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New Concertmasters The

Six under 30 Talk About Chemistry, Career, & Collaboration

How to Create and Communicate Public Value Emerging Chamber Groups Speak Out Repertoire: The Middle East Connection Orchestras Catch the Microfunding Wave

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4 Prelude by Robert Sandla


7 The Score Orchestra news, moves, and events Pacific Symphony

14 Critical Questions Orchestras must forge deep ties with their communities to address questions about public value. by Jesse Rosen 18 Perspective Why we cannot yield to pessimism about orchestras. by Bruce Ridge


22 Currents The Patron Growth Initiative study may show new ways to build sustainable support. by Rebecca Winzenried


The Power of Ensemble Five emerging chamber groups tell their stories. by Eileen Reynolds


Guide to Emerging Artists


The New Masters Seven young, recently appointed concertmasters talk about chemistry, career-building, and collaboration. by Laurie Niles


Beyond the Melting Pot American orchestras connect with Middle Eastern communities at home and abroad. by Ian VanderMeulen


Catching the Micro Wave Orchestras are raising money to support projects through microfunding—with contributions as small as a dollar. by Jayson Greene


56 League of American Orchestras Annual Fund 71 Advertiser Index 74 Coda Sphinx Organization founder Aaron Dworkin argues that the arts play a critical role in developing tomorrow’s leaders.

28 74 Mike Mouradian

David Lang

Shared History Music archives used to be for scholars and researchers only. No longer. by Bradley Bambarger

about the cover

Throughout this issue, text marked like this indicates a link to websites and online resources that can be accessed by visiting SymphonyOnline at symphony.org.


The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Naha Greenholtz is one of a new generation of musicians just starting their careers as concertmasters. The 26-year-old violinist chats with six other newly minted concertmasters in “The New Masters” on page 46.


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ext time you’re at a concert, take a look around. Chances are, if it’s a regular subscription concert, the audience won’t exactly be jammed with young people. The greying of the audience—not just at orchestras, but at a broad swath of cultural events—is not a new phenomenon. And concern about connecting with audiences of the future in no way diminishes the vitality and essential role of today’s mature audiences. But take a look at the musicians onstage, and you might just see a fascinating counter-phenomenon: a growing number of young musicians, often in the central position of concertmaster. In this issue, we catch up with several recently appointed concertmasters who are under the age of 30. Not all that long ago, it would have been noteworthy that two of those young concertmasters are women, and three of them are Asian-American. Though we still have a long way to go to become more inclusive in classical music, it’s worth pointing out that these last two qualities are no longer that unusual. Does this mean that there’s a full-on, 1960s-style youthquake happening among classical musicians? Given overall statistics, maybe it’s more of a minor tremor. But a generational shift is taking place. You can’t help wondering how things will be for musicians and orchestras twenty years from now. How to build a strong future for orchestras? In an article on page 18, ICSOM Chairman Bruce Ridge calls for greater cooperation and a more positive outlook from all orchestra stakeholders. On page 14, League President and CEO Jesse Rosen discusses how orchestras can look ahead by tackling issues here and now.


symphony®, the award-winning quarterly magazine of the League of American Orchestras, discusses issues critical to the orchestra community and commun­icates to the American public the value and importance of orchestras and the music they perform. EDITOR IN CHIEF Robert Sandla






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

Alan Pierson leads the Brooklyn Philharmonic in Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin’s score to Lev Polyakov’s critically acclaimed short film Only Love at the Millennium Theater in Brighton Beach. Joshua Simpson

MUSICAL CHAIRS KAREN LEWIS ALEXANDER has been appointed vice president of development at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The Rochester (N.Y.) Philharmonic Orchestra has named MARK BERRY vice president of marketing and communications, effective January 23.

Brooklyn Philharmonic Artistic Director Alan Pierson

California’s San Luis Obispo Symphony has appointed JIM BLACK executive director. The Minnesota Orchestral Association has elected chair.


ROSINA CANNIZZARO has been appointed executive director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association.

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra (Appleton, Wis.) has named ROSEANNA CANNIZZO executive director.


Musical Chairs

Joe Tomcho

The Philharmonic collaborated with Brooklyn hip-hop legend Mos Def on October 8 at the Restoration Rocks Music Festival in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

ELAINE C. CARROLL has been appointed executive director of the New Haven (Conn.) Symphony Orchestra.

At the Houston Symphony, DAVID CHAMBERS has been named chief development officer and STEPHANIE JONES senior director of events and league relations.

Brooklyn Local

The San Francisco Symphony has announced that SAKURAKO FISHER will succeed the retiring JOHN D. GOLDMAN as president of the Board of Governors at its annual meeting on October 27, 2012.

The Brooklyn Philharmonic, silenced for two years due to budget troubles, has sprung back to life with a new artistic director, Alan Pierson, and a new mandate to make the ensemble truly of Brooklyn. Throughout the season the orchestra is performing in a handful of the borough’s vibrant neighborhoods, with each program inspired by that neighborhood’s culture. A poster promoting the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s Millennium Theater program to Brighton The official kick-off came in November at Brighton Beach’s Russian community Beach’s Millennium Theater with a program of six Russian cartoons paired with scores by Dmitri Shostakovich, Gennady Gladkov (two scores), Vyacheslav Artyomov, Mieczysław Weinberg, and Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin. A seventh cartoon was accompanied by Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, which the orchestra is using as a theme running through all its programs this season. The performance also featured an all-Russian cast of vocalists, and Pierson’s comments from stage were translated for the largely Russian audience. To read an interview with Pierson and see scenes from the Philharmonic’s October 8 collaboration with Brooklyn hip-hop legend Mos Def, visit symphonynow.org.

At the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, KAREEM GEORGE has been named managing director of community programs and REIMER PRIESTER senior director of patron and institutional advancement.

Throughout this issue, text marked like this indicates a link to websites and online resources that can be accessed by visiting SymphonyOnline at symphony.org.



JOSHUA (JD) GERSEN has been appointed music director of the New York Youth Symphony, effective with the 2012-13 season.

The Spokane Youth Symphony Orchestra has named JULIAN GOMEZGIRALDO artistic director.


Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestras (Appleton, Wis.) has appointed SEONGKYUNG GRAHAM conductor. FAWZI HAIMOR has been appointed assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, effective with the 2012-13 season.

At the Philadelphia Orchestra, CRAIG HAMILTON has been named to the newly created post of vice president for global initiatives and government relations. LINDA MILLER has been appointed senior director, development services, and DORIS PARENT senior director, corporate and foundation relations.

BRIAN HARWOOD has been elected chairman of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors.

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York City


Wilkinson Named Chief in Pittsburgh

The New York Youth Symphony has named ROBBI KEARNS director of artistic operations. has been named concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra.

The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra has announced the appointment of ANNA KUWABARA as vice president for orchestra operations and facilities, effective January 17.

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco



Several musician appointments for 2011-12 have been announced by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, including GABRIEL LEFKOWITZ , concertmaster; PETER CAIN , principal clarinet; EBONEE THOMAS , principal flute; and JEFFERY WHALEY, principal horn. has been appointed managing director of The Knights, a New York City-based chamber orchestra.


The Glens Falls (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra has named LISA MILLER executive director. has been appointed director of development at the Santa Rosa (Cal.) Symphony.

Musical Chairs


The Charleston (S.C.) Symphony has named and

ALANA MORRALL director of development NICOLE WARD director of marketing.

At the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, TONI PAZ has been appointed to the newly created post of chief patron officer, effective January 16. The Virginia Symphony has appointed KAREN PHILION director of development.

YOA Orchestra of the Americas has announced the appointment of CARLOS MIGUEL PRIETO as music director. The Wichita (Kan.) Symphony Orchestra has named DONALD REINHOLD executive director.

MICHAEL ROSEN and K. EUGENE SHUTLER have been elected chairman and president, respectively, of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra has appointed PIERRE RUHE director of artistic administration.

has been named executive director of the Terre Haute (Ind.) Symphony Orchestra.


The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has appointed director of marketing and communications.


has been appointed president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. JEROME H. KERN and MARY ROSSICK KERN have been elected co-chairs of the CSO Board of Trustees. GENE SOBCZAK


The Hartford (Conn.) Symphony Orchestra has named ANDREA STALF president and chief executive officer. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has appointed

STEPHEN WILLIAMSON principal clarinet and STEPHANIE JEONG associate concertmaster.

has been appointed executive director of Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival.



James A. Wilkinson, an attorney and longtime trustee of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, took office as the orchestra’s president and chief executive officer in mid-November, succeeding Lawrence J. Tamburri, who had led the orchestra for seven years. Wilkinson was most recently the Pittsburgh Symphony James A. Wilkinson Society’s vice chairman; he first joined its Executive Committee in 1988, and has served the organization as a labor negotiator since 1976. He is a former executive director and board chair of the Society for Contemporary Craft, and has had board affiliations with the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Institute, and Carlow University. PSO Board Chair Richard P. Simmons noted that Wilkinson was “respected by board members, musicians, and staff. The orchestra is very fortunate that a trustee with Jim Wilkinson’s experience and dedication is ready to step in.”

Cello Festival to Debut in L.A.

A new festival centering on the cello—named in honor of one of the greatest masters in that instrument’s history, Gregor Piatigorsky, and directed by cellist Ralph Kirshbaum—makes its debut in Los Angeles this winter. The Piatigorsky International Cello Festival will be presented March 9-18 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and The Colburn School. Twenty-two artists from twelve countries will converge on L.A. for ten days of orchestral and chamber music performance, masterclasses, and interactive events. In addition to Kirshbaum, the festival’s artistic director, participants will include such distinguished cellists as Gary Hoffman, Steven Isserlis, Ronald Leonard, Mischa Maisky, and Alisa Weilerstein. Partnering for the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival. Back row: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Executive Director Rachel Fine, PICF Artistic Director Ralph Kirshbaum, Colburn School Dean Richard Beene. Front row: USC-Thornton School of Music Dean Robert Cutietta, Los Angeles Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda

Steve Cohn

has appointed PABLO HERAS-CASADO principal conductor.

Michael Saheida




Five violins from the “Violins of Hope” exhibition, coming to the U.S. for the first time in April

Cover Up This Winter

Rare Violins Come to NC Eighteen violins recovered from the Holocaust are journeying to America for the first time this April for “Violins of Hope,” a series of exhibitions and performances presented by the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture. The violins, on display there from April 14 to 24, were restored beginning in 1996 by Israeli master violin-maker Amnon Weinstein and first played publicly in 2008 in Jerusalem. Some of the violins were played by Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, while others belonged to Jewish klezmer musical culture. Weinstein will participate throughout the series, with the many local partners including the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Levine Museum of the New South, Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte. On April 21, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra led by music director Christopher WarrenGreen will perform a “Violins of Hope” concert at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, featuring Barber’s Adagio for Strings showcasing sixteen of the restored violins; the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony; and the Beethoven Violin Concerto, with soloist Shlomo Mintz. For more information on “Violins of Hope,” visit http://www.violinsofhopecharlotte.com.

Two-State Discussions

Two provocative, wide-ranging examinations of the role of orchestras in contemporary American life kick into gear this March. The American Orchestras Summit II will be hosted by the University of Michigan School of Music from March 21 to 23, coinciding with the San Francisco Symphony’s Ann Arbor residency. Summit sessions tackle such topics as “Listening to Our Audiences,” “Training Professional Musicians for Today and Tomorrow,” and “Orchestra Success Stories.” Panelists include League President Jesse Rosen; Ayden Adler, executive director of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; San Francisco Executive Director Brent Assink; Chris Genteel, business development manager at Google; and Bruce Ridge, chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians. See http://sitemaker.umich.edu/ orchestrasummit for more information. Throughout its centennial season, the San Francisco Symphony is hosting the American Orchestra Forum, a series of free discussions about the state of Audience members at the University of Michigan’s American orchestras. On March 17, during its American Mavericks Festival, Orchestra Summit, 2010 the Forum will look at tradition and innovation. Participants include SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, composers Mason Bates and John Adams, and Mark Clague of the University of Michigan. For more, visit symphonyforum.org.


Finding comprehensive insurance coverage for all of an orchestra’s activities can be a challenge. To help orchestras fill this gap, the League of American Orchestras has formed a partnership with La Playa, which has significant experience and expertise in the arts sector. The League’s new insurance program can provide specialist insurance for orchestras; professional advice from a performingarts insurance expert; and the financial muscle that comes when organizations pool their buying power to achieve better terms with insurers. The program is for orchestras of all budget sizes, as well as individual and business members of the League. “We were very satisfied with the quote we received through the League’s Insurance Program,” said Jennifer Barlament, executive director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. “The team at La Playa was helpful, efficient, and saved us money. I would encourage everyone to ensure they are adequately covered.” For more about the League Insurance Program, visit www. laplayainsurance.com/ league.


League Appoints Golan Development VP

Jay Golan, a development professional with 25 years of experience in fundraising, nonprofit management, and consulting, was named vice president for development at the League of American LA Phil Music Director Gustavo Dudamel Orchestras, effective November 1, 2011. He The months of January and February put the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its music director, Gustavo has served as senior Dudamel, center stage in both the U.S. and in Dudamel’s home country of Venezuela. From January 30 to director at Carnegie Hall, as February 1, the “Take a Stand” partnership among the LA Phil, Longy School of Music, and Bard College president of the Birthright hosts a symposium in Los Angeles devoted to El Sistema, the Venezuelan program that promotes social Israel Foundation, and as change through music education. Events include workshops and music-reading sessions; a joint rehearsal consultant and concert with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and YOLA (Dudamel’s El Sistemato New York inspired program at the LA Phil); and public discussions by LA Phil President and CEO Deborah Borda Public Radio and Bard College President Leon Botstein. On February 18, the LA Phil performs in Caracas, Venezuela and New alongside the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra—plus soloists and several choirs—for Mahler’s York City’s Symphony No. 8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”). The Mahler concert will also be aired live in hundreds of Park Avenue U.S. movie theaters as the second of three LA Phil LIVE broadcasts this season. Armory. Golan holds an MBA from Columbia Jay Golan University Numbers are in from the recently rebranded Sarasota The League of American Orchestras will Business School and was Orchestra—and the news is good. The orchestra, hold its 2012 National Conference in Dallas also a Knox Fellow at until fall of 2008 known as the Florida West Coast this June, bringing thousands of orchestra Queen’s College, Oxford. Symphony, reports that single-ticket sales were up professionals to the Big D and spotlighting He is a graduate of Harvard 46 percent, from an average of 13,304 single tickets the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under University, where he during the three seasons before the rebranding to Music Director Jaap van Zweden, recently earned his bachelor’s and an average of 19,485 tickets sold named Musical America’s Conductor of the master’s degrees in history. per season since the rebranding. Year. At the heart of the League Conference, “Jay is an outstanding While traditional subscription held from June 5-8, is the chance to fundraising leader well sales continued to decline, in line interact face-to-face, in real time, with known to arts and cultural with national trends, the orchestra leading experts, provocative iconoclasts, organizations in New York reports increases in flex packages management gurus, and fellow delegates and beyond,” said League and pops subscriptions, Sarasota about the vital, pressing concerns of the day. President and CEO Jesse Music Festival sales, youth orchestra Whether you are a board member, musician, Rosen in announcing the participation, and at the orchestra’s summer camp. The staff member, or volunteer, no download or appointment. “His expertise campaign to reinvigorate the organization and attract handout can replace the chance to connect and skill will be enormously new audiences—chronicled in Symphony in Marchwith colleagues who understand and share valuable to the League in April 2010—was led by President and CEO Joseph the challenges you face. The Conference reaching out to those who McKenna and Chief Marketing Officer Gordon also offers the opportunity to hear the care about the future of Greenfield. Changes since the rebranding included DSO perform in the landmark Morton H. orchestras in America.”

Rebranding Update

Conference 2012

creating interactive programs, providing a wider range of musical experiences, marketing the symphonic experience as “exhilarating and exciting” rather than “elegant,” and making concerts less formal. For a look at a similar rebranding effort in Texas, see the SymphonyNOW story on ENVISO, formerly known as the Irving Symphony Orchestra.

Meyerson Symphony Center, just across the street from the brand-new AT&T Center for the Performing Arts. Registration for the conference begins in February; check http:// www.americanorchestras.org/conference_2012 for full program details and to register.



winter 2012

Chester Lane

Sylvia Lleli

Border Crossings

It seems like the first-ever Spring for Music festival in May at Carnegie Hall just ended, but already the festival is well into planning its 2014 edition, with 34 orchestras having uploaded proposed programs to the S4M website for public comment and voting, which ended in November. With 3,059 votes, the top vote-getter was a program with the choral/orchestral work Wa Wa Tey Wak by halfScottish/half Cree composer Andrew Balfour; Vincent Ho’s The Shaman percussion concerto; and Atli Heimir Sveinsson’s Symphony No. 2. Also popular were a program of music from the Pacific Rim (2,503 Toledo Symphony fans at inaugural Spring for Music festival, May 2011 votes) and another of works by John Luther Adams, Debussy, and Varèse (2,042 votes). Programs were posted at the S4M site without identifying the orchestras that submitted them; public vote influences the final programming decisions but does not solely determine them. Programs and orchestras for 2014 will be announced on February 1, 2012. This year’s Spring for Music is set for May 7 to 12, 2012 at Carnegie Hall with the Alabama, Edmonton, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, and New Jersey symphonies.

GEOFF GALLANTE At just 10 yrs old, Geoff's performed in 27 states nationwide and with five different ensembles of the U.S. Military! He's appeared on the CBS EARLY

Nashville singer-songwriter Ben Folds signs keys from one of his flood-damaged pianos to auction off for the Nashville Symphony.

SHOW, the TONIGHT SHOW with Jay Leno, and NBC'S TODAY show and has performed at the KENNEDY CENTER in Washington D.C. and even the WHITE HOUSE--the youngest instrumentalist ever accorded that honor!

Keys to Recovery

Among the Nashville musicians affected by the flood of May 2010 was singersongwriter and frequent orchestra collaborator Ben Folds. Pondering what to do with a piano that had been ruined while in storage at Soundcheck Nashville, Folds came up with the idea of auctioning off autographed keys from the instrument to benefit the Nashville Symphony, whose Schermerhorn Symphony Center had suffered nearly $40 million in damages in the same flood. For a minimum donation of $88, fans can take home one of the signed keys, with proceeds going to the orchestra’s artistic and educational programs. americanorchestras.org

Geoff performs exclusively on YAMAHA cornets/trumpets

For booking info please contact: geoffrey.gallante@gmail.com or 703.678.9943


Steve J. Sherman

Spring for the Program

Beethoven on the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island

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ANDREW NORMAN Apart, Together Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

MATTHIAS PINTSCHER mar’eh London Philharmonic Orchestra

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National pride: Beethoven represents Germany at the United Nations

Beethoven at the New York Stock Exchange

Our Immortal Beloved

For New York’s public classical station WQXR, November was Beethoven Awareness Month, with a host of features, including live performance streams, articles on Beethoven’s life and work, and a 30-second TV spot urging viewers to “Obey Thoven”— and of course plenty of Beethoven’s music over the airwaves. WQXR’s website also hosted two Beethoven-themed photo contests: “Where’s Beethoven?” featured daily photos of Beethoven’s bust around New York and asked visitors to identify the location, while a “Beethoven Time Machine” asked readers to paste images of Beethoven into famous historical photographs for a chance to win WQXR swag. A November 13 concert at New York’s Greene Space featured all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas performed in succession by several prominent pianists.

Orchestras Help the Hungry

In December, the League of American Orchestras launched Orchestras Feeding America 2012, the fourth annual National Food Drive. Since the inaugural drive in 2009, Orchestras Feeding America has seen some 250 orchestras partner with their local food banks to raise over 350,000 pounds of food. Many of these partnerships have turned into year-round collaborations, with orchestras performing at local food banks and becoming a regular source of much-needed food throughout the year. Other orchestras have been inspired to initiate additional food drives on their own at other times during the year, communicating the importance of orchestras in their communities and the impact they have beyond the music they play.

New at SymphonyNOW

If you haven’t checked out SymphonyNOW, the free online weekly magazine from the editors of Symphony, here’s what you missed—70 feature stories and counting, as of early December. Topics tackled during the site’s first six months include cellist Matt Haimovitz’s first-person visit to OccupyWallStreet, an all-day Bach extravaganza at a public school in Brooklyn, a “Who Was Joan of Arc?” campaign in Baltimore, and Q&As with new music directors at orchestras in Rochester, Hartford, and Seattle. At SymphonyNOW, Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, offers thought-provoking responses to orchestra issues of the day, and visitors can weigh in on questions like the best way to find audiences for new music; the evolving role of a music critic; ticket prices for classical concerts; and how to address the problem of noise in the concert hall. In January, go behind the scenes of the first Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and meet Krzysztof Urbański, new music director at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Visit symphonynow.org for more. symphony


Big Screen, Great Outdoors The Chamber Orchestra of New York headed to the great outdoors on October 6, when it played a free concert at the Eventi Hotel’s al fresco plaza. Nestled adjacent to the hotel in Manhattan’s gritty, fragrant wholesale Flower District, the Big Screen Plaza features waterworks, greenery, exhibition areas, seating, and—true to its name—a 30- by 15-foot HD screen on which live events are projected. Led by founder Salvatore Di Vittorio, the Chamber Orchestra of New York performed selections from their debut CD on Naxos, as well as works by Vivaldi, Corelli, Respighi, and Mozart. Di Vittorio established the orchestra in 2006 to feature young professional musicians in the early stages of their careers; programs center on the Italian classical repertoire. The orchestra played at the edge of a reflecting pool, but the splash it made was purely aesthetic—for appreciative crowds.

Awards to van Zweden, Salonen, and More


“I’ve admired Dan Kamin’s work for many years. The tremendous fun he introduces into concerts belies the serious thought behind them. He has a unique talent for physical comedy and wonderful feel for music.” — Ted Wiprud Director of Education New York Philharmonic

Jennifer Taylor

On December 5 Musical America presented its 2012 Conductor of the Year Award to Jaap van Zweden, music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, at the Kaplan Penthouse of New York’s Lincoln Center. Other Musical America honors went to cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, the first double recipients of its Musician of the Year Award; and to Meredith Monk as Composer of Esa-Pekka Salonen the Year, violinist Gil Shaham as Instrumentalist of the Year, and tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Vocalist of the Year. The University of Louisville’s annual Grawemeyer Award for music composition, which comes with a $100,000 prize, was announced November 28 and went to Esa-Pekka Salonen for his Violin Concerto. Co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and New York City Ballet, the concerto was given its world premiere by the Philharmonic and violinist Leila Josefowicz in April 2009.

Park Avenue Chamber Symphony led by Music Director David Bernard in Avery Fisher Hall, May 2011

Eventi, A Kimpton Hotel

Salvatore Di Vittorio leads the Chamber Orchestra of New York in a free outdoor concert at the Eventi Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

China Times Nine Beijing is not an unusual destination for Western orchestras. But Chaoyang, Dalian, and Jinzhou? Those are just four of the nine Chinese cities the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony visited December 23 through January 5 at the invitation of the Beijing Concert Hall Corporation. This was the first international concert tour for the orchestra, which was founded in 1999 in New York City and consists of dedicated amateur musicians. “In addition to being a huge honor, this tour is a major milestone for the orchestra,” Music Director David Bernard said before the tour. “Music is a universal language, and we look forward to a rewarding cultural exchange with a new audience across the globe.” Visit SymphonyNOW to read first-person blogs by musicians from the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony about their experiences in China.

See what all the fuss is about at www.dankamin.com

Dan Kamin

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



Rules of Engagement As orchestras are increasingly questioned about public value, how can they better engage with their communities? New tools from the League help orchestras determine and demonstrate their worth in their communities.


few weeks ago, New Jersey Public Television aired a video of hundreds of Newark schoolchildren happily showing off their violin-playing prowess. The scene was a concert by the Early Strings program run by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Since its inception in 2000, the NJSO’s Suzuki-inspired program has served more than 2,600 students and, with community support, invested nearly $2 million in the education of underserved children of Newark. This is only one example of how orchestras have been building on a tradition of great music-making to become more farreaching cultural citizens who support the arts education of our children and define audience to include all segments of our communities. So it was troubling to read this recent AP lead, picked up in hundreds of papers, including The Washington Post: “Billions of dollars in arts funding is serving a mostly wealthy, white audience that is shrinking while only a small chunk of money goes to emerging arts groups that serve poorer communities that are more ethnically diverse, according to a report being released Monday.” The report, Fusing Arts, Culture, and Social Change, was commissioned by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and presented at the Grantmakers in the Arts conference in October 2011. Among its findings and recommendations:


• The largest arts organizations with

• •

budgets exceeding $5 million represent only 2 percent of the nonprofit arts and culture sector. Yet those groups received 55 percent of foundation funding for the arts in 2009. The majority of current arts funding supports larger cultural organizations dedicated to classical European artistic traditions and American iterations of these idioms. Both the audiences of and donors to these institutions are predominantly upper-income and white. This pronounced imbalance restricts the expressive life of millions of people, thus constraining the creativity of our nation. Philanthropic investment in the arts should benefit underserved communities and promote greater equity, opportunity, and justice.

At the League, we heartily support the last recommendation, and it should be central to the mission of all arts organizations that want to be meaningful in today’s society. But we take issue with the suggestion that foundation support to large-budget organizations and those that perform the Western canon is, by definition, at odds with the goals of benefiting underserved communities and promoting greater equity, opportunity, and justice. The League spent several weeks pointing out through multiple channels that America’s orchestras are important vehicles for achieving these goals, by

Klaus Lucka

by Jesse Rosen

Jesse Rosen, president and CEO, League of American Orchestras

virtue of their capacity to serve a broad range of audiences with accessible, relevant, and even transformational musical experiences. We delivered this message in an interview that I did with WQXR radio with Aaron Dorfman, executive director of the NCRP; through blogs on

More than 60 percent of the 32,000 concerts given annually by League member orchestras for a wide range of audiences are specifically dedicated to education or community engagement. Some 50,000 young people perform in more than 500 youth orchestras. our own website and on ArtsJournal; in a mock Congressional debate between Dorfman and Heather Noonan, our vice president for government affairs, at the Independent Sector conference; and in an upcoming issue of the Grantmakers in the Arts Reader. We explained that more than 60 percent of the 32,000 concerts given annually by League member orchestras for a wide range of young and adult audiences are specifically dedicated to education or community engagement, and that 50,000 young people perform in more than 500 symphony


youth orchestras. We shared examples of the range of community partners that orchestras work with today, and the finding that 45 percent of orchestra audiences earn less than $75,000 in total household income per year. We affirmed that orchestral music is a unique art form that speaks powerfully to people of all backgrounds and income levels; that orchestral and operatic performances took hold in Latin America nearly a century before they arrived in North America; that China is experiencing an explosion of classical music; and that orchestral repertoire today is expanding to include more works from immigrant populations. In addition, the League’s 2009 Audience Demographic Review analysis by McKinsey forecasts that Hispanics will increase their share of the total live classical audience from about 12 to 20 percent by 2018. But let’s do our own reality check. We still have much more work to do to serve communities beyond our traditional concert audiences, which remain predominantly white; and more work to spread the word about our value as not only delivering performances of high quality but also as educational and community-service events. To succeed we must increasingly work hand in hand with those artists and marginalized communities that help enrich our art form and generate new access points for audience engagement. We see the issues of equity, social justice, and public value being debated more and more in the public arena even as concertgoers, funders, and governments are making tough choices about how to allocate scarce resources. Meanwhile, economic-impact arguments are not enough and are not unique to the arts. And while artistic excellence is fundamental to our work, it is no longer sufficient to generate widespread community support. At a time when the public expects nonprofits to meet basic human needs, orchestras must demonstrate that they are relevant and accessible to the broadest cross-section of their communities. The stakes have never been higher for America’s orchestras to effectively create and convey their public value. americanorchestras.org

public-policy challenges we face. In the chart below from the Public Value Toolkit you can see research indicating what the public wants from all nonprofits, including orchestras. Some policy influencers do not believe that orchestras serve a broad segment of the community. This is the biggest challenge we face in today’s environment. In addition, to help orchestras answer the question of how to serve a broader community and create public value,

Authentic Actions, Effective Communication

Making a stronger case for support requires two essential components: more authentic actions and more effective communications. To help orchestras advance their work in these two critical areas, the League has developed a new online Public Value Toolkit. First we set the stage with a PowerPoint presentation that frames the context for this issue by describing current perceptions of orchestras and the

A page from the League’s Public Value Toolkit (top) indicates qualities necessary for orchestras to be truly valued by their communities. The League’s Your Orchestra, Your Community assessment resource (below) frames the processes orchestras should have in place to serve broad communities and create public value.

Key Messages to Dem onstrate and Communicate Orchestras are valued by the public to the ext ent that they demonstrably possess and embrace all four of qualities: the following








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tra, Your Orches munity: Your Com Roadmap ccess to Su


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Our public opinion research and your reported experience show that orchestras are valued by the public to the extent that they demonstrably possess and embrace all four of the following qualities:

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the League has developed an assessment resource, Your Orchestra, Your Community. This does not tell you what to do. But it does frame the processes orchestras should have in place to do effective work in this area. This resource is designed as a starting point—a catalyst for discussion to help your orchestra strategize ways of further developing your work to achieve your goals on the road to true civic engagement. It includes success indicators and a set of questions corresponding to each indicator. We encourage you to use this tool with your board, staff, and musicians to set some priorities and direction. Another element of the Toolkit is a unified Messaging Framework that offers a guide to communicating our public value. This excerpt lays out the key elements of the framework:

• Respond and are accessible to

Ottawa YOUNG ARTISTS June 11–30

At a time when the public expects nonprofits to meet basic human needs, orchestras must demonstrate that they are relevant and accessible to the broadest cross-section of their communities.

• •

community Strengthen civic health and quality of life Contribute to youth and lifelong learning Model excellence through highquality musical performances

Each orchestra will have different ways of supporting these messages through data and/or stories. But remember, if your orchestra’s civic, educational, and musical benefits are available to only a small segment of the community, those services cannot be considered

“public goods.” It is by virtue of delivering a public service that orchestras have traditionally been granted charitable or educational tax-exempt status. Thus, you have an obligation to convey the specific ways your orchestra broadly benefits the public. Your engagement with and services to the community must be authentic and reflective of community needs. The League has many resources to help you make progress. (See Additional Resources below.) Above all, do not claim to have impact that your orchestra does not currently produce. If your orchestra has not yet met its potential to reach broad segments of the community, it is more effective to acknowledge your orchestra’s challenges than to overstate the impact of your work. America’s orchestras (and, I suspect, opera companies, museums, and theaters) have all been transitioning from a single-minded focus on the excellence of the performance or artwork, to paying greater attention to the value created for the community. We have an important story to tell about our value. In Washington, the League is vigorously making the case for orchestras, and orchestras are advocating on their own behalf. For example, you sent more than 1,000 letters to Congress regarding charitable-giving tax incentives. But orchestras must also vigorously strengthen the reality behind the case we are making.

Additional Resources The Public Value Toolkit is the latest in a continuum of League work to assist orchestras in developing their educational and community engagement work. Visit the following sections of americanorchestras.org for more in-depth information, including tools, examples of best practices, reports, and articles: http://www.americanorchestras. org/utilities/education_community_ engagement_resources.html http://www.americanorchestras. org/learning_and_leadership/civic_ engagement.html



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

San Francisco Symphony

75 years

East Texas Symphony Orchestra Louisville Orchestra

50 years

Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Boise Philharmonic Gulf Coast Symphony Huntsville Youth Orchestra Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra Lexington Philharmonic Long Island Youth Orchestra Waco Symphony Orchestra

25 years

Chicago Sinfonietta Columbus Indiana Philharmonic The Discovery Orchestra Greenwich Village Orchestra Northwest Symphony Orchestra (WA) Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra Taiwan Philharmonic

20 years

Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra New Century Chamber Orchestra

10 years

Green Mountain Youth Symphony Mariposa Symphony Orchestra West Hartford Symphony Orchestra



The Power of Positive Action How to create a strong future for orchestras? Those invested in our industry must not yield to pessimism about orchestras. by Bruce Ridge


n my travels as chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), I have visited with many of America’s orchestras, from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Honolulu. This journey has afforded me a unique view of symphony orchestras, as I try to meet with as wide a segment of each orchestra’s constituency as possible. I am backstage with the musicians in their lounges, and also in their homes. I meet with the board leaders, CEOs, and occasionally members of the staff. I ask the musicians to take me to meet their audiences and supporters, all the while listening for the reasons for success, and also the causes of failure. Unfortunately, all too often I find a negative perception of the future of orchestras, presented as an assumption of inevitability. But when I ask why such a perception exists, many are hard pressed to articulate reasons that haven’t been supplied for them by negative studies, blogs, or articles. I am left with one overwhelming realization: the way things are is not the way things have to be. We live in a time when, for better or worse, the truth belongs to those who say it most effectively. In this media age, words have incredible power, and the words we choose in discussing our field have ramifications. At a time when musicians have made tremendous sacrifices in recognition of economic realities, too


seldom do we hear the sound of our music matched by the sound of CEOs and board leaders making compelling cases for their orchestras. When the field uses negative terms to describe itself, it does not inspire the donors, audiences, and politicians we need to support us. Some of this, I fear, is born of the culture within our field, where conflicts do exist in the labor-management relationship. These internal conflicts actually don’t concern me when they remain

At a time when musicians have made tremendous sacrifices in recognition of economic realities, too seldom do we hear the sound of our music matched by the sound of CEOs and board leaders making compelling cases for their orchestras. internal. After all, everyone in this field loves art; and art is largely based on the open exploration of human emotion. It seems reasonable to me that at times people immersed in the world of art will have disagreements. But for the good of our communities and future generations of Americans, we must resist a temptation to merely want to win. We should resist using harsh language when debating those who disagree with us, and we should not undermine our highest aspirations by indulging in our basest instincts.

We must effectively market our orchestras, promoting them as vital and branding them as indispensable. In a world where other businesses that offer far less to the common good have mastered the art of promotion and the utilization of free media, many orchestras remain behind the times. About our field, we hear “unsustainability” and equally destructive terms from people who observe us from afar, sometimes without really having a vested interest in the success or failure of our orchestras. Far too often their negative words are recited from within our field. People will donate to, and invest in, organizations that inspire them, and they will not invest in organizations that question their own sustainability. We must stop listening to and giving forums to extremists. The problem is not the musicians’ union or the economy or the League of American Orchestras. The problem is one of national perception, and we can only change that by joining together and becoming public advocates for the arts, for our orchestras, and for the children who might never be exposed to this great music. By engaging in our current negative national public dialogue, we are merely supplying donors and political leaders with reasons to avoid supporting us. The message regarding education should be an easy sell. The value of music in education has been observed as far back as Aristotle, who wrote, “Enough has been said to show that music has a power of forming the character, and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young.” Before him, Plato went even further by saying, “I would teach the children music, physics, and philosophy, but the most important symphony


Michael Zirkle

North Carolina Symphony bass player and ICSOM Chairman Bruce Ridge talks with fourth-grade students at a North Carolina Symphony educational program in Wilmington, NC during the fall of 2011.

is music, for in the patterns of the arts are the keys to all learning.” Wouldn’t it benefit every orchestra, every musician, every manager, and every board member if we were more prepared to recite these phrases rather than “structural deficit” or financial analysis from Stanford? I frequently receive calls from musicians asking for advocacy information requested by a particular board member. The trustee tells the musicians how often their board meetings take a negative direction, discussing only what cannot be achieved instead of what is possible. The trustee wants to speak up but feels intimidated. So I supply them with facts they can spread to their friends and community contacts—facts that stand in contrast to the messages often read in their newspapers. Key to these advocacy points is the effect of the arts in the local community. I deeply believe that the solution for success in any orchestra lies in its ability to reflect its own community. In that regard, many of our national conversations don’t provide much local insight. americanorchestras.org

In fact, many of those conversations use terms that often undermine an orchestra’s ability to brand itself within its own city. No two constituencies of an orchestra are better equipped to work toward the same positive goal of community branding than the musicians and the board. They are the ones who have lived longest within the community, and they are the ones who have invested the most time in attending the schools, meeting the residents, and electing the political leaders of their town. Managers and music directors tend to change locations more frequently than musicians and board members, and they should seek the input of the two groups that know the community better than most. Managers should foster a relationship between those two groups, as they would best be able to direct the manager’s skills toward uniquely serving the community. Sadly, in too many places I have visited, I see walls built between the board and the musicians instead of bridges. The destructive rhetoric that permeates our national discussion further widens the chasm.

People will donate to, and invest in, organizations that inspire them. They will not invest in organizations that question their own sustainability. A Rhetoric of Negativity

I often think that those who advocate major change for our field are simply going about it all wrong. How can we fail to see that destructive rhetoric is the enemy of change? Our field appears to be emulating the sociopolitical environment of Washington. We aren’t talking to each other; we are not listening to each other. We are staking out positions that paint us into stereotypical corners. No business, and no society really, can make a case that its workers are earning too much while those same workers see others making quite sizeable increases

within the same field. Musicians are willing to sacrifice precisely because they do love their orchestras and they do love their communities. Labeling the salaries of musicians as out of control at the moment of their greatest sacrifice breeds resentment, and resentment thwarts debate. It simply does not promote positive dialogue, and only serves to make the musicians resistant to change. There is no doubt that our field faces challenges. But why would we promote those challenges more vociferously than we promote our own orchestras? No other field does this to itself. Look at the food industry—according to American Express, 90 percent of restaurants fail in their first year of business, but no one within the restaurant industry would publicly suggest that Americans no longer like to eat! When the United States ended the Space Shuttle program recently, I thought back 50 years to one of the greatest American speeches ever delivered. On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy challenged America to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of the decade. On that day he said, “While we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure on our part to make these efforts shall make us last.” In that speech he said that Americans strive to achieve great things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. He told an Irish folk tale where two young boys on a journey confront a stone wall, too high to mount but too long to circumvent. Facing the prospect of a retreat that would end their adventure, one boy throws the hat of the other over the wall, leaving them no choice but to find some way to overcome the obstacle. Kennedy spoke in a time when America dreamt of what could be achieved, what could be built, and what could be created. We must engage in positive advocacy and education of the public. A recent poll indicated that 40 percent of Americans believe that as much as 5 percent of the federal budget goes to support the arts. A shocking 7 percent of respondents


said they thought the government spent half of its budget on arts programs. This is the misconception we deal with in a world of spin where the truth is often a victim of sound bites. In reality, the entire amount of the federal budget spent on the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is only .066%. And every dollar that the government invests in this way returns seven dollars to the community. Celebrating Success

I believe that we can still achieve a great future, but to get there we must change our rhetoric. We must stop supplying reporters with ready-made destructive copy. We must not give our communities reasons to avoid supporting us. Specifically, I would urge a moratorium on the phrase “The New Model.” For a phrase that has absolutely no meaning, it is powerfully destructive to relationships everywhere. Other fields, with far less to offer, have mastered the art of messaging. The “truth” they sell is in their message; but even if you have an effective truth, it will not be heard unless you also have an effective message. On a national basis, our field does not have such a message. It does not serve anyone in our field to suggest that student musicians would be an adequate replacement for one of the world’s greatest orchestras, or to call musicians “stubborn” in the press because they needed several days to consider accepting a massive pay cut. Thankfully, many orchestras do have an effective message locally. In those places we see orchestras increasing their relevance in inspiring ways. And in places where orchestras are failing, the reasons for those failures are uniquely local as well. The prevailing view of orchestras is that they have suffered in the recession, but I don’t see it that way. To me, the point to be made is how wonderful and remarkable it is that many of our orchestras have done well in this climate. That is the story we should work together to


promote. We cannot afford to allow ourselves to see only the darkness without acknowledging the light. I urge us not to promote failure while ignoring success. I see those success stories as inspirational and reassuring for a future I know we can achieve. As Molière wrote, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” The quality of American orchestras has never been greater, and I see a future where orchestras are even more relevant, where we reach a wider audience, and where more and more young people are eager to be a part of something that represents quality at a time when the world accepts mediocrity. We have resources in our organizations that other businesses ache for. We have musicians who inspire, we have board members who want to serve their cities, we have managers who want to ensure that our orchestras thrive, and we have audiences that love us. I have never been more optimistic or inspired about what we can do. That is the truth we should be articulating, and that is the alert we should be sounding. Until then, I want everyone to take a deep breath. I don’t want to hear one more negative word, read one more erroneous report, or find even one more orchestra silenced. We must not be afraid to dream great dreams simply because they are hard to achieve. While we cannot guarantee success, we can guarantee failure if we continue to engage in negative public rhetoric. We owe better to Beethoven, to Bernstein, to our teachers, to our students, to our children, to our audiences…and to ourselves. The way things are is not the way things have to be. BRUCE RIDGE is a double-bassist with the North Carolina Symphony, and began his career with the Virginia Symphony at age 15. He studied at the Curtis Institute and New England Conservatory, where he graduated with Distinction in Performance honors. Ridge is believed to be the second musician from an ICSOM orchestra ever to chair a music-director search, and he has testified before Congress on the economic and employment impact of the arts and music industry.



67th National Conference

SAVE the DATE Dallas June 5 – 8, 2012 Hosted by Dallas Symphony Orchestra

For more information and to register visit americanorchestras.org


Relationship Status As orchestras face growing concerns about financial stability, the Patron Growth Initiative may reveal new ways to build sustainable support.

“A cherished friend, warm, constant, clever and talented. No explanation required, she’s just there!” “Reminiscent of my first wife: beautiful but haughty. Does as she pleases with no regard for my opinion and freely spends my money without asking.”


ho among us can’t relate to the best and worst of interpersonal relationships reflected in those comments? They could have been uttered by many a friend or co-worker over lunch or in the break room—except that they’re from subscribers and donors, talking about how they view their own orchestras. They are part of the very human, very revealing information uncovered in the 2011 Patron Growth Initiative, an indepth study of customer data from nine orchestras conducted on their behalf by Prescott and Associates, a strategic marketing and research firm based in Pittsburgh. The initiative involved the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, and Philadelphia Orchestra. The Patron Growth Initiative builds on the 2008 Audience Growth Initiative, a.k.a. the Churn Study, which involved many of the same participants. Jack McAuliffe


of Engaged Audiences LLC, who worked with participants on that study, returned for the Patron Growth Initiative as project facilitator. McAuliffe also served as moderator for “Churning Butter into Gold,” a panel at the League of American Orchestras’ National Conference last June that looked at the initiative’s findings. While the 2008 report focused on firsttimers and single-ticket buyers, examining ways to retain them instead of falling prey to high rates of audience turnover, or churn, it also offered some insights into

Frequency trumps mere attendance. That is, the more patrons purchase tickets and attend concerts, the more likely they are to make donations. how to nurture long-term relationships more effectively. The Patron Growth Initiative picks up that thread to examine customer loyalty and donor support across the entire spectrum, from newcomers to loyalists to lapsed subscribers. For the first time, marketing and development departments at the orchestras joined forces to participate equally and collaborate on ensuing recommendations. “Since before the Churn Study, orchestras have been experimenting with ways of streamlining internal processes to give customers, be they donors or subscribers, a seamless connection to their organiza-

Prescott and Associates

by Rebecca Winzenried

Kate Prescott (at left) and team at work on the Patron Growth Initiative. At center is Kim Williams-Shuker, lead statistician on the project.

tions,” says Russell Jones, the League’s vice president for marketing and membership development. “Not all have succeeded, but clearly the field is recognizing this is the right route to take. Armed with donor/subscriber behavior data from the two studies, orchestras can now craft their own specific offerings to encourage frequency of attendance, which leads to greater loyalty, and, ultimately, earlier contributions.” Kate Prescott, president of the firm that bears her name, began with the gargantuan task of gathering information from all nine participating orchestras to create a database of 545,000 patrons, defined as those having purchased classical-series tickets or made a donation during the fiscal years 2005 to 2009. The database was then used to conduct comprehensive surveys of 13,000 patrons, mining ticket transactions and donations to identify symphony



disturbing news is just how weak those bonds can be. Extreme patrons, loyal subscribers, and donors represent less than 14 percent of overall patrons in the report, while the majority reported more tenuous, if respectful, ties to their orchestras. The hard truth is that they think you’re great, but they’re just not that into you— and it might be because they don’t feel a

est reaction, Mathur adds, but at the same time, “it’s not exactly going to get them to say, ‘Here’s my gift.’ ” How to reach a better understanding? Prescott was able to unearth some basic tenets about orchestra-patron relationships by framing the conversation in human terms. She conducted dozens of in-depth individual interviews and then

Prescott and Associates

“The study helps orchestras of all sizes understand how they can develop more effective strategies and value from the people who are already coming. That’s a key element of orchestra survival,” says David Snead, vice president of marketing at the New York Philharmonic.

Chris Lee

levels of commitment, revenue sources, and patterns of behavior relating to attendance, duration, and likelihood of giving. Prescott’s associate on the project was statistician Kim Williams-Shuker, PhD; she was responsible for building the database and handling the programming, data processing, and related matters. Among the major findings: frequency trumps mere attendance. That is, the more patrons purchase tickets and attend concerts, the more likely they are to contribute. This “frequency spiral,” a concept dating back to Prescott’s work on the 2003 League of American Orchestras Audience Motivation Research Project, is evident even among those who have not held subscriptions for long. And the “frequency spiral” is demonstrated among first-time, single-ticket buyers, only 4 percent of whom are likely to ever make a gift. “If you can even get them to come back one more time in a year, the likelihood of gift-giving goes from 4 percent to 14, so there really is this extremely strong connection between frequency of attendance and donor behavior,” says David Snead, vice president of marketing at the New York Philharmonic. On the other hand, less than 10 percent of total patrons—“loyal donors,” “loyal subscribers,” and “extreme patrons”—represent three-fourths of donations. “We knew that a few people were responsible for revenue. But it’s far worse than the 80/20 rule,” says Prescott, referring to the general rule of thumb that 20 percent of patrons are responsible for 80 percent of donated revenue. And it can take ten years or more for a subscriber to make that first gift. That’s really not so surprising if you step back to think about how any relationship grows; it takes time to nurture a sense of trust and commitment. Prescott also relates it back to her early work in the for-profit world, where the life cycle of consumer products ebbs and flows, with initial excitement giving way to a level of comfort and brand loyalty, often followed by waning interest if sufficient attention is not paid to customer needs and wants. In the case of orchestra-patron relations, the

“Why aren’t we treating loyal subscribers as well as donors, offering perks to even shorttime subscribers, to help build that relationship?” asks Kate Prescott, whose strategic marketing and research firm conducted the Patron Growth Initiative on behalf of nine orchestras.

As one of several activities during its Subscriber Appreciation Month in November 2011, the New York Philharmonic held a free event at which Music Director Alan Gilbert took questions from subscribers. Philharmonic Vice President of Marketing David Snead moderated the event, held across the street from Lincoln Center at the David Rubenstein Atrium.

sense of commitment on the orchestra’s part. Patrons don’t feel that orchestras really know them; they have a distinct feeling it’s more about the business transactions. “Even some of our most loyal ticket buyers have that attitude,” says Shana Mathur, vice president for marketing and communications at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. “Their feeling is: You guys do your job; you play the music. I buy the ticket, I come to the concert and listen, and then I leave.” It’s actually a very hon-

solicited comments from 8,000 patrons of participating organizations, asking them to describe their orchestras as if they were people. Her resulting topology maps out orchestra brand relationships through analogies to partnerships (family to close friends), acquaintanceships (business contacts to one-night stands), compartmentalized partnerships (admirers, supporters), and negative/disjointed relationships. The nomenclature of the four overarching relationship types was


Significant Relationship Between Concert Going & Donations

A graph from the Patron Growth Initiative presentation shows the close relationship between frequency of attendance at concerts and donations to orchestras.

% Donating in FY05-09 By Tenure & FY05-09 Frequency Donations are driven significantly by attendance frequency and tenure. Frequency trumps tenure.

73% 100%

63% 80%


At low frequency even long tenure has little effect on donations likelihood.





45% 24%




24% 20%

Medium Tenure (10-19 yrs)



Short Tenure (5-9 yrs)


Very Short Tenure (<5 yrs)


High Frequency

Medium Frequency

Low Frequency

Long Tenure (20+ yrs)



Very Low Frequency

At any tenure level increasing frequency has dramatic effect on donations.

(15+) (5-14) (2-4) (1) - - - - - - FY05-09 Concert Frequency - - - - - Base: Buyer clusters; FY05-09 database donations. PRESCOTT & ASSOCIATES, June 2011

Patron Growth Initiative

Orchestra Brand Relationship Typology

Using terminology originated by Susan Fournier, a chart from the Patron Growth Initiative presentation maps how audience members describe their relationships with orchestras.

Q: Think about you and this orchestra in terms of being in a relationship, as if the orchestra was another person. Please describe the type of relationship you have and explain a bit about why you think that.

Acquaintanceships Acquaintances/Causal Friends Distant Friends (distance) Distant Acquaintances Distant Cousin/Aunt/Uncle One-Night Stands Neighbors Business

Partnerships Marital/Love Insider Family Member Good/Close Friends

Compartmentalized Partnerships Fan/Supporter Admirer Teacher-Student/Mentor

Negative/Disjointed Love-Hate Relationship Damaged Friendship Unequal/One-sided No Relationship Not Interested

Source: Brand Relationship Typology was developed based on coding 7,787 verbatim responses to the above question. PRESCOTT & ASSOCIATES, June 2011

Artistic product at core with organizations structured to support product Subscribers Single Ticket Buyers

Schools Community

Marketing Customer Relations

Education Artistic Product

Information Technology


Press/Media External Communities


Patron Growth Initiative

Alternative Orchestra Operating Model Patrons at core with orchestras structured to build closeness, connections, and partnerships Compelling concerts/peak experiences

Greater connections to concerts

Value-added rather than value-priced concerts Targeted programming

Lifestage concert planning

Non-traditional venues/formats

Community Concerts series Concert satisfaction surveys Talks from stage

Flexible subscriptions


Frequency-based offers Patron Perks First-timer special efforts




Interest/lifestagebased groups


Champion/ Ambassador programs

Relationship Mgt Dir. On-going personal appreciation efforts


Patron ‘camps’

Tech-driven concert connections


Enhanced children’s programming (MS/HS)

Better connections with classical music community

Rich concert content


Brand symbols Orchestra/patron shared stories Feedback channels




Broad-based donor events

Brand positioning/ meaning development Org-wide branding strategies/consistency

Community messengers/connectors


“You” rather than “We” communication pieces


Mktg-Dev coordinated offers/appeals

Patron provided content (reviews/blogs)

‘Partnership’ programs

Public ‘Listening Rooms’/ spaces in hall to hang and relax Patron contests/ competitions

Lifestyle/interests-based benefits Strategic ‘support ‘ platform

insider who simply loves classical music may not be so forgiving. As in any personal relationship, she says, “If you just had your finger on the pulse a little better, you could see those signs before they say, ‘That’s it, I’m done!’ ” She remembers talking to a longtime patron at one orchestra, who said, “You know, it is just nice to get a glass of wine sometimes. Not that I need it…but something to say they appreciate me.” Surprise and Delight

Public Relations Donors Funders Corporate Sponsors

The Patron Growth Initiative proposes a different way to structure orchestras—with patrons at the core.

Marketing and development departments at orchestras in the Patron Growth Initiative joined forces for the first time to participate equally and collaborate on the initiative’s recommendations.

Patron Growth Initiative

Current Orchestra Operating Model

A diagram from the Patron Growth Initiative presentation shows how orchestras are currently structured.

adopted from work by Susan Fournier in her 1998 article “Consumers and Their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research,” which appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research. While those in the partnership cluster likened their orchestra to a beloved spouse or parent, those with negative or disjointed relationships sounded more like spurned lovers: “For four years we asked to change our seats to the aisle of our row and never received a response.” “And those people are still donors!” says Prescott. But anyone other than an

Unexpected treats/rewards

Note: This chart is for illustrative purposes and focuses on the organizational functions most responsible for revenue.

Orchestras are definitely thinking about ways to show patrons a little more love, to nurture them from feeling like distant cousins to close family members. At the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, staff members have been making an effort to greet new subscribers before concerts. Kevin Giglinto, vice president for marketing and sales, recalls meeting one woman who had been coming to jazz concerts for years, but decided to try a classical series. Her new seat was located a bit high up for her taste and she asked him about upgrading. Normally, says Giglinto, an usher would refer her to the box office. But he made the contact personally, and

Closer connections to the brand



the subscriber was relocated to the main floor. “That’s an immediate reaction to a reasonable request. Somebody who has been coming for years and has a relationship with us—why not go the extra mile?” The CSO is taking that step with a “surprise and delight” approach, offering patrons an unexpected gift, like complimentary drinks or free parking, along with an in-person thank you. Similar ideas have been instituted elsewhere. The Boston Symphony Orchestra now has a concierge service, with a representative assigned to each subscriber. The concierges check in regularly to let patrons know about things like changes in the web site, and to remind them that they are available to personally handle questions or issues. The New York Philharmonic has stationed personal greeters at Avery Fisher Hall to escort new subscribers to

“Why can’t we include people who are in the newer phase of the relationship, to help them understand that we believe they are as much a part of the family as somebody who has been here for 30 years?” asks Kevin Giglinto, vice president for marketing and sales at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Shana Mathur, vice president for marketing and communications at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, points out that it can be difficult to convince parents who are facing college tuition costs, or professionals steeped in their own personal causes, of the need to support their local orchestra: “The orchestra has a lot to prove in saying that we are making a better world.”

their seats and help orient them to the hall, sending out advance welcome packets to get them up to speed before they even leave home. Newbies are prompted with a reminder that a concert is coming up, and those who miss their first date have an opportunity to exchange their tickets for another performance. During a recent subscriber appreciation month, Philharmonic regulars might have found a personal note on their seat with thanks and a special gift; subscribers of 50 years or more (and the orchestra has a couple hundred) found a rose. The latter group was also highlighted in a series of When Harry Met Sally-type web interviews, with couples videotaped in their homes reminiscing about how they came to be connected with the orchestra and/or each other. Philharmonic efforts are overseen by the new director of relationship marketing, Rachel Rossos Gallant. Her position


Inspired by the Audience Growth Initiative (Churn Study), marketing and development directors from nine orchestras undertook a follow-up Patron Growth Initiative with Prescott & Associates to tackle the issue of building sustainable support, factoring in both attendance and donations. At the “Churning Butter into Gold” session at the League’s 2011 National Conference, Kate Prescott presented the findings and recommendations of the yearlong effort, which included data mining (on a database of 545,000 concertgoers and donors) as well as qualitative and quantitative research. Her presentation was followed by remarks from marketing and development directors on strategies they are pursuing due to the initiative. To listen to “Churning Butter into Gold,” go to www.americanorchestras.org/conference_2011 and click on Videos/Downloads. A PDF of Prescott’s presentation is also available there. To read Symphony’s coverage of the Audience Growth Initiative, click on the Symphony Magazine tab at americanorchestras.org and visit the Archive; the article, called “The Price Is Right,” appears in the January-February 2010 issue of Symphony, with links to previous Churn articles and additional resources from the League.



Boston Symphony Orchestra

Kim Noltemy, chief marketing and communications officer at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which now has a concierge service where representatives check in regularly with patrons and remind them that they are available to personally handle questions or resolve issues.

as well as donors, offering perks to even short-time subscribers, to help build that relationship?” she asks. As a result, orchestras are loosening their grip on benefits that have traditionally been dangled as a carrot for donations, offering access to open rehearsals or social opportunities with orchestra members. For its 2011-12 subscription campaign, the Boston Symphony Orchestra offered anyone who purchased a series by a certain date the chance to dine with musicians. Some standard benefits were swapped for parking vouchers or dinner for two at the Symphony Café. At the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, marketing and develop-

was a direct result of the Patron Growth Initiative, as the Philharmonic took advantage of an opening in the marketing department to refocus some of its outreach. Gallant meets regularly with her development counA recent email from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra extends a terparts to bridge any tempting, seasonally appropriate offer to members of its Benefit-ofgaps or overlaps that the-Month Club. may have existed in departmental activities by collaborating closely on initiatives. They are building on the study’s findings that patrons do place a value on their orchestra, and that the combined forces of artistic programming, marketing, and development efforts can bring them closer into the fold. The Patron Growth Initiative reports that compelling concerts and a ment personnel have crafted a Benefit true desire to support their orchestra are of the Month, rotating options to keep powerful motivators for patrons. Benefits, things fresh. Giglinto points out that the not so much. When asked about their priorchestra rarely uses its entire capacity of mary reasons for donating, patrons ranked slots reserved for donor events. “Why can’t “Orchestra is an important community we include some people who are in the asset” at the top, and “To obtain specific newer phase of the relationship, to help benefits” at the bottom. them understand that we do believe they That finding contradicts traditional are as much a part of the family as someassumptions about what motivates subbody who has been here for 30 years?” scribers to take the next step to get more involved and support their orchestras. But it reinforced Prescott’s hunch that some A Sense of Attachment benefits, like the chance to meet musiThe Patron Growth Initiative justifies a cians or exchange tickets, might be better different use of development resources by spread around as signs of appreciation. demonstrating a direct connection along “Why aren’t we treating loyal subscribers the patron’s path from Point A to Point


B. Still, pinpointing the precise moment when a patron’s sense of attachment shifts is fuzzy science. “What is the turning point? That’s a conundrum for everybody,” says Kim Noltemy, the Boston Symphony’s chief marketing and communications officer. The BSO is focusing particularly on subscribers who have been with the orchestra for five to ten years, a time period when patrons can either begin to lapse, or begin to feel a more significant connection. Where is the sweet spot? The Los Angeles Philharmonic is asking that question as it undertakes a generational study in tandem with Patron Growth Initiative findings. Prescott’s research shows that purchase and participation increase as patrons move into their 50s; almost 90 percent of total orchestra revenue comes from loyal patrons age 55-plus. And yet donor lag still plays a part, as those age 65 and older account for two-thirds of that total. “The orchestra is not the center of their universe in any way, even if they’re lovers of classical music,” says Mathur. She points out that it can be difficult to convince parents who are facing college tuition costs, or professionals steeped in their own personal causes, of the need to support their local orchestra. “They say, ‘If I’m going to contribute money, I’ll give to the children’s hospital,’ or ‘I’m funding my child’s college education, and thinking about the world that my child is entering and how to make it better.’ The orchestra has a lot to prove in saying that we are making a better world.” In fact, the Patron Growth study found that a majority of non-donors are unaware that orchestras are nonprofit organizations that rely on community support. Information gleaned from the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s generational study will be added to the mix as the Philharmonic’s marketing and development departments hammer out ways to better integrate their efforts. Working together on the Patron Growth Initiative has gotten the two sides into the habit of talking more about collaborative strategies. Together, they have reshaped telesales and telefunding calls, using leads to symphony


build frequency of ticket purchases instead of always going for the ask, or bundling marketing and development language into a single script to avoid making separate calls, which can be a turnoff to uncommitted customers. Improvements in data collection and analysis at orchestras nationwide allow for the kind of customized approach that

Improvements in data collection and analysis at orchestras nationwide allow for the kind of customized approach that wouldn’t have been possible even a decade ago. wouldn’t have been possible even a decade ago. The ability to scan tickets, for example, provides specific information about which subscribers are actually attending, and how frequently. Patrons at different levels can be contacted for snapshot postconcert surveys, thanks to the industry’s diligence in gathering electronic contacts. That’s not to say that data captures are always optimal, or that box office, marketing, and development information is always coordinated. Prescott found that out the hard way, as she wrangled with information from the nine orchestras across the country. Her first recommendation was that participants undergo data audits. “Data hygiene is now a phrase that’s on our lips that wasn’t before,” the New York Philharmonic’s David Snead says. “Everyone has to be more efficient these days in everything they do, both marketing and fundraising. We have to do more with less. All orchestras are facing that. I think the study really helps orchestras of all sizes understand how they can develop more effective strategies and value from the people who are already coming. That’s really a key element of orchestra survival.” Results of the Patron Growth Initiative were released to participating orchestras early in 2011. Prescott envisions being able to delve more deeply into segments of the huge database created, gleaning more insights as orchestras inside and americanorchestras.org

outside the study apply recommendations to their own organizations and initiatives. An obvious challenge stems from the mere fact that nurturing patrons from season one to the ten-year mark and beyond is a slow process with few immediate payoffs. One of the more surprising results of the Patron Growth Initiative is how this wealth of data, showing pretty much the same results across orchestras, has granted some the permission to relax a bit about an unfolding process. “The way we look at it,” says Giglinto, “is that if we’re making people feel better about the way they deal with us, and it doesn’t change behavior in the short term, that’s still OK.” What matters is that the process has begun, and at orchestras like the CSO it’s become part of everyday collaborations. REBECCA WINZENRIED, former Symphony editor in chief, writes about arts and culture at rwinzenried.com.

Talk to Us If you have any questions about the League, here’s how to get in touch. Advocacy • 202-776-0214 Development • 646-822-4066 Executive Office • 646-822-4062 Learning and Leadership Development • 646-822-4091 Marketing and Membership Development • 646-822-4080 Public Relations • 646-822-4077 Research and Development • 646-822-4004 Symphony • 646-822-4041

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www.classicalkidslive.com | 773.828.4448 | info@classicalkidslive.com 27

Gary Adams

Harlem Quartet

Paul Wiancko

Amstel Quartet

Linden Quartet

Marco Borggreve

Ens H

The Power of

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Claremont Trio

Five emerging chamber groups discuss programming, publicity, and


ow much satisfaction do you get out of working as a team? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the question Harlem Quartet cellist Paul Wiancko says every young musician should consider when contemplating a career in chamber music. Just as aspiring soloists do, the members of emerging trios and quartets must learn to juggle busy performance schedules and adjust to life on the road. But they must also grapple with concerns unique to working within a group: What happens when two musicians disagree? Who makes the business decisions? How can a brand-new ensemble stand out among other, better-established groups? A handful of up-and-coming groups are making their name through collaborations with orchestrasâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;commissioning new works or serving as chamsymphony


5 Jasper Quartet

David Lang

emerging chamber groups

semble by Eileen Reynolds

life on the road.

ber groups-in-residence. This season, the Linden Quartet is balancing residencies at Yale University and the Caramoor Center for Music with a residency at the community-focused orchestra CityMusic Cleveland, where the four musicians serve as section principals on all concerts. The group served in a similar capacity at Ohio’s Canton Symphony Orchestra in 2010-11. A residency at Classic Chamber Concerts in Naples, Florida offers the Jasper Quartet not just chamber concert opportunities, but also the chance to perform staples of the symphonic repertoire with Naples’s Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra. Meanamericanorchestras.org

while, the Harlem Quartet will partner with the Chicago Sinfonietta to premiere Randall Craig Flesicher’s arrangement of West Side Story for string quartet and orchestra in 2012. Sybarite5, which won the 2011 Concert Artists Guild competition just after interviews for this article took place, hope to premiere a new work by Dan Visconti for string quintet and orchestra in the 2013-14 season. As Harlem Quartet violinist Melissa White points out, an ensemble collaborating with orchestra is a very different thing from a soloist engagement. “What’s cool about it from a conductor’s standpoint,”

she says, “is that you’re not contracting four individual soloists, the way you might with vocalists. We’re four people, but we’re used to playing as one. So when we rehearse with the orchestra, there’s already a cohesive dynamic among us, and it’s just a matter of putting that together with the orchestra.” Here, the members of five emerging chamber groups—three string quartets, a piano trio, and a saxophone quartet— weigh in on everything from programming and publicity to rehearsal techniques and the importance of chemistry on and off stage.


Harlem Quartet

Harlem Quartet performs for students at Leestown Middle School in Lexington, Kentucky.

Ilmar Gavilán, violin; age 37 Melissa White, violin; age 27 Juan Miguel Hernandez, viola; age 26 Paul Wiancko, cello; age 28


ormed by the Sphinx Organization in 2006, the Harlem Quartet made its Carnegie Hall debut in the fall of that year. Sphinx’s mission, shared by the quartet, is to promote diversity in classical music through engaging young audiences and performing varied repertoire, including jazz and works by minority composers. Now completing their second year in New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Training Program, the ensemble has performed in such far-flung venues as the White House (for the Obamas in 2009) and New York’s Blue Note jazz club (with Chick Corea in November 2011). Their June 2012 performance of Randall Craig Fleischer’s West Side Story arrangement with the Chicago Sinfonietta and Music Director Mei-Ann Chen will be recorded for the quartet’s fourth album, where it will be featured alongside works by Benjamin Lees and


African-American Abels.



Eileen Reynolds: What do you remember about the quartet’s first rehearsals? Melissa White: At first it was horrible! We didn’t think this was going to work. We’d never played with each other—we’d been thrown together, and our styles of learning were so different. But the Sphinx Organization had booked us a concert engagement, so we had to play. We worked for two months and luckily along the way we were able to find a way to work together. We performed a movement of Wynton Marsalis’s string quartet, and our chemistry onstage when we finally went to perform was just magnificent. Ilmar Gavilán: Most of us in the quartet didn’t have any jazz experience, so the first time we read the Marsalis it sounded really strange—really classical. It didn’t sound groovy at all! It took a while, but we finally got it. That’s one of the first major adjustments we had to make. Now jazz is a part of the second half of every program we play. Reynolds: Paul, you joined the quartet to

replace founding cellist Desmond Neysmith in

2010. Was that a difficult transition? Paul Wiancko: After a group has been

together for a while, you get to know each other well. And many times it’s difficult to break old habits and communicative shortcuts. But when I joined, everyone made an effort to start fresh and to include me every step of the way. Certain pieces they’d played before they re-learned, in a way. It almost becomes a new piece when the personnel is different. I was very lucky that they were willing to do that. Reynolds: Any advice for young quartets? Gavilán: Go to summer festivals that

feature quartets. The experience of living together and learning something together really fast shows you how much tolerance you have for the job. How good are you at communicating with your colleagues? How do you respond to outside comments? How great is your ability to compromise, and to lead when you have to lead? Then, if you really want to be successful, which is different from being simply good, you have to find a niche: something unique about the way you present music—something that sets you apart from other groups. n symphony


Linden Quartet

Sarah McElravy, violin; age 27 Catherine Cosbey, violin; age 26 Eric Wong, viola; age 25 Felix Umansky, cello; age 26

thing we’ll always be working on. Reaching major goals— big performances, big competitions—certainly doesn’t hurt. But I wouldn’t say that there’s ever an arrival. It’s a process, and I think ours is going well.

he members of the Linden Quartet met as students at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2008. In 2009, their group won the gold medal and the grand prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, held every year in South Bend, Indiana. Then, as violinist Catherine Cosbey puts it, “commitments snowballed”: The quartet won the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition in 2010 and served last season as the Canton Symphony Orchestra’s quartet-in-residence. The Linden Quartet’s 2011-12 season includes residencies at Yale University and the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts; a Carnegie Hall debut in November 2011; and performances with CityMusic Cleveland, where members of the quartet serve as principal players in the orchestra.

Reynolds: What is the Linden Quartet’s philosophy? Wong: In our playing we really value the idea of com-


Reynolds: Four musicians, four personalities: How did you

learn to function effectively as a group? Eric Wong: I don’t think there was ever a single moment where we said, “Oh wow, this is working.” I would guess that for any ensemble—even one like the Juilliard Quartet—this is always a work in progress. We all feel very comfortable with each other at this point, but it’s some-

munication—not only with each other, but also with our audiences. We always talk about the piece, no matter how accessible it is to the audience. Obviously, we will talk about a piece that has just been written. But we really think that it’s important that the audience hear our personal views about every piece that we play, even if it’s a Mozart or Haydn quartet. Reynolds: Touring can be grueling. Do you get fatigued, or

at least tired of certain repertoire? Catherine Cosbey: This is a new challenge for us. We really try to make sure we’re keeping our standards high, not just in the technical sense, but also in trying to dig a little bit deeper and talk in rehearsal about trying something new with a certain phrase—a different idea, a different color, a different meaning. Wong: One thing that helps is that, even if we’re repeating pieces, we program them in different combinations. Even if you are performing Bartók Three for the 90th time, it still feels different if you’re playing it next to Haydn than if you’re playing it next to Mendelssohn. n


Jerry Zolynsky

Linden Quartet’s Catherine Cosbey shows a student how to properly hold a violin during an education event presented by Chamber Music Society of Detroit. Sarah McElravy is in the background.


Amstel Quartet

Ties Mellema, baritone saxophone; age 35 Olivier Sliepen, alto saxophone; age 32 Bas Apswoude, tenor saxophone; age 40 Remco Jak, soprano saxophone; age 36



Chamber Ensembles

misha dichter

misha & cipa dichter

bernard woma ensemble


gabriela martinez piano

Contact Marianne Sciolino 212-721-9975 www.samnyc.us marianne@samnyc.us

elena urioste violin

juan miguel hernandez viola

SAM works closely with presenters, orchestras, and festivals to deliver excellent musicianship that meets their programming and budgetary needs.


carter brey cello

amy porter flute

eileen strempel soprano

piano duo

African percussion trio

brasil guitar duo

martinezurioste-brey trio

elena urioste & juan miguel hernandez

harlem quartet


carter brey with harlem quartet

violin-viola duo

david amado

Music Director & Conductor, Delaware Symphony Orchestra

piotr gajewski

piano trio

string quartet

string quintet

misha dichter with harlem quartet piano quintet

Music Director & Conductor, National Philharmonic



Jasper Quartet


he Amstel Quartet, Amsterdambased saxophonists and winners of the 2006 Concert Artists Guild Competition, are kicking off 2012 with the release of their eighth CD Amstel Tracks 2. On their next U.S. tour, in April 2012, they will team up with the New Century Saxophone Quartet in a premiere of Michael Torke’s May and June, two movements of a saxophone quartet to be performed together with Torke’s existing July (1995). (The two groups cocommissioned the new movements in 2010.) In April, Amstel will also become the first saxophone quartet to perform at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium as a part of the Schneider Concert Series in New York City. Reynolds: Are all four quartet members friends


J Freivogel, violin; age 28 Sae Chonabayashi, violin; age 29 Sam Quintal, viola; age 28 Rachel Henderson Freivogel, cello; age 28


he quartet-as-marriage idea is not just a metaphor for the Jasper Quartet. Violinist J Freivogel and cellist Rachel Henderson Freivogel were married in 2008. Based in New Haven, Connecticut, the tight-knit bunch returned to their undergraduate alma mater, Oberlin Conservatory, this season to serve as quartet-in-residence. The group’s repertoire ranges from Haydn to Ligeti, but they have recently become particularly strong advocates of American composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Their first recording, The Kernis Project (September 2011), paired Kernis’s second quartet with Beethoven’s Op. 59 No. 3. They are also currently in residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, New York, and at Classic Chamber Concerts in Naples, Florida, having previously held graduate residencies at Rice and Yale universities.

with being friends—but it ends up with being married! That’s how it feels in the quartet, too: we are married, the four of us. We know everything about each other—at least almost everything.

Reynolds: How do audiences respond to hearing Bach or Brahms played on the saxophone? Jak: Brahms’s Third Symphony is a piece that I’d listened to a lot since I was fourteen years old. And I never dared to arrange it for saxophone quartet. I thought: “It’s an orchestra piece and I cannot play it with four saxophones. It’s just not possible.” But I often heard from the audience that they had never heard saxophone played like we play. Our sound they found to be very new. A lot of people said, “When I close my eyes, I can barely understand that it’s only four instruments that I hear. Sometimes it sounds like a whole orchestra!” After hearing that, I dared to arrange the Brahms. n americanorchestras.org

The Jasper Quartet at the Girard Academy of Music with composer Aaron Jay Kernis (right), whose works the group has championed

Reynolds: Who makes your financial decisions? Sae Chonabayashi: We have worked out a system. Each of us has a

role to play, a job to take care of. We talk about everything. J Freivogel: We have a business meeting every week—and the reason we ended up doing that is because it’s really tiring talking about business stuff! If someone brought up just one business thing at the start of rehearsal, it would turn into this ten- or fifteen-minute discussion. And then we would feel like we got something done that day but didn’t really improve our music. Setting up the business meeting is a way for us to keep our priorities with the music the rest of the time.



Reynolds: Does the quartet specialize in a particular style of music? Jak: We play music that we want to play, so our repertoire is very broad. We play Sweelinck, which is Renaissance music, and we play Xenakis, which is contemporary—really mathematical and complicated music. Composers write new pieces for us, and we play everything in between: Brahms, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven. Our [2004 CD] Amstel Tracks was really a strange program. It had Bach on it; it had Wijnand van Klaveren, a contemporary Dutch composer; it had Beethoven, and it had Philip Glass. So from the outside it did not have a concept, this CD, it seemed. But it became very popular! All the pieces have a quality that fits together, although one is from the 1800s and the other is from the 20th century.

Reynolds: In just a few years, you evolved from a student group to a professional quartet giving 85-100 concerts per year. How are you adjusting to life on the road? Rachel Henderson Freivogel: We really like it a lot. And the transition has been happening sort of gradually, so it hasn’t been a big shock. J Freivogel: Most of us prefer to be busy. I think we’re improving most as a quartet when we have a lot of things to work on.

Bonnie Slobodien

Maarten van Rossem

Remco Jak: Like in a relationship, it starts out

Claremont Trio

Jasper String Quartet “brand”? R.H. Freivogel: We’ve realized that we love complex music that people don’t usually know. With a piece like Berg’s Lyric Suite, we’ll take it apart to show people what’s so great about it, and then perform it for them. The best compliment is when someone says, “You know, I don’t really like Berg’s music, but when you play it like that, it all makes sense.” J Freivogel: This question came up every few months—when we were students, especially: what is it that’s going to make us important? We thought about it often. It was important for us to realize that we didn’t know, at a certain point. We’re constantly searching. When we came across Aaron Jay Kernis’s music, it just made sense to us. It fit with all our goals. I think that’s why we are now really confident in what we’re doing with his work. We are really the only quartet playing it right now, and it’s incredible. Commissioning and working with living composers has been really important for us, because it gives us an understanding of what it would have been like to work with, say, Beethoven. Working with someone like Kernis, or Lera Auerbach, you’re getting an insight into the mind of a great composer. You can find parallels to the great composers of the past by working with the great composers of today. n


Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Reynolds: Is there a


he only piano trio ever to win the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Claremont Trio consists of a pair of identical twins—violinist Emily Bruskin and cellist Julia Bruskin—and pianist Donna Kwong, whom they met at Juilliard in 1999. Committed to expanding the trio repertoire, the Claremont has commissioned new works by a number of contemporary composers. In 2012 they will premiere works by Sean Shepherd, Helen Grime, and Gabriela Lena Frank in a three-concert series celebrating the grand opening of Calder­wood Hall at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The trio has also performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Nashville, Virginia, Pacific, and Utah symphonies, among others. Reynolds: There must be pieces that you’ve performed many times. Do you get déjà vu? Emily Bruskin: For me, performing is communicating something to an audience. It’s a little bit like being an actor telling a story many times. It’s repetitive inherently, but since you’re telling it to new people each time it always feels like a new process—like you’re explaining something funny that happened, but you’re explaining it to a different person each time. Reynolds: Advice for a quartet going through a rough

patch? Julia Bruskin: I’ll share a piece of advice we received from pianist Joseph Kalichstein: it’s really easy to stick with your group when things are going well and you have lots of successes. A real group is one that will stand by each other when things are difficult as well. A lot of new groups have a honeymoon period when things are going well, but then people go off in different directions. But if you can stick together through those sticky parts—that’s when a group really comes together. Reynolds: When should a fledgling group start think-

Donna Kwong, piano; age 33 Emily Bruskin, violin; age 32 Julia Bruskin, cello; age 32 ing about marketing? Donna Kwong: In the early stages it’s hard because you’re still developing your voice, and still learning to play well together. But I think marketing is something that shouldn’t be ignored. It shouldn’t be artificial, but music is a performing art, and if you want people to come to your concerts, you have to think about the marketing side. You can’t just be stuck in the practice room. E. Bruskin: We live in a world where you can’t just do something great and expect people to discover you. Especially in the classical music world, there isn’t a gigantic audience out there begging for the next release of Mozart trios. You have to find a way to reach out to people and show them why you love this music that you’re playing. Reynolds: What’s the best thing about working as a

group? E. Bruskin: Everyone has different strengths: may-

be somebody’s really excited about setting up a blog; somebody else will find the cheapest bus or plane ticket to Richmond, Virginia; and somebody else is really good at writing thank-you notes. There’s an opportunity for the division of labor. Reynolds: Ever long for the soloist’s life? Kwong: Playing the piano can be a very lonely thing.

You could go your entire life as a pianist and never play with anybody, if you wanted to, whereas a string player would have to play with accompaniment eventually. As a young person I just got hooked on playing with other people. I didn’t go to Juilliard thinking, “I’m going to make a chamber music career with this.” But all along I’ve played chamber music, and I can’t imagine not doing it. EILEEN REYNOLDS is a New York-based bassoonist and freelance writer whose work has been featured by The Forward, The Believer, newyorker.com, WNYC’s Soundcheck, and NPR’s All Things Considered.




to discover, nurture & promote young musicians 60 YEARS STRONG 1951 - 2011

vibrant energized engaging! 1 Michael Brown  piano




2 Ching-Yun Hu  piano 3 Daria Rabotkina  piano 4 Hye-Jin Kim  violin 5 Jennifer Stumm  viola 6 Sebastian Bäverstam  cello 7 Sarah Wolfson  soprano 8 Naomi O’Connell mezzo* 9 Mischa Bouvier  baritone




10 Bridget Kibbey harp 11 Peter Kolkay bassoon 12 Sybarite5 string quintet*

* 2011 CAG Victor Elmaleh Competition Winner RICHARD S. WEINERT President AMY ROBERTS FRAWLEY Executive Vice President




STEVEN D. SHAIMAN Senior Vice President / Artist Manager sshaiman @ concertartists.org CINDY HWANG Associate, Booking /Artist Management chwang @ concertartists.org VINCENT RUSSO Associate, Booking /Artist Management vrusso @ concertartists.org



new work by Dan Visconti for Sybarite 5 and orchestra available 13-14 season 12

850 7th Ave, PH-A New York, NY 10019 212. 333. 5200

www.concertartists.org  212.333. 5200

EMERGING ARTISTS Our annual listing of emerging soloists and conductors is inspired by the breadth and sheer volume of young classical talent. The following list of emerging talent is provided by League business partners and is intended as a reference point for orchestra professionals who book classical series. It does not imply endorsement by Symphony or the League of American Orchestras.


Conductors Paul MacAlindin Mary Kaptein Management

marykaptein.com 31 78 635 0087

Paul MacAlindin is a “rock ‘n’ roll” conductor. Charging the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq with radical innovation and creativity, he really cares about serving the music, people, and communities with sensitivity.

Photo by Manuelo Nunes

Martin MacDonald Latitude 45 Arts

martinmacdonald.ca 514 276 2694

Martin MacDonald recently completed a three-year residency with Symphony Nova Scotia under Bernhard Gueller, and conducts several orchestras across Canada. MacDonald studied at McGill University with Alexis Hauser, and was the winner of the Canada Council conducting prize in 2010. Photo by Kathy MacColluch

Aziz Shokhakimov Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Inc.

jwentworth.com 914 667 0707

Winner of second prize in Bamberg’s Mahler Competition in 2010, this inspiring 23-year-old has made debuts with Dresden Staatskapelle, Staatstheater Darmstaadt, and in Warsaw, Bologna, Milan, and Moscow. In 2012 he makes his U.S. debut with the Oregon Symphony. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Ltd

Sergey Smbatyan IMG Artists

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Jason Tramm Harwood Management

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Conductor: orchestra and opera; artistic director of New Jersey State Opera; Verdi Requiem and 9/11 Tribute Concert in New Jersey; Porgy and Bess with Albanian National Orchestra; Dvorák Stabat Mater.

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Robert Franz Diane Saldick, LLC robertfranz.com 212 213 3430

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Sasha Makila William Reinert Associates, Inc. williamreinert.com 212 799 5365

Ensembles Performing with Orchestra Bernard Woma Ensemble, African Percussion Trio

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Partnering with orchestras and often with dancers, three virtuosic performers on the Ghanaian gyil (xylophone), kuor (gourd drum), and aslatua (shaker) take their West African repertoire beyond its traditional context and into a global musical landscape. Photo by Denis Collins

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On the orchestral stage or in recital, and equally at home on a classical or world-music series, this exuberant, critically acclaimed duo brings technical mastery to a broad range of traditional and Brazilian works. Photo by Janette Beckman

Harlem Quartet, string quartet Sciolino Artist Management

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HQ advances diversity in classical music while bringing excitement to repertoire ranging from Mozart to Marsalis. Upcoming collaborations include the 2012 world premiere of Randall Fleischer’s West Side Story for String Quartet and Orchestra. Photo courtesy of Sciolino Artist Management

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Instrumentalists Sebastian Bäverstam, cello Concert Artists Guild

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Musical America’s “New Artist” for June 2011, praised by The Strad for his “consummate instrumental mastery.” Boston Symphony, Albany Symphony, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Cape Cod Symphony. Photo by Janette Beckman



Instrumentalists (continued) Genevieve Guimond, cello Latitude 45 Arts

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Genevieve Guimond is completing studies at Juilliard with Richard Aaron. A Sennheiser artist, she has been recognized by Aspen and Juilliard for her brilliant playing and her intelligent work with new music.

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Cecily Parnas, cello Latitude 45 Arts

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Cicely Parnas, cello, an Artist Diploma student of Sharon Robinson at Indiana University, has performed for many years with orchestras and in chamber music. Parnas will record the Saint-Saëns Double Concerto in France in 2013. Photo by Michael Polito

Julian Schwarz, cello CM Artists New York

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“Destined to rank among the major cellists of the 21st century” (International Concert Review). Schwarz has performed with the Columbus (Ohio), Grand Rapids, Sarasota Orchestra, Omaha, Seattle, and Virginia symphonies, and will perform with the Hartford, and Springfield (Mass.) symphonies this season. Photo by Teigan Walker

Amy Porter, flute Sciolino Artist Management

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Called “musically forceful” (The New York Times), and praised by Sir James Galway for her “great technique and even more rare, great musical instinct,” this multiple prizewinner brings Michael Daugherty’s new flute concerto to Carnegie Hall in March 2012. Photo by Kristen Hoebermann

Denis Azabagic, guitar Dan McDaniel, LLC

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Denis Azabagic recently enjoyed concerto engagements with the Traverse City Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta. Upcoming is Hovhaness’s seldom-heard Guitar Concerto No. 1, opus 325, with the Springfield (Mass.) Symphony. Photo by Javier Abella, Spain

Daniel Bolshoy, guitar Dan McDaniel, LLC

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Canadian guitarist Daniel Bolshoy has performed with the orchestras of Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor, New Brunswick, and Calgary. Upcoming are performances with the Kingston Symphony and the Israel Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Julien Faugere, Montreal, Courtesy ATMA

Bridget Kibbey, harp Concert Artists Guild

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Avery Fisher Career Grant winner plays with “blazing power and finesse” (The New York Times). Featured engagements: Tallahassee, Illinois, Modesto, and Princeton symphonies; Symphony in C; Amadeus Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco


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Avi Avital, mandolin Kirshbaum Demler and Associates

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Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital is a recipient of Germany’s ECHO Prize and is a winner of the Aviv Competition, the preeminent national competition for Israeli soloists.

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Michael Brown, piano Concert Artists Guild

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2010 CAG Competition first-prize winner, lauded as a “vividly characterized” and “free-spirited” pianist (The New York Times). Recent engagements: New Haven Symphony (William Boughton) and Juilliard Orchestra (Alan Gilbert). Photo by Janette Beckman

Umi Garrett, piano David Belenzon Management, Inc.

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Debuting on Ellen in 2009 at age eight, Umi Garrett is the most promising upcoming classical pianist today. With a youthful charisma and brilliant virtuosity, she has appealed to audiences in over 20 cities worldwide.

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Ching-Yun Hu, piano Concert Artists Guild

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Rubinstein Piano Competition winner recognized for “superstar quality…Musical, energetic and full of flair,” (The Jerusalem Post). Featured engagements: Israel Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Aspen Concert Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra (Taiwan), Johannesburg Philharmonic. Photo by Hanshun Wang-Muzik

Gabriela Martinez, piano Sciolino Artist Management

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A fast-rising star who made her Chicago Symphony debut last summer on short notice, Martinez commands a huge repertoire and is blessed with brilliant technique, a riveting stage presence, and a natural affinity for education. Photo by Monica Trejo

Juho Pohjonen, piano Kirshbaum Demler and Associates

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Pohjonen won first prize at the Nordic and Helsinki Piano Competitions, the International Young Artists Concerto Competition, and the Prokofiev Prize at the 2003 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition.

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Daria Rabotkina, piano Concert Artists Guild

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“A pianist full of fire and warmth” (The Plain Dealer). Featured concerto engagements: San Francisco and New World symphonies, Mariinsky Theatre (Kirov) Orchestra, and the Harrisburg, Jacksonville, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Moscow State symphonies. Photo by Kate Lemmon



Instrumentalists (continued) Juan Miguel Hernandez, viola Sciolino Artist Management

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Winner of the Sphinx, Canadian Music, and International Brahms competitions, and founding violist of the Harlem Quartet, Hernandez has electrified audiences and students from Carnegie Hall to the Middle East.

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Jennifer Stumm, viola Concert Artists Guild

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CAG first-prize winner, applauded for “phosphorescent energy” (The Washington Post) and featured on the cover of the Winter 2011 issue of Symphony. Recent performances include Gabriela Lena Frank’s La Llorona with Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra (November 2011) Photo by Angela Morris

Chad Hoopes, violin IMG Artists

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Seventeen-year-old American violinist Chad Hoopes has been making major debuts worldwide since winning the Young Artist Division of the Yehudi Menuhin Competition at age fourteen.

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Clara-Jumi Kang, violin International Violin Competition of Indianapolis

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Clara-Jumi Kang, a German of Korean origin, is the Gold Medalist of the 2010 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Upcoming concert highlights include her Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium debut in May 2012. Photo courtesy of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis

Hye-Jin Kim, violin Concert Artists Guild

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Yehudi Menuhin International Competition first prize-winner, recognized for “supremely musical playing” (The Strad). Featured engagements: The Philadelphia Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, and Hannover Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Janette Beckman

Madalyn Parnas, violin Latitude 45 Arts

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Madalyn Parnas, violin, an Artist Diploma student of Jaime Laredo at Indiana University, has performed for many years with orchestra and in chamber music. Will record Saint-Saëns’s Double Concerto in France in 2013. Photo by Michael Polito

Elena Urioste, violin Sciolino Artist Management

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With her “clearly defined articulation” (The New York Times), “lyrical sensitivity” (Chicago Tribune), “high voltage” (Broad Street Review), and “cool elegant style” (Sudwest Presse), Urioste combines poised artistry with a passionate commitment to outreach. Photo by Jonathan D. Nimerfroh, JDN Photography


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Soyoung Yoon is the silver medalist of the 2010 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and most recently the first-place winner of the 2011 Wieniawski Violin Competition.

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Vocalists Mischa Bouvier, baritone Concert Artists Guild

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Praised by The New York Times for his “rich timbre and a find sense of line.” Orchestral highlights: Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, The Knights, Northwest Indiana Symphony, New Mexico Symphony.

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Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano Kirshbaum Demler and Associates

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Cano is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program, 2011. Sara Tucker Study Grant Recipient and first-prize winner of the 2009 Young Concert Artist International Auditions.

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Naomi O’Connell, mezzo-soprano Concert Artists Guild

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2011 CAG Competition first-prize winner, hailed by The New York Times as “a radiant mezzo-soprano.” Orchestral repertoire: Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles, Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C Minor, and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Photo by Steve Riskind

Sarah Wolfson, soprano Concert Artists Guild

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How do you take on a prominent role at an orchestra when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re younger than most of the other musicians? Seven recently appointed concertmasters tell their stories.


by Laurie Niles

Masters 46

Jeff Roffman


uties have changed considerably for concertmasters since the days of JeanBaptiste Lully, the 17th-century violinist who pounded the floor with a large staff to keep his musicians in line. When orchestras came under the wand of the dedicated conductor, in the 19th century, the concertmaster position began evolving into something more than timekeeper and principal violinist, and as this century unfolds it is evolving even further. Certainly, the concertmaster fulfills numerous musical duties, but todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concertmaster must also step into a variety of non-musical situations, appearing at fundraisers, participating in educational outreach efforts, helping with marketing, and serving as the face of the orchestra in the community. Increasingly, this face is a young one, with music schools such as the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) training promising young violinists specifically for a concertmaster career. How will these young concertmasters shape the future for orchestras? Laurie Niles recently led a panel discussion over the phone with some of the youngest, most recently appointed concertmasters in America, including Noah Bendix-Balgley, Naha Greenholtz, Jessica Hung, Jun Iwasaki, Alex Kerr, and Nathan Olson, then spoke later with David Coucheron, who was in Norway. They spoke about the evolving nature of the concertmaster position, what prepared them for life as the leader of an orchestra, and what they see for the future.

DAVID COUCHERON 27 CURRENTLY: Concertmaster, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, since fall 2010 PREVIOUSLY: soloist, recitalist, and competition winner EDUCATION: B.M., Curtis Institute of Music; M.M., Juilliard; Master of Musical Performance, Guildhall NAHA GREENHOLTZ 26 CURRENTLY: Concertmaster, Madison Symphony Orchestra, since fall 2011 PREVIOUSLY: Associate Concertmaster, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra EDUCATION: B.M., Juilliard; Cleveland Institute of Music Concert Master Academy

Jeff Roffman




“It’s not easy when you’re young, like me, to stand up before the orchestra and say basically, trust me, I’m your leader. That takes a little bit of guts.” —Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster David Coucheron

Jerome Panconi

NOAH BENDIX-BALGLEY AGE: 27 CURRENTLY: Concertmaster, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, since fall 2011 PREVIOUSLY: First Prize winner, 2011 Vibrarte International Music Competition; Laureate, 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition EDUCATION: Hochschule für Musik und Theater Munich

JESSICA HUNG 26 CURRENTLY: Concertmaster, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, since 2008 PREVIOUSLY: Concertmaster, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra; Concertmaster, Civic Orchestra of Chicago EDUCATION: B.M. Cleveland Institute of Music AGE:

JUN IWASAKI 29 CURRENTLY: Concertmaster, Nashville Symphony, since fall 2011 PREVIOUSLY: Concertmaster, Oregon Symphony EDUCATION: B.M. and M.M., Cleveland Institute of Music; CIM Concert Master Academy

photo shop bow when color correction is done

ALEX KERR 41 CURRENTLY: Concertmaster, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, since fall 2011 PREVIOUSLY: Concertmaster, Concertgebouw Orchestra (Amsterdam); Concertmaster, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Concertmaster, Charleston Symphony Orchestra EDUCATION: B.M., Curtis Institute of Music

Susan Adcock


NATHAN OLSON 25 CURRENTLY: Co-Concertmaster, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, since fall 2011 PREVIOUSLY: Concertmaster, Canton Symphony EDUCATION: B.M. Cleveland Institute of Music; CIM Concert Master Academy






Laurie Niles: What made you decide to become a concertmaster? Naha Greenholtz: Right before I graduated I got a job as associate concertmaster in the Louisiana Philharmonic and I kind of lucked out that year, because they had no full-time concertmaster, so I played concertmaster for almost half of that season. At that time I was pretty young, I was 21, and I was kind of in over my head, I have to say, up to a point! In your first year as a full-time orchestra musician, the pieces keep coming. Every week you have new repertoire; sometimes you have two or three programs in a week, if you have a kiddie concert or a pops concert.

Nashville Concertmaster Jun Iwasaki says he looks forward to doing things like masterclasses, donor events, and coaching the youth orchestra. “It’s part of being a musician, especially if you’re in a leadership role.” —Nashville Symphony Concertmaster Jun Iwasaki

Jessica Hung: I think my

most important pre-professional experience was the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, where I played in high school and was co-concertmaster my senior year. I just really fell in love with orchestra playing there. So I decided in high school that I definitely wanted to pursue being an orchestra musician. Alex Kerr: I played a lot of solo concerts when I was a kid, and I just knew that I didn’t have the personality for it. I liked being in groups, I like people a lot. It started to be a little bit wearisome, to be on the road a lot and live that kind of lifestyle. Noah Bendix-Balgley: I’ve always felt like I can’t live musically without playing with other people, and so that’s led me to a lot of chamber music, and also now more and more concertmaster work. David Coucheron: When I was three years old, I started playing the violin, and I didn’t think, “Oh, I’m going to be a concertmaster when I grow up!” But it’s all music, and it’s all playing the violin. I think today’s musicians, we have to do a little bit of everything. Nathan Olson: Growing up, I knew I

wanted to be in music, but concertmaster never really occurred to me. I didn’t really


start working on excerpts or concertmaster solos until maybe four or five years into my time at CIM. And that’s when I realized that being concertmaster gives you opportunities that are very chamber-musiclike and solo-like in nature. On the solo side, you have concertmaster solos, and you perform concertos from time to time. On the chamber-music side, ideally, an orchestra should be like a big chamber-music group, and that has to be initiated by the section leader if it’s going to happen.

Niles: What are your musical responsibilities—and your other responsibilities? Did anything surprise you? Greenholtz: In terms of musical responsibilities: being prepared on your solos and doing the bowings is a huge part of being concertmaster. It’s important to be prepared with an interpretation of the piece and know the piece well before the first rehearsal. In terms of non-musical responsibilities, there are things that have come up: promotional activities, gala performances, TV interviews or advertisements. I can’t say that I’ve been thrown off yet by anything I’ve been asked to do!

Coucheron: I have to make sure that we’re a good, healthy group and we work well together. And I also have to make sure that the link between the orchestra and the conductor is good, because often we have conductors who rely on me, when it comes to communicating with the orchestra. As far as non-musical responsibilities go, I do play a pretty substantial role in fundraising, going to donor events. I love doing that, but I don’t always like to just talk—I like to play and show people what this is all about, and I’ve done that on quite a few occasions. It’s a big part of the symphony, and these

days, when a lot of symphonies are struggling, I actually think it’s more important than anything else that people understand what’s going on, not to create a barrier between the donors and the audience and the orchestra. Hung: The overall responsibility is just maintaining the artistic excellence of the orchestra and striving to keep that standard high and inspiring, both for your colleagues and for the audience. I also think there’s a huge responsibility to the music director or whoever might be on the podium, a guest conductor, to work with them to interpret their gestures and guide the other musicians through the music. I did want to mention about bowing— that’s a really important responsibility, and I also occasionally have some difficulty with it. If there’s a piece where a recording isn’t readily available, then you really have to sort of take your best educated guess as to whether a stroke is going to be on or off the string, and you just have to use cues like metronome markings and the notations that the composer or the editor has put in. So occasionally that can come up in rehearsal, whether your guess is right or wrong.

Niles: Is that hard, when you may hear snickering from behind, “I want a different bowing…” Hung: Sure, yeah! I’m actually a little more on the diplomatic side. Occasionally, if there’s something really controversial about a bowing I will go through at break and talk to some people and ask their “I was walking opinions. Everyone feels difaround ferently, so of course you can’t downtown please everybody. But if there’s one day and a change that needs to be made, came across we try to make it, so people can a billboard get used to it. If it’s the dress with a picture rehearsal, or we don’t have a lot of my face on of time, then sometimes you just get stuck with an awkward it. I’m happy bowing, and I’ll be playing it in to represent the concert and I’ll be thinking, the orchestra “Oh, this is kind of dumb,” but I in this didn’t want to create more concommunity.” fusion by forcing everyone to —Dayton change. You just kind of have to Philharmonic make the most of it.

concertmaster Jessica Hung



Kerr: Also, just acting as a conductor’s second set of ears. A lot of times a conductor has so many things to think about that he just doesn’t notice certain things: discrepancies in the ensemble of what the orchestra’s doing, or tempi, or just little things: strokes, notes, intonation. Other things I’ve done: I was on the artistic committee of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam for about six out of the ten years I was there. I’d meet with donors and board members, and I did educational outreach concerts, photo shoots, meet-and-greets with concertgoers, question-and-answer sessions, fundraisers. Bendix-Balgley: Something I think about

is, how can I best lead this music and act as a conduit between conductor and orchestra? What kind of physical movements— or no movements? What’s too much and what’s too little? It should be clear to other people in the orchestra what I’m doing: not distracting with too much movement, but also not so restrained that you would need a microscope to see what’s going on. I also think a concertmaster has an important role when there’s a guest conductor working with the orchestra. The orchestra has a particular sound and character and way of playing, and that can go very well with a guest conductor, and also it can go not so well. As a concertmaster, you have a very important obligation to stand up for what the orchestra’s doing, and if there are problems, then you’re sort of in charge. There was a concert I played with a very good orchestra and a very good conductor, and in the concerto part, the conductor and the soloist were obviously not on the same page. At that point I sort of had to make a call of what am I going to do here, because people are looking to me as concertmaster. They can see it’s not working out, they can see that the brass are not really playing with the solo piano. So they’re looking for something to grab onto and I had to make a call: am I going to go with the soloist, or with the conductor? That’s a situation that can come up when you’re working with a conductor that you don’t usually work with, not the music director. Niles: Who did you go with? Bendix-Balgley: In that case, I went with

the pianist. Musically it seemed like the americanorchestras.org

right thing to do at that point. But it was not exactly comfortable, because I’m right in between them, and I have to choose a side and go with it and really stick to it. Maybe if it were a different situation, if the soloist didn’t seem completely reliable in their tempi or something like that, I would have gone with the conductor. Kerr: I’ve been asked to lead

“As a concertmaster, you have a very important obligation to stand up for what the orchestra’s doing, and if there are problems, you’re in charge.” —Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Noah BendixBalgley

sectionals, which are incredibly uncomfortable in the sense that nobody really likes them! I would never actually volunteer to do it, but I’ve been asked to do it by the sections themselves. That makes it a heck of a lot easier, to be honest. You’re always straddling that fence: you are a colleague, but you’re also the leader. If you straddle too much to one side, it’s always precarious. I like the even balance of just being able to stay on the fence and not fall to either side too much.

Niles: What happens when you fall to one side or the other? Let’s say you’re too diplomatic. Kerr: Too diplomatic, and people can walk on you or you get put into uncomfortable situations in disputes. Too much of a diva, and you lose your section. People won’t want to play for you because they feel that you’re arrogant or have too much of an opinion of yourself or that you’re too distanced. So it’s a very fine balance that one has to maintain. You can’t please everybody. If you’re a good people person, you can maintain that balance. You have to like people and understand people and know how you would want to be treated in a situation. Generally, the Golden Rule is a good idea! Niles: Have any of you had to participate in

things like union negotiations? Iwasaki: In Portland [at the Oregon Symphony], in my four years they had at least two different negotiating periods. Like Alex said earlier, you’re straddling between musician and management, and you have to be careful of how vocal you are about some things. In a lot of orchestras, it’s common for the concertmaster to be written out of

the collective bargaining agreement. So when it comes down to the nitty-gritty details of negotiating a contract, I think it’s better for the concertmaster to kind of stay out of it.

Niles: Have you ever had to do anything unusual in your capacity as concertmaster, something that you may not have expected in the job description? Kerr: There was one time I had to lead a wind sectional— on tour I was asked to work on intonation of the winds. It was an incredible experience. I conducted a sectional on Brahms’s First Symphony, and we went through all the intonation spots and it was really a lot of fun. The weirdest things I’ve ever done: I crooned at a Concertgebouw Orchestra Jazz fundraiser—we had a jazz orchestra made up of people in the orchestra, and so I sang some jazz standards. Also, I dressed up as Elvis for a Cincinnati Pops PBS Halloween special. It was a John Schneider/Tom Wopat/Dukes of Hazzard extravaganza night. They had me performing as Elvis, playing the Danse Macabre of Saint-Saëns, over Elvis’s grave. The thing is, I was kind of fat, Vegas Elvis, because I’m kind of a big guy, but I was bigger back then. You’d have to see it to believe it; it’s embarrassing.

Coucheron: I haven’t dressed up as Elvis yet, but I did play Halloween concerts dressed up as a Viking. I got a really cool costume with the Viking horns—the whole outfit. I came out on stage with my bow representing my sword, and I do think it brought a laugh to a lot of people. Iwasaki: Aside from doing all the meetand-greets and interviews, when I was in Portland, the conductor, Carlos Kalmar, and I kind of bonded over cooking. One year during our big orchestra gala event, they had a silent auction and auctioned off a dinner cooked by the conductor and the concertmaster for eight guests. One night we did an all-Austrian meal, a different night we did salmon wrapped in kale—we always do something really extravagant. It


was a fun way to get to know the donors, outside of the music setting, just kind of at a dinner table and at home. Kerr: When Nathan and I were hired in Dallas, Jaap van Zweden, the music director there, knew we both came from the same tradition. He was concertmaster of the Concertgebouw Orchestra before I was. So he knew what it was like to have two concertmasters—how much more human it is to be able to divide the leadership between two people. So he wanted to be able to create that same type of thing in Dallas. I only heard wonderful things about Nathan when he was hired and I was hired; he’s young, but he knows what he’s doing. Olson: This past March, Alex and I met

for the first time and played a week together in Dallas, and then the week after that, Alex left. And it is just kind of amazing, how different it is. When I was sitting second chair, all I had to worry about was playing my part really well, blending with the section, blending with Alex. I didn’t have to think about when am I going to change this bowing, what am I going to change it to, how can I ask the conductor this question without interrupting the flow of rehearsal? These are just some of the things you have to think about when you’re concertmaster. I find that preparing for rehearsal as concertmaster is much more stressful and much more work for me. Niles: How do you see your role

in the community? Hung: I’m starting my fourth season, and I’ve done a good deal of publicity, interviews, in the newspaper and on the radio. I’ve actually even done a short commercial that appeared on local TV. I also appeared on a billboard—I was walking around downtown one day and I came across a billboard, which had a picture of my face on it, and the sign said “Donate now” and had a number to call! [She laughs.] I’m pleasantly surprised at how well I settled in here. I’m pretty introverted by nature, and don’t quite have the


full-time soloist, hard-core diva personality. I really like having a stable home life, having a routine, going to the grocery store, and if I get recognized occasionally then that’s nice. So it’s been really great. Kerr: I find it’s incredibly important to be out in the community. I don’t think that orchestra members realize how important it is. Donors and concertgoers want to have a personal experience. Having a musical connection is great, of course, but having a personal connection makes it yours, and it means that you have a responsibility and an ownership of that. I think musicians think, “Okay, we’re here to play music, and that’s our job.” It’s not just your job. Your job is to be ambassadors for music, to be ambassadors for your own career, or it’s not going to be there very long. If you went to an NBA fundraiser, wouldn’t you rather see Michael Jordan than see the development department of the Chicago Bulls? The people you want to meet are the musicians.

play at a couple of functions next year. I definitely would like to be very much a part of the community; I’m hesitant to do too much, too soon, especially in the beginning. I think eventually I would love to be more involved in the teaching area and maybe be involved with the youth orchestra—I think that’s a big incentive to younger kids, to start working with this person they’ve seen play many times on stage. Iwasaki: I actually just made the move from Portland to Nashville. I did a lot of things in the community in Portland— masterclasses, donor events, cooking dinners for donors, and coaching the youth orchestra throughout the year. It’s part of being a musician, and especially if you’re going to be in a leadership role you want to be the face of whatever symphony you’re playing with. So I look forward to doing all that again and meeting the community in Nashville. Niles: David, you’ve been in Atlanta a year

Niles: When does it get to the point where

you’re asking too much of the concertmaster? Kerr: When I can’t practice!? When I don’t see my children. Hung: Some of those types of things are

“You have to like people and know how you would want to be treated in a situation. Generally, the Golden Rule is a good idea! You’re always straddling that fence between being a colleague and being the leader.” —Dallas Symphony Concertmaster Alex Kerr

written into my contract— that’s another way that the concertmaster agreement might be different from the CBA, the union contract for all the other musicians—fundraising events, board meetings, a couple of those every year, and I’m allowed to pick whatever music I would like to play. So that’s sort of an expected part of the job, that I will be doing those things. And it’s an honor. Olson: Alex and I are kind of in

different spots as concertmaster and co-concertmaster. They probably will want Alex to do more stuff than me, as he’s got a bigger name and more experience. On the other hand, I’m living there, so I’ll be more available for this kind of thing. I did already play for one dinner for a donor group in Dallas in April. And they already booked us to

now. What kind of experience or training would you recommend to a young person who wants to be a concertmaster? Coucheron: You have to be very conscious of what you’re doing, because everything that I do, I have to be able to answer for. I have to be able to say, “I did this because of this reason.” Especially when you are starting as a concertmaster in a new orchestra, all the things you do get scrutinized very easily by people who think they know better or want to do things differently. If you don’t have an answer, it’s important to admit that you don’t know and say, “I don’t know.” Being humble but at the same time being a leader—to find that balance is very critical. It’s not easy when you’re young, like me, to stand up before the orchestra and demonstrate for the section—a bunch of really good musicians—and say basically, trust me, I’m your leader. That takes a little bit of guts. It’s something I had to learn and build up over time. Social aspects aside, I think the most important thing any orchestra is looking for in a concertmaster is the sound they produce. I have quite a lot of experience going to competitions and playing in masterclasses and playing concerts all over the world. That experience comes in really handy when I’m sitting in the hot chair. symphony


“Ideally, an orchestra should be like a big chamber music group, and that has to be initiated by the section leader if it’s going to happen.” —Dallas Symphony Coconcertmaster Nathan Olson

Niles: Do you see the concertmaster position as something that has evolved in recent years, and how do you think you might shape it, going into the future? Coucheron: I try to walk a fine line between the orchestra’s traditions and what I think I can add and improve to those traditions. One has to be careful when coming into an environment that’s been there for decades and decades, not to just come in and try to change everything.

certmaster was Lully, with the gigantic pole, and of course, he actually killed himself with the gangrene thing. People forget that concertmasters actually came armed. Seriously! In Mozart’s time, they would come armed, with swords! It was really interesting. Not that we need the guns any more. I first got my [Concertgebouw] job when I was 23, 24. At that time, it was unheard of for somebody that young to get a concertmaster job, and there was a prejudice against people that age—a lot of the section players would say, oh, he has no experience, he’s never done this before. And even though I had done it for a couple of years in Charleston, when I went to Cincinnati there was a sort of skepticism about somebody being that young. Whereas now, you see über-talented players like Noah, like Nathan, like Jun, like Jessica, like Naha, all these people who

are coming out of conservatories who’ve had the chance to be in a program, like studying with Bill [Preucil]. I’ve had a lot of students who have become concertmasters—you have mentors that we didn’t have when we were kids, growing up. A lot of young people have a great deal more experience and knowledge than people did when I was coming out of school. Now people are taking a risk on that, because people are more educated. I kind of like where it is right now. LAURIE NILES is editor of Violinist.com, an online community that includes articles, comments, and discussion boards.

Got an opinion? Join the discussion! What do you think is the toughest part of being a concertmaster? Does your orchestra’s concertmaster have any unusual duties as part of the job description?

“Trail of Tears” Flute Concerto

A highly dramatic work for solo flute and chamber orchestra, composed for Amy Porter by GRAMMY winning composer Michael Daugherty.

Amy Porter “Porter, a charismatic performer, was focused, flexible and intensely in the moment. She tossed off fiendishly difficult passages as if they were child’s play and performed lyrical passages with heart-rending emotion.” – Omaha World-Herald

World premiere review of “Trail of Tears”

Kerr: I think it’s evolved in the last fifteen,

twenty years into something that’s been much more of an advisory-type of position rather than one that was more dictatorial. I think the conducting position has also morphed in the last ten to fifteen years. A long time ago you had conductors like [Fritz] Reiner and [George] Szell, basically dictators who could dictate at any point if you were fired or not. The original conamericanorchestras.org


Click on the Discussions tab below to comment.

photo: Kristen Hoebermann

Niles: Most of you are still in your twenties—do any of you want to speak to the challenge of being a concertmaster when you’re young? Bendix-Balgley: It’s sometimes uncomfortable and a delicate position to be in, coming in when the vast majority of the orchestra is much older and much more experienced than you are. So far, the orchestra members have been very welcoming. I think a young concertmaster does offer some real pluses: we can really try to connect to young audiences and other young musicians. Hopefully through teaching, through outreach programs, etc., we can really make a difference and get young people interested and involved in music. The conductor is the face of the orchestra, but most orchestras have a conductor who’s there maybe, at most, eleven or twelve weeks out of the season. If you’re a concertmaster, you’re there usually a lot more than that. In my case, I’ve just moved to Pittsburgh. So I’m looking forward to getting out there and really getting involved. Being young is a plus and a minus, because obviously it’s probably good to have fresh blood, so to speak, in the orchestra, and new upand-coming violinists and musicians.

Composer Michael Daugherty

Tupelo Symphony Orchestra January 28, 2012 Arkansas Philharmonic February 18, 2012

American Composers Orchestra Carnegie Hall March 22, 2012

Tel: 212 721 9975 www.samnyc.us


Sacramento Philharmonic Music Director Michael Morgan conducts the Cairo Opera House orchestra as part of the “Songs of Hope” exchange that brought Cairo Opera Music Director Nader Abbassi to Sacramento.

Beyond the

Joyce Johnson

Salam Toronto Weekly

Composer Mohammed Fairouz addresses the crowd at the Alabama Youth Symphony Orchestra’s performance of his Symphony No. 2, May 2011.

American orchestras build bridges to a region in transition by engaging Arab and Iranian composers, and forging ties with Middle Eastern communities at home. 52


February 2011, as American media outlets and others around the world were buzzing about Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s resignation following the “Arab Spring” protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the Sacramento Philharmonic was gearing up for its first subscription program of the calendar year. Looking for a way to mark the occasion, then-Executive Director Marc Feldman decided to add a short work by Egyptian composer and conductor Nader Abbassi to the orchestra’s standard subscription concert that week. Music Director Michael Morgan introduced the aptly titled New Conception, which fuses Middle Eastern themes and Western orchestral harmonies, before performing it alongside works by Mozart and Beethoven. It was a watershed moment. “For orchestras to be topical and on the cutting edge of anything where the news is concerned is highly unusual,” says Morgan, “and gives the non-concertgoing world a reason to take note, because we’re doing something that actually has a connection to what they are seeing, reading, and thinking about.” Such response to current events is particularly difficult given how long it takes to plan concert programs, and that orchestras often start years in advance. But Abbassi had already served as guest conductor on the orchestra’s “Songs of Hope” concert series, which presents Middle Eastern composers and performers alongside more standard fare as a way to bridge cultures. So presenting a piece by Abbassi on one of their subscription programs as a way to connect with current events was natural, Feldman says. “The musicians knew who Nader was, they’d symphony



The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and conductor JoAnn Falletta put on a multimedia performance of Behzad Ranjbaran’s symphonic cycle Persian Trilogy, with Iranian master storyteller Morshed Torabi.

Melting Pot by Ian VanderMeulen

already played his pieces, and their response was, ‘By all means, we have to do this.’ ” More than simply commenting on the news of the day, an American orchestra presenting Middle Eastern composers alongside the European canon helps bridge a gap between two cultures with a history of tension and conflict. In addition to the Sacramento Philharmonic, orchestras in Alabama, New York, Oakland, California’s Orange County, Toronto, and Virginia are engaging composers of Middle Eastern descent, and connecting to Arab and Persian communities right in their backyard. “As arts types, our goal in life seems to be to show the similarities between people rather than the differences,” says Morgan. “So it’s only natural that we take it on ourselves to americanorchestras.org

show what various peoples have in common, because we have the media to tell us what’s different about people.” Many of the composers featured on such programs address the struggle for cultural understanding quite literally in their work. Iranian-born composer Reza Vali—whose concerto for ney (Persian flute) and orchestra was featured on a “Songs of Hope” concert in January 2010—speaks of the “cognitive dissonance” of having Persian instruments performing alongside standard orchestral instruments. Richard Danielpour and Mohammed Fairouz both have forthcoming premieres of works based on collections of texts in languages of the Middle East such as Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Persian—not to mention English.

Fairouz invokes the late Edward Said, literary scholar and critic of orientalism, in using the musical term “counterpoint” to talk about culture. “In this era of globalization when everyone is so scared of losing their individual identity,” Fairouz says, “if we go back to the concept of counterpoint or synthesis, rather than laissez-faire everythinggoes-together pluralism, we discover that each element has an individual identity and reason for being.” Dissonance and Resolution

Synthesizing diverse musical and cultural traditions is quickly becoming a calling card for the 26-year-old Fairouz. This is in evidence in his most ambitious project to date, his Symphony No. 3, “Poems and Prayers,”


Judith Ilika

microtones that, Vali points out, shares no common intervals with equal temperament. “But the orchestra plays in equal temperament,” he says. “So what happens is that whatever melodic material the soloists play, the orchestra misunderstands. They start playing it in equal temperament and it doesn’t work, so the orchestra becomes very angry, becomes violent. Then gradually they start liking part of the melodic material and start imitating each other and creating a dialogue. So at the end of the piece essentially the orchestra starts understanding what the soloists are playing.” An orchestra had originally agreed to premiere Vali’s Double Concerto, but the plan fell prey to Behzad Ranjbaran, JoAnn Falletta, and violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen during rehearsal for the financial considerations, and the composer Curtis Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Ranjbaran’s Violin Concerto in 2009. is still seeking an orchestra to bring the work to life. on a play by 19th-century Arab playright Not all of Vali’s experiments in Persianwhich draws on texts in Arabic, Aramaic, Tawfiq al-Hakim and premiered by the MiWestern musical cross-pollination involve and Hebrew and will be given its world mesis Ensemble and conductor Scott Dunn so much conflict, however. “I developed premiere on February 16 by the New Yorklast April in New York City, Fairouz seamwhat I call mixed tuning,” he says, “which is based freelance orchestra Ensemble 212 at lessly blends microtones of the maccaam basically equal temperament with a couple Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. “It with modernist harmonies. of microtones that are very important to begins with this big outburst of the Jewish Fusing European and Middle Eastern the Persian modal system inserted.” Before Kaddish, the Aramaic prayer, which is basiidioms may be particularly difficult for writing his concerto for ney, Vali also excally a doxology praising God but has acthose drawing on Persian influences, given perimented in replicating the sound of the quired the connotation of being a prayer for the complexity of the Persian classical muIsfahan technique—in which the player the dead,” says Fairouz. “That prayer ends sic system and the region’s vibrant folk muinserts the instrument deep into his or her with, ‘He who makes peace in the heights, sic tradition. None know this better than mouth to allow the sinus cavities to work as makes peace for us and upon all the tribes Behzad Ranjbaran and Reza Vali, former a resonance chamber and produce a plethoof Israel.’ ” Also included are quotes from classmates at Iran’s Tehra of overtones—by havthe 20th-century Arab feminist poet Fadwa ran Conservatory who ing Western flutists sing Tuqan and Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. More than simply went on to study comwhile playing. And limThe 75-minute work climaxes with a recommenting on the news position in the U.S. and iting use of microtones prise of the Kaddish, but with the Jewish of the day, an American Western Europe, respecto solo instruments can reform addition, “And for all the nations of orchestra presenting tively. Oddly enough, Middle Eastern composers also cut down on tuning the world.” Iranian musical tradiheadaches for the orFairouz draws musical inspiration from alongside the European tions were looked down chestra, Vali points out. European and Arabic sources in equal meacanon helps bridge upon at the conservatory, This is the approach he sure. In setting a lullaby by modern Arab a gap between two and the two were forced took with his Concerto poet Mahmoud Darwish in the middle cultures with a history to explore native sounds for Ney and Orchestra, of “Poems and Prayers,” Fairouz says, he of tension and conflict. premiered by the Boston lowers the third of the Arabic maccaam elsewhere—Ranj­b aran Modern Orchestra Project in March 2006 mode; this minor inflection underscores spending his time off studying at the Naand reprised by the Sacramento Philharthe “Mahlerian twist” that the lullaby is actional Conservatory of Iran, also in Tehran, monic for “Songs of Hope.” tually a mother’s song to her dead son. In which focused on Persian classical music, Of the two composers, Ranjbaran is one movement of Fairouz’s Critical Models and Vali delving into folk music. probably better known to orchestral audifor violin and clarinet, which appears on In his Double Concerto for ney and kaences in the States. He manages to fuse Perhis new disc for Sono Luminus/Naxos, the mancheh, or “spike fiddle,” Vali, now a prosian and Western orchestral idioms through composer offers a sort of musical orientalfessor of composition at Carnegie Mellon a natural process of personal internalization. ist critique: “snake charmer” melodies and a University, turns the idea of a clash of civili“For many years I had an ensemble with a quote from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade zations into music itself, literally pitting the mix of Persian instruments and classical break off in jarring directions every time two traditions against each other to create instruments,” he says. “So I was very exthey start to gain momentum—a deconwhat he calls “cognative dissonance between perienced in synthesizing these two tradistruction of Middle Eastern musical stereotwo cultures.” The ney and kamancheh play tions.” Ranjbaran steers clear of explicit use types. In his operetta Sumeida’s Song, based in the Persian segauch, a mode riven with




uprisings of 2009, that he “got suddenly very involved emotionally.” The work that followed, a trio called Remembering Neda, “was the first time I used Persian scales, rhythms, and gestures throughout,” Danielpour says. Darkness in the Ancient Valley, which was premiered on November 17 by soprano Hila Plitmann and the Nashville Symphony under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero, is a reference to Danielpour’s earlier work for Silk Road, but shares Season’s call for nonviolence through the use of texts by the 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi. And, like Remembering Neda, Darkess seeks to highlight the repression, particularly of women, that Danielpour sees happening in Iran today. Toward a Season of Peace, however, opens those themes of repression and the debate over war and peace up to the broader region of the Middle East, Danielpour says. Like Fairouz in Poems and Prayers, Danielpour seeks to bring together different Middle Eastern communities through language. Toward a Season of Peace includes texts in Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Persian, as well as an English translation of a Rumi (continued on page 58) Mike Minehan

an-American: “Why not have more of the Persian community here? It surprised and saddened me not to see any familiar faces.” A chance meeting gave Oskouian the opportunity to articulate that very thought to Symphony President John Forsyte, and before long Oskouian found herself on the Pacific Symphony’s board, working with Forsyte, Music Director Carl St.Clair, and others in figuring out how the orchestra could connect better with the local Persian community. This March, that seed will bear fruit as the Pacific Symphony celebrates Nowruz, the Persian New Year marking the beginning of spring, with three concerts featuring Iran’s Shams Ensemble performing with the orchestra, and a major new commission from Richard Danielpour titled Toward a Season of Peace. Dealing with Middle Eastern themes is somewhat of a homecoming for Danielpour. The composer, born in the United States to Jewish Iranian immigrant parents, spent a year in Iran as a young boy, and selfidentifies as “an American composer with a Middle Eastern memory.” Danielpour drew on Persian themes in 2001 when he wrote Through the Ancient Valley for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. But Danielpour says it wasn’t until the murder of Neda Sultan, a young woman in the Iranian student

of Persian modes in his orchestral compositions, however, in large part due to early failed attempts to tune large numbers of players to microtones. Instead, his Persian influences come out in ways more organic to the orchestra. “There is a sense of color that is hard to define,” he says, “a sense of character that you hear. It could be a C major chord underneath but the character, the color would give a new sound.” JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Virginia Symphony, has been a big advocate for Ranjbaran’s music. Ranjbaran and Falletta first met as classmates at The Juilliard School, but Falletta really began to champion the composer’s work when she became music director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra in 1989. “We devised a program called ‘Musical Bridges’ in which we would introduce different cultures through the orchestra,” Falletta recalls. As Falletta’s familiarity with Ranjbaran’s musical language grew, so did their artistic partnership. That partnership reached new heights with The Persian Trilogy, a cycle of three works for orchestra inspired by legends of the Shahnameh, or the Persian “Book of Kings.” Falletta’s recording of Trilogy with the London Symphony Orchestra was released on the Delos label in 2004, and the individual movements—“Seemorgh,” “The Blood of Seyavash,” and “Seven Passages”—are frequently performed around the country. In August 2008 Falletta led the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in a performance of the full evening-length cycle, along with a leading storyteller of Iran, Morshed Torabi, who recited and acted out passages from the Shahnameh interspersed with the music. The program, sponsored by the International Society for Iranian Studies to celebrate the Shahnameh’s millennial anniversary, sold out, drawing many audience members from the local Persian community.

The Pacific Symphony’s celebration of the Persian new year Nowruz features a collaboration with the Shams Ensemble (below) and a major new commission from Richard Danielpour (above).

One of the largest Persian populations in North America happens to be in Southern California. When the Pacific Symphony opened its new home at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Orange County, it was a celebratory occasion for all involved, including new subscriber Anoosheh Oskouian. Yet the event also brought a bitter realization for the Iraniamericanorchestras.org

Courtesy Pacific Symphony

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ASCAP, New York, NY Bennett Direct, Milwaukee, WI The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Durham, NC Richard J. Bogomolny, Gates Mills, OH Classical Movements, Inc., Alexandria, VA Concert Artists Guild, New York, NY The Cooking Group, Dallas, TX Bruce Coppock, Mendota Heights, MN Fisher Dachs Associates – Theater Planning and Design, New York, NY Kevin V. Duncan, Denver, CO Mr. James M. Franklin, Inverness, IL Jeanne & Gary Herberger, Paradise Valley, AZ A.J. Huss, Jr., Saint Paul, MN James D. Ireland III, Cleveland, OH Larry & Rogene Kirkegaard, Chicago, IL Joseph H. Kluger, Gladwyne, PA Hugh W. Long, New Orleans, LA Mr. & Mrs. Phillip N. Lyons, Newport Beach, CA Judy & Scott McCue, Evanston, IL + Mr. Richard P. Simmons, Sewickley, PA Robert Swaney Consulting, Inc., Greenwood, IN Rae Wade Trimmier, Birmingham, AL James Undercofler, Philadelphia, PA Alan D. & Connie Linsler Valentine, Nashville, TN Anonymous (2)

sustainer ($1,000 – $2,499)

Douglas W. Adams, Dallas, TX Alberta Arthurs, New York, NY Brent & Jan Assink, San Francisco, CA Nancy & Joachim Bechtle Foundation, San Francisco, CA Frances & Stephen Belcher, Severn, MD · William P. Blair, III, Canton, OH *† Deborah Borda, Los Angeles, CA James William Boyd, Tucson, AZ Elaine Amacker Bridges, San Angelo, TX Fred & Liz Bronstein, St. Louis, MO · Wayne S. Brown & Brenda E. Kee, Washington, DC *† The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston, TX Michelle Miller Burns & Gary W. Burns, Chicago, IL · Catherine M. Cahill, Philadelphia, PA · Morton D. Cahn, Jr., Dallas, TX Dr. Roland M. Carter, Chattanooga, TN The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Chicago, IL NancyBell Coe, Santa Barbara, CA Colbert Artists Management Inc., New York, NY Robert Conrad, Cleveland, OH Margarita & John Contreni, Brookston, IN


winter 2012

Martha & Herman Copen Fund, New Haven, CT Trayton M. Davis, Montclair, NJ Gloria dePasquale, Narberth, PA Emma E. Dunch & Elizabeth W. Scott, New York, NY · Aaron Dworkin, Detroit, MI John Farrer, Bakersfield, CA Scott Faulkner & Andrea Lenz, Reno, NV Firestone Family Foundation, Miami, FL Aaron A. Flagg & Cristina Stanescu Flagg, New York, NY Mrs. Charles Fleischmann, Cincinnati, OH Michele & John Forsyte, Santa Ana, CA · Catherine French, Washington, DC *† Edward B. Gill, San Diego, CA Clive Gillinson, New York, NY † Joseph B. Glossberg & Madeleine Condit Glossberg, Chicago, IL Marian A. Godfrey, Philadelphia, PA Michael S. Gordon, Newport Beach, CA Dietrich M. Gross, Wilmette, IL Gary Hanson & Barbara Klante, Cleveland, OH Mark & Christina Hanson, Milwaukee, WI · Daniel & Barbara Hart, Buffalo, NY · Jennifer Higdon & Cheryl Lawson, Philadelphia, PA Dr. & Mrs. Claire Fox Hillard, Albany, GA Mr. Michael J. Horvitz, Cleveland, OH Mr. Russell Jones, New York, NY Paul R. Judy, Northfield, IL Ms. Polly Kahn, New York, NY The Joseph & Nancy F. Keithley Foundation, Shaker Heights, OH Mrs. Norman V. Kinsey, Shreveport, LA Judith Kurnick, Penn Valley, PA Mr. & Mrs. Wilfred J. Larson, Naples, FL † Stephen Lisner, New York, NY Fred Levin & Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation, Mill Valley, CA Christopher & Margo Light, Kalamazoo, MI *† Robert & Emily Levine, Glendale, WI Alex Machaskee, Cleveland, OH Steve & Lou Mason, Dayton, OH † Paul Meecham, Baltimore, MD Zarin Mehta, New York, NY LaDonna Meinders, Oklahoma City, OK David Alan Miller, Albany, NY Phyllis J. Mills, New York, NY Steven Monder, Cincinnati, OH † Heather Moore, Dallas, TX Michael Morgan, Oakland, CA Thomas W. Morris, Cleveland Heights, OH Diane & Robert Moss, Key Biscayne, FL Robert & Judi Newman, Englewood, CO Opus 3 Artists, New York, NY James W. Palermo, Chicago, IL · Anne H. Parsons, Detroit, MI · Mrs. Alfred M. Rankin, Gates Mills, OH Mr. & Mrs. Alfred M. Rankin, Jr., Waite Hill, OH Peggy & Al Richardson, Erie, PA † Ms. Barbara S. Robinson, Cleveland, OH Jesse Rosen, New York, NY Robert & Barbara Rosoff, Glens Falls, NY Don Roth, Davis, CA *† Robin J. Roy, New York, NY Deborah F. Rutter, Chicago, IL † americanorchestras.org

Roger Saydack & Elaine Bernat, Eugene, OR † Fred & Gloria Sewell, Minneapolis, MN Helen P. Shaffer, Houston, TX Tom & Dee Stegman, Cincinnati, OH Matthew VanBesien & Rosie Jowitt, Houston, TX · Dr. Jane Van Dyk, Billings, MT Allison Vulgamore, Atlanta, GA · Tina Ward, Saint Louis, MO · Elizabeth B. Warshawer, Philadelphia, PA Dr. Charles H. Webb, Bloomington, IN Franz Welser-Möst, Cleveland, OH Dobson West, Minneapolis, MN Anonymous (2) patron ($600 – $999) Lois H. Allen, Columbus, OH Dr. Richard & Janet Barb, Indianapolis, IN L. Henry Beazlie, Cuyahoga Falls, OH Mr. Robert A. Birman, Prospect, KY Mr. Frank Byrne, Kansas City, MO Charles W. Cagle, Franklin, TN Katherine Carleton, Toronto, ON, Canada Judy Christl, Bonita Springs, FL Ms. Katy Clark, New York, NY · Dawn Fazli, Indianapolis, IN Susan Feder & Todd Gordon, Irvington, NY Ryan Fleur & Laura Banchero, Memphis, TN †· Mrs. William A. Friedlander, Cincinnati, OH Karen Gahl-Mills & Laurence Mills-Gahl, Syracuse, NY Michael Gehret, Lawrenceville, NJ Mr. Kareem A. George, Detroit, MI · Maryellen Gleason & Kim Ohlemeyer, Milwaukee, WI Kathie & Ken Goode, Cincinnati, OH Richard Gray, Chicago, IL Mr. André Gremillet, Jersey City, NJ Lauri & Paul Hogle, Atlanta, GA Patricia G. Howard, Cazenovia, NY + Holly H. Hudak, Chicago, IL Mrs. H.T. Hyde, Tyler, TX Ms. Helena Jackson, Duluth, MN James M. Johnson, New York, NY Peter Kjome, Grand Rapids, MI Andrea Laguni, Los Angeles, CA Carolyn & Wayne Landsverk, Portland, OR Robert L. Lee & Mary Schaffner, Saint Paul, MN Helen Lodge, Charleston, WV David Loebel, Lebanon, NH Fred & Lois Margolin, Denver, CO Debbie McKinney, Oklahoma City, OK Anne W. Miller, Edina, MN Nancy A. Mims, Colorado Springs, CO Parker E. Monroe, Oakland, CA John Hewitt Murphy, Santa Fe, NM J.L. Nave, III & Paul Cook, Fort Wayne, IN · Darren M. Rich, Point Richmond, CA Brian A. Ritter, Albany, NY Susan Robinson, Sarasota, FL Mr. & Mrs. H.J. Rossmeisl, Jr., Birmingham, AL + William A. Ryberg, Hailey, ID Mary Jones Saathoff, Lubbock, TX Jo Ellen Saylor, Edina, MN Mr. Louis Scaglione, Philadelphia, PA

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) Paul Scarbrough, Norwalk, CT Ms. Rita Shapiro, Washington, DC Martin L. Sher, Indianapolis, IN David Snead, New York, NY Mr. Ari Solotoff, Portland, ME · Barbara J. Soroca, Stamford, CT Melia & Michael Tourangeau, Salt Lake City, UT Jeff & Melissa Tsai, Pittsburgh, PA · Marylou L. Turner, Kansas City, MO Gus Vratsinas, Little Rock, AR Robert J. Wagner, Maplewood, NJ Edward Walker, Oklahoma City, OK Sandra Weingarten, Brownsville, OR Linda Weisbruch, Charlotte, NC Melinda Whiting & John Burrows, Riverton, NJ Paul Winberg & Bruce Czuchna, Eugene, OR Lisa M. Wong, M.D., Newton, MA Joshua Worby, White Plains, NY Rebecca & David Worters, Fort Worth, TX 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


Kian Soltani

Korsakov’s Scheherezade. The two programs bookended Michael Morgan’s 2009 trip to Egypt to conduct an all-American program to a sold-out Cairo Opera House, where Abbassi is artistic director. Menoufy recalls some hitches in getting “Songs of Hope” off the ground, including forgoing potential support from the Israeli and Egyptian embassies, who wanted to use the concert as a political platform, and local resistance to having Israelis and PalestinComposer Reza Vali (left) with ney player Khosrow Soltani outside Vienna’s Musikverein ians performing together on the same stage. where Soltani and the Austria-Slovakia Philharmonia gave the European premiere of Vali’s “But after we had the first concert we heard Ney Concerto “Toward that Endless Plain” in March 2009. The Sacramento Philharmonic nothing but positive things,” Menoufy says. reprised the work the following year during “Songs of Hope.” “The second time was a big celebration. Everybody wanted to be there.” The Phil(continued from page 55) harmonic, now led by Interim Executive people who I’ d see in the concert hall in poem that, he says, acts as an anchor for the Director Jane Hill, has not yet scheduled a Tehran.” 50-minute work. “The Rumi, which until third “Songs of Hope” concert, but MenouThat type of local connection has been the last movement is sung only by soprano fy and Morgan both express hope that one integral to Sacramento’s “Songs of Hope” solo, becomes kind of an arbiter for all of will happen in the near future. as well. The initiative started as what Marc these texts,” Danielpour says. “So in a way All of which begs the question: can Feldman, the organization’s executive dithe Persian poet, the ancient poet, becomes such programs be replicated even in citrector from 2007 to June 2011, charackind of a muse for peace.” ies and communities without strong ties terizes as a purely artistic endeavor. As a St.Clair sees the Nowruz program as bassoonist, Feldman had played alongside a natural outgrowth of the Pacific Symto the Middle East? Birmingham, Alamusicians from Israel, Palestine, Egypt, phony’s American Composers Festival. bama may not boast a large Middle EastMorocco, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere, in a Over the past several years, the festival ern diaspora, but the Alabama Symphony “peace orchestra,” marking the one-year has engaged American composers of ChiYouth Orchestra’s performance of Fairouz’s anniversary of 9/11. Feldman had hoped nese, Mexican, and Vietnamese heritage, Symphony No. 2 last May was a rewarding to create something similar in Sacramenamong others, as a way of connecting with experience for all involved. Fairouz notes to, inviting some of the those populations in Orange County. “So that the piece includes same musicians that he’d the Nowruz festival is not only a celebravery explicit use of the “The Nowruz festival is not played with in the peace tion of the Persian new year,” St.Clair says, microtonally inflected only a celebration of the orchestra to come per“but also an attempt to show that we care maccaam mode and the Persian new year,” Pacific form. A look into the about and embrace who we are in Orange debka dance form, which Symphony Music Director city’s recent history reCounty.” St.Clair will share conducting duwere unfamiliar to the Carl St.Clair says, “but vealed synagogue burnties on the programs with Farhad Mechkat, young musicians. “It sort also an attempt to show ings in the late 1990s former principal conductor of the Tehran of serves a dual purpose that we care about and and a tense relationship Symphony Orchestra. of teaching young peoembrace who we are in between local Jewish and For Oskouian, the Nowruz concerts ple about living comOrange County.” Muslim communities serve a reciprocal purpose. “My main conposers and contempothat was in desperate need of healing. Encern all along was to build a bridge across rary music,” he says, “but at the same time ter Kais Menoufy, CEO of Sacramento’s to the Persian community to know of the teaching them about the music of a region Delegata Corporation. jewel that we have right here in our backthat America is so involved in.” Menoufy, an Egyptian Muslim, was at yard,” she says. “Not enough people know In many cases, the music speaks for itthe time involved in the construction of a about the orchestra.” With that in mind, self. Falletta notes that when she presented mosque in Sacramento, and felt it importhe Farhang Foundation—an organizaRanjbaran’s works in Long Beach, Iranians tant to bring the local Muslim and Jewtion devoted to promoting Persian culture there certainly connected with Ranj­baran ish communities together and present the in Orange County where Oskouian also through their shared heritage. “But in VirMuslims in a more positive light. Delegata serves as a trustee—has offered support ginia there is not such a large Iranian poputhus became a sponsor of the first “Songs to the Pacific Symphony in its planning lation,” she says, “so people welcomed him of Hope” concert in 2008, and another in for Nowruz, and in getting the word out basically on the strength of his music and January of 2010, which featured Nader locally. “We have Persian media here,” the force of his personality.” The Virginia Abbassi conducting one of his own works, Oskouian says. “Newspapers, magazines, Symphony premiered Ranjbaran’s ConNile Bride, alongside Vali’s ney concerto, a 24-hour radio station—so we are going certo for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 with Isto engage them as well.” Says Mechkat: 2009 under Falletta’s baton. “Our principal raeli pianist Shai Wosner, and Rimsky“It will be nice to see some of those same viola player, Beverly Baker, said afterward




that it was the highlight of her professional career,” Falletta says. Robert Franz and the Boise Philharmonic are set to perform the work in April. That artistic satisfaction is echoed by everyone involved. Michael Morgan points out that in addition to “Songs of Hope,” he often puts Middle Eastern-inflected works on his subscription concerts both in Sacramento and at the Oakland East Bay Symphony, where he is also music director. Last April, his Oakland group celebrated Nowruz with a concert featuring four works by Iranian composers—including Ranjbaran’s “Seemorgh” from The Persian Trilogy— alongside a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto featuring all Iranian-born soloists: cellist Arash Amini, pianist Tara Kamangar, and violinist Cyrus Beroukhim. “It makes our standard concerts more interesting,” he says, “not to mention the electricity in the hall when you have an orchestra that is clearly discovering something new in the course of the evening.” The composers feel inspired, too. “What’s so wonderful is that it’s given me new harmonies, fresh colors in the orchestra, and new melodic countours that have always been there but are now really being borne out in full-frontal light,” says Danielpour. “We’re always looking for ways to remain fresh as composers.” Fairouz agrees: “If it sounds like a symphony orchestra, someone’s done it already before you. So you need to develop a new orchestral sound. For me, some of that comes from Arabic music and some just comes from my influences in the Western canon.” At the same time, orchestras can become a force for breaking down social and cultural boundaries. “Music, by its nature, can be a really tremendous vector for people to learn about other cultures,” Feldman says. “In the States we’re all so polite, always so politically correct, that sometimes the underlying problems in our communities kind of get glossed over. A concert like this all of a sudden brings things to the surface.” These are exactly the kinds of barriers that Oskouian hopes the Pacific Symphony’s Nowruz celebration can help break down. “I’ve always stated that this particular celebration, the Persian new year, is a universal celebration,” she says. “It’s not only for Persians, because it’s celebrating new life and new beginnings. And that rebirth is every human being’s right. But the fact americanorchestras.org

that they would honor it as such and dedicate it—I tell all my Persian friends that it is a joy for a non-Persian entity to come and celebrate it. So we owe it to ourselves as well as everybody else to come and participate and be involved.” The orchestra thus becomes an agent for cross-cultural understanding. “I think it would be an absolute coup for American orchestras to see themselves as playing a role in opening up a seam where diplomats fail,”

says Danielpour. “I really believe that when we have no more cards to play as diplomats and politicians, artists have a responsibility to step in.” Menoufy puts it another way: “Maybe what you cannot say at the United Nations you can say in the concert hall.” IAN VANDERMEULEN is assistant editor of Symphony, and a graduate student in Middle Eastern Studies at the City University of New York.


Kole takes the audience around the world to many cities and countries that heʼs performed in and tells them interesting stories as he performs the music of that area…


For a demo DVD contact Morrow Management, Inc P.O. Box 5519 Slidell, LA 70469 Phone 504-524-5716 Fax 985-643-4859 E-Mail MorrowMgt@aol.com www.RonnieKole.com

Ronnie Kole does more than play…Heʼll tell you of many of the legends and play many compositions influenced by the Jazz of New Orleans


Catching the

As they experiment with micro-funding, orchestras are finding a large number of donors to support commissions and other projects— with contributions as small as a dollar.


hen violist Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks decided to commission a work for the Inside the Classics series they co-host for the Minnesota Orchestra, they resolved not to let the occasion slide past unnoticed. “So often, when we commission a new piece, it’s like: We know we’ve commissioned it,” Bergman says. “But who else does? The audience doesn’t hear word one about it until the premiere, which most of them probably didn’t know they were coming to.” It’s an age-old, seemingly insoluble problem for generations of orchestra administrators: how to drum up audience interest in something as arduous and complicated as an orchestra commission? For Hicks and Bergman, the answer turned out to be simple: invite the audience to get some skin in the game. For incremental amounts—$25, $50, $100, more—audience members were invited to crack open their checkbooks and pay for the piece’s creation themselves. In return, they would be more than just “donors”; they would be given contin-




by J

o r c i M Wave ayso




uous, behind-the-scenes access to the music they were helping bring into the world. As a result of their small investment, the piece’s progress would become a part of the audience’s daily lives. And when the world premiere rolled around, they would be attending as americanorchestras.org

eager co-commissioners instead of bewildered bystanders. Asking the audience to dig into their wallets—right from the stage, natch— violates long-held perceptions about the rules governing audience engagement and development in the orchestra world. The project, which had no precedent at the Minnesota Orchestra, required an enormous amount of R&D from the organization, all for the relatively paltry target amount of $20,000. But it worked like gangbusters: The Minnesota Orchestra MicroCommission Project, as it came to be known, raised $20,684

from 340 donors. For 71 percent of those donors, it was their first time giving money to an orchestra. Clearly, they had Crowdstumbled onto somefunding thing powerful. The hinges on the trendy name apbelief that pended to the projhundreds ect—MicroCommisof small sion—hints at what transactions, that “something” is. solicited Microfunding, crowdonline, can sourcing, crowdbeat a path funding: whatever the to successful name, the idea is the philanthropy same, and it is curat least as rently reshaping the effectively as parameters of the in-

one or two enormous checks.



where, a grassroots fundraising platform where an indie-rock musician can secure funding from like-minded peers to record a studio album, or a documentary filmmaker can see a dream project through to completion. The basic idea behind Kickstarter is this: an artist establishes a project (anything from funding a concert to publishing a book to staging a puppet show), then details how much money is needed to complete the project, where the money is going, and a projected timeline. Crucial to the experience is a highly personalized, often quirky set of “rewards” for donors that are tiered according to donation level. The catch: Kickstarter projects have all-or-nothing funding. If the artist doesn’t raise the target amount by his specified deadline, no one who has chipped in is charged a cent. Everyone walks away “clean.” Sites like Indiegogo followed quickly in Kickstarter’s wake, and suddenly it seemed as if every Facebook friend was posting about a project, with some corners of the internet resembling an overcrowded market bazaar. More recently, the idea has been poking its way into the orchestral world, as organizations big and small have experimented with the power—and limitations— of tapping into the internet multitudes. Artists Deliver the Message

“When Kickstarter came out, along with all these micro-funding sites,” says Hicks, “I saw that people were actually succeeding with these larger projects—getting a film funded, making an album. It seemed logical in the context of our series as well: we’re trying to engage people who might not be involved in classical music, but who might be interested in being involved in what is essentially a very large new project. Basically: Why can’t you micro-fund a major orchestral work?” To answer that question, she and Bergman turned to Heidi Droegemueller, the Minnesota Orchestra’s director of development. “The MicroCommission was a challenge for our development department,” Bergman says, “because here are these people who go out and raise millions of dollars every year, and we’re saying, ‘We want you to drop everything you’re doing and com-

mit a tremendous amount of manpower to raising a very small amount of money.’ To their credit, they absolutely jumped on board with it.” Droegemueller, for her part, says she viewed the MicroCommission as an ideal opportunity to test some long-held assumptions. “The goal was to raise $20,000, and I thought that was the no-brainer. Sure, we could raise $20,000,” she says. “But this was totally different from anything we had ever done, and that really intrigued me. It incorporated fundraising directly into the concert experience. That was the real value.” Bergman and Hicks had laid a lot of the necessary groundwork for the MicroCommission without even realizing it. The two maintain a blog, InsidetheClassics.org, where they post snippets of video, teasers about upcoming concerts, and discussion questions. And Judd Greenstein, the composer Bergman and “I had a lot Hicks were eyeing of help from for the commission, is people who one of the most greweren’t gariously active onmusicians at line presences in the all,” says L.A. composing world. So Phil violinist when it was time for Robert Vijay Droegemueller to get Gupta, who out the message, she is releasing found herself graced a solo album with an embarrassfollowing a ment of communicasuccessful tion-medium riches.

Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

TED/James Duncan Davidson

ternet community and of philanthropy itself. “Some of the most excited donors I’ve seen over the past decade have been individual patrons of commissioned music,” says Jay Golan, vice president for development at the League of American Orchestras. “What’s really interesting here is not only the welcome application of crowd-sourcing technology to classical music—which we’re seeing increasingly by chamber and choral groups—but also by symphony orchestras. This will end up fostering adaptation in development, marketing, and public relations offices, and reengineering a more personal involvement between patrons and the new music they’re hearing from orchestras.” In rough outline, crowd-funding might look similar to the “commissioning club,” a more established practice that organizations like the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra have used successfully. Both ideas seek to redefine who donors are, what they look like, and how much they give. A commissioning club could theoretically take place around a coffee table, with open checkbooks, but crowd-funding is inextricable from internet culture. Like Chris Anderson’s well-known “long tail” theory, which argues that companies in the internet era can thrive by selling smaller amounts of a broader inventory, crowdfunding hinges on the belief that hundreds of small transactions, solicited online, can beat a path to successful philanthropy at least as effectively as one or two enormous checks cut by the usual board-member or community-scion suspects. Many believe that such donations were the engine that drove President Obama’s famously wellfunded 2008 campaign; since then, it has become standard political practice. In the past few years, the idea has spread like wildfire, with a handful of enterprising internet start-ups fanning the flames. Kickstarter, founded in 2009, has become the de facto home for enterprising bohemians every-



Judd Greenstein has written Composing in a New York Minute, which will receive its world premiere on March 30, 2012 as the Minnesota Orchestra’s first-ever MicroCommission.

A few crucial social-media innovations paid big dividends as well. “At the second concert in the series, when people were in the concert hall, we timed an email from Sam and Sarah to hit their inboxes,” says Droegemueller. “So when they left the orchestra hall and opened up their email or checked their phones for messages, the first message was from Sam and Sarah, saying ‘Thank you for coming tonight; we hope you’re as excited about the MicroCommission as we are. It’s not about how much you give; it’s about the fact that you give. Please go online and make a donation today.’ ” Did patrons ever react with annoyance at the sudden deluge of requests for money? “That was one of the biggest tests we were running,” Droegemueller remarks. “How far can we push that before we hit a resistance point with our patrons? And actually, we didn’t hit a resistance point. People were intrigued. It deepened their level of engagement with the concert experience.” The MicroCommission’s fund drive ran during the 2010-11 season, with the biggest spikes in giving coinciding with the second and third concerts. “Gifts ranged from literally one dollar to our largest gift, which was $1,500,” says Droegemueller. “We had 340 recorded donors. In the realm of our whole giving program, that’s a pretty small slice. But I have no giving programs where I run a new-donor rate of 59 percent. That’s just unheard of. Also, 77 percent of the gifts were made online. In comparison, if you look at our annual giving as a whole, americanorchestras.org

As the project’s creative center, Judd Greenstein frequently tweets and blogs about the piece and about his musical style, and responds to online questions. Greenstein— who in 2008 co-founded the indie-classical recording label New Amsterdam with Sarah Kirkland Snider and William Brittelle— suspects that this sort of casual, low-level interactivity is the secret ingredient in the broth, the spice that draws newcomers. “The whole notion of a dinner party where the bohemian artist comes to the salon and gets to have great wine and a fourcourse meal in exchange for just being there and making the wealthy people feel better about themselves: that’s an old trope from at least the nineteenth century,” he says. “But the mapping of that notion onto a digital platform—where everything is made more impersonal just by virtue of this mediated relationship that we all have with each other through technology—has made it even more precious. People feel like they know artists already from the personae they exhibit online, before they’ve met.” To some composers, juggling multiple commissions and a teaching schedule, this might all sound like a fearsome load of extracurricular work. Jonathan Spitz, cellist and artistic coordinator of the musicianled Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, came up against this crossroads when he and his colleagues were planning Project 440. Conceived in honor of the ensemble’s 40th anniversary in 2012, Project 440 sought to commission four new works from four emerging composers. Funding was secured from more traditional sources, but Orpheus also opened the door to crowd-sourcing by inviting audience members to help select composers for the project. “We want YOU in the decision-making process,” read an exhortation on the project’s main web page. The structure of 440 was a loose, intentionally playful echo of American Idol. Spitz and an assembled panel of judges amassed a list of 40 promising young composers. Then they invited the audience to listen and provide feedback. The composers posted profiles on the Project 440 homepage, complete with head shots, brief autobiographies, blog posts, and clips of their work

Greg Helgeson

The Creative Process, Close Up

for visitors, who then weighed in on who they thought deserved to “win” in the comments section. The finalists were whittled down, through rounds, with the four finalists to receive premieres during Orpheus’s 2011-12 season at Carnegie Hall. Orpheus’s Project 440 judges checked and re- Minnesota sponded to the site’s com- Orchestra Director ments regularly. Spitz and of Development Heidi others posted webcam Droegemueller videos, responding to the comments rolling in. However, after some deliberation, Spitz and the judging panel elected not to hand a vote over to the audience. “Given the nature of what we’re doing, which is a musician-led, musicianrun organization putting on very high-profile concerts at Carnegie Hall,” says Spitz, “it would feel wrong for us to do something where the musicians don’t have a lot of input into the repertoire. Our policy was simply to read all the comments. So while the public didn’t have any formal vote, we fulfilled the idea that they would Minnesota s be heard.” The emerging Orchestra violist and Inside the composers, for their part, Classics co-host were encouraged to keep Sam Bergman up a consistent presence on talks up the the site. For many of them, orchestra’s it was the most prolonged MicroCommission with the public exposure they had audience— received in their careers. breaking with Andrew Norman, one of the custom of the four Project 440 “win- insulating artists ners” whose works are being from fundraising premiered by Orpheus this season, found the experience both exhilarating and a little unnerving. “I am particularly cautious about sharing my work with people,” he says. “They asked me, for instance, to blog about my process during the course of writing the piece. That’s something that a number of commissioning organizations are doing, and it’s becoming a sort of mini-


3 percent of our revenue comes from online giving. So there are interesting lessons to learn.”


Left to right: Composers Alex Mincek, Cynthia Wong, and Andrew Norman, and Clint Needham (inset), the four finalists in Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s Project 440

trend. I think it’s a great thing, and it feels perfectly natural for other people to do that. I can only see it as a good thing in terms of breaking down the mystery of what a composer actually does all day long. But for me, it was kind of difficult. I did it, and it ended up totally fine. But it was definitely a challenge.” He continues, “I was more interested in the part of the process where people got to say what they thought of my music. That’s a lot of what the internet is about, and it’s something that I have never subjected my work to. Normally when decisions are made about composers and who gets what commissioned, it’s all behind closed doors and it’s all mysterious. But Project 440 was all completely out in the open. It was refreshing and surprising—people I don’t know and would never meet said things about my music.” Frequent Rewards, Daily Contact

The wonder in Norman’s voice as he ponders this small miracle points to one of crowd-sourcing’s most addictive thrills. At their best, crowdsourced projects underscore the internet’s ability to bring people closer together. It is precisely this vision of the internet as a friendly, oversized village of po-


tential artisans that Kickstarter was founded upon. Co-founders Perry Chen and Yancey Strickler seem to have instinctively grasped something about the appeal of this type of transaction, so much so that they have transformed it into a sort of killer app for crowd-funding in the arts world. Strickler recently outlined the shape of a basic Kickstarter project from the company’s offices in downtown Manhattan. “There are three things every Kickstarter project needs,” he says. “It needs to have a clear goal, to produce a specific work or achieve some very measurable, finite thing. Two, a project needs rewards. It needs to demonstrate ways in which the audience will benefit. So typically, here we see a copy of the work being produced—a visit to a rehearsal or some sort of special, private experience. The final thing you need is a video—Kickstarter is really a video-driven site. People are connecting by putting themselves in front of a camera and saying ‘This is who I am and this is what I wanna do.’” Robert Vijay Gupta, a violinist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a TED Fellow, found this out first-hand when he elected to use Kickstarter to record and self-release a solo album. “I wanted to play a world-music album, from ancient music all the way to music written today in L.A., and in doing that I wanted to embrace a wider community than just the classicalmusic community. The perfect medium for that was crowd-funding,” he says. A chance meeting with Chen at a TED Conference tipped Gupta off to Kickstarter, so he logged on, signed up, and took the plunge. “I spent three to four weeks in the planning stages before I launched the project,” Gupta recalls. “It felt like a lot of work, but

once I set it up my only job was to direct people to the page, and get the word out there and post updates. Designating reward levels was the most challenging aspect of the campaign. I got a lot of advice about the kinds of rewards I was sending out—especially those at the $25, $50, and $100 levels, where the majority of Kickstarter contributions kick in. I had a lot of help from people who weren’t musicians at all, and getting outside of my comfort zone and talking to them was probably the best thing I ever did.” Gupta’s successful crowd-funding project—over 30 days he raised $21,951, just over his goal of $20,000—points to what’s at the heart of crowd-funding: contributors are investing not simply in a project, but in a personal story, and looking to find their place in it. “It’s like playing for an audience that has somehow given me a part of their trust,” Gupta says of his crowd-funding experience, “and now you’ve got to pour as much of yourself as you can into it.” He is now mastering and editing the recording, which he hopes will be released early in 2012. “These are Tom Walters, a consumer documentary film- actions maker hoping to pro- people are duce a film about Dr. taking,” says Wachtang “Botso” Kickstarter Korisheli, founder of co-founder the San Luis Obispo Yancey Youth Symphony, Strickler. reports that for his “The most successful 90-day common Kickstarter drive, he pledge on raised over $20,000 Kickstarter is for filming and pro- $25. So you duction costs. “For might think us, it worked, which like a fan.” was good,” says Walters. “One thing I was hoping for was getting money from all over. Almost all the money came from local sources here in Central California. But it did set up a concrete way for people to donate with credit cards, and it had a defined deadline—a fun way for people to give, I think.” symphony



things, and they can make significant contributions. And I think we can be a really big help and have a really big impact.” JAYSON GREENE is international editor of eMusic and the former associate editor of Symphony.

Got an opinion? Join the discussion! Has your orchestra supported commissions or other projects using crowdfunding? What sort of endeavor do you think is best suited to this kind of funding model?


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2011–2012 season sept 30– may 5

be rnard haiti n k conductor emeritus

What happens, however, when a crowdfunded project doesn’t cross that magic finish line? Strickler points out that 56 percent of Kickstarter projects do not reach their goal, and a quick perusal of Kickstarter’s database will acquaint you with a chastening graveyard of stalled efforts. “Of the projects that don’t make it, there are some common things that we see,” says Strickler. “First, they never tell anyone about their project. Of all the projects that fail, over a quarter of them never get a single dollar. The other big failure we see is when someone says, ‘I’ve woken up today and decided to be a documentary filmmaker. There’s nothing at all I can point to in my past that says why I should do this, but I still think you should give me 25 G’s.’ We’ve also seen people asking too much for rewards, taking more of a PBS-style, ‘$100 tote bag, $500 Ken Burns DVD set’ approach. These are consumer actions people are taking. The most common pledge on Kickstarter is $25. So you might think like a fan. Would I buy my own thing? It’s an important check to do for yourself.” As yet, few orchestras have found a way to squeeze their way into the Kickstarter keyhole. Bergman says the Minnesota Orchestra briefly considered using the forum, but decided in the end to keep it in-house: “I think Kickstarter is great for individuals and small groups that don’t have a lot of resources, “ he says. “We have a professional development department, a professional marketing department. We are in the unusual position of being a relatively big-time organization with a multimillion-dollar budget.” “I was talking to someone lately about orchestras,” says Strickler, “and he expressed surprise that there weren’t more orchestras using Kickstarter to fund travel, make specific recordings, or sell a specific concert. And also, you have that advantage of, you know, 50, 60, 100 musicians and other people connected to the organization who can all help lead this drive. You can really spread it pretty wide out into the world. “The internet isn’t leaving everything behind in the way that we fear it is. There are still people who care about these

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Thinking Like a Fan

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by Bradley Bambarger


History Courtesy of The Juilliard School

Music archives used to be for scholars and researchers only. Now orchestras are digitizing and making their archives more accessible.




ymphony orchestras spend a lot of time fretting over their future, but they have to worry about their pasts, too. The archives of an orchestra—from printed programs and marked-up scores to recordings of performances— serve as the organization’s collective memory to be tapped by the following generations of artists and audiences. But the ravages of time, calamity, and mismanagement can scythe gaps in an ensemble’s history; and without remembering what it was, how will an orchestra know what it can be? “Frankly, sometimes we see organizations and their idea of an archive is a box marked ‘letters,’ ” says Shelby White, trustee of the New York-based Leon Levy Foundation, which has given more than $10 million in grants to dozens of cultural institutions to preserve and digitize their collections and make them available to scholars and the public. “You hear near-horror stories of important things being rescued just before they were thrown out, and sometimes organizations have to try to reconstruct archives after they have lost a lot of material.” An orchestra has in-house needs for preserving its past, from providing context for its mission to simply having answers when someone on staff asks, “How many times have we done that?” But, as with any longstanding institutions, the history of symphony orchestras and other musical organizations in America mirrors the history of the country itself—and this story has value as something that bonds orchestra and public in a way that even goes beyond music to broader ideas about culture and society, even about issues of race and life during wartime. symphony




Charles Abbott


Herman Randolph


Some institutions are blessed by expertise, funding, and good habits, such as the New York Philharmonic, which—thanks to a $2.4 million grant from the Levy Foundation—unveiled a pioneering digital archives site last February that will ultimately americanorchestras.org

Courtesy Library of Congress

Courtesy New York Philharmonic Archives


1 John Miller, Minnesota Public Radio’s archive technician, is working on the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s project to preserve its audio recordings archive. 2 The New York Philharmonic’s extensive photo archives, including this shot of Leonard Bernstein, can be viewed at the orchestra’s digital archives site. 3 The Aspen Music Festival and School archive includes a recording of this 1989 student performance by eight-year-old Sarah Chang. 4 The Houston Symphony is restoring and digitizing its archive of recordings, including performances led by Music Director Sir John Barbirolli, seen here in 1964. 5 The online Music Treasures Consortium, hosted by the Library of Congress’s Performing Arts Encyclopedia, links its own holdings—like this original manuscript page from Brahms’s Symphony No. 3—with those of the Juilliard Manuscript Collection, the British Library, Harvard University, New York Public Library, and the Morgan Library and Museum. 6 Among the items in the Juilliard Manuscript Collection—some of which can be viewed by anyone online—is Mahler’s manuscript draft of the last 50 or so bars of the first movement of his Ninth Symphony. 7 Among the items from the Curtis Institute’s document collection posted at the nonprofit Internet Archive are digitized programs from events such as this 1954 piano recital by faculty member Rudolf Serkin.

make millions of documents from its holdings freely available to a worldwide public online. Already, the site includes more than 1,000 conducting scores marked by Leonard Bernstein and others, more than 3,200 printed programs, a vast record of business documents, and tantalizing samples of the orchestra in vintage audio and video.

Google Analytics provides a snapshot of the New York Philharmonic site’s international appeal, with the first month bringing nearly 25,000 unique visitors from 101 countries. Now, not just insiders with appointments but anyone with access to a computer can peruse Bernstein’s markedup score to a Mahler symphony. And as


make them more accessible to the public, while the Houston Symphony made the decision to better preserve its history after natural disaster struck. After the Flood

“The Houston Symphony didn’t have a proper archive— just a bunch of file cabinets in the basement,” says the orchestra’s archivist, Terry Brown, a volunteer. This meant that the After flooding Houston Symphony faced lascholars, students, and regular from Tropical cunae in virtually every area of music-lovers go through old its institutional memory after Philharmonic programs online, Storm Allison in 2001’s Tropical Storm Allison they not only can see which 2001 destroyed led to a flooding of that baseworks the orchestra performed the Houston ment in Jones Hall, the orchesthrough the decades and what Symphony’s tra’s home since 1966. that has to say about the evolv- collection of Not only were Houston ing cultural canon, they can photographs, Symphony instruments, equipalso see fascinating period adment and its music library ruvertisements and the very dif- press clippings, ined, the orchestra’s collection ferent things those say about and printed of photographs, press clipour changing tastes, attitudes, programs, pings, and printed programs and technologies. “We were able dating back nearly a century The Philharmonic site fea- to recreate were lost. With the Houston tures film footage of Bernstein the program Symphony’s centennial comand his orchestra in Moscow ing in 2013, the orchestra has in 1959 that shows the conduc- collection been working to replicate some tor’s onstage preface about their through of its printed collection. “We Cold War “mission of friend- submissions ship”—and Dmitri Shosta- from the public,” were able to re-create the prokovich coming up to shake says Terry Brown, gram collection through submissions from the public—it’s Bern­ stein’s hand just before the orchestra’s amazing what people have the orchestra begins the Ruskept in their attics,” Brown sian composer’s “Leningrad” volunteer says. When the flood hit, much Symphony. Few orchestras will archivist. “It’s of the orchestra’s archive of auhave something that momen- amazing what tous in their archives, but many people have kept diotapes dating back to 1943 was safe at the University of will have recordings of historic in their attics.” Texas or at Houston’s KUHF debuts and other items that radio. Still, nearly a third of the will resonate—if they can rise 1,600 reel-to-reel tapes had seto the challenges of restoring riously deteriorated with time, those aged audiotapes or putand a batch of some 500 more ting searchable document colrecent digital-audio tapes often lections online. had even more troublesome isThanks to sizable grants, sues. their own initiative, and the With a $200,000 grant from tipping point of technology, The Andrew W. Mellon Founthe Saint Paul Chamber Ordation, the Houston Symphony launched chestra and the Aspen Music Festival and a two-year project in 2010 to restore, School are embarking on archiving and digitize, and make available for study and accessibility projects seen as key to their broadcast the most notable items in that efforts to amplify a brand. The Detroit cache of recordings. Among the perforSymphony Orchestra has been working on mances cherry-picked for preservation are a project to preserve its audio archives and


premieres, commissions, and such noteworthy debuts as Van Cliburn’s first performance with the Houston Symphony in 1947. The orchestra hired the Specs Brothers firm in Lodi, N.J., to clean the tapes, convert them to BWAV files, and ship the files to the University of Texas on portable hard drives. The university administers the Houston Symphony’s sound archive, putting the recordings on its online digital server for scholarly research. For Steve Brosvik, the Houston Symphony’s general manager, a goal for the centennial is to “make the orchestra’s history available beyond our four walls and those of the university. We would like to see our historical recordings used in centennial programs on KUHF radio, as well as possibly release some really special things for sale on CD. To me, curating the orchestra’s history is important to building a broader image of the institution in the community. We always want to create a deeper connection between the orchestra and the public, to instill a greater knowledge of what we offer.” Revealing Hidden Collections

At its website, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra offers free streaming of recent live recordings of some 100 complete works. Part of the Saint Paul ensemble’s efforts to bond with a broader public, the on-demand listening is made possible thanks to what the organization describes as a “groundbreaking” media rights agreement with its musicians that allows free streaming of live performances—a trick not every ensemble has managed, since most union agreements require royalties to be paid for broadcasts and webcasts. In November 2010, the SPCO received a $200,000 Mellon Foundation grant to preserve a swath of its older recorded archive. The three-year project will digitize 400 of the most vulnerable tapes of the group’s 1,000-plus concerts broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio since 1969. (The SPCO received a separate $1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation in July 2010 for various artistic-development and digital-media initiatives, including the creation of a staff position responsible for producing digital content.) The grant for audio preservation covers only initial digitization costs, although the plan is to also make these symphony



Jim Paussa

“There will always be value in a considered, refined studio recording, but people realize there can be a special magic in the capturing of a live event,” says Alan Fletcher, president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School. Aspen is restoring its 50year performance archive, which contains student concerts by instrumentalists like Nadja SalernoSonnenberg, Sarah Chang, and Yuja Wang.

have also received Mellon grants to help them assess the preservation needs and scholarly value of their collections. “The Foundation has a long-standing interest in preservation and in exposing ‘hidden’ collections,” explains Helen Cullyer, associate program officer with the Mellon Foundation’s scholarly communications and information technology department. “We’re helping those orchestras that had already chosen to maintain archives and viewed them as important in one way or another to their mission. Many of them already had sophisticated notions of how they could use their archives in their programming and to engage audiences. “The act of maintaining and organizing these archives improves scholarly access,” Cullyer adds. “That in turn helps develop broader understanding of these cultural institutions, and thereby helps the organizations better

understand themselves and their role in society and culture.” Branding and Inspiration

The Aspen Music Festival and School received a grant of nearly $250,000 from the Sidney E. Frank Foundation to bolster an ongoing project to preserve its archive of recordings and create a searchable database for a half-century of concerts. The Aspen archive includes student performances by such instrumentalists as Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer, Robert McDuffie, and Yuja Wang, as well as conductors from James Levine to James Gaffigan. The Edgar Stanton Audio Recording Institute has been part of the Aspen School for decades, giving it in-house expertise. The Aspen Festival audio archives are held at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Aspen Public Library for access by students and scholars. The lack of media-use agreements prevents Aspen from making most of its archival material available to the public for streaming or commercial release. The exceptions are performances by current students, who sign waivers for the recordings. Aspen has made a couple of dozen recent live recordings available for sale to the public via the Instant Encore concert download website. “The recordings we put on Instant Encore are like a banner for the school,” explains Alan Fletcher, the Aspen Music Festival and School’s president

The Benedict Music Tent at the Aspen Music Festival and School, which is preserving its recordings archive and creating a searchable database.

Alex Irvin

recordings available to the public once more rights agreements are reached with orchestra musicians and soloists. The vintage Saint Paul tapes to be digitized as part of the new preservation initiative include concerts led by such composers as Aaron Copland and Hans Werner Henze, as well as world-premiere performances of commissioned works by Pulitzer Prize winners William Bolcom and Aaron Jay Kernis. A 1989 concert features John Adams conducting excerpts from his opera Nixon in China, with each section introduced by impromptu onstage comments from the opera’s co-creator, Peter Sellars. The Detroit Symphony received a $10,000 grant in 2009 from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections—along with contributions from Save America’s Treasures and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission—to help fund the orchestra’s project to preserve, catalog, and re-house its archive of historic recordings, which dates back to the 1950s and includes the under-documented work of many African-American composers and performers. The Mellon Foundation gave the Detroit Symphony $70,000 toward making its archive more accessible to the public, including for legal help in clearing the media rights. In addition to funding the Saint Paul and Houston musicarchiving projects, the Mellon Foundation has supplied grants of five and six figures to various other organizations, including the League of American Orchestras, which undertook an archival assessment and planning project several years ago to investigate ways to catalogue and maintain its archives, with the eventual goal of sharing those archival assets with others. The Kronos Quartet, the American Composers Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Seattle


Chris Lee

and CEO. “It’s both branding “I think the Library, Harvard University, and information-sharing about online archive New York Public Library, the WORD PROS, INC. who we are and what we do.” Morgan Library and Museum experience is Fletcher is keen to expand better than being (although the Morgan’s great public access to Aspen’s 50-year manuscript holdings from Bach here in person,” performance archive, and he to Berg are now reportedly PROGRAM NOTES says New York says that attitudes are becomup for sale), and the Juilliard Informative and entertaining, with Philharmonic ing more flexible about dissemManuscript Collection—with accessible discussion of the music inating recordings: “Performers archivist/historian the latter allowing anyone anyitself, as well as lively historical and are realizing that recordings where anytime to view highcultural background information. Barbara Haws. are less about making money “Things are much resolution images of Stravin Program book editing and layout directly and more about buildsky’s early sketches of Petrushka easier to search ing excitement and a repertoire and other marvels.  Special program book articles and read.” and an audience. Pianist Yuja In partnership with the  Understandable musical analysis Wang is an Aspen alumna with Sloane Foundation and the  Text translation a Deutsche Grammophon conlibrary-membership organiza 24-hour turnaround on rush jobs tract, but when she comes back tion Lyrasis, the Curtis Insti Notes for chamber ensembles to perform professionally with tute of Music is also sharing  Audio examples for web sites us, she says that we can record select portions of its document See samples at: it for posterity, for broadcast, or collection via the nonprofit www.wordprosmusic.com whatever we would like. Internet Archive as part of the Elizabeth A. Kahn, Ph.D. “Classical-music lovers see site’s ongoing mass digitization Joseph S. Kahn, Ph.D. recordings differently now, and public Web library project. phone: 919 851-2410 too,” Fletcher adds. “A couple But in the realm of symphony wordpros@mindspring.com of years ago, Lang Lang played a recital orchestras, the model for how a 21st-centuhere, and two patrons turned to me and ry organization can preserve and dissemiasked if they could buy a recording of the nate its back pages in a forward-looking performance. I pointed out that the promanner may just be the New York PhilharSymphony Ad 12004 9/4/05, 12:21 PM gram was the same as his latest DG stumonic’s online archive. “Amazing dio album. But they said, ‘No, we want a By the end of this year, the Philharmusicianship, recording of this event.’ There will always monic’s digital archives site will have up “absolute be value in a considered, refined studio reto 1.3 million pages of documents coveremotional cording, but I think it’s sort of the Grateing 1943-70—the era from Bernstein’s decertainty, ful Dead phenomenon making itself felt— but with the orchestra to his final year as “intelligence, truth. people realize there can be a special magic music director. With more than 8 million She belongs among the exalted few.” in the capturing of a live event.” total pages and some 7,000 hours of audio (Mozart — Stereo Times) and video in its archive, the Philharmonic eventually plans to make its history availTreasures Online, for Everyone Ms. Rich is offering 12 Mozart Concerti, able online going back to 1842, the year of Never have the world’s most valuable muboth Weber Concerti, a coupling of the its founding. sic manuscripts, sketchbooks, and early Robert and Clara Schumann Concerti, All the documents on the Philharmoneditions been available to the eyes of more and many others. ic’s site were photographed, rather than researchers and music lovers than now, “Worthy of a cult following, she scanned, for the highest image quality. The thanks to the internet—and the generos“totally identifies with the Mozartean experience is extraordinarily quick, smooth, ity of such music-loving philanthropists as “idiom; she seems born to play this and comprehensive—a dizzying playBruce Kovner, the hedge-fund billionaire “music.” (Mozart Concerti ground for both scholars and general music who is chairman of the Juilliard School and — American Record Guide) obsessives. Visitors can look at documents a vice chairman of Lincoln Center for the “These may well be the most as thumbnails or zoom in to magnify dePerforming Arts. Kovner provided initial “persuasive advocacies the Weber tails, such as Bernstein’s tempo indications funding for the Music Treasures Consor“Concerti have received. I was and notes emphasizing expression (such as tium, which aims to widen scholarly access “dazzled.” (Fanfare) one passage marked “WILD”) in his score so that vast troves of documents from the “She brought power and eloquence to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. But there are 16th to the 20th centuries can be searched “to every bar.” (Clara Schumann Concerto also many quirky margin jottings to himvia one site. — London Music & Musicians) self, including personal jokes and musings Hosted by the Library of Congress’s For further information contact for essays. Performing Arts Encyclopedia, the Music (212) 496-1515 or LiegnerMgt@aol.com The search function on the PhilharmonTreasures Consortium links the holdings www.LiegnerManagement.com ic site brings up a score or a program along of the Library of Congress, the British

Elizabeth Rich, pianist





Advertiser with all its related business documents on personnel and financial matters, which can be engrossing. There are such historic items as documents surrounding a charge of racial discrimination by two black musicians in 1969, when the orchestra only had one black member. But even random browsing can turn up such things as a 1943 note informing music director Artur Rodzinski that Bernstein had been engaged as his assistant conductor for $125 per week (but no contract until he proved himself—which he did a few months later in one of history’s most famously serendipitous debuts). Then there is a 1942 letter gingerly informing the great conductor Bruno Walter that he cannot have a Steinway piano provided for free because the factory has been turned over to war work. “This is the best-documented orchestra in the country because they saved everything,” explains Barbara Haws, the Philharmonic’s longtime archivist/historian. “The orchestra was originally self-managing, and they documented themselves with such zeal as a way of keeping everyone honest. It became an institutional habit and set a standard.” The work of Haws over the past two decades prepared the archive for digitization, with meta-data in place for documents so that there were tags for everything. Once the site project started, she and her team looked at other digital online archives, such as that of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, seeking ways to improve the online experience. “Now people will look at ours and will improve on the way we’ve done it,” Haws says. “The main goal was that we be as comprehensive as possible, so that a researcher won’t suspect that something has been left out—a note on the back of a page, for instance. Honestly, I think the online archive experience is better than being here in person. Things are much easier to search and read. An old Thermo-Fax”—a photocopying technology developed in the 1950s—“is so difficult to read you don’t even want to bother, but now that they’re digitized, you can zoom into them.” The sheer historic breadth of the Philharmonic’s archive is what attracted the Levy Foundation’s Shelby White. She says: “These things online tell you so much about the cultural life of this country. It was important to us that people all over americanorchestras.org

the world could experience it all, not just a few scholars with the means and right connections to travel and get into the Philharmonic archive.” Incorporating into the site more audio and video files from the New York Philharmonic’s immense holdings is a goal for the future, though rights agreements and their attendant costs remain a hurdle, just as for most orchestras. But material now up includes a radio broadcast of Bernstein conducting Mahler’s Ninth Symphony at a November 1965 John F. Kennedy memorial concert, so that visitors to the site can listen and follow along to at least the first movement with the marked-up score. The largest number of visitors to the Philharmonic site during its initial month came from the U.S., followed by Japan and Germany, with Russia and Hong Kong bringing the highest number of repeat users. But there were visitors in the double digits from countries not normally associated with symphonic music, such as Guatemala. A user on Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska looked through 25 pages. And that Bernstein score of the Mahler 9 was viewed more than 6,500 times in just a month. Like other classical-music archivists, Haws is excited by the opportunities the digital age affords to bring the annals of symphonic music to a broader audience. But it has dawned on Haws that there could be at least one bittersweet aspect to the dissemination of the New York Philharmonic’s history. She jokes, “It could be a little traumatic for me now that there will be people who know more about our collection than I do.”

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BRADLEY BAMBARGER, a longtime music critic for The Star-Ledger newspaper of New Jersey, has also written for publications from Billboard and Rolling Stone to Gramophone and Listen. He lives in New York City.

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Life Lessons Aaron Dworkin, violinist and founding president of the nonprofit Sphinx Organization, argues that the arts aren’t just an extracurricular activity—they play a critical role in developing tomorrow’s leaders.

I see the arts as a necessary standalone discipline, much like math, science, or social studies. I see the arts for their intrinsic value and their ability to transform an individual, to improve quality of life, at any age. that this alone would make it difficult to predict what I may have been capable of becoming. By the grace of circumstances, I was adopted at two weeks of age. Enthralled with the sound of the violin at age five, I was lucky enough to have found myself on a complicated and compelling life journey filled with classical music. The arts became a common thread in my life, a passion and a purpose. I work every day to help ensure that there is access to the arts for young people everywhere. While studies demonstrate the value of the arts because of their effect on aca-


demic achievement, I see the arts as a necessary standalone discipline, much like math, science, or social studies. I see the arts for their intrinsic value and their ability to transform an individual, to improve quality of life at any age. The arts represent the very component that sparks creativity, curiosity, affinity for the experience of life itself. I feel Aaron Dworkin that the arts help optimize one’s capacity to become something. In today’s society, with so many moving parts encompassing poignantly complex social and political climates, we require leaders. Our young people represent the future of that leadership, which could, ideally, propel us forward as a society of the courageous, the compassionate, and the creative. However, if their developmental years lack the artistic ecology required to seed such leadership qualities, we may find ourselves in a world of function without form. I focus much of my recent memoir (Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership) on the concept of leadership through the arts. If not for the role the arts played in my life, my path may have gone in a variety of alternate Photos: Mike Mouradian


often reflect on a singular quote by anthropologist Ashley Montagu, which reads: “The deepest personal defeat suffered by human beings is constituted by the difference between what one was capable of becoming and what one has in fact become.” To me, these words evoke a progression of thought about human expectations, which may be formed upon a variety of factors, assumptions, sensibilities, pretexts, and contexts. I was born a biracial child, to an unwed White mother and an African-American father, on September 11, 1970. I was given up for adoption immediately after entering the world. One might argue

and unfortunate directions. In some ways, music was thrust upon me and, if not for that fact, my capacity to become something is likely to have been woefully diminished. We must not just expose young people to the arts, but immerse and infuse their lives in the arts, allow the arts to be a medium of expression and understanding of the world that envelops us. Leadership and responsible citizenship are not feasible without an essential role for the arts and their relevance to young people. This is vital not only to our field but to society as a whole and its ability to thrive for generations yet to come. A recipient of a 2005 MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, AARON DWORKIN is the founder and president of the Sphinx Organization, which focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music. He is a member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body for the National Endowment for the Arts. In July, the Obama administration named Dworkin a “Champion of Change” in arts education. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestras.


winter 2012

Orchestras Feeding America

2012 When Orchestras Feeding America started three years ago, one in eight Americans were food insecure. This year, one in six people in America donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know where their next meal is coming from. The last three years have seen 250 orchestras collect over 350,000 pounds of food. The efforts of these orchestras have helped spread the word about how and why orchestras are so necessary to their communities, beyond providing amazing music. Join the effort to help those in need in your community. Sign up for this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Orchestras Feeding America national food drive. Visit americanorchestras.org for details including a list of participating orchestras.

Profile for League of American Orchestras

Symphonyonline winter 2012  

Symphonyonline winter 2012