Find some highlights from the International Orchestra Conference:
Conductor Michael Schoenwandt reflected that every orchestra has to check if it is really in a good balance to society. He pointed out that orchestras have to play a more proactive role in society. They should be more flexible in programming and in adressing audiences. Putting classical music into a new context (combination with visual arts, unusual places and venues etc.), more „events“ or small festivals could be a successfull way to attract new audiences. Classical music should be promoted as an „emotional fitness center“ for everybody.
A really fresh input came from Ivan Tasovac, Managing Director Belgrade Philharmonic: He showed how politically and drastically his orchestra had to fight challenges in Serbia. The orchestra has been very successfully campaining in ironical adverts (pictured) and TV commercials on its worth for the community. The Belgrade Philharmonic has now raised big governmental support for new string and wind instruments for the orchestra and is now struggling for better salaries for musicians and a new concert hall.
The discussion on private and public funding of orchestras in the current economic environment involved panellists from the US, France, Netherlands, Spain and Finland. Paul Stewart, CEO Dallas Symphony, highlighted that orchestras have to be more active in talking and messaging on the educational and creative potential which is offered to society. For him it is crucial to personalize the musicians as ambassodors of the orchestra via portraits in the lobby, reports in magazines and program booklets, homestories on in the internet. At least musicians should be involved more in questions of fundraising.
Hans Abbing, sociology professor from the Netherlands, pointed out that orchestras must develop new concerts formats paralell to traditional concert patterns. Building small „satellite orchestras“ might be a good tool to enlarge outreach work into the neighbourhoods. The „star factor“ of famous conductors, singers and soloists should be used and involved much more for promoting classical music and symphony orchestras.