing and performance royalties—it’s just all this kind of stuff balled together. “I don’t think the classical music recording industry is in serious trouble at all,” Rae says. “There are more ways to do business than ever. Business models have to change every few years. Our fastest-growing revenue streams are high-def downloads and

For the Florida Orchestra, which performs in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, releasing an allDelius CD was a way to get the community to look at it differently.

vinyl. We can sell 3,000 downloads of a record on iTunes and then we can sell another 500 of the high-quality audiophile vinyl piece. In classical, the physical product is still really strong.” A Bigger Sandbox

Michael Pastreich, president and CEO of the Florida Orchestra, describes his orchestra’s most recent foray into a recording studio in practical terms: “It was a means

to an end,” he says. The orchestra, on a determined comeback from financial difficulties, recently cut its first studio recording since 1997, a disc of works by the slightly out-of-the-way British composer Frederick Delius, for the Naxos label. There is a community connection to Delius, who spent formative years as a composer in Florida managing his father’s


Philadelphia Orchestra/Jessica Griffin

orange grove, and Pastreich says the orchestra positioned Delius, through a 2012 festival that predated the recording, as Tampa Bay’s composer. By the festival’s end, Pastreich says, “We had people in the community casually informing us that Delius was Florida’s greatest composer.” The record, Pastreich says, was “just one of several institutional marketing activities meant to make the community look at us differently, to say ‘Hey, I never thought of the Florida Orchestra that way.’ They didn’t see us doing something that big. The Florida Orchestra is now recording with Naxos. It was a big statement. It showed we were playing in a bigger sandbox than just Tampa Bay, and it brought a lot of pride into our community.” Asked whether the orchestra would com-

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony are among a large group of orchestras self-producing recordings. The Philadelphia Orchestra—shown above with (left to right) producer Sid McLauchlan, bassoonist Daniel Matsukawa, flutist Loren Lind, Associate Conductor Cristian Macelaru, Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, assistant engineer David Pettit, and Philadelphia Orchestra audio producer Charles Gagnon—recently signed a contract with Deutsche Grammophon.


mit to a series of recordings, Pastreich demurs. “I think they’ll always be part of a larger plan for us,” he says. “There are still such baseline financial challenges to recording. Each recording needs to be for a specific strategic purpose. If we record Beethoven’s Ninth, then we’re competing with the Berlin Philharmonic. But if we make our Delius recording, only the niche folks who are interested in him buy it. Are there enough people out there who are interested in Delius, without the surrounding festival and immediate context, to buy it? I don’t think we know that.” Composer Derek Bermel has three discs to his name, each for a different indie label—one with CRI Records (whose backcatalog is now a part of New World), one with Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s inhouse BMOP/Sound, and one with Bang On A Can’s Cantaloupe Records. “Frankly, I often don’t understand why people continue to make recordings,” Bermel says, laughing. “I have been making less and less money with every successive recording, until the present day, where I feel like we’re just shelling out to make the discs.” So if not money, what do records bring him? “There still is a buzz that goes through the music industry when you release a disc of your music, and that buzz is hard to quantify,” Bermel concedes. “That’s something I like about our industry; it still works largely on word-of-mouth, and recordings often facilitate that process, give people a representative piece of you to hand off to others.” He points to his first disc, which featured the chamber work Soul Garden: “People who I’ve never met learn the piece from the recording and contact me. Next thing I hear it’s being performed by the Milwaukee Symphony or something. At a certain point, the performers know the piece as well as I do, from the recording. They are extremely useful for composers.” DIY Recordings

Smaller classical labels like New Amsterdam, Innova, and Cantaloupe have sprouted up over the last ten to fifteen years and have begun doing the heavy lifting that labels like the defunct Argo and CRI used to do. “You are dependent on people like Gil Rose, artistic director and conductor of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project—people who are visionaries themselves—to get things

Resources for Orchestras


ith the accelerating pace of technological change, it’s important to stay up to date. The League of American Orchestras posts a monthly summary, Technology News of Note, written by consultants Joseph H. Kluger and Michael Bronson. “Although the technology keeps evolving, orchestras still need to recognize that, to take advantage of today’s technology, they need to identify electronic media goals and strategies that are unique to their situation,” says Kluger. “Most importantly, they need to be proactive, in taking the initiative to make those electronic media activities happen.” The monthly summary provides relevant news regarding changes, trends, and developments that may affect orchestras’ electronic media activities; Kluger and Bronson are also available to assist League member orchestras in developing innovative uses of technology to reach audiences beyond the concert hall. Kluger and Bronson’s article in the Fall 2011 issue of Symphony, emphasizing why it is critically important for orchestras to have proactive electronic media strategies, also includes much useful advice for orchestras. For more information on the League’s Electronic Media Services, visit americanorchestras.org and look for Electronic Media Services.

done,” remarks Bermel. “Gil’s been doing this on a shoestring, but he puts together great discs.” Rose, a conductor who founded BMOP in 1996, has built a formidable catalogue of recordings, devoted entirely to contemporary composers like Bermel. In the beginning, BMOP produced recordings on a variety of labels; it launched its own imprint, BMOP/Sound, in 2008. To hear Rose tell it, BMOP’s transition into self-recording was one of attrition, as the services normally provided by labels shrank, one by one. “It got to the point, working with labels, where we were envisioning the project; we would raise the money; we would make the recording,” Rose says. “In some cases we were even doing the design work for the cover, contracting the program-note writer. symphony


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Boston Modern Orchestra Project in performance at Jordan Hall, with Associate Principal Violist Kate Vincent


playing only contemporary music. In many ways, what we’re doing is a 21st-century version of what the Louisville Orchestra was doing,” when it blazed a path by creating its own record label, First Edition Records, to commission new works, back in the 1950s. “That gives us not only a business model, but a mission. It gives us a national identity.” New Hybrids

Judd Greenstein, a composer and a cofounder of the Brooklyn-based indie-classical label New Amsterdam, exhibits some of Rose’s devotion to recordings as art objects unto themselves. “When we make recordings, we think of them as objects with which a listener could potentially fall in love,” says Greenstein. “Most of the music that we end up loving, we first encounter on a record. Album-listening is its own experience, and we try to honor that.” Talking to Greenstein, words like “coherent” and “intentionally crafted” come up a lot. “People applaud orchestras that program in daring and fresh ways, and lambast those that use tired concepts that seem drawn straight from the playbook 100 years ago, but we don’t seem to talk a lot about that in terms of recordings,” Greenstein notes. “I just don’t think that vocabulary is really on the table for a lot of people—this idea of the recording as a sonic space in the same way that a concert hall is a physical space. The vast majority of listeners will be listening with headphones, probably with background noise, engine sounds, road sounds. Or they’ll be hearing the music for the first time when they’re at their computer and partially distracted. But the record itself should compel you to stay. That’s what a lot of great art does; it compels you to stay in its world, despite the constant and ever-present possibility for distraction.” Recently, New Amsterdam was approached by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the two Julius Ahn

Laura Landau

The only thing we weren’t doing was the UPC code on the product. And the other thing we weren’t doing was, we weren’t owning it. Even a small orchestra like BMOP’s could run up “Our Delius about $60,000 to $70,000, recording and boy, it was just killing was a big me to hand those discs statement. It over to other people.” showed we Rose describes the work were playing involved in each BMOP in a bigger recording as immense. sandbox “We put out six to ten than just CDs a year under a budget Tampa Bay that is fractional to those and brought of major orchestras. A sina lot of pride gle CD of orchestra music into our probably costs us between community.”— $60,000 and $90,000 to Michael produce. Some have cost Pastreich, over $100,000. An opera president might cost $120,000. Evand CEO of ery CD has a different recthe Florida ipe for funding. Sometimes Orchestra it’s been through grants, sometimes through individual funders who are interested in the project. We’ve done Kickstarter campaigns; we’ve done solicitations. We’ve raised money here in Boston; we’ve raised money nationally.” So for BMOP what’s the payoff of producing all these recordings? “The tangible reward, I suppose, is that we get to do more recordings, and get to perform more concerts,” says Rose. “It gives the organization a viability that I think it wouldn’t otherwise have. Most American cities don’t have orchestras that put about 80 people onstage

are now in the early stages of an innovative residency, a tentative but enthusiastic union between a hip, tiny record label and an adventurous American orchestra. “We know that we want to be a platform for innovative orchestral programming and for new approaches to how composers’ worlds intersect with the orchestra,” Greenstein says. “If that sounds really general and vague, that’s because we don’t know what that means yet.” Beth Perdue Outland, vice president of community engagement and strategic innovation for the ISO, uses similar language to describe the union, which was announced in February. “This is the first time New Amsterdam has ever done an orchestral partnership, and we’ve never done anything like this before. It’s definitely a leap of faith. But we believe we can expand the way our community thinks about the orchestra,” she says. The idea was originally explored by ISO’s then-vice president of artistic planning, Martin Sher, who was inspired by the unorthodox approach of the orchestra’s “It’s ensemble in residence at the definitely time, the popular bluegrass/ a leap of classical hybrid trio Time For faith,” says Three. “Like Time For Three, Beth Perdue New Amsterdam seems to Outland, vice be taking on a responsibility: president of What is the new indigenous community music for orchestra?,” says engagement Outland. The two organiza- and strategic tions are mostly still hashing innovation out details, but one event in for the the partnership happened in Indianapolis March, when Shara Worden, Symphony an operatically trained singer Orchestra, who leads the indie-folk out- which has fit My Brightest Diamond, launched an performed Sarah Kirkland innovative Snider’s dusky, haunting or- residency chestral song cycle Penelope, with the New issued as a record on New Amsterdam Amsterdam in 2011 to wide record label. critical acclaim. On the oth- “But we er half of the program, the believe we DJ and composer Son Lux can expand handed three of his own short the way our pieces over to three different community New Amsterdam composers, thinks who had arranged them for about the orchestra. orchestra.” symphony



Murat Eyuboglu


Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider (left) and Shara Worden from the indie-folk ensemble My Brightest Diamond. In March, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Worden performed Kirkland’s song cycle Penelope as part of an innovative new partnership between the ISO and New Amsterdam Records.

Unlikely partnerships such as these underline the central miracle about recordings: they still have the potential to spark unforeseen opportunities. Like Gil Rose and BMOP, New Amsterdam parlayed the ripples caused by their recordings into something other than sales. Even as the industry roils in transition, and money made from sales continues to recede, the best chance an orchestra has to inject its presence and name into the cultural ether is through a recording. Rae, at Naxos, says he doesn’t know where the industry is headed—“Streaming, for example, is still really new, and we’re certainly nowhere near the end of what that’s going to be”— but he registers an impassioned argument for the role that recordings will play in whatever comes next. “Wherever consumers are taking themselves to listen to music, we need to be in that space,” Rae says. “If people are still buying CDs, we need to be there. If they’re downloading, we need to be there. If they want to stream, we need to be there. You have to be where people are going, because you won’t even be thought about if you’re not there. People are dynamic listeners. Me, I’ll buy physical on some things, download others, and stream some others. A lot of people two generations below me only stream, for the most part. It would be such a crime not to be there. It’s the definition of our job: to be there.” JAYSON GREENE is managing editor at eMusic and contributing editor at Pitchfork. He is the former associate editor of Symphony. He lives in Brooklyn. americanorchestras.org

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League of American Orchestras ..... 31, 33, 35, 75 CORRECTIONS: The article “Summer Sessions” in the Spring 2013 print edition of Symphony included a couple of inaccuracies with regards to the Birch Creek Music Performance Center (page 46). The student-to-teacher ratio should in fact be 1.8:1. Additionally, orchestral and other large ensemble performances do not take place in a farmhouse, as stated, but in the 500-seat Dutton Concert Barn. Birch Creek’s farmhouse instead serves as a listening library, faculty office, classroom facility, and sleeping quarters for the counselors. We regret these errors.


LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS Annual support from individuals, corporations, and foundations helps to sustain the League of American Orchestras and its programs and services. The League of American Orchestras gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the following donors who contributed gifts of $600 and above as of May 6, 2013. To learn more about supporting the League, please visit us at americanorchestras.org, call 212 262 5161, or write us at Annual Fund, League of American Orchestras, 33 West 60th Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10023.

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helen m. thomPson heritage society The League of American Orchestras graciously recognizes those who have remembered the League in their estate plans as members of the Helen M. Thompson Heritage Society. W. Curtis Livingston, co-chair, Nantucket, MA Nina C. Masek, co-chair, Sonoita, AZ Janet F. & Dr. Richard E. Barb Family Foundation, Indianapolis, IN Wayne S. Brown & Brenda E. Kee, Washington, DC John & Janet Canning, Westport, CT Richard & Kay Fredericks Cisek, North Oaks, MN Martha and Herman Copen Fund, Mt. Carmel, CT Myra Janco Daniels, Naples, FL Samuel C. Dixon, Morrow, GA Henry & Frances Fogel, Chicago, IL Susan Harris, Ph.D., Ann Arbor, MI Steve & Lou Mason, Dayton, OH Shirley D. McCrary, Mooresville, AL Lowell & Sonja Noteboom, Minnetonka, MN Charles & Barbara Olton, New York, NY Peter Pastreich, San Francisco, CA Rodger E. Pitcairn, Rockville, MD Robert & Barbara Rosoff, Glens Falls, NY Robert J. Wagner, Maplewood, NJ Tina Ward, Saint Louis, MO Mr. & Mrs. Albert K. Webster, New York, NY Anonymous (1) Mr. Louis Scaglione, Philadelphia, PA Jim and Grace Seitz, Naples, FL Ms. Rita Shapiro, Washington, DC Richard L. Sias, Oklahoma City, OK Barbara J. Soroca, Stamford, CT Jeff and Melissa Tsai, Geneva, IL • Dr. Jane Van Dyk, Billings, MT Gus Vratsinas, Little Rock, AR Robert J. Wagner, Boonton, NJ Edward Walker, Oklahoma City, OK Mr. Paul R. Winberg, Chicago, IL Rebecca and David Worters, Raleigh, NC Edward C. Yim, New York, NY • * Charter Member † Directors Council (former League Board) • Orchestra Management Fellowship Program Alumni + Includes Corporate Matching Gift ‡ In-Kind Donation



The St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Symphony are both hometown icons. What shared qualities keep the two groups at the top of their games? John Mozeliak, the Cardinals senior vice president and general manager who helped lead the baseball team to a World Series win in 2011, explores the affinities.


so when I get to attend a concert I have great appreciation for what musicians do. It’s remarkable how well-trained these individuals are and the passion they have for getting it right. One of my friends played

If you are introduced to something early on, you have more appreciation for it. That’s true whether you’re talking about baseball or orchestras.

St. Louis Symphony

in the St. Louis Symphony, so I would hear and see how much effort he put in before a performance, and it’s much like a professional athlete. There are definitely

St. Louis Cardinals Senior Vice President and General Manager John Mozeliak on the field when the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011

parallels in how they go about preparing for a concert. We call it a game. But it’s the same thing. The St. Louis Symphony does a tremendous job of putting on a show. To me, it looks like orchestras are evolving in the way they relate to their community. They have creative people helping them build their brand and getting that out there. Any company is about building your brand: defining it, understanding where you fit within your market. When you take an honest look at what people are listening to today, the younger world is not gravitating towards classical music. How are you going to keep new generations interested? If you are introduced to something early on you have more appreciation, whereas if you are sort of thrown into it as an adult, it may seem too foreign. That’s true whether you’re talking about baseball or orchestras.

Above: Powell Hall, home of the St. Louis Symphony, displays some hometown support for the Cardinals during the baseball team’s playoff run last year. Right: A video of the St. Louis Symphony, with Music Director David Robertson in a Cardinals jersey, gets a screening on the Jumbotron at Busch Stadium.

Adam Crane, St. Louis Symphony.


ven though you might have trouble at first connecting the dots between the symphony and baseball, there is a correlation. I don’t think the difference between sports and music is an either/or proposition. From an entertainment standpoint, both have a lot of value. When you look at the Cardinals’ relationship with the St. Louis market, there are certain venues that provide entertainment, and one of the things we do is try to cross-pollinate with these other resources. So we welcome opportunities to bring some of the world-renowned talent from the St. Louis Symphony over to the ballpark. And our philanthropic arm of Cardinals Care, which is dedicated to caring for kids, has partnered on some projects with the St. Louis Symphony. There are parallels between baseball and orchestras. Both are a team effort and group enterprise. When I attend the symphony, one of the more interesting components is watching how it all comes together—the timing and precision. It appears so seamless and flawless. You have to have great appreciation for the work and training. It’s a lot like going to a baseball game at the Major League level. When you watch a game day in and day out, you can take for granted how things are being accomplished, whereas if you watch a less experienced or less talented group perform, you start to see and hear the differences. We are in the talent business,

Scott Rovak

Team Players



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Profile for League of American Orchestras

Symphonyonline summer 2013  

Symphonyonline summer 2013