Discussion Topic: Community

  1. Video: Music Directors Discuss Challenges and Opportunities

    With so many changes afoot in the American orchestral world, what do music directors see as particular challenges and opportunities? (more…)

  2. Video: The Changing Landscape

    How has the relationship between the orchestra and its community changed over the past century? (more…)

  3. Podcast: Chapter Ten – Looking Ahead, in Philadelphia and Beyond

    When The Philadelphia Orchestra emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2012, the ensemble became a canary fluttering back out of a deep dark mine. Philadelphia’s path forward will be closely watched, and not only because music lovers at home and around the world have such a stake in this beloved institution. In both its difficulties and its stategies for confronting and transcending them, The Philadelphia Orchestra strikes a resonant chord with other American orchestras, large and small.

    This podcast was developed from our June 2012 behind-the-scenes discussion.

    Chapter Ten – Looking Ahead, in Philadelphia and Beyond

    Play | Download | Transcript


  4. “Audience Experience” Starts Long Before the Lights Dim – How to Improve the Customer Journey

    In this blog post, James Buckhouse, head of the Corporate Design team at Twitter, offers a new approach to “audience experience” using techniques drawn from technology and consulting companies. This post is the third of three winning entries from our recent American Orchestra Forum blog contest.

    Blog contest winner James Buckhouse

    Your audience experiences your organization long before the lights dim and far past the final ovation. Inspired by the TED talk by Peter Gregson on the user experience of the performing arts, this free downloadable workshop adapts techniques from technology and consulting companies to help performing arts organizations take care of their audience.

    Other industries map this path as an extended customer journey. Performing Arts organizations can borrow this process to create an extended audience experience.

    In a way, every arts organization perpetually remains a start-up: new music emerges from the chasm of cultural shifts, new audience members catch the drift; new ideas tilt the emphasis from one approach to another; new means of distribution and communication mingle our lives and our art in a braid of narrativity.

    So let’s start! Let’s start up a new approach to the arts that proves value and retains the best of the old traditions, but also celebrates the birth of art—the new and unnamed—and dares to iterate.

    –James Buckhouse

    Download the Audience Experience Workshop PDF

    Right-click the link above to download the workshop PDF or find it here: http://teamclassical.com/resources.html

    James Buckhouse leads the Corporate Design team at Twitter, where he oversees the creation, production, strategy and design of all video and visual material for the company. Additionally, he is the founder of teamclassical.com. Prior to Twitter, he was Executive Creative Director at Duarte where he worked with Facebook, Google, HP and other high-profile tech companies. From 1996-2008, James built his story skills as a cinematographer and choreographer at DreamWorks Animation. James also served as a production designer for New York City Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Pennsylvania Ballet.

  5. What Professional Organizations Can Learn from Community Orchestras

    Are professional orchestras pursuing artistic excellence at the cost of a true sense of community? In this blog post, Sam Tepperman-Gelfant argues that professional groups must “take the process of building community as seriously as they do perfecting their performances.” This post is the second of three winning entries from our recent American Orchestra Forum blog contest.

    Sam Tepperman-Gelfant

    Blog contest winner Sam Tepperman-Gelfant

    Community: it’s not just a polite word for amateur, it is the heart and soul of America’s thriving non-professional symphonies. Community orchestras deftly bridge the gap between classical performance and contemporary life that presents a daunting challenge to the future of classical music in this country. Building community is all about building relationships. The web of personal connections among performers, audience members, and the music itself give these groups a consistent energy and audience that many professional groups struggle to achieve.

    I’ve played cello in the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony (BARS), for nearly five years now, and it’s hard to imagine life without it. Wednesday evenings I leave behind the workday to spend time with Brahms and Ravel, and also with my stand partner, David, and the other close friends I’ve made through the group. Many of us haven’t been motivated to practice since high school or college, but the camaraderie and connection (more…)

  6. What do the future of American Orchestras and the America’s Cup have in common?

    The America’s Cup and the American Orchestra have more in common than you might think, as Cheeko Matsusaka explores in this blog post. Originally from Newton, Massachusetts, Cheeko Matsusaka currently lives in Sarasota, Florida where she is a cellist with the Sarasota Orchestra. Hers is the first of three winning blog posts from our recent American Orchestra Forum blog contest.

    Blog contest winner Cheeko Matsusaka

    Have we all focused too much on the [America’s] Cup’s proven past rather than understanding its potential? As such, the resulting changes are substantial. It is crucial to end the uncertainty and lay the groundwork for continuity. To put in place a calendar of regular racing; exciting racing that is shorter and sharper and more spectacular. Racing that matches the expectations of the Facebook generation, not the Flintstone generation.
    — Russell Coutts, CEO Oracle Racing

    What does the future of American Symphony Orchestras and the America’s Cup have in common? Aside from San Francisco, quite a lot. I’ve been following the event since the late 90′s and have always felt a strange sort of empathy for the Cup. It seems to share a common thread with professional music’s efforts to honor traditions and still allow the art to grow and have relevance to in a modern world. Both share the potential for breathtaking displays of beauty and power, but suffer from the old stereotype of closed doors and aloofness. Both struggle to dispel those misconceptions without alienating those who already support it. Both are trying to reach out to a new generation by jumping head first into the overwhelming mass of new technologies. The American Orchestra thoughtfully hesitates at this precipice, but the America’s Cup has the taken the fateful leap. I am watching carefully and taking detailed notes. If the planned America’s Cup event can maneuver a safe landing, they will serve as a standard bearer of adaptation and evolution in an era plagued by threats of extinction.

    The thread between Orchestras and the America’s Cup resurfaced when I was having a bit of a disagreement with one of my colleagues. We were talking about a web and Facebook page for the musicians in my orchestra. The colleague thought we should focus our energies on a static webpage and forget about Facebook. He thought Facebook was a fad that would run its course. In addition, he feared we risked alienating people who didn’t do Facebook. Was he serious? (more…)

  7. Live Blog: A Behind-the-Scenes Conversation with The Philadelphia Orchestra

    What follows is a live blog of our behind-the-scenes conversation with leaders from The Philadelphia Orchestra on Saturday, June 9 at 3:00pm Pacific.

    Participants include:

    • Allison Vulgamore, President and CEO, Philadelphia Orchestra Association
    • Jeremy Rothman, Vice President, Artistic Planning
    • Joseph Conyers, Assistant Principal Bass
    • Stanford Thompson, CEO, Play on Philly

    The conversation was moderated by Steven Winn.

    4:32pm Vulgamore: It’s about offering a palette of experiences to give people access to these great musicians.

    4:28pm Thompson: I like to think of giving the audience something to hope for season after season – what will this look like, where are we headed. You have to get excited about the musicians and how they knock it out of the park every night.

    4:24pm Vulgamore: When you’ve lost 40% of your audience – it’s critical that you focus on audience first. Philadelphia Orchestra is going to show the way through generational change and what new financial models for American orchestras will be.

    4:21pm Question: Is cutting musicians’ salaries one way to put more towards education and marketing – if that’s what is needed to be successful? (more…)

  8. The Philadelphia Orchestra – Moving Forward

    For our last conversation of the American Orchestra Forum project we’ll be sitting down with leaders from The Philadelphia Orchestra on Saturday to talk about Audience, Community and Creativity. The orchestra will perform two concerts in San Francisco on their way back from a ten-day “Resdiency and Tour” of China, the first of its kind by an American orchestra.

    Having recently announced (more…)

  9. Podcast: Chapter Seven – The View from Cleveland

    The Cleveland Orchestra faces a particularly vexing dilemma: It is one of the world’s great orchestras in by far the smallest market supporting such an institution. This position has opened the organization to new ways of thinking and fresh possibilities for a reimagined future.

    This podcast was developed from our behind-the-scenes conversation with leaders from The Cleveland Orchestra in April 2012 and an interview with Music Director Franz Welser-Möst.

    Chapter Seven – The View from Cleveland

    Play | Download | Transcript


  10. Brent Assink: What’s Working and What Must Work

    From audience engagement, music education, and a changing relationship with the community, to technology and the best use of social media… there are a lot of questions in today’s orchestral world and not always a lot of concrete answers.

    Indeed, if you had to narrow it down and list just the top five things orchestras should work to change, what would they be?

    In a recent talk at the University of Michigan’s American Orchestra Summit, Brent Assink, Executive Director of the San Francisco Symphony, took up that challenge in a keynote speech on the theme “What’s Working and What Must Work.” The American Orchestra Summit brought together arts administrators, educators, and musicians with the goal of inspiring “new ideas and new conversations” around such issues as productive collaboration, changing audiences and communities, and the training of the professional musician in the 21st-century.

    Watch the full speech below or read the transcript at SymphonyNOW.