Finally, a place unbounded by geography, a harmony unaffected by the occasional dissonances, a resource unobstructed by the divide of business versus artistry. On April 10, 2006, the Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester unveils Polyphonic.org, a comprehensive website for orchestra musicians. Polyphonic.org is the first brainchild of the $1.2 million-funded Orchestra Musician Forum, which was formed thanks to the generous gift of philanthropist and Symphony Orchestra Institute founder Paul R. Judy.
Polyphonic.org aims to provide not only an unprecedented well of information but also a comfort zone in which musicians can connect freely with their peers and industry leaders throughout their professional lives. It is the first of its kind to bring different voices together, engaging a team of career orchestra musicians, educators, business insiders and music critics. It’s also the first of its kind to go directly to the source by sponsoring research on 1,400 musicians in 90 orchestras across the United States to further understand their needs, problems and challenges.
Polyphonic.org derives its name from the word ‘polyphony,’ a style of composition in which multiple independent musical lines are juxtaposed in harmony.
This ultimate orchestra musician’s companion will address the needs of orchestral players, who today face the survivalist demand of wearing many hats—from hitting the high C on the bassoon to building new audiences to negotiating union contracts.
“ It has become increasingly apparent that the artistic growth, personal fulfillment, career advancement and job satisfaction of orchestral musicians are highly interdependent with the artistry, robustness, adaptability, and sustainability of the organizations in which they are employees and central stakeholders ,” said James Undercofler, Dean, Eastman School of Music and Orchestra Musician Forum board member. “With Institute for Music Leadership Director Ray Ricker at the helm, the focus is on the resources musicians need to be successful and making those resources accessible and relevant.”
Editors and contributors will provide ongoing features and interviews (some in streaming video format) on topics like outreach and education, health and injury prevention, professional development, the musician as entrepreneur, and the business of orchestras.
Other unique content includes Orchestra Spotlights—comprehensive profiles of American orchestras; daily news feeds from ArtsJournal.com; public discussion forums mediated by a panel of musicians and business colleagues; as well as related links and research bibliography.
“Polyphonic.org is one way the Orchestra Musician Forum is committed to training music leaders who can affect change―talented musicians interested in continuing artistic and professional advancement, ” said Ricker. “Our vision is to become a national effort and a leading resource for professional orchestra musicians.”
Joining Undercofler on the Orchestra Musician Forum board are:
William Moyer — Former Boston Symphony Orhcestra trombonist and Orchestra Personnel Manager (retired)
Joseph Polisi — President, Juilliard School of Music
David Stull — Dean, Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Fred Zenone — Former cellist with the National Symphony and Past President and Director, Symphony Orchestra Institute (retired)
The Eastman School of Music educates talented musicians from around the world who become leaders and innovators in all fields of music. Established in 1921 by Eastman Kodak Company founder and visionary George Eastman, the School has achieved international prominence through its commitment to the highest standards of artistry, scholarship, and leadership. Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership provides students, alumni, and professional musicians the broad education, specialized skills, and diversified experiences they will need—along with their exceptional musicianship—to become the new generation of musical and cultural leaders. The Institute’s emphasis is on developing and maximizing students’ leadership potential by providing exceptional opportunities for professional development, nurturing the creation of innovative ideas and programs, and bridging the gap between the academic and professional worlds.
Eastman School of Music contact: Bobbi Lonobile, email@example.com, (585) 274-1052