4th International Orchestra Conference in Montreal is on the way

From May 11 to 14 the international orchestra community is gathering in Montreal. 300 delegates from more than 40 countries will discuss cutting edge topics of the industry.

International Orchestra Conference

Created in 2008 by FIM (International Federation of Musicians), the International Orchestra Conference takes place every three years. The previous editions took place in Berlin (2008), Amsterdam (2011) and Oslo (2014). The aim of this dedicated conference is to give symphony orchestra or opera musicians down to the smallest ensemble orchestras the opportunity to share their experiences, concerns and initiatives on issues such as improving working conditions, consolidating employment, risk prevention where health and safety are concerned, developing audiences or public or private financial perpetuation.

A place of exchange for musicians and managers

Since its first edition in 2008, the International Orchestra Conference has invited administrators to take part in panels alongside musicians’ representatives. This open approach enables us to address issues of common interest together, without excluding controversy.

Financing methods, the impact of digital on the way orchestras operate and their relationship with the public, taking risks into account where occupational health is concerned, the involvement of musicians in elaborating artistic projects – these are but a few examples of the numerous issues which musicians and managers address. We need to take up issues and submit them for debate.

Orchestras: an essential cultural mission

In February 2014, musicians’ representatives meeting at the 3rd International Orchestra Conference stated: “Support for symphony and opera music, which are a precious and fragile part of our cultural heritage, is a prime responsibility of national, regional and local governments“. In what has become known as the Oslo Call, they also called on political decision makers “to honour this responsibility, by providing orchestras with the means that are necessary to pursue their missions and thus contribute to, and enhance artistic, social and economic life“.

This public service mission for orchestras reaffirmed here fulfils our societies’ need for culture, providing them with both artistic excellence and social bonding.

Find programme here.

Wallace Foundation offers #arts #management tools for free

The US based Wallace Foundation offers several arts management tools, which give access to a series of studies describing strategies of arts organizations that sought to build their audiences.

wallace_foundation

 

Find more information in the Knowledge Center. This is really useful stuff.

 

@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!

The European Orchestra Laboratory (EO-LAB)

It is the strong belief of 3 European symphony orchestras, that the societal relevance and the contribution to quality of life of (symphonic) classical music can be brought back and enlarged by (re)involvement and (re)engagement of lost and new audiences. To reach this goal, rethinking and redesigning (part of) an orchestra’s activities is needed. In order to do so, 3 European orchestras will cooperate in a ‘European Orchestra Laboratory’.

New EU Orchestra Project

New EU Orchestra Project

Within a two year period 2014-2016, each orchestra will create experimental events to attract specified non-traditional audiences by a specific approach. Knowledge, experiences and results will be shared and exchanged. In this way, the EO-Lab significantly accelerates the learning and innovative capacity of each participating orchestra and the European symphonic sector as a whole. Partners in the EO-LAB are: The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra (based in Enschede), Odense Symfoniorkester and Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich. Associate partner: BBC Philharmonic. This project is supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
More info: info@hetsymfonieorkest.nl (website under construction).

Brazil: International Conference MultiOrchestra, April 28-30, 2014

There are many professional orchestras located in Latin America. However, international orchestra conferences in this part of the world are rare.  The “International Conference MultiOrchestra” with the surtitle: “Talent, Management and Impact” shall fill this gap from April 28-30, 2014. It will take place at Fundação Clovis Salgado – Palácio das Artes in the city of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Multiorchestra Confernce Brazil, April 2014, 28-30

Multiorchestra Conference Brazil, April 2014, 28-30

Questions to be tackled: Possible management models considering the diversity of artistic formations, the multiplicity of organizational artistic missions and the variety of audiences. Combining and assessing three variables that define success, longevity and social relevance. Assessing the role of orchestras in the development of audiences and in establishing unique bonds with communities. New parameters for artistic direction, educational programmes and participation. What can be expected from the musician in the 21st century? How can musicians occupy more central and formative roles in their communities? etc.

Full conference schedule

Re-auditions: A wrong tool for orchestras

From time to time the re-audition virus breaks out in the professional orchestra world. The latest cases were those at the Symphony Orchestra of Brazil, the Malaysian Philharmonic  Orchestra and the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony Orchestra in 2012.

Internat. Orchestra Conference in Oslo, Febr. 2014: No re-auditions!

Internat. Orchestra Conference in Oslo, Febr. 2014: No re-auditions!

But there were earlier examples: Back in the early 1970s the Rotterdam Philharmonic management and its chief conductor decided to improve the orchestra’s quality through re-auditions. When in the 1980s three Dutch orchestras merged in the Netherlands Philharmonic, re-auditions also took place.

In Germany, shortly after the peaceful reunification in the early 1990s, some conductors in the new federal states started to try selecting a couple of musicians by re-auditions. But these attempts failed due to legal restrictions: In German law and in our national or single collective bargaining agreements an audition may only take place before the musician is employed for the first time, before he or she enters the orchestra. The issue of a re-audition is not regulated in any collective bargaining agreement for orchestras in Germany. Therefore no musician could be forced to take part in a re-audition. And even if he would participate in a re-audition process, there would be no negative consequences. A poor re-audition performance could never be a reason for dismissal.

If you analyze the re-audition cases of the past you will always find the argument from the management or the conductor to improve the orchestra’s quality. This means in concrete: at least dismissals or pink slips for musicians who don’t meet artistic standards, which are only in the brain of the orchestra manager or conductor. And this means too: despotism and unfair methods to kick musicians out of their jobs.

On the other hand: which are the most successful orchestras in the world? Everybody could name ten or more famous national and international widely recognized orchestras. And one can bet: none of these orchestras do have a re-audition system.

The truth is: every rehearsal, every concert, every recording session with the orchestra is a “re-audition” itself for every musician who has to perform on top-level. However, many musicians say that you don’t perform for the audience, but you perform for the orchestra colleagues. There is no stronger artistic control and social pressure as in the orchestra sections themselves.

To sum up: whenever the management or the conductor of a professional symphony orchestra tries to promote the re-audition issue, this may be an evidence for the inadequate leadership skills of these people and not an evidence for a poor artistic performance of musicians. Re-audition remains to be a wrong tool.