Key leaders from 21 of the country’s largest orchestras have been invited to come to Eastman School of Music on Monday, Sept. 8, to discuss the impact of Polyphonic.org, a website for professional orchestra musicians and aspiring students. Launched more than two years ago by Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership, the site offers news and features on orchestra life, the business of orchestras, health and injury prevention, entrepreneurship, and other topics relating to the interests of orchestral musicians.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a group of top orchestra committee chairs—the representatives of musicians to orchestra management—has been assembled in such a meeting,” said Ramon Ricker, senior associate dean for professional studies and director of the Institute for Music Leadership. “Orchestras and the arts world in general seem to always be facing challenges; Polyphonic.org is committed to providing musicians with information to help them become more involved in all sides of the field and be effective stakeholders in orchestra issues. We hope the discussion will not only tell us how Polyphonic has served the needs of musicians, but identify future topics we need to examine to ensure that orchestras remain vibrant and viable.”
As “the orchestra musician’s companion,” the Polyphonic site provides articles by editors and contributing writers, orchestra spotlights, streaming video interviews, discussion panels, access to research bibliographies and to the archives of the Symphony Orchestra Institute’s journal Harmony, daily news feeds from Arts.Journal.com, and a portal to other orchestral arts-related websites. The site now boasts more than 1,650 registered users and averages more than 8,000 unique visitors (visitors only counted once) per month. The website was the first project of the Orchestra Musician Forum, which was created in 2005 by the Eastman School thanks to the generous gift of philanthropist and Symphony Orchestra Institute founder Paul R. Judy.
The invited participants to this month’s conference represent the National Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Utah Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the North Carolina Symphony, and orchestras in Columbus, St. Louis, Baltimore, Hartford, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Fort Worth, Buffalo, Milwaukee, Detroit, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Cleveland.
In addition to meeting as a group during the day-long conference, more than half of the conference participants will share their musical expertise in master classes with Eastman bass, bassoon, harp, horn, tuba, and trumpet students.
The conference discussions will be led by Paul Boulian, a partner in the national consulting firm Lodestar Associates, who works with both corporate and nonprofit entities including orchestras on strategy, leadership, and change processes.
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Note to Editors: The April 10, 2006, release announcing the launch of Polyphonic.org, titled “The Orchestra Musician’s Guide to the 21st Century,” can be found online at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/news/?id=290 for additional background.