Five Years of @ClassicalNEXT – Opening in Rotterdam – 2017 Dates and Location

Congratulations! Classical:NEXT, the global meeting for all art music innovators, opened its 2016 edition on May 25 with a ‘Dutch Mountains’ gala opening in de Doelen concert hall, including keynote speeches by Dr Clemens Trautmann, CEO of Deutsche Grammophon; Hans-Hermann Rehberg of the Berlin Radio Choir; and Beth Morrison of Beth Morrison Projects, as well as the star conductor Michael Tilson Thomas via video.

Classical:NEXT

Classical:NEXT

Classical:NEXT celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, gathering music professionals from 45 countries from all over the world for four days of conferences, showcase concerts and networking at the expo. The registration numbers were up by more than 10% before the event even started, with more one thousand participants confirmed by organisers Piranha Arts – exact numbers are to follow with the final press release on Saturday.

Immediately embraced by many labels and distributors when it was initiated in 2012, the Classical:NEXT community has expanded considerably within five editions, as the live sector and music media have also made it their international platform. Meanwhile, the event has developed into the biggest meeting for artists, entrepreneurs and multipliers from all branches of the classical and contemporary music scene.

This year marks the second time Classical:NEXT, which is organised by Berlin-based Piranha Arts, takes place in Rotterdam with the main venue and local production partner being Rotterdam’s renowned de Doelen concert hall and congress centre.

“It is truly amazing to see the development of Classical:NEXT – it appears to flourish in its Dutch home,” believes Classical:NEXT Director Jennifer Dautermann. “Not too surprising, actually, considering the context of the optimal conditions offered by our hosts, the city and the cultural scene in the Netherlands overall.”

Neil Wallace, programme director of de Doelen and also producer of this year’s opening enthuses: “This year feels even more exciting than last year – you can literally feel the Classical:NEXT vibe throughout the city, running into international artists and classical music professionals networking everywhere.“

Dutch Mountains Opening presents Netherlands’ finest

After Austria, Luxembourg and Canada, this year’s opening country was the Netherlands. The ceremony was produced by Classical:NEXT 2016 hosts De Doelen, who are also celebrating their 50th anniversary this month.

For a country renowned for its flatness, the heights the Netherlands’ art music were very much on show at the Classical:NEXT 2016 gala Opening. The “Dutch Mountains” Opening featured a wide range of Dutch talent. The concert was heralded by contemporary marching band 9 x 13 and featured classical guitar innovator Aart Strootman (who performed the world premiere of his ‘Counterpoint 21’), sonic adventurers Ensemble Klang, boundary-breaking collective LUDWIG (who tonight announced the inclusion of Barbara Hannigan as a member of its collective), celebrated proponent of ‘pianism’ Ralph van Raat and anti-traditional percussion ensemble Slagwerk Den Haag all took to the stage. These glimpses into the Dutch art music world were connected and interwoven with specially-commissioned work by pioneering video-maker Jules van Hulst of the acclaimed 33⅓ Collective. A tutti performance of Louis Andriessen’s piece ‘Workers Union’ wrapped-up the tightly-curated evening that brought together such disparate  as operatic spinning tops, jawbones-as-percussion and tales of Buddhist moss-gardens.

The opening was produced on behalf of, and with the support of, Dutch Performing Arts. The opening artists were selected by De Doelen, advised by young Dutch curators Masa Spaan, Shane Burmania and Floris Kortie.

“Create works that tell the story of our time”: Keynotes give food for thought – Deutsche Grammophon and Apple Music announce new cooperation

A highlight of the evening was the keynote address, which was split four ways: statements were made by Dr Clemens Trautmann, CEO of Deutsche Grammophon, Hans-Hermann Rehberg of the Berlin Radio Choir, and Beth Morrison of Beth Morrison Projects, and a specially-recorded video message was delivered by world-famous conductor and orchestral director Michael Tilson Thomas.

Acknowledging Classical:NEXT as one of the industry’s most important events, Trautmann exclusively announced Deutsche Grammophon’s new initiative with Apple Music, creating a curated online space which can become a “prime destination for veteran followers, as well as new listeners”. (More details will follow in their press release on Thursday 26 May).

A prominent topic of the keynote was the need for continuing accessibility and relevance. Morrison urged the art music world to “create works that tell the story of our time”; Trautmann gave advice for the assembled Classical:NEXT delegates: “Stay curious, stay hungry and stay paranoid. As we know, only the paranoid survive. But most importantly, have fun!”; and Rehberg summarised the core tennet of Classical:NEXT in proclaiming “the reason why I am here is to talk to many of you in order to get new ideas, be inspired and create something new for both the Berlin Radio Choir and its audience”.

For downloadable press photographs from the Opening concert, see below.

New Programme Items, New Networks and Fellowships

New features this year include focuses on “NEXT:Tech” and music theatre, with extra conference programme as well as Operadagen Rotterdam and the Music Theatre Now competition being held parallel to Classical:NEXT, next door. New networks are also present at Classical:NEXT and engaging with the programme, e.g. with Codarts (Rotterdam’s renowned conservatory and university for the arts) and PRS for Music Foundation (the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development across all genres) starting a Classical:NEXT Fellowship programme for young composers and artists. The two organisations have both selected three outstanding talents and are enabling them to visit Classical:NEXT 2016 in Rotterdam to engage with more than 1,000 classical music professionals.

Ongoing network initiatives include and international orchestra network as well as an “indie classical” network. The world’s largest distributor and classical label Naxos held their meeting earlier in the week of Classical:NEXT and both organisers announced that they will continue to find the most convenient solution possible for international delegates to attend both events. Head of Naxos Klaus Heymann will speak in a talk, which will be part of the public Classical:NEXT Festival. The Festival will feature eleven international showcase acts, plus further Dutch talent and an appearance of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and a Classical Music Rave from Thursday until Saturday. The final day of the event will see proceedings come to a close with the ceremony of the second Classical:NEXT Innovation Award for outstanding projects, which were voted on by the Classical:NEXT online community.

Classical:NEXT 2017 – in Rotterdam again

With the success of what are now two editions and the location very well accepted among delegates and artists alike, Piranha Arts and de Doelen have agreed to hold Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam again next year; the dates of this sixth edition will be 17 – 20 May 2017.

Useful links for press

You can find photographs from tonight’s Opening concert at the dedicated Dropbox folder, as well as more from the event to be updated throughout the week, at the Classical:NEXT 2016 Press Photos Dropbox.

More downloadable media, including audio and video to come, can be found in the press section of the Dropbox.

For more information on the Classical:NEXT 2016 Opening concert, visit the Opening page at classicalnext.com.

@ClassicalNEXT is ready to start May, 25

Classical:NEXT is a professional forum for classical and art music, the next edition of which will take place in Rotterdam from 25 – 28 May 2016.

Classical:NEXT

Classical:NEXT

It is planned as an annual event that aims to unite the international art music community. The event’s structure consists of three sections – Showcase, Conference and Expo: Showcases will present artists and productions in a series of short concerts or video screenings. The event is on its way to become one of the most exciting international platforms and marketplaces for the future of  classical music.

Conferences will offer presentations, seminars, thinktanks, mentoring, matchmaking and other formats. The Expo is an exhibition place for companies and institutions and offers a meeting point for hundreds of delegates. Classical:NEXT is initiated by CLASS and produced by WOMEX.

Find more information here!

Fischer_Dardai_Konzerthaus_Trailer_2016_02_07

Symphony goes Soccer – @_Konzerthaus #Berlin

Did you know, that in Germany more people attend performances of publicly funded operas, theatres, orchestras and concert houses than games of the several German Soccer Leagues? Berlin Konzerthaus has been thinking about the parallel universums of a conductor and a soccer coach. Watch interesting impressions from the concert hall and the Berlin Olympic Stadium! Cheering audiences guaranteed.

This is the sound of Berlin – Konzerthaus and Hertha BSC.

League of American Orchestras Releases Five-Year Strategic Plan 2016 – 2020

The League of American Orchestras’ Board of Directors has announced the organization’s blueprint for the future: Creativity, Engagement, Impact: The League of American Orchestras’ Strategic Plan, 2016-2020 http://www.americanorchestras.org/strategy). The plan comes at a moment of great possibility in the orchestral field, as orchestras are embracing the opportunities presented by the current environment with vigor and ingenuity.

LAO-Logo

“Orchestras are keenly aware of profound changes in their environment,” said Jesse Rosen, the League’s President and CEO. “Building upon the field’s momentum, the five-year Strategic Plan addresses a wide array of critical issues and internal and external field challenges in response to broad social, demographic, and technological changes, affirming the League’s vital role as a catalyst, convener, and source of knowledge.”

Synthesizing feedback from member orchestras and other stakeholders, including musicians, funders, external partners, and League board and staff, the plan identifies five outward- and inward-focused strategic priorities:
• Advancing the orchestral experience
• Developing the orchestral field
• Better serving members
• Strengthening the League’s business model
• Growing the League’s capacity

The organization’s mission and vision have also been refreshed. The mission is now: To advance the experience of orchestral music, support the people and organizations that create it, and champion the contributions they make to the health and vibrancy of communities. The vision is now: The orchestral experience is shared by all and supported by artistically vibrant, robust, and civically engaged organizations; and the League is an indispensable leader, resource, and voice for the orchestra community and its value to the public.

The League’s previous plan, Supporting Orchestras in a New Era, guided the League through a large-scale global economic recession. Since then, the field has pushed forward on a variety of fronts, and the new plan addresses such critical issues as the need for diversity, community impact and relevance, public perception, technological advances, and fiscal health. Internal and external challenges identified by League members and stakeholders are also assessed in the plan, such as music education, demographic change, changing patterns of philanthropy, and changing patterns in the use of leisure time.

Rosen commented, “Looking from 30,000 feet at the evolution taking place, orchestras continue to strive for excellence in performance, but now bring equal attention to the nature of the orchestral experience itself: the interplay with different audiences; synergistic and authentic engagement with communities; expanding roles of musicians, composers, and conductors as ambassadors, advocates, and educators; and increasing activity in lifelong learning and civic participation.

“The League will embrace our commitment to support orchestras and promote public understanding of their role in civic and community life. We will lead our members in collectively advancing, articulating, and advocating for the essential experience that only orchestras can provide.”

The planning effort was led by a strategic planning task force of the Board of the League of American Orchestras. The task force was chaired by Steven C. Parrish, vice-chair of the Board. The process was facilitated by AEA Consulting.

Note:
• Find a brief overview of the plan here: http://americanorchestras.org/strategyglance
• Find an abridged and full version of the plan, both of which contain the President’s introduction, here: http://americanorchestras.org/strategy

Read the full release here.

US Orchestras: Ways to Enhance Subscriber Relationships

American Orchestras Need to Get “Sticky” to Meet Challenges: A study from Oliver Wyman, “Reimagining the Orchestra Subscription Model,” commissioned by the League of American Orchestras, argues that American orchestras can meet their challenge to retain subscribers and meet revenue needs by exploring methods used in other industries (e.g., retail, grocery, fitness), that build “stickier” relationships with customers.

LAO-Logo

There has been a shift away from subscriptions and toward single purchasing. Subscriptions are a key source of revenue, so the shift presents orchestras with difficult choices. Some larger orchestras have offset declines by increasing prices, but that strategy is unsustainable and the tradeoff may be reaching a break point that could trigger a far sharper drop in revenues. The report recommends that the current subscription model must be revitalized and it identifies strategies that orchestras of all sizes can use to increase customer loyalty and participation.

The data-rich study – the first of its kind for American orchestras – draws on ten years of data from four million customers across 45 orchestras of varying sizes and a profile and preferences survey of
4,000 people who attended an orchestra concert in the last five years. The final recommendations
are informed by a dynamic market simulation that tested the willingness-to-pay of 1,000 people making 10,000 purchasing decisions in order to reveal the relative attractiveness of various package features.

Some interesting facts uncovered by the study:
• Satisfaction remains high: Consumers do remain broadly satisfied with the orchestral concert experience – 90% of each patron type is satisfied with their orchestra-going experience and subscribers are the happiest with 77% reporting they are “very satisfied.”
• Consumers are not abandoning the orchestra for other art forms or entertainment options; but they are disenchanted with traditional subscription models.
• Millennials are not as price sensitive as many have assumed. To attract them, orchestras should consider expanding their use of social media, apps, and “bring-a-friend” programs that rely on the high level of interconnectedness of those young consumers.
• It’s about the relationships: Orchestras should explore methods used in other industries (e.g., retail, grocery, fitness), that build “stickier” relationships with customers.
“We are grateful to Oliver Wyman for their contribution to our understanding of subscription dynamics. The study provides a fact-based platform to support the experimentation and innovation taking place at orchestras today,” notes League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen.

Partha Bose, Partner at Oliver Wyman, sees the report as further evidence of Oliver Wyman’s deep commitment to the communities in which the firm works. “The recommendations contained in this report combine deep analytical rigor and sensitivity to the unique challenges of the entire range of America’s orchestras, large and small. They are cultural mainstays of the cities and towns in which they are located, and we hope the report helps them to flourish and to continue to enrich all of our lives.”

The report can be found at http://americanorchestras.org/images/stories/ReimaginingtheOrchestraSubscriptionModel2015.pdf and at http://www.oliverwyman.com/insights/publications/2015/nov/league-of-american-orchestra.html.

A version is also available on the iTunes App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id997069338?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6.

Help sacked MPO players to fight their case at court!

A Malaysian court has tweaked the law to deny basic rights to seven foreign players who were summarily dismissed by the Malaysian Philharmonic, as reported earlier. The orchestra remains under an international musicians boycott.

This appeal comes from one of the disenfranchised seven. Please support this appeal if you can and forward this message.

“I am one of the seven musicians fired three years ago by the Malaysian Philharmonic. After an interminably long wait, the judge has finally delivered her verdict: despite our many years of dedicated work with the orchestra, including long service bonuses and contractual retirement clauses, and despite our unblemished employment records, we were all in fact fixed-term, temporary employees, and had no right to expect continued employment. She decided that the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra had every right to terminate our employment at the end of our current contracts, without giving any notice or reason.

From all the legal advice we have since received, and the case readings we have done, this decision goes completely against the Malaysian Industrial Relations Act, and against just about every precedent that has been set by previous cases. If allowed to stand unchallenged, it will affect every current and future employee of the Malaysian Philharmonic, and seems to give Malaysian employers the right to terminate any employee at will as long as they have implied their “intention” to use a fixed-term contract. Up until this case, under Malaysian law, the burden of proof was always on the employer to establish that the recourse to the fixed-term engagement of the workers was genuinely related to their establishment or undertaking. That appears to be the case no longer.

We believe that an injustice has been done, and are determined to exhaust all of our options to make it right. The legal fees involved are substantial, however, and all of us have had our future earning potential severely affected by our dismissals. To that end, we have established a fundraising campaign to help our supporters contribute, and would like to invite your readers to participate.

Donations can be made anonymously, and we pledge to be completely transparent with the use of those funds, and with our progress. Everything we receive will go to our legal fund, and at the end of the case, if we win a monetary award, we will either return your donation to you in full (if you wish), or make a lump sum donation of the full amount collected to a worthy youth orchestra.”

To support, please visit: www.gofundme.com/MPO7LegalFund

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Boston Symphony Orchestra enter into a new alliance

The freshly annouced strategic alliance between the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony opens a new window of globalization in the arts.

Gewandhaus Leipzig, Germany

Gewandhaus Leipzig, Germany

Historically, a long standing tradition unites the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. These mutual ties are now intensified with Andris Nelsons’ appointment as Gewandhauskapellmeister from the 2017/18 season.
The history of close cultural connections between Leipzig and Boston began in 1881, when the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) founder, Henry Lee Higginson, appointed Leipzig Conservatory-trained Georg Henschel as its first conductor. Subsequent conductors of the BSO, including Wilhelm Gericke, Emil Pauer, Max Fiedler, Karl Muck, and most importantly, Arthur Nikisch, were all educated in Leipzig and also held posts with the Gewandhausorchester (GWO). From the middle of the twentieth century, the connection was reinforced when Charles Münch became the Music Director of the BSO in 1949, remaining in the position until 1962. Münch was also educated in Leipzig and had been Concertmaster of the Gewandhausorchester from 1926 to 1933. In addition, Boston’s Symphony Hall (1900) presents a structure inspired by the second Gewandhaus.
Based on this historic bond, and under the leadership of Andris Nelsons, Mark Volpe, Managing Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Gewandhausdirektor Andreas Schulz are planning a unique multi-dimensional partnership to explore and share the heritage and strengths of both ensembles.

Various aspects of this cooperation include:

Co-commissions and Educational Initiatives
The BSO/GWO Alliance, under the leadership of Andris Nelsons, will feature a series of co-commissions, with new works presented each year of the partnership, starting with a work by German composer Jörg Widmann to be presented in Boston and Leipzig in the 2017-18 concert season. Several European and American composers, representing a diversity of styles and generations, will also be commissioned for performance by both ensembles. The Alliance will also focus on some key educational initiatives including a program that will give Conducting Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center (BSO’s acclaimed summer music academy at its summer home in western Massachusetts) an opportunity to assist Andris Nelsons with his work with the Gewandhausorchester. BSO musicians will also take part in the GWO’s music education programs.

Programming Highlighting Each Orchestra’s Musical Heritage
During the 2017-2018 subscription season, the BSO will celebrate “Leipzig Week in Boston” at Symphony Hall and the GWO will celebrate “Boston Week in Leipzig” at the Gewandhaus, giving each orchestra an opportunity to focus on some of the repertory for which their partner organization is best known. Since its founding in 1743, the GWO has been associated with some of the greatest figures of music history, having given the premiere of works by Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Brahms; this tradition continued into the 20th century with scores by such significant composers as Henze, Kanscheli, and Rihm, among others. The BSO’s own compositional legacy is, likewise, without parallel, including some of the seminal scores of the last century from composers ranging from Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Bartok, to Messiaen, and Dutilleux and a myriad of Americans including, Copland, Bernstein, Sessions, Carter, and Harbison, among others. The BSO/GWO Alliance will provide an opportunity for each orchestra to program a selection of works by composers particularly associated with each of these great orchestras; this programming strand will also be highlighted in chamber music performances, lectures, panel discussions, and exhibits, with the goal of inspiring a new understanding of this great repertoire.

BSO Performing at Gewandhaus and GWO Peforming at Symphony Hall
One of the most exciting components of the Alliance will be a chance for the BSO to perform at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig and the GWO to perform at Symphony Hall in Boston, giving each orchestra’s audience a chance to appreciate this new partnership first hand. The BSO/GWO Alliance will also explore musician exchanges between the two orchestras.
This segment of the cooperation will begin on May 5, 2016, when the Boston Symphony Orchestra will give its premiere guest performance in the Gewandhaus.

Christoph Wolff, Artistic Advisor
Christoph Wolff, Adams University Professor at Harvard University, Director of the Bach Archive from
2001 to 2013 in Leipzig, and author of numerous acclaimed texts on the history of music from the 15th and 20th centuries, will serve as an artistic advisor to the BSO/GWO Alliance (please see bio below). Further details about the programs of the BSO/GWO Alliance will be announced at a later date.

Quote by Andris Nelsons
“I am thrilled to accept the appointment of Gewandhauskapellmeister alongside my music directorship with the remarkable Boston Symphony Orchestra,” said Andris Nelsons. “It is also an immense privilege to be partnering these two world class institutions—each with their own deeply rich musical heritage — and to be leading them in an innovative and forward-thinking alliance spanning two continents. This wonderful new alliance between the BSO and GWO will give us a unique opportunity to explore each of these orchestra’s great music traditions, as well as create exciting and meaningful new experiences for our audiences at home and around the world. We are very much looking forward to the musical journey that lies ahead.”