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Category: Musicians Today

Pro-Am Orchestra Events: Trending Across the Country

0 Ann Drinan

Michael Stugrin, writing in the spring 2015 issue of Symphony magazine (page 42), presents an interesting overview of a new trend among orchestras − performing with amateurs. Most orchestras have been doing “side by side” performances with their local youth orchestra for decades (I played such a concert with the Boston Symphony at Symphony Hall way back

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Politics and Music, as Considered by Alex Ross

0 Ann Drinan

Alex Ross, the music critic of The New Yorker, always has interesting things to say about classical music. In a recent essay written for Symphony magazine, Mr. Ross writes about the role of politics in classical music by posing the question: Do musicians and composers have an obligation to speak out on political matters? He

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An Interview with Elaine Douvas, Principal Oboist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

0 Ann Drinan

Last May, as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra musicians were facing a difficult negotiation, Local 802 published a lovely and insightful interview with Elaine Douvas in Allegro, their monthly newspaper. Bob Pawlo, Local 802 recording rep, asked her many questions that delved into the complex life of a principal player in perhaps the world’s most demanding

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Senza Sordino Editor Richard Levine: An Editor’s Parting Thoughts

0 Robert Levine

Richard Levine has the distinction (along with the late Henry Shaw) of being the longest-serving editor of Senza Sordino in ICSOM’s history. His thoughts on departing from the post were contained in a long article in the August 2014 edition of the newsletter. Richard has been a friend for a long time, so I will

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Bill Zuckerman on “How to Succeed in a Changing Musical World”

0 Stephen Danyew

Bill Zuckerman, founder of www.musicschoolcentral.com, has written a recap of the January 15, 2015 Chamber Music America pre-conference workshop “How to Succeed in a Changing Musical World,” presented by the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research at the Eastman School of Music.  You can read Bill’s article here. The pre-conference day included: a keynote

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Future Symphony Institute: Launching a Think Tank for Classical Music

0 Andrew Balio

The Future Symphony Institute (FSI) began as an idea eleven years ago, born of my own protracted efforts to demonstrate what seemed to me some rather obvious opportunities for growing our audiences at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) at a time when we still had no red ink, were flying high with Yuri Temirkanov, and

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Playing for Alzheimer’s Patients

0 Ann Drinan

I’m playing in the “Symphony in the Schools” program this year with the Hartford Symphony, and we recently had several professional days where each of the seven ensembles performed for the others. We also spent some time talking about the program with our new Education Director; we play in senior centers and assisted living facilities,

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Polly Kahn Describes Community Outreach

0 Ann Drinan

Polly Kahn recently stepped down from her position as Vice President and Leadership Development  at the League of American Orchestras after 14 years of devoted service. (She hasn’t left the orchestra field, however; I’m certain we will all benefit from her vision and wisdom in the future.) Polly was immersed in training individuals to make

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We’re Going to Brag (But Just a Little)

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So—most of you reading this know that Polyphonic.org is an initiative of the Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School of Music, and some of you also know that our site is funded by Paul R. Judy, a philanthropist and former CEO of A. G. Becker, an investment banking firm. But, only a small

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What It Means to be an Artist

0 Tony Woodcock

Being an artist in all its multiplicities of characteristics and talents, is among the most demanding of all demands that we can make of ourselves. We have entered a universe of complexity and simplicity, discovery and delusion. It will never finish. It will never be entirely revealed.

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How to Be Successful Using Great Communication Skills

0 Tony Woodcock

Storytelling is an essential part of every culture. People are always eager to hear or relate a story whether from a book, a film, a play, a remembrance from childhood or a recent vacation.

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Art and Music Are Professions Worth Fighting for

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Nearly ten months ago now, recording artist, producer, and label owner Blake Morgan, posted “My New Year’s resolution is to stand up and speak out more,”  in the Huffington Post, (12/18/13). Several points he made in the article really resonated with me, especially this one, “And yet I’ve never heard of anyone who’s been successful

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A Note to Me: D.C.

0 Margaret Miller

What I Would Tell My Younger Self… As a university professor, I often tell my studio stories from my student days in order to make a point about something, usually practicing!  I have been thinking about this topic quite a bit this summer, as the new performing/academic year is fast approaching.  This is certainly not

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Millennial America

2 Peter Sachon

Orchestras need to offer compelling reasons for millennials to make live symphonic music a part of their lives.  After all, millennials are the largest generation in human history, and at nearly 90 million people they will very soon make up the vast majority of our orchestras’ stakeholders, constituents, audience, staff members and supporters – and

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Us as a sitcom

0 Robert Levine

Most readers of this blog will remember the furor over Mozart in the Jungle, oboist and journalist Blair Tindall’s memoir of her days as a New York freelancer. I quite enjoyed it, but some didn’t (especially those who believed that they were featured in the story in an uncomplimentary way) I went onto the Amazon

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Alias: A New Kind of Ensemble

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In 2007 we posted an article entitled, Alias: A New Kind of Ensemble.  Looking back with 20/20 hindsight it can easily seen that Alias was, and still is, part of a trend—a movement among musicians to form “alternative ensembles.” In an effort to understand more about this trend, the Eastman School of Music recently inaugurated

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Bringing Down the Sky: From Great to Good in Minnesota

3 Michael Manley

I. The Tornado and the Plow Horse I recently plugged the words “Salieri” and “Festival” into Google, which limped back with a meager Salieri Opera Festival of 2010, presented by Fondazione Fioroni in Verona, Italy. Curious, I added “2013” to the search, and Google came back with only three results, none of which led to

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Working Together: Orchestra Musicians, Boards and Management

3 Bill Cahn

The Wall Street Journal for Friday, June 7, 2013 carries an article in the “D” Section, “After Orchestras Strike: A Tale of Two Cities” by Terry Teachout. The article compares the ways in which two orchestras – The Minnesota Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony – are dealing with their financial problems.   In Minnesota there is

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What Were They Thinking?

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What Were They Thinking? For most music students the transition to the professional world does not usually happen abruptly. A switch is not thrown and voila, you’re a pro. The normal course of events involves a period of time when some gigs are well paid , some not-so-well and some not-at-all. It’s these not-so-well and

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The Riot Stuff

0 Peter Sachon

  Orchestras should raise their voices to be heard amid the din of noisy modern culture and promote themselves as socially conscious public institutions. They need to embrace a more inclusive posture in society, and demonstrate an identity more nuanced than silent anonymous conservative tuxedo-clad white male.  While the price of participating in American culture

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What Professional Orchestras Should Learn From YouTube

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These days, when symphony orchestras make national news, the topic is usually not a happy one.  Yet one group has received a very different kind of coverage: the YouTube Symphony Orchestra (YTSO).  Culminating in a performance at Australia’s Sydney…

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