Chinese Orchestras discuss benchmarks for future development

Managers from Chinese orchestras discussed benchmarks for future development at the CSDF Summit in Xiamen from April 15 to 17. The China Symphony Development Foundation (CSDF) is taking care of the professionalization of Chinese orchestras since a couple of years. 57 symphony orchestras are existing in China today. Some 120 participants were discussing problems of music conservatoires, concert halls and theatres as well as arts agencies. A major concern about conservatoires was the fact of too much education of soloists where there should be more graduates for the orchestras. Even Chinese conductors don’t get enough gigs and jobs with Chinese orchestras, one complaint said. Another point is the lack of Chinese works for symphony orchestras.

CSDF Summit in Xiamen

CSDF Summit in Xiamen

Main point of the discussions and presentations was the question whether it could be possible to implement a benchmark system for fostering future development of orchestras in China.

I. Compulsory points:

1.       Full season plan

2.       Fixed salary scheme and pension plan

3.       Professional management / CEO / Music Director

4.       Confirmed mission statement

5.       Annual budget larger than X

II. Optional points:

1.       Subscription series

2.       Basic quality management system

3.       Resident concert hall

4.       Chamber Music / Education program

5.       Loyal scheme (club)

6.       Board of trustees

7.       Affiliated youth orchestra / orchestra academy

Only a few orchestras in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou really can plan and promote a whole season or do have a subscription series. Most orchestras are working on single program projects during the season. The main problem for the orchestras is the lack of music education for classical music in Chinese society. Two orchestras are private entities. The majority of Chinese orchestras are in the hand of cities and districts. Only very few are funded by the central government.

The proposed points will remain on the agenda, but the local circumstances seem to be too different yet for implementing them now.

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