Gaining profile! Orchestras semi-autonomous and happy?

Orchestras in Germany (and elsewhere in the world) integrated into a multi-section house or opera house often have a low profile, their contribution barely noticed by audiences and underplayed within the institutional marketing mix. It is the semi-autonomous ensembles that have the freedom to create their own artistic programme and identity – which in turn can become a valuable complement to the activities of a theatre or opera house.

BOBAt the same time brand building is possible even within the limitations of a multi-section house: small concert series, outreach programmes and a clearly defined online presence on the institution’s homepage can all contribute to a much stronger profile. For example the Erzgebirgische Philharmonie Aue is a case study for a small theatre orchestra with a strong, regionally rooted identity. Grown from a merger of two ensembles – one a theatre orchestra, the other a concert orchestra – they have combined their respective strengths to become a key player in the cultural life of the region. By contrast, the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn is strongly resisting calls to be integrated into the municipal theatre, for whose opera programme it currently functions as a semi-autonomous “service provider”. This relative independence is important – both for the ensemble’s cultural profile, but also to protect it from the political fallout of ongoing budget quarrels.

The Staatskapelle Weimar is another example for – in this case, far-reaching – semi-autonomy: part of the Deutsches Nationaltheater und Staatskapelle Weimar plc, its labour committee even has a say in the ensemble’s controlling and is thus able to influence programming and touring. While the added responsibility requires considerable extra effort, it also adds greatly to flexibility. Perhaps the opposite end is represented by the Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal. While the past decade under Toshiyuki Kamioka was artistically very fruitful, the ensemble – doing both opera and concert “service” – has a somewhat indistinct profile. This is partly due to staff issues, but also comes down to details such as a hard-to-find webpage

YEAH! Festival 2015: June 16 to 20 in Osnabrück (Germany) @jungeohren

On 16th to 20th June 2015, YEAH! Festival will turn the city into a colourful marketplace of current music productions from all over Europe for the Osnabrück audience and its guests. And the new date in early summer is not the only novelty: for the first time, YEAH! will have its own temporary venue in a big tent on the cathedral square.

Yeah! Award 2015 - Innovation in Music Presentation

Yeah! Award 2015 – Innovation in Music Presentation

The festival will also be supported by strong local partners such as the Theater Osnabrück, the Musik- und Kunstschule Osnabrück, the Music Institute of the FH Osnabrück and Fokus e.V. as well as the Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus GmbH.

The YEAH! festival has established itself as a lively platform for professional exchange in the education and outreach scene. The YEAH! festival is not only a platform for artists that address today’s and tommorrow’s audience with their work; it also gives new impulses to European dialogue with its exchange meetings and conferences. All nominated projects will be invited to present themselves at the project exchange meeting. All applicants and guests are very welcome to take part in the festival, get inspired and come together to develop musical formats and topics and to think ahead.

The YEAH! Young EARopean Award is a project of the Stiftung Stahlwerk Georgsmarienhütte (Georgsmarienhütte Steelworks Foundation) and the netzwerk junge ohren (network young ears).

Download Festivalflyer

Buenos Aires opens new Concert Hall

For a long time things didn’t run well in Argentina. And there are still many issues waiting to be improved, especially in the arts sector. Teatro Colón for example is suffering from severe mismanagement.

However, on May 21st 2015 a new arts centre (including a 1750-seat-concert hall) has been open in the more-than-refurbished former Main Post Office, downtown Buenos Aires (“Centro Cultural Kirchner“). Old architecture is combined with cutting-edge technical equipment. Acoustics are reported to be superb. One mustn’t agree with the Kirchner regime in political questions at all, but this new building seems to be an outstanding and interesting new hot spot for the National Symphony Orchestra as well as for internationally touring orchestras.

Watch the government “propaganda” video, which at least offers a good impressions of the new venue and the whole project:

Seminar: Promoting Opera via Film and Internet (Prague, 2-3 October 2015)

IMZ’s (International Music & Media Center, Vienna, Austria) objective is to promote performing arts in audio-visual media and to foster the production and distribution of excellent art films all over the world. The quality of the programmes is important for a sustainable future the industry. IMZ Academy has the intention to offer everybody in the market the opportunity to learn from each other and to share best practice as well as lessons learned.



At International Television Festival Golden Prague

2 – 3 October 2015 · Prague · Czech Republic

IMZ’s (International Music & Media Center, Vienna, Austria) objective is to promote performing arts in audio-visual media and to foster the production and distribution of excellent art films all over the world. The quality of the programmes is important for a sustainable future the industry. IMZ Academy has the intention to offer everybody in the market the opportunity to learn from each other and to share best practice as well as lessons learned.

The IMZ Academy offers a series of highly practical workshops and seminars examining best practice in performance capture, the latest technologies in capture, streaming and editing, editorial curation, how to reach audiences, as well as business or financial models.

This year’s edition is focussing on opera covering all aspects of the visualisation of the art form: From performance capture – whether for television, cinema or online – to the contextualisation of performance and performers through factual content, archive and documentation.

Sessions include inter alia:

  • Storytelling in a digital environment
  • Deciding who your audience is and how you reach them
  • Broadcast streaming infrastructure in-house or not
  • Multi-camera performance capture
  • Low cost capture and editing technology
  • Live-streaming technologies
  • Editorial content beyond performance
  • Activating your artistic and editorial community


The sessions will be led by IMZ Academy director Peter Maniura (Head of Digital Development, BBC), with guest speakers giving the inside track on all the latest developments and technologies in the field including new digital platforms. The IMZ Academy is limited to 10-20 participants to ensure that every participant is fully involved during the practical sessions and gets detailed feedback on his or her learning process.


Pre-Registration is already open and the number of participants limited. We will accept applications following the motto first come, first serve.

Early Bird Rate (until 1 September 2015 + IMZ members) EUR 590,-*, Regular Rate EUR 690,-*

*plus tax


For any questions, further information and registration, contact:

Astrid Hafner-Auinger · · +43 1 889 0315 18


About the IMZ

The IMZ is a platform of 150 members / 1.500 individuals of the international cultural film community, dedicated to the creation and promotion of performing arts films. Music and dance on screen: Our diverse activities help producers, distributors, broadcasters, orchestras, opera houses, dance companies and many more to connect worldwide and foster business opportunities. Find out more about the IMZ membership!

Orchestras on the offensive: More than audience development!

In a rapidly and profoundly changing environment it is essential to make orchestras ‘future-proof’. Issues such as audience development, education and outreach programmes, or corporate identity have been high on the list of priorities for some time. Cultural organizations have to embrace change and see its potentials, to use technological tools and be open for unorthodox ideas.

Orchestras: relevant to kids & people & coummunity

Orchestras: relevant to kids & people & coummunity

Orchestras should think on their ‘dramaturgy’: an integrated approach involving all departments of his house – artistic management, media and PR, marketing, fundraising – to address the question: how can classical music remain relevant and demonstrate this relevance? In particular the internet has accelerated processes of cultural learning and un-learning. For classical music, this is both a challenge and a chance.

Orchestras have to offer a broad range of programmes aimed at reaching a diverse range of audiences, diverse target groups through a mix of formats, concepts and locations that reflect the social, cultural and economic heterogeneity of their home city. All, however, are held together by a commitment to the highest artistic standards.

Orchestras have to focus strongly on their youth outreach programme. They should encompass a broad and varied range of activities both in-house and outside: school sponsorships, radio features, participatory concerts. The great importance attached to these activities should be also demonstrated by the fact that despite tight budgets there are several full-time positions necessary to organize the outreach programme. Youth outreach is so important. Therefor orchestras might offer soecial music subscriptions for pre-school children.

Beside the educational and outreach business orchestras must also go for high-impact mass events, staging a partially free open-air performance of operas as well as a ‘Last Night of the Proms’, which attracts several thousand live listeners and more on the radio and/or online – music as an emotional spectacle for the people. Another good tool is the ‘music van’, taking the orchestra on tour to schools, social services, zoos, parks or the mountains, emulating the travelling musicians of old.

Breaking: Topic National and International Orchestra Events

Orchestra managers world is moving forward rather fast in these days.

This weekend Chinese orchestras held their national 2015 summit in in Xiuning village of Anhui province, organized by the Chinese Symphony Orchestra Development Foundation (CSDF).


From April 24 to 26, the Orchestra Association of Finland (Suomen Sinfoniaorkesterit ry – SUOSIO) will celebrate its 50th anniversary and national conference in Lahti. You may find the program here. I will give a presentation on Germany’s orchestra landscape in the 25th year of peaceful reunification.


Parallel to this national event the International Artists Managers Association IAMA will held its 25th International Conference in Helsinki from April 23 to 25. Participants will join the SUSIO celebration on April 24 in Lahti.


German orchestras will meet for their triannual national orchestra conference (Deutsche Orchesterkonferenz) on May 5, 2015 in Mainz, next to Francfort (organized by DOV – German Orchestra Union). Discussions and keynotes will tackle the topic situation of arts funding from the central state, the federal states and the municipalities. Another issue will be the funding of public radio stations and radio ensembles by the public household fee (established in January 2013). Registration is open.

Berlin Philharmonic: Another 5 years of Deutsche Bank Sponsorship

Deutsche Bank continues its strategic sponsoring partnership with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for another five years. This was announced at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden. The partnership started in 1989. With some 6 Mio. Euros annual support this is the biggest regular corporate funding for an orchestra in Germany.

BPhil CEO Michael Hoffmann, Sir Simon Rattle, DB Co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen (from the left)  (C) Monika Rittershaus

BPhil CEO Michael Hoffmann, Sir Simon Rattle, DB Co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen (from the left) (C) Monika Rittershaus

In the past Deutsche Bank money made many things possible: the education program Zukunft@BPhil, the outstanding Digital Concert Hall or the latest education project Vocal Heroes amongst others. Digital Concerthall has reached out to more than 550.000 people around the globe. Since 2002 more than 37.000 kids and young people participated in BPhil education projects.

Full press release (in German)