US #Orchestras to Examine their Role in a Changing Public Policy Landscape

League of American Orchestras’ 2017 National Conference, June 6-8 in Detroit: Celebration of League’s 75th Anniversary

The League of American Orchestras’ 2017 National Conference in Detroit, June 6-8, will focus on the ways forward for orchestras in an uncertain public policy landscape. Using the story of Detroit’s revitalization and resurgent creative community as a backdrop, the Conference will include a diverse array of civic, business, and cultural voices, including many from the Motor City.

Detroit Symphony Hall

Detroit Symphony Orchestra is host of the 2017 Conference

Nearly 1,000 orchestra constituents from across the country – managers and staff, musicians, trustees, and volunteers – are expected to attend the Conference, taking place at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, home to Conference host Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Leonard Slatkin. This is the third League Conference in Detroit; it was held there previously in 1964 and 1986.

The 2017 National Conference will include live performances, social and networking events, and an assortment of sessions highlighting diversity, artistic innovation, fundraising, audience development, technology, financial sustainability, and more, including a special behind-the-scenes look at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s groundbreaking live video webcasts.

“As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, we find one of the League’s core mandates – that together we are stronger than individually – more prescient than ever,” said Jesse Rosen, president and CEO, League of American Orchestras. “At the Conference, we will hear from diverse voices, using the city of Detroit’s remarkable transformation as a symbol of what we can accomplish together, through effective partnerships, advocacy, and innovative practice.”

“The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to be the host orchestra for this year’s League of American Orchestras’ Conference,” said Anne Parsons, president and CEO of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. “Our resurgent city that we are so proud to call home is sure to surprise and delight the Conference delegation. We know everyone will come away inspired and enriched by the content of the meetings and as well as their experiences in the great city of Detroit.

The Conference Opening Plenary kicks off at Orchestra Hall on June 6 with Detroit Rising: Stories of Renewal, a panel discussion of how economics, race, immigration, urban versus suburban, arts and culture, and transportation converge in a story about transformation and how to lead in the face of tremendous adversity. Ann Hobson Pilot, former principal harpist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will receive the League’s highest honor, The Gold Baton. She will also perform.

On June 7, the Luncheon and Annual Meeting will celebrate the official launch of the League’s 75th anniversary and League Giving Day, a new one-day fundraising campaign. Five musicians and their orchestras will receive the Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service, and The Annie Moses Band will be featured in a special showcase performance.

The Closing Plenary and Luncheon on June 8 will feature national thought leaders Melanca Clark, president, the Hudson Webber Foundation; Maria Rosario Jackson, member, National Council on the Arts, senior advisor to the arts and culture program, the Kresge Foundation; Rip Rapson, president and CEO, the Kresge Foundation; and Steven J. Tepper, dean, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University will discuss Pathways Forward as they examine the role of arts and culture in these uncertain times.

Conference delegates will enjoy a variety of events, including an evening performance at Orchestra Hall on June 6 by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Leonard Slatkin, of Mohammed Fairouz’s Pax universalis, Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins, Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Something for the Dark, Michigan native Jonathan Bailey Holland’s Equality (text by Dr. Maya Angelou), and Mason Bates’ Warehouse Medicine. Detroit resident Shara Nova is the vocalist and Dr. Tonya Matthews the narrator. The concert will also feature a special performance by the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra. Immediately following the concert, the venue’s Atrium will be the site of an all-delegate Tune-Up Party; the next evening, on June 7, a social event for young professionals will also take place at the Atrium, followed by a DSO Mix @ The Max concert with Detroit’s Shigeto in the DSO’s flexible performance space The Cube. Conference attendees will also have the option of attending a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park on the evening of June 7.

The inspirational story of Detroit and its orchestra, as well as advocacy strategies for orchestras navigating the current public policy environment, will be woven into in a number of Conference sessions, including:

  • Opening Plenary
  • Closing Luncheon and Plenary
  • Mapping the DSO Journey
  • No Sound Barriers: Sphinx at 20
  • Changing Orchestra Culture: A Conversation with DSO Musicians
  • Make the Case Now!
  • Activating and Nurturing Community Alliances
  • Cultural Equity

Additional Conference Elective Sessions on June 7 and 8 will cover a range of topics including diversity and inclusion, community engagement, artistic programming, digital marketing, audience development, pricing, and philanthropy. Highlights include:

  • Bold and Informed: Researching Audiences on a Budget
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Action
  • Market Smarter: Insights and Strategy for Digital Marketing
  • The Strategic and Artistic Understanding of Pops
  • Classical Musicians of African Descent: Perspectives, Aspirations, and Outlook
  • Pricing: The Heart of the Matter
  • Socially-Conscious Musician-initiated Projects in Haiti and Seattle
  • Change Before You Have To (featuring the League’s Emerging Leaders Program Class of 2017 with lead faculty John McCann)
  • Musicians as Organizational Leaders
  • What is the Relevance of the Western Orchestral Canon in America Today?

Other Pre-Conference sessions include:

  • Foundations of Collective Bargaining
  • Leadership Seminar with Horst Abraham, faculty, Ross School of Business, Executive Education, University of Michigan
  • Education and Community Engagement Half-Day Meeting
  • Everyone is a Fundraiser: A Fundamentals-rich Application-robust Crash Course on Fundraising
  • Knowing Your Audience: A Step-by-Step Guide
  • 2017 Diversity Forum, the League’s third national convening of leaders from the field addressing major initiatives and topics, including a national diversity audition fund, national instrumentalist mentorship and audition training, field-wide board and staff diversity, and music education pathways.

For a full Conference schedule, including online registration, hotel accommodations, and travel discounts, visit http://americanorchestras.org/conference2017/

Read full press release here.

Orchestras tell their story: Why are we relevant for our community?

The Orchestra Story Bank is a resource created by North American orchestras and the League to show the many ways in which orchestras serve communities, providing the first-hand perspective of musicians, families, and care-takers.

LAO-Logo

Through the power of music, collaboration, and collective action, orchestras serve the public in many ways. Just as the needs of one community differ greatly from those of another, each orchestra develops programs, partnerships, and performances that provide unique value to their community.

Take a look at the examples on the Story Bank and start telling your own orchestras’ stories. There are dozens!

Outstanding Season brochure from Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra!

If there were a prize for innovation of season brochures, you would have to award it the Bavarian Radio Orchestra in Munich!

Season brochure BR SO 2014/15

Season brochure BR SO 2014/15

Each orchestra will wonder why it has not come even earlier at it: The BRbrochure is therefore outside inconspicuously, but has it all. Once in hand, one does not put it away again. At 130 pages, the reader learns not only the program of the next season, but among other things, which physical stress conductors and musicians are exposed in a concert, what alternative career the musicians might have chosen, from which cities, countries and continents they come, when they chose their present instrument, etc.

All this is presented in impressive infographics, where one delves enjoyable. More impressive the inner workings of an orchestra have not been explained yet. A graph is worth a thousand words.

 

Download the brochure here!

Worldwide unique: The Bayreuth Festival Orchestra

There are many classic music festival around the globe. And there are many festival orchestras perfoming worldwide. But there is only one Bayreuth Festival Orchestra. And this one is unique: Since its first appearance in 1876 the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra is recruited out of a selection of superb orchestra musicians from Germany, other international well known orchestras and a couple of music conservatoire professors. Orchestra directors are (s)elected musicians themselves, for everey section: strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion. They decide whom to invite for the next season. This is a matter of a continuing high standing quality and an outstanding audience experience.

Bayreuth Festspielhaus

. Bayreuth Festspielhaus

Some 200 musicians started rehearsing  in the Bayreuth Festival premises in late June. The know “their” Wagner scores for years and sometimes by heart. They love to perform this music in the very special, stair like (and from the auditorium side invisible) orchestra pit. This pit construction is a guarantee for an unique acoustics. The musicans are soundkeepers of a German Wagner sound, especially when Christian Thielemann is conducting. This is a part of German orchestra tradition and an unique orchestra sound. Traditionally, on July 25 the first night of the festival will be open for a prominent audience which will walk on the red carpet in front of the “Festspielhaus”. And listen to an unique orchestra.

First love – Key moments through music

The notion of ‘key moments’ is a psychological concept describing life-changing experiences. It’s interesting to explore how this concept can shed light on musicians’ career choice, but also how it can be applied in therapeutic contexts, e.g. through the conscious reflection on both positive and negative ‘key moments’.

Talking about early experiences and psychological ‘fit’ one can highlight the importance of key moments as a mental resource for musicians. Positive recall can be used to overcome professional problems such as stage fright. Accounts of professional musicians show that key moments can be quite varied: some remember a specific instant of experiencing a particular instrument, for others it was a social encounter with a teacher; for some, their key moment happened early on, others came to music rather late, and not in all cases were key moments necessarily pleasant (though positive feelings clearly prevail).

There may be diverse psychological aspects of living by and for music. Emotional structures will be reflected, for good or bad, in the way a musician plays an instrument or gains access to a particular piece. At the same time, it is this emotional investment that often outweighs feelings of alienation common to many other occupations. Yet musicians also recount a different sort of key moment, of the small or everyday variety. Rather than life-changing, these moments are experienced as life-affirming and contributing to a sense of sustainable well-being: small moments of a passage well played or intense collaboration with a colleague while rehearsing a new piece.

Where does it come from, the ‘fit’ between musician and instrument? In highly musical families, the encounter is often taken for granted, personal decision and parental influence tending to blur. Two other moments that are often life-changing are either the encounter with a teacher or the experience of the musical collective – be this a youth orchestra or a visit to a concert.

The more key moments orchestras can offer esp. to young audiences, the better.