Brett Boles and I went to high school together in Newtown, CT, where tragedy struck the community on December 14, 2019. Brett has established himself as an exciting new voice in the musical theater world, and in the aftermath of that horrific day, Brett used his talent, time, and contacts to organize an incredible event to pay tribute to and raise money for the community. It is clear that the concert was transformational for both the performers and the audience, and in this article, Brett tells the story of this emotional process in his own words. Thank you Brett, and all who made this event possible, for this moving gesture of love for the Newtown community.Read More →
Last summer, Leif Bjland, Music Director, Steve Collins, Executive Director, and Calida Jones, Program Director of Bravo Waterbury, their El Sistema nucleo program, traveled to Venezuela for 10 days with several teachers and administrators from the OrchKids project in Baltimore, and Mark Churchill from New England Conservatory. All three WSO staffers found it a life-changing experience, which is common for American musicians who spend time in Venezuela, experiencing the El Sistema program at its grass-roots.Read More →
[This essay was originally written in 2004. It’s observations are essentially unchanged in 2011.] In the 20th century world of specialization, artists found their position in society as the purveyors of new possibilities through open and free thought - from Picasso and Stravinsky to Jackson Pollock and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Having broken away from the intellectualRead More →
By ROBIN POGREBIN New York Times January 25, 2019 Read this article from the New York TimesRead 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.
Many of these articles are still considered leading literature in the field. In our continued efforts to inform the orchestral community, we will feature these 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.Read More →
American orchestral musicians usually have some bits of information and notions about orchestra life in Europe, but what’s going on in Australia? Leila Kelleher gives us a glimpse at the past, present and future with her spotlight on Australian orchestras. So that you don’t have to look it up, the Australian Dollar is currently trading at about .81 vs. the US Dollar, and “loading” is a term describing a bonus payment such as doubling on a second instrument.Read More →
About the orchestra Listen to l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal The first, and most important fact to know about the Montreal Symphony/Orchestre de Montréal (OSM) is that it’s a wonderful orchestra. I heard them during a recording session a number of years ago and was blown away, both by the beauty of the sound and theRead More →
August 29 is the 1-year anniversary of hurricane Katrina, which caused so much death and destruction, as well as pain and heartache, for New Orleans and other southern cities. America and the world watched with horror as one of our most beloved cities was flooded and most of its residents fled for their lives. The number of residents who didn’t make it to safety still shocks us all.
In a gripping account, Ann Cohen, cellist with the Louisiana Philharmonic, describes what it was like for the musicians in New Orleans’ orchestra to cope with the aftermath of the hurricane in their struggles to deal with a sudden relocation, stay in contact with each other, find a means of making a living while the LPO was not performing, and ultimately, to bring their orchestra back in full force to the New Orleans community. The outpouring of assistance from musicians all around America is a tribute to our own sense of community, fostered by our deep union ties.
It’s a story of courage, conviction, and triumph.Read More →
And the Band Stopped Playing is an account of the demise of the San Jose Symphony, written by Thomas Wolf of Wolf, Keens & Company and Nancy Glaze of the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, who funded the research for the book.
When the Hartford Symphony received a complimentary copy of the book, my Board President, David Roth, purchased a copy for every HSO Board member because he believed that the book told an important and timely story about our industry, and because the Hartford Symphony, like so many orchestras, is in the process of trying to figure out how to restructure itself. I asked David to write a review of the book, given how strong his reaction to it was.
Because the topic is so vitally important, I then asked Cheryl Fippen to write a review as well. Cheryl was a cellist with the San Jose Symphony at the time it ceased operations, and is a former Vice President of ROPA.
Both reviews discuss the merits of the analysis presented, and both concur that much was amiss with the SJS management. Cheryl corrects some mis-assertions she found in the text, and both point to the possibility of a conflict of interest vis-à-vis the Packard Foundation. David strongly recommends that the book be required reading for anyone involved in the symphony industry because it raises such valuable questions.Read More →