Peter Pastreich, seasoned orchestra manager and consultant, gave a presentation for musicians on the structure of orchestra administration at the League of America Orchestras’ conference in Chicago in June, 2009. I was able to capture most of his presentation, and Peter has edited my notes to create a fascinating look at the way orchestras work, full of Peter’s inimitable turns of phrases and wry sense of humor.Read More →
Henry Fogel stepped down as President of the League of American Orchestras at the end of June, 2008, though he will continue consulting with the League about fundraising and will continue visiting orchestras around the country. Henry has years of experience in the orchestra world, and he graciously agreed to hold a session for musicians at the June conference, where he explained the structure of orchestras, and how smaller orchestras differ from larger ones. As always, his presentation was witty, laced with many stories, but also enormously interesting and educational. If you don\’t really understand what all those people on your staff are doing, read on. And even if you do, read on anyway!Read More →
In Part II of her article, Barbara Nielsen explores the nature of musician involvement in the governance of orchestras. The traditional and more common approach has been for one or two musicians to serve on the board of directors, representing their colleagues. However, a few orchestras in Denver, New Orleans, Tulsa, St. Paul, and New York City have adopted a self-governing, cooperative model of governance. Barbara explains the history behind these cooperative orchestras, and discusses whether musician involvement will make a difference.Read More →
Barbara Nielsen has an unusual perspective on the symphonic world, having worked as a professional violinist, held several senior positions with the AFM, and currently works on the “management” side of labor relations at the Metropolitan Opera. She recently completed her Masters in Labor Relations at Cornell, and has graciously permitted Polyphonic to publish an adaptation of her Masters’ thesis - a comprehensive overview of musicians’ involvement in orchestral governance.
Barbara made extensive use of the archives of the Symphony Orchestra Institute’s journal Harmony, located on this website, in researching her thesis.Read More →
And now the conclusion of Henry Fogel’s article, Are Three Legs Appropriate? Or Even Sufficient?, written for the April 2000 issue of Harmony. Don’t miss Mr. Fogel’s interview with Polyphonic.org’s Interview Series Host Greg Sandow!Read More →
For eight years, 1995-2003, the Symphony Orchestra Institute (SOI) published Harmony. It was a journal of thoughtful insight and opinion about the complex dynamics of symphony orchestra organizations. The journal presented essays and reports authored by practitioners, scholars, and other close observers of orchestras. In 2004 when the founder of the SOI, Paul Judy, gifted the SOI to the Eastman School of Music, the Orchestra Musician Forum and its website Polyphonic was created. The Harmony archives were included.
The following article, Are Three Legs Appropriate? Or Even Sufficient? was written by Henry Fogel, then President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, for the April 2000 issue of Harmony. Mr. Fogel is now President and CEO of the American Symphony Orchestra League. Be sure to watch his interview with Polyphonic.org’s Interview Series Host Greg Sandow!
In our continued efforts to inform the orchestral community, we will feature Harmony articles, from time to time, for those of you who would like to reread them, or for others who may have never had the opportunity to do so before. Those of you who may want original copies of this publication can obtain them free of charge (while supplies last) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy…..Read More →
“Unless musicians sit on the board, they’ll never have any influence in their organization.” A fashionable phrase among a noticeable segment of orchestra musicians today, but what impact will musicians on the board of directors or board committees accomplish. How much influence can one or two musicians have when most boards are comprised of anywhere from 20 to 200 members?
Then there are the issues surrounding representation, are musician board members representing their fellow musicians or are they there to express their own opinions. Even if the musicians have a clearly defined understanding of their presence on a board are the non-musician board members aware of those parameters or even agree with them?
Whether or not musicians should participate on their orchestra’s board is, at best, a sticky issue. Although there’s no universal answer one thing is certain: learning from other musicians who have a long sense of history in the business can shed a great deal of insight onto an otherwise murky subject. Milwaukee Symphony Bassist Roger Ruggeri fits that description perfectly and draws on his more than 45 years of experience (the last 12 of which have been spent as a musician representative to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra board) to illuminate this discussion.Read More →