Today the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and their principal conductor Sir Simon Rattle have shown solidarity in front of the Philharmonie with the Berlin Radio Choir (Photo: Peter Adamik). Together they rehearse the resumption of the highly acclaimed stage performance of “St. Matthew Passion” by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Radio Choir Berlin (in strike jackets), Sir Simon Rattle, Simon Halsey (front)
Shortly before the summer break, the choir members were on strike. This has now been temporarily suspended to allow the concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic not have to be canceled. The Berlin Radio Choir has been working for 21 years without a valid collective agreement. Ten years ago, the last salary adjustment was made. For over two years led the German Orchestra Association (DOV) and the German Theatre Association contract negotiations, which culminated in a collective agreement ready for signature. Surprisingly, the signature has been denied by the City of Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany, who are two major shareholders.
Rotterdam (Netherlands) – The organisers of Classical:NEXT, the global meeting for all art music innovators, have just opened their call for proposals for the 2015 programme. Professionals from across the world concerned with classical and art music are encouraged to submit their ideas, projects or music as well as put forward innovative and interactive conference formats.
After three successful editions, Classical:NEXT has established itself as the event for progressive themes in classical and art music, with its emphasis on mutual collaboration allowing those active within the genre to play a role in developing its future. In 2015, the event will once again be shaped by delegates with Classical:NEXT Director, Jennifer Dautermann, calling on everyone to take part.
Submission Deadline 26 September 2014
Submissions must be received by Friday, 26 September 2014. Following this date, the Classical:NEXT jury, an independent group comprised of five experts from within the classical and art music world, will meet to make the programming selection. Proposals are being accepted in the following three categories:
- With a focus on groundbreaking approaches, soloists and ensembles perform for Classical:NEXT delegates and the general public in short evening concerts of 30 minutes each. Proposals that one normally will not find on the traditional competition circuit are particularly encouraged. These might use unusual concert formats, audience interaction, multimedia or unconventional techniques and inspirations. The jury will be looking for “the NEXT”!
- Video showcases have the same purpose as live showcases and also last up to 30 minutes. However, using video to present allows large ensembles or staged productions a showcase opportunity with a minimum of fuss or expense. Project pitches are lightning quick “find and seek” sessions. Make a pitch to the international classical community to try and find a partner, a funder, a record label or whatever it is you might seek. For a total of 9 minutes, show the audience what you’ve got using video, power point or just your own powers of persuasion!
- The conference programme covers both business and creative themes, featuring today’s burning issues and paths forward into tomorrow. Subjects must be of relevance to multiple sectors. Interactivity and audience participation are highly desired. The conference section of Classical:NEXT can include numerous formats including discussions, brainstorming and/or networking sessions, mentoring and presentations.
More information on proposals for Classical:NEXT 2015
The programme of Classical:NEXT 2014 was also selected from community proposals:
Musicians are different people. Not only orchestra managers realize this every day…. Their brains are working different. For what reason? This video shows, why – possibly.
There are many classic music festival around the globe. And there are many festival orchestras perfoming worldwide. But there is only one Bayreuth Festival Orchestra. And this one is unique: Since its first appearance in 1876 the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra is recruited out of a selection of superb orchestra musicians from Germany, other international well known orchestras and a couple of music conservatoire professors. Orchestra directors are (s)elected musicians themselves, for everey section: strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion. They decide whom to invite for the next season. This is a matter of a continuing high standing quality and an outstanding audience experience.
. Bayreuth Festspielhaus
Some 200 musicians started rehearsing in the Bayreuth Festival premises in late June. The know “their” Wagner scores for years and sometimes by heart. They love to perform this music in the very special, stair like (and from the auditorium side invisible) orchestra pit. This pit construction is a guarantee for an unique acoustics. The musicans are soundkeepers of a German Wagner sound, especially when Christian Thielemann is conducting. This is a part of German orchestra tradition and an unique orchestra sound. Traditionally, on July 25 the first night of the festival will be open for a prominent audience which will walk on the red carpet in front of the “Festspielhaus”. And listen to an unique orchestra.
According to a listing from US music expert Drew McManus salary gulf for US orchestra CEOs goes on.
Big Bucks for US orchestra CEOs
As ‘Top 10 Earners’ (2011/12) are reported the CEOs from:
Los Angeles Philharmonic: $1,751,039
New York Philharmonic: $912,858
San Francisco Symphony: $638,857
Boston Symphony: $622,938
Minnesota Orchestra: $619,313
Philadelphia Orchestra: $610,446
Cleveland Orchestra: $584,498
Chicago Symphony: $577,189
Saint Louis Symphony: $419,625
Atlanta Symphony: $406,747
The average income was about $265,297. The lowest salary: CEO of Portland Symphony: $87,593.
There are a couple of the central issues raised by co-operations between permanent ensembles and freelancers: while the latter are commonly hired to address specific needs or reach particular audiences – and in this capacity often do excellent work – the two parties may not necessarily see eye to eye.
Working together with freelancers
Co-operation between symphony orchestras and independent partners are fairly common for educational activities, as they are often project-based. Artistic co-operations are becoming more frequent, too, and they can give creative impulses and reach out for new audiences, though this has to be weighed against greater organizational efforts. Experiences are similar for co-operations between independents and opera houses, for example, by the Deutsche Oper Berlin and its new experimental space “Tischlerei” (“Joiner’s Workshop”): opera houses can offer resources usually unavailable to fringe ensembles, yet again, work styles are often markedly different, thus requiring more coordination. Immigration policies and their cultural aspects are a particularly interesting, but also difficult area in which independent artists or groups can play a role.
A case study of the Komische Oper Berlin in particular and its outreach activities towards audiences with a migrant background – typically hard to reach – shows how difficult (but necessary) co-operation is in practice and that there must be answers about the integration of migrant staff. Many of these aspects are also reflected in discussions with freelance artists. Artists of independent performance projects often do have their special experiences with orchestras and opera houses: variations from enthusiasm for fresh ideas and willingness to adapt working processes to reservations over perceived non-professionalism. This is a leadership challenge for every management.
Looking abroad to the UK and the USA, where independent artists and ensembles are much more common shows the differences due to the lower number of public orchestras in comparison to Germany and Central Europe. Very special is the relation from institutions to the “teaching artist”, who is much more than a music pedagogue, but a highly-trained, if independent, professional.
The always innovative thinking WDR Radio Orchestra (new name will be “WDR Funkhausorchester” – in German) has launched a nice music video: “Be Happy!” – You may see the whole orchestra entering its radio hall (“Funkhaus”) downtown Cologne. A good promotion clip for the new orchestra name!