Tina Ward  

Artistic Leadership in Orchestras, Part II: What If?

Tina Ward
September 7, 2019

Editor's Abstract (Click to Hide)

In her second installment in the artistic leadership series, Tina poses several sets of intriguing "What If" questions that should spark some interesting conversations in your orchestra. In particular, she explores the issues of an orchestra's identity in terms of vision, artistic quality, and programming. She raises some fairly radical ideas regarding personnel policies for the music director, musicians, and trustees. Finally, she presents three sets of professional development lists for musicians, staff, and trustees.

- Ann Drinan

The purpose of this article is to encourage thoughtful discussion, greater understanding, creative solutions, and a supportive environment for future possibilities. No one way will work for every organization. Good solutions are individual. These questions reflect recurring themes and might serve as a discussion guide for exploring these issues.

Identity

What if…

…Every orchestra could define one or two artistic and/or cultural signatures that made that organization special, unique and valuable to the community (the audience and donor community, the musical community, and/or the internal orchestra community)?

…This signature was then understood, valued and perpetuated by the entire community? Would this unique identity encourage civic value, pride and support?

…Every orchestra recognized and valued the part that each individual can contribute to the whole? What if the organization found meaningful and productive ways to promote and encourage contributions from every member?

Vision

What if…

…Orchestras, as an entire organization, regularly participated in an ongoing retreat process (such as that used in the Lahti Symphony) where small discussion breakout groups were used for problem-solving, where each participant had the ability to bring up any topic for consideration, where group solutions were later adopted by the organization, and where fantasy wish lists became attainable visions?

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