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Tags: orchestras

Newsflash: conductor doesn’t like unions

3 Robert Levine

In this week’s edition of The New Yorker (paywalled, unfortunately) is a fascinating piece by Alex Ross on Iván Fischer, the Hungarian conductor and founder of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. While the piece focuses largely on his unhappiness with the current rightward lurch of Hungarian politics, Ross also reports on Fischer’s views on the orchestra

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Paul Boulian: The Economic Reality of Orchestras

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For this Editor’s Choice I decided to look back at some interviews we recorded in years past. There are some real gems here. The one I chose to feature this time around is a conversation between Paul Boulian and Greg Sandow discussing the economic reality of orchestras. Though it was recorded in February 2009, it

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Explorations of Teamwork: The Lahti Symphony Orchestra

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My Editor’s Choice for this time around is a look-back to a 2002 article in Harmony by Tina Ward and Robert Wagner.  In it they write about their experiences with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. It’s an inspiring story about a small town orchestra in Finland that, at that time, was making big waves in its

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(Re)Envisioning the Orchestra: An Interview with Eric Jacobsen, Conductor and Founding Cellist of The Knights

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If you have been visiting Polyphonic.org over the past couple of months, you’ve probably seen the announcement of the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research that has been established as part of the Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership. More specifically Center is now part of the Orchestra Musicians Forum and its

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Some Good Orchestra News (for a change)

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It’s common for the general public, and even musicians to dwell on the negatives when speaking about the current state of orchestra affairs. Of course it’s not all gloom and doom. Here’s a positive. Pittsburgh Symphony settles contract with musicians a year early By Sally Kalson and Andrew Druckenbrod / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette At a time when major

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If I were a musician, what would I want to know about management?

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Peter Pastreich held the position of Executive Director of the San Francisco Symphony for 21 years, retiring in 1999. By all accounts that I’ve seen or heard, he is one of the most respected orchestra managers—maybe it’s because he’s retired now. Anyway–the article that follows is an account of his 2009 presentation at the League

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New York Times Sunday Dialogue: Is Classical Music Dying?

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About ten days ago, Les Dreyer, a retired violinist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, had his letter to the editor published in the New York Times. Evidently his writing generated some interest—in fact, enough interest to be featured, along with 12 or so others in “Reader’s Reactions.” Mr. Dreyer’s letter is the focus of this

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Re-Imagining the Orchestra

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The fact that many American orchestras struggle to survive is no secret. In the past few years, top-tier ensembles in Philadelphia, Syracuse, Honolulu, Detroit, Louisville, Dallas, and New Mexico have cancelled concerts, issued pay cuts, declared bankr…

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American Orchestras: Endangered Species?

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This panel discussion was hosted by New York City’s classical radio station WQXR on April 18, 2011, following the announcement that the Philadelphia Orchestra was declaring bankruptcy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Panelists include:

Anne Parsons, Presi…

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American Orchestras: Yes, it's a crisis

2 Tony Woodcock

“I am convinced that if the rate of change within an organization is less than the rate of change outside, the end is near.” – Jack Welch  In the last twelve months the Honolulu, Syracuse, and New Mexico Symphonies have … Continue reading

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How to Miss the Titanic

0 Tony Woodcock

[This is the second in a series of posts in which I will talk about the current, troubled, state of professional musicmaking and offer some glimpses of possible solutions for the future.] The first time I heard the London Symphony … Continue reading

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Bloopers

0 Tony Woodcock

We all know the maxim “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Well I believe this to be inaccurate.  The truism should be: “The road to Hell is paved with good ideas.” Because it is all those brilliant, … Continue reading

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YouTube Symphony–Year Two Coming

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Here’s an article that appeared in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times last week. The author says she is cynical and that is apparent, but I’m even more cynical about the article itself.  It’s definitely representative of “old school” thinking.  See if you agree. Culture Monster All the Arts, All the Time The

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Jobs Don't Grow On Trees

0 Stephen Danyew

In a recent article in the New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin points to the seemingly large number of orchestral positions that are currently open at some of the nation’s top orchestras.  Of course we could debate all day about whether or not 12 openings in the NY Phil is remarkable, if they will be

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Another Take on Not-For-Profits

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Because I teach the course, “Entrepreneurship in Music” at the Eastman School, I am frequently asked for advice from students who are contemplating setting up a business entity for their chamber group.  They often begin the discussion by saying that their plans are to set up a 501(c)3 (not-for-profit).  They usually say something like, “That

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Something to Divert You from Today's Game

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Here’s a Ciara Pressler blog from fracturedatlas.org.  Makes sense to me.  And so timely. . .

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An Orchestra Fantasy Camp–What A Great Idea

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Fantasy camps for adults have been popular for years—auto racing, cooking, all types of sports, you name it. For music there are camps for cabaret singers and jazz musicians, and now one for those who want to experience orchestral music-making. The article that follows below tells how the Baltimore Symphony and their Music Director, Marin

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A tiny perfect strike

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It was a tiny perfect strike. (Torontonians and expat Gary Hanson will get the reference. The rest of you can Google David Crombie.)

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Learning From The NFL

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There’s a music blog on ArtJournal.com called Creative Destruction, but no author is indicated.  Instead this descriptor appears under the link, “Fresh ideas on building arts communities.”  I was curious so I checked it out and found that the blogger is John Thomas Dodson.  He’s a conductor.  You can find out more about him here.

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Mein Vaterland, Mein Gott!

0 Karen Schnackenberg

I had a library nightmare over the holidays, and I don’t mean that figuratively.  You know those performance anxiety nightmares players can have over a particular piece that’s difficult or a recurring worst-case scenario?  Well, instead of dreaming my hand wouldn’t stay on the violin fingerboard or I couldn’t identify the proper chords on the

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

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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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Orchestra Taps an Unlikely Revenue Stream

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It’s a beer bottle orchestra, and it’s not a bad idea on lots of levels: It humanizes the orchestra, makes the players seem “normal,” gives the orchestra some media exposure and hopefully brings in some money to the coffers. Doesn’t about every mid-size city and larger have a favorite local beer? Note to orchestra marketing

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College Music Performance Majors—A Bridge to Nowhere?

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Music educators have been doing a fantastic job. The level of musicianship of college-age music majors continues to rise each year. Jazz players are entering as freshmen at skill levels equal to graduate students of years past, and “classical” musicians always seem to raise the bar with their technical prowess. Of course, one can always

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Not Your Regular (Taped) Nutcracker

0 Karen Schnackenberg

This weekend DFW area musicians began protesting the Texas Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker performances which will run in both Dallas and Fort Worth – without an orchestra.  For those of you who have been following this fiasco, you know that we have been protesting the TBT’s performances sans live music for more than a year now.

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Lead Like the Great Conductors

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Israeli conductor Itay Talgam uses leadership on the podium as a metaphor for leadership in business. Some good stuff here, worth watching, especially the last clip of Bernstein.

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No Crystal Ball, but . . .

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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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A Librarian's View From the Audience

0 Karen Schnackenberg

As a non-playing orchestra librarian (well, mostly anyway), I don’t get to hear the orchestra on stage as much I did when playing more often and in the midst of the music.  Yes, we always have the monitor on so we “hear” the rehearsals and concerts, but that’s clearly not the same as either participating

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Being the Best that We Can Be

0 Karen Schnackenberg

Every year I look down in late August when we start our season, and by the time I am able to look up and catch a breather, it’s almost the end of October.  And every year I say it’s not going to happen this year, that I will take more time to get out of

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Changing US Demographics and Classical Music

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Here’s a personal observation and some thoughts. When my wife and I visited the Netherlands a couple of years ago we were fortunate, at Judy’s persistence, to get tickets to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. We started a couple of months early trying to book tickets online, but they were “sold out.” Knowing that

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Musician’s Business Challenge—Reduced Resources

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We read about orchestra financial pressures all the time. Musicians demand a decent wage and when communities and boards have difficulty supporting them, an impasse results. Of the 51 ICSOM orchestras , there are ten with minimum scales over $100,000. Not surprisingly these orchestras are in large metropolitan cities like New York, Boston, Chicago and

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Great Performances Without all the Fuss and Bother

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Recently I wrote about several “apps” that allow users to virtually play an instrument. The Nov 1st issue of the NYTimes has a longer article about a similar idea: “Orchestra Hero”. Written by Michael Gordon, a composer, it’s an enthusiastic endorsement of the art form we all know and love, but which is unknown to

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GUEST BLOGGER Yvonne Caruthers–Will Apple Save Classical Music?

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A few years ago conductor Leonard Slatkin stated that John Williams had saved the orchestra. Why? Because at a time when Broadway shows were moving more and more toward the use of synthesizers and recorded music, Williams was writing film scores for large orchestras. Slatkin maintained that producers (and audiences) having Williams’ sounds in their

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American Orchestras Summit at the University of Michigan

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Several organizations, including the League of American Orchestras and the University of Michigan School of Music, have banded together to present, “American Orchestras Summit at the University of Michigan: Creating Partnerships in Research and Performance.”  The conference purpose is to attempt to launch a permanent dialogue between the scholarly community and the symphonic community.   As

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