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Category: The Future

Technology and the Orchestra

0 Ann Drinan

Symphony magazine featured an interesting article about how digital technologies are impacting orchestras. Written by Andy Doe, a media and technology consultant who writes about music at his blog, properdiscord.com, “The Digital Orchestra” takes us from 1994, when the New Zealand Symphony’s principal bassist Dale Gold put up a simple website, to our world of ever-increasing mobile

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The past really is a foreign country

0 Robert Levine

One of my favorite local public radio shows is Old Time Radio Drama on Wisconsin Public Radio. a show that consists of rebroadcasts of classic radio shows from the decades before television. We were driving home from the Twin Cities the day before Labor Day and caught some of the show as we came within

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Orchestras turned upside-down

0 Robert Levine

Diane Ragsdale is someone who thinks about our business in very different ways than do I; ways that I have sometimes believed were dead wrong and occasionally harmful. But she’s not wrong in her most recent post at ArtsJournal: In their article, Thinking About Civic Leadership, David Chrislip and Edward O’Malley convey that in the

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The NFL jumps the shark

1 Robert Levine

While this story doesn’t have an exact analogy in our business, it’s nonetheless revealing of a phenomenon that has begun to appear in our field: The NFL reportedly asked Katy Perry, Rihanna and Coldplay, their top choices to play the 2015 Super Bowl Halftime Show, if they would be willing to pay the league in

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Virtual Wagner done right

0 Robert Levine

(Received in my Oggle email inbox; I can’t vouch for its veracity.) The Long (Conn.) Wagner Festival announces its campaign on PrickStarter to fund an exciting new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, and we need your help! This innovative production will be done with a virtual conductor (MaestroData – patent pending) and fully animated CGI

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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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Madame Butterfly is not a business strategy

0 Robert Levine

After 50 years, the San Diego Opera is shutting down because… it’s just too hard: The San Diego Opera shocked many in the arts world by announcing it will cease operations at the end of the current season, citing a tough fundraising environment and weak ticket sales. The company’s board voted to shut down rather

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Orchestra saved from collapse is apparently not interesting news

1 Robert Levine

As many of you know, the Milwaukee Symphony needed to raise a boatload of new money in order to make it through the winter, much less the rest of our season. Contrary to the expectations of many, both within and without the organization, the $5 million campaign succeeded. This is a very significant story for

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Why you don’t want your orchestra’s name to start with “M”

0 Robert Levine

First Minnesota, then Milwaukee, and now … Memphis: Following in the tumultuous footsteps of its Nashville counterpart, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra announced that it is facing a financial crisis that will require “aggressive steps” to complete the current season. “The Memphis Symphony Orchestra celebrates decades of accomplishments thanks to a committed group of patrons, musicians

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Baumol’s common cold

0 Robert Levine

Musicians who have had the privilege and pleasure (dubious, in some cases) of discussing the future of professional orchestras with experts of various stripes are all too familiar with Baumol’s Cost Disease. The best description comes from the economist who came up with the concept, William Baumol: Any economic activity affected by it will tend

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Armistice Day on the Northern Front

1 Robert Levine

There’s been what intelligence analysts call “chatter” for a few weeks about a settlement in Minnesota being close. I heard some new chatter in the past couple of days, which led me to to set up a Google watch on the news. About twenty minutes ago, the official news came through, after some preliminary reports

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Minnesota, toxic leadership, and Milgram

1 Robert Levine

National Public Radio did a story yesterday that’s been picked up on Facebook by a number of Minnesota Orchestra musicians. I found it interesting in part because it also related directly to William Deresiewicz’s West Point address I quoted from yesterday. Today’s story was about “toxic leadership”: Top commanders in the U.S. Army have announced

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Something you should read

0 Robert Levine

Once a year or so I read something online that stops me in my tracks; not because it tells me something I didn’t know (which happens every 2 minutes or so), but because it forces me to think uncomfortable thoughts. This year’s winner was a post by Emily Hogstad, who has consistently provided, on her

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Another missed opportunity

3 Robert Levine

The great Israeli diplomat Abba Eban famously remarked, after the 1973 Geneva Peace Conference, that “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” The same could be said of the Board of the Minnesota Orchestra. At their annual meeting yesterday, the Board passed on the perfect moment to let the current board chair

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The Baltimore Ravens Support the BSO’s OrchKids Program

0 Ann Drinan

The Baltimore Ravens have announced that not only will the Baltimore Symphony and their OrchKids Bucket Band perform at the Ravens’ Thanksgiving-night half-time show at their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have pledged to give $15,000 to the OrchKids program. Seeing such support from a football team for a symphony orchestra gives me hope.

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Our conspiratorial industry

15 Robert Levine

One of the more intriguing aspects to the psychology of our industry is a general propensity to conspiratorial thinking. It’s not hard to find amongst musicians; the widespread belief that the League of American Orchestras A National Service Organization is behind all our woes is the best-known example, but conspiracy theories fester within orchestras as

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No good news from the Northern Front (with update)

0 Robert Levine

Today is what most observers are assuming is the deadline for a settlement in Minnesota that will keep Osmo Vänskä and the November Carnegie concerts in the picture. It doesn’t appear that negotiations are going well, though. One indication of that is the management offer of last week, made with great public fanfare and certainly

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On Star Wars and the Baby Boomers

0 Peter Sachon

It was recently announced that John Williams will compose the music for Star Wars: Episode VII.  This is great news for fans of his music all over the world, and it could be great news for smart orchestras too.  A new Star Wars movie is the sort of cultural event that has largely untapped possibilities

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Bought and paid for

4 Robert Levine

The Minnesota Orchestra leadership released a “financial review” yesterday. Most of the coverage, though, focused on remarks made by MO board negotiating chair Richard Davis, who told the Star Tribune editorial board that he was prepared to say bye-bye to music director Osmo Vänskä, the upcoming Carnegie concerts, and the opening of the newly-renovated Orchestra

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About that New Republic article

0 Robert Levine

It’s not surprising that a recent article by Philip Kennicott in the New Republic by the title of “America’s Orchestras are in Crisis” got some favorable play in the musician community. The writer, who is Art and Architecture critic for the Washington Post, focused very heavily on what he believed was the League of American

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It’s getting weird up there…

0 Robert Levine

It is possible to say with assurance that something is happening in the Minnesota Orchestra labor war. Just what that something is, on the other hand… Yesterday there was a flurry of activity. First there was what appeared to be a new proposal by management, with a new deadline. Then there was a statement by

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Red line in Minnesota gets redder

0 Robert Levine

I promise that some day I will post on something other than the Minnesota Orchestra labor dispute. But, at the moment, it’s the most important thing happening in our field. The news yesterday from the Northern Front was not encouraging. The first item was that Minnesota Orchestra management has apparently set a kind of deadline

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The latest bad news from Minnesota

0 Robert Levine

There have been several developments in the trench warfare that goes by the name of “Minnesota Orchestra negotiations” recently. The first, and (to my mind) least consequential, was DomainNameGate. Emily Hogstad, who has done remarkable commentary and reporting throughout this dispute, discovered more or less by chance that the Minnesota Orchestra Association had been buying

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What we should hope isn’t next for Minnesota

0 Robert Levine

There was a flurry of press reports last week on the state of the Minnesota Orchestra lock-out; most about the apparent involvement of George Mitchell as mediator. Norman Lebrecht also reported on some back-and-forth between musicians and management, although other reports disputed the accuracy, or at least completeness, of what he’d written. Since then, there’s

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League Conference 2013: Learning from New Ensembles

0 Ann Drinan

Moderated by Norman Ryan, Vice President of Composers and Repertoire at Schott Music Corporation, the panel for this session included Amy Garapic, Co-Executive Director of Contemporaneous; Beth Perdue Outland, Vice President of Community Engagement  and Strategic Innovation, Indianapolis Symphony; Jen Richards, Managing Director, eighth blackbird; and Julia Rubio, Executive Director of the Black Pearl Chamber

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League Conference: A Conversation with Greg Sandow

0 Ann Drinan

In her introduction, Judith Kurnick, Vice President for Strategic Communications at the League, described Greg Sandow as a cultural critic, someone who could bring thinking across disciplines and share ideas that you would never have thought of before. He’s been a member of the graduate faculty at Juilliard for 17 years, and was involved in

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Mediation in Minnesota

0 Robert Levine

The Minnesota Orchestra lock-out – the longest second-longest formal lock-out in our industry’s history – may have entered a new phase, according to Graydon Royce of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: The Minnesota Orchestra’s management and musicians — now in the 11th month of a bitter labor lockout — are quietly talking again behind the scenes.

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League Conference: Elizabeth Merritt’s Keynote Address

0 Ann Drinan

Elizabeth Merritt, the Founding Director of the Center for the Future of Museums, gave the keynote address at the League’s 2013 Conference. You can watch a video of her address on the League’s website. Futurists – what do we do? We are at the collision of two fields: future studies and museum studies. The fertile

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When Vampire Squid meets orchestra

2 Robert Levine

One of the best metaphors in recent years was coined by Matt Taibbi, who wrote one of the great articles on the financial crisis of 2008: The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face

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No Time At All

0 Peter Sachon

Just like Rip Van Winkle, American orchestras have been asleep for twenty years. Season after season of the same repertoire, played again and again for generations until the idea of an orchestra participating in modern musical life seems outrageous. Last week, the League of American Orchestras focused their annual conference around the idea of “Imagining Orchestras in

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Recap: League of American Orchestras Conference 2013

1 Ann Drinan

I attended the League of American Orchestras’ annual conference last week in St. Louis. The conference was the usual mix of plenary sessions, constituent meetings (I attended the musician sessions), workshops and smaller presentations, a master class with David Robertson, and a concert by the St. Louis Symphony. I will be writing about the various

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Modern Times

2 Peter Sachon

Half of the fun of watching Mad Men is observing how dramatically American society has changed since the 1960’s.  The characters’ constant drinking and homophobia make us blush, and we notice how far attitudes have shifted towards everything from smoking to sexism.  Our lives in America have changed so thoroughly since then that looking back

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Breaking Up with Beethoven

0 Peter Sachon

Go out to hear an orchestra concert tonight and chances are the orchestra will be playing Beethoven.  The most recent Orchestra Repertoire Report, from ’09 – ’10, details that 137 orchestras in America performed Beethoven’s music 457 times that season.  His ninth, seventh, and fifth symphonies were ranked first, second and third respectively among the

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3:30 a.m.

0 Tony Woodcock

My top priority — of course — is to protect the young people who study here, our faculty and staff, and all the many thousands of concert visitors we have every year. But this mandate necessitates negotiating a way through a challenging Scylla and Charybdis of choices.

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Big Tent Thinking

3 Peter Sachon

History is filled with people who have tried to define art.  They have all been wrong, and there is no reason to suspect we are any better at it than they were. Changes to what experts call “Art” happen all the time.  There was a time when people questioned whether photography constituted fine art.  Some

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Why no impasse in Minnesota?

2 Robert Levine

One of the continuing mysteries of the Minnesota Orchestra dispute (for me, at least) was why the management chose to lock out its musicians rather than declare impasse and impose its proposal. Drew McManus believes he has an explanation: On the surface, the MOA executive committee’s public angst over the lack of a musician offer

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The Empire strikes back

1 Robert Levine

The shockwaves from the Minneapolis Star Tribune article on Monday are still reverberating, judging by today’s response from the Minnesota Orchestra board leadership. It’s quite revealing, both of the board’s real position and of some of the thinking behind it. It’s also full of half-truths and rather creative constructions placed on their actions and those

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Cooking the books

11 Robert Levine

This is a pretty amazing story: For four years, the Minnesota Orchestra board has walked a tightrope between managing public perceptions about its financial health and making its case to cut musicians’ salaries. As early as 2009, board officers were discussing how much money to draw from investments, and the advantage of reporting balanced budgets

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Osmo joins the party

0 Robert Levine

It’s been a bad week for the management of the Minnesota Orchestra, and this very public letter from their Music Director was was likely the cherry on the cake: Dear Members of the Minnesota Orchestra Board and the Musicians of the Orchestra: In the last few years, the Minnesota Orchestra has truly established itself as

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An assumption too far

2 Robert Levine

A friend in the Twin Cities suggested to me that my assumption that Pinchas Zukerman and Edo de Waart had somehow requested and/or received clearance from their personal managers before agreeing to participate in the benefit concerts I wrote about here was not only unwarranted but likely offensive to the two gentlemen in question. After

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Is a tree embarrassed if it doesn’t hear itself fall?

4 Robert Levine

This is pretty amazing news: The locked out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra today announced former music director Edo de Waart, and former concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis will join them for two concerts in mid-December. The news comes one day after management cancelled all concerts through December 23rd citing lack of progress in concert talks. Meanwhile

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Managements not part of the reality-based community

4 Robert Levine

The musicians of the locked-out Minnesota Orchestra and the locked-out Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra got some helpful press today from Minnesota Public Radio: Locked-out musicians at the Minnesota and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras have been warning of a dangerous decline in artistic quality if they accept new contracts sought by management. They say the severe

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Who’s Afraid of Popular Culture?

1 Peter Sachon

A recent missed opportunity for orchestras in New York City came in late October in the form of Comic Con.  The New York Comic Con is an annual New York City fan convention dedicated to comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, and television.  Comic Con is an event that brings more than 100,000 people

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What the election tells us about the press

0 Robert Levine

William Goldman, a remarkably prolific screen writer who wrote the screenplays for, among other movies, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, and The Princess Bride (which was based on a novel he wrote), began his memoir Adventures in the Screen Trade with a three-word opening sentence. He wrote:  “Nobody knows anything”

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When bad boards happen to good orchestras

1 Robert Levine

There’s a very interesting story going around the Twin Cities, but this one’s about baseball. Apparently the management of the Minnesota Twins has decided that they need a retractable roof after all, for about a $100 million price tag. The chances of public funding are essentially zero, so the management is planning to reduce player

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Another day, another conspiracy theory

0 Robert Levine

Except that, of course, it’s the same conspiracy theory, only this time in the hallowed web pages of the Huffington Post: It’s the voodoo. That horrible, Kuru-inducing zombie voodoo. These are heady times for the League of American Orchestras (LAO) and their ilk. True, their suits have grown a tad more maggot-ridden since their early

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The curious incident of the Boards in the night-time

1 Robert Levine

These have been dreadful times for the musicians of the orchestras at the epicenter of the current epidemic of radical salary-slashing. Those orchestras’ audiences have been affected too, as have businesses in the areas around the concert halls. For students of labor relations, though, these have been very interesting days. No doubt pathologists during the

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Minnesota nasty

0 Robert Levine

Minnesotans are known for being averse to conflict, generous to arts and educational groups of all kinds, and generally plain-spoken (unless, of course, such speaking would lead to conflict). So, on top of the ongoing Minnesota Orchestra lock-out, this comes as a shock, even if not a surprise: The Twin Cities’ distinctive status in the

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The rest of the ugly

0 Robert Levine

Although the guts of the Minnesota proposal (and the damage done by it) lie in the economics, there is plenty of other stuff not to like as well. In particular, there are loads of changes proposed to work rules; far more than one would expect in a normal negotiation, much less one in which the

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Minnesota by the numbers

1 Robert Levine

In an act of remarkable generosity, Drew McManus not only obtained the actual proposal made to the Minnesota Orchestra by management but posted it on his Adaptistration website. I know he’s planning on some analysis, but it was too tempting a document for me to resist reading and writing about any longer. So here are

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My kingdom for a decent news article

0 Robert Levine

ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge has joined the ranks of those writing about the underlying causes of the current situation in our industry, although of course he is hardly new to the party, having written extensively about the problems in the orchestra business for Senza Sordino over the years. It’s an interesting piece in many respects;

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The reason why

5 Robert Levine

It seems inherent in human nature to look for someone to blame when bad things happen. Bad things have been happening in our field of late (or at least to a higher-than-usual number of orchestras), so those on the receiving end – who are mostly, although not exclusively, musicians – look for an enemy who

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Gold in them thar toobs?

0 Robert Levine

Think “orchestral institutions” as “artists” in this article and some interesting questions emerge: Are we finally entering the age of the digital cultural entrepreneur (DCE)? That is, has it now become possible for a gifted artist or writer to control the reins of his or her career from a laptop, scheduling gigs, selling books or

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Didn’t work

0 Robert Levine

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has pulled the plug on its attempt to emulate the Metropolitan Opera’s successful series of live broadcasts to movie theaters: When the Los Angeles Philharmonic launched its series of live broadcasts to cinemas in 2011, the organization touted it as an innovative program intended to broaden the popular reach of the

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One Wow and One Uh-Oh

1 Robert Levine

This letter appeared in Saturday’s Minneapolis StarTribune: As former music directors of the Minnesota Orchestra, we came to the state because we believe that it wants and deserves to have a world-class orchestra. We are proud of the cultural gem we have built, with the musicians, for more than half a century. It required long

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Peter Dobrin says it all

0 Robert Levine

This article by Peter Dobrin of the Philadelphia Inquirer is the best reporting on the current crisis yet to appear. Go read the whole thing: …What someone is willing to pay for orchestral musicians in this country has changed radically in recent weeks. Yes, a brief strike last month by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra resulted

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Ground Zero for the Payless model

2 Robert Levine

Every negotiation cycle seems to have one negotiation that symbolizes the trends underlying what happens in that cycle. I had thought that last season’s epic battle in Detroit would serve that role for this round. But I think I was wrong; it’s looking as if Minnesota will define the era. And the Minnesota negotiation is

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A bad settlement in Atlanta

0 Robert Levine

The musicians of the Atlanta Symphony voted to ratify a tentative settlement that was pretty much what ASO management (or perhaps the Woodruff Center) wanted all along: Symphony Orchestra accepted a new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday, barely averting a postponement of the fall season. The deal will cost players $5.2 million in compensation over two

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Dress for Success

1

The Baltimore Symphony under Marin Alsop has really been trying to change things up in the orchestra world.  A couple of years ago I wrote about plans for an orchestra  fantasy camp, (my words) for adults, and how the amateur musicians would be working with the pros of the orchestra. Apparently it has been a

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Lest we Forget

0 Tony Woodcock

In September 2001, I was living and working in Portland, Oregon, running the Oregon Symphony.  On the morning of the 11th, my son and I were visiting his school for a very early morning meeting. As we walked into the … Continue reading

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Discoveries

0 Tony Woodcock

Ever since I arrived in the U.S. in the 1990’s, I have been a subscriber to The New Yorker, which, at its best, is one of the most fascinating reads of the week. The magazine has been the vehicle for … Continue reading

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Time to end the Detroit strike

0

I am no longer working for the musicians’ union so I am just going to call it like I see it… It is time for the musicians of the DSO to make their best deal and go back to work. Sadly, we have seen this so many times – musicians using brute force to try

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Twilight in Syracuse

2 Robert Levine

The Syracuse Symphony is shutting down after musicians refused to accept $1.3 million in concessions: The decision will bring the 50th anniversary season of the orchestra to an unceremonious end. There were more than 20 Syracuse and regional concerts remaining in the 2010-11 season. The orchestra’s 18 full- and part-time staffers and 61 core and

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More about community engagement

0 Robert Levine

The most important benefit to our field from the Detroit strike will be the ever-necessary reminder that strikes are a sub-optimal method of resolving labor-management disputes. The next most important benefit will be the jump-starting of the discussion about what’s come to be known as “community engagement.” Whether either of those will be worth the

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Arts Entrepreneurship — Policy Opportunity?

0

I don’t think anyone would argue that we’re in a period of policy transition in the arts and culture sector.  I would even characterize it as the most significant period of policy reexamination since the 1960’s.  The difference is huge, of co…

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Community outreach – ideas for guidelines

0

It appears that a big reason that the Detroit Symphony potential settlement fell apart was a dispute over $2 million for community outreach. I am sure there is more to it than that but if there is still a spark of hope embedded in that concept it is worth taking a closer look. The term

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Orchestras and the union movement

1 Robert Levine

Milwaukee is not quite equidistant from Madison and Detroit, but it does sit precisely on the line between them that a crow (or a Boeing) would fly. So it’s fitting that events in Detroit and Madison resonate so loudly with this member of the Milwaukee Symphony – an orchestra in the Rust Belt that’s had

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WTF was that all about?

2 Robert Levine

That’s also the punch line to a very funny story David Sedaris tells about a slug going door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions, but I digress. Sunday’s story in the Detroit News gave the distinct impression that the DSO management was prepared to: …move forward with a newly assembled group of players that would include only those

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More details on the Detroit negotiations

0 Robert Levine

The AFM put out a press release yesterday (February 20) which contained some interesting details on the most recent negotiations: Although Senator Carl Levin and Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert had stepped in last week to help broker an agreement, DSO management did not show up at face-to-face meetings with the arbitrators until the third

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"Let's drop the big one now"

1 Robert Levine

Unbelievable: The DSO administration is prepared to move forward with a newly assembled group of players that would include only those members of the current orchestra who agree to unilaterally presented terms, DSO Vice President Paul Hogle said Sunday. Without setting a date, Hogle said the time has come for a new symphony model to

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A substitute orchestra in Detroit?

0 Robert Levine

In a front-page article in the Detroit News, Michael H. Hodges is pessimistic about the future of the DSO: …outsiders warn that suspending the season involves a leap into the unknown, one that not only threatens the orchestra’s current hold on audiences and donors, but could put the 2011-2012 season and the orchestra’s entire future

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A suspension bridge to nowhere good

0 Robert Levine

The future of the Detroit Symphony may well ride on the DSO board’s definition of the word “suspend“: The crisis surrounding the Detroit Symphony Orchestra strike hit a new peak Saturday, increasing the possibility that the financially crippled orchestra may not play a single note of music this season. The musicians rejected management’s final contract

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Dear Edna, I have a question…

0 Stephen Danyew

Who should I ask? Often times we have questions about our career path, life, relationships, etc.  Sometimes we seek out those close to us whom we respect to give us advice, other times we just keep our questions to ourselves, and sometimes we seek out someone we don’t actually know to ask for their expertise. 

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The kid stays on the podium

1 Robert Levine

There’s something about conducting this kid really gets, although he really should have turned the last page of the score before he thought the piece was over: Wouldn’t it be nice if more kids this age thought Beethoven was this much fun? And why don’t they, anyway? I wonder what would happen if kids treated

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Why orchestra management is hard

1 Robert Levine

Joseph Horowitz doubled down on his remarks about musician compensation in a later blog post (analyzed by Drew McManus here): If I sound unsympathetic to the musicians, it’s because I’ve heard one too many times the strident union litany blaming ignorant boards and incompetent managers. Running an orchestra is a thankless task. I’ve done it.

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The times they are a'changin…

0 Robert Levine

I went to my local Borders today to kill some time while a prescription was filled. It’s a bi-level store, but I hadn’t gone downstairs since last year this time, as it was mostly CDs and it’s been a long time since I could count on finding something I wanted to listen to on a

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The moralistic approach to orchestra scheduling

2 Robert Levine

Interlochen Public Radio did a piece yesterday on the DSO strike; in particular the service conversion proposals that management has put on the table. The whole thing is worth reading. But I was particularly struck by comments made by Joseph Horowitz: …there are those in the industry who argue this discussion is way overdue. Joe

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The price was right

0 Robert Levine

One of the most damaging misconceptions about orchestras is that we raise money because we don’t make enough on ticket sales to cover the total expense of the concerts. The reality is very little of the fixed expenses of orchestras is covered by ticket sales, which typically cover, at most, the marginal expenses of putting

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Another take on Met HD

0 Robert Levine

After having written about the LA Phil’s upcoming experiment with broadcasting live to movie theaters and comparing it to the Met HD project, I was interested to come across another take on the whole concept from a Canadian professor of management: Recently I attended my first Live in HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s das

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Price it (right) and they will come

0 Robert Levine

Say “Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra” to an orchestra activist and the discussion will likely turn to that orchestra’s innovative approach to hiring and firing musicians without the institution of the Music Director. But more important to our field has been their approach to the problem of ticket prices, as described in an article in the

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Social media and musician activism

0 Robert Levine

This story didn’t show up on the usual arts blogging sites, but it might well have been the most important news for our field in a while: In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing

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Grass Growing HD

1 Robert Levine

Color me skeptical: In a bold venture that the Los Angeles Philharmonic hopes will boost its “national brand” recognition and help raise the profile of classical music from Manhattan to Orange County, the orchestra next year will transmit live performances of three of its concerts to more than 450 high-definition-equipped movie theaters throughout the United

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The Secret to Engaging Future Orchestra Audiences?

1 Stephen Danyew

Well let’s start with what isn’t a secret: Many orchestras are trying to reach out to future audiences (young people) and convince them that an orchestra concert should be on their shortlist of exciting weekend activities. An increasing number of orchestras (and other concert music organizations) are creating programs and concerts specifically catered to younger

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WE PLAY, WHO DOES PAY?

0

“We play, you pay” is an not-so-old slogan amongst orchestra musicians. It simplistic and misinformed message does not benefit the field or respect the potential value-added skills of my colleagues. We need our field to have a deeper understanding of how the orchestra as a business runs, especially for all aspiring and current professional orchestra members. Otherwise, ignorance leads to fear of any change.

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Bad cases make bad models

1 Robert Levine

The NY Times has a story on what appears to be the inevitable strike in Detroit scheduled to start Monday: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has weathered decades of strikes, deficits, criticism over its racial makeup, mediocre concert homes, cuts in state aid and canceled tours. It has always bounced back, rescuing and restoring its beautiful

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Let the Music Do the Talking

0

By Ashley Garofalo I recently encountered an article by Andrew Dubber of Birmingham City University addressing a fundamental approach to marketing music in today’s industry.  He calls it, “Hear/Like/Buy.” It’s the way of the world for music media consumption these days.  Those in the market to buy are seeking music which they can add to

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Opening Up The Flood Gates

2 Stephen Danyew

This week I wrote a transcription of Saint-Saëns’ “The Swan” for tenor saxophone and piano.   After finishing the piece, I turned to YouTube to listen to various interpretations of the work.   I listened to a few cello & piano versions and then moved on to a couple of solo piano recordings, including one of Rachmaninoff

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Michael Kaiser: wisdom or bromides?

0 Robert Levine

An article in the June 28th edition of the New York Times discussed Michael Kaiser, the advice he gives, and some negative reactions from the field: At a time of many questions in the world of culture, Mr. Kaiser is regarded by many as the man with most of the answers, a miracle worker credited

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The Way We Experience Music–Times Are a-Changin'

1

A few weeks ago the NEA published its, “2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.” In it, and most notable for music and musicians, is the reported decline in concert attendance. I won’t argue with their numbers. They sound reasonable to me. But being a professional musician, it doesn’t make me feel good to

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No business for old men?

0 Robert Levine

About a week ago, my BBB Charles Noble linked to a post by former Seattle Symphony concertmaster Ilkka Talvi on what’s wrong with our business. According to Talvi, the answer is “quite a bit”: Shrink the size of an orchestra to about 60, large enough to play the classics we love, and hire extras when

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No Crystal Ball, but . . .

1

For the past four days I’ve been in San Diego, CA where the Eastman School’s Institute for Music Leadership, of which I am Director, presented a pre-meeting workshop at the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) annual meeting. The title of the workshop was, “The Entrepreneurial Music School in a Challenging Economy.” Since it’s

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