In her third installment in the artistic leadership series, Tina presents the conclusions she reached during her study of 18 orchestras. She describes the leadership issues she encountered during the study from Music Directors, staff, trustees, and musicians, and suggests that orchestras should take a fresh look at their CBAs (collective bargaining agreements). Finally, she presents her findings from the European orchestras she studied and poses some challenges for American orchestras.Read More
In her second installment in the artistic leadership series, Tina poses several sets of intriguing “What If” questions that should spark some interesting conversations in your orchestra. In particular, she explores the issues of an orchestra’s identity in terms of vision, artistic quality, and programming. She raises some fairly radical ideas regarding personnel policies for the music director, musicians, and trustees. Finally, she presents three sets of professional development lists for musicians, staff, and trustees.Read More
During a hiatus from performing with the St. Louis Symphony, Tina Ward spent a year studying artistic leadership issues in 18 orchestras, with the support of the Mellon Foundation. Her three-part series explores a wide variety of topics impacting artistic decision-making.
The first installment examines the concept of an orchestra’s unique identity and its vision or mission statement. She explores the nature of artistic quality among her subject orchestras, and identifies limitations that are related to lack of finances and those that aren’t particularly impacted by money. Finally, she discusses the role of the different constituencies (music director, musicians, and trustees) in making programming and personnel decisions.Read More
Orchestras use many different titles for their senior staff – Executive Director, President, CEO, General Manager, Orchestra Manager, Operations Manager – but the delineation of duties is roughly the same in most orchestras. Carla Johnson, President and Executive Director of the Virginia Symphony, presents a very clear and concise explanation of the difference between a General Manager and an Executive Director.Read More
If you’re ever in the mood for a long conversation, just ask a group of musicians what they think about the place of new music in programming. By the end of the conversation you’ll likely end up with more questions than answers; nevertheless, approaching new music as an artistic endeavor as opposed to a necessary task will likely provide some useful perspective.
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra principal bassoonist Chuck Ullery has been passionately involved with new music for more than 30 years. From the viewpoint of an orchestra musician, he’s put together some guidelines that everyone can use and adapt to their own situation to approach new music.Read More
The National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO), based in Ottawa, has developed an innovative and very successful outreach program to school districts, particularly for Aboriginal children. While on tour throughout Canada, the orchestra presents teacher resource kits and student guides, focusing on the music of Beethoven, Mozart, and Vivaldi. The Vivaldi kit contains references to Aboriginal culture and includes an original story. Combined with recorder clinics at participating schools, NACO’s educational outreach has reached over 18,000 students.
Claire Speed, NACO’s Education Director, explains in detail how they’ve put together this program, under the guidance of Music Director Pinchas Zukerman. She also describes NACO’s in-depth outreach program designed entirely for students who attend First Nations (reserve) schools.
Be sure to read the companion article, Yvonne Caruthers’ interview with Doug Burden, bass trombonist with NACO, who describes the experiences he and his NACO brass colleagues had with the First Nations’ children during the Kispiox Music Project in British Columbia.Read More
The level of musician involvement with programming new music varies from one ensemble to the next, but overall, musician influence is minor. Historically, conductors exercise jurisdiction over these matters, and as a result, an inadvertent divide between musicians and composers has steadily grown throughout recent generations and is, perhaps, wider than ever.
Christian Woehr III is the Assistant Principal Violist for the SLSO and also an avid composer. These dual abilities create a unique dichotomy: as an orchestral musician, he has to work against the tide of conductor influence on programming of new music; but as a composer, the preferred method for getting his music performed is to curry favor with a conductor.
Chris’ article explores these issues and more, in addition to serving as a prelude to Polyphonic.org’s June, 2006, Virtual Discussion Panel.Read More