No orchestra, large or small, ever has a settled relationship with its community. It’s always a thing in flux, dynamic, fluid, fragile and complex. Whether it’s how to attract new audiences, invigorate connections to current concertgoers or tap the power of technology, orchestras are facing–and not always meeting–unprecedented challenges to remain vital.
This podcast was developed from our behind-the-scenes conversations with leaders from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Chapter Four – The World Has Changed
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Topic: Community | Tags: access, anna clyne, anthony fogg, boston symphony orchestra, chicago symphony, deborah rutter, james sommerville, lawrie bloom, mark volpe, martha gilmer, podcast, steven lester, steven winn
April 3, 2012 by Beth Hondl | Comments (4)
A recent article in the Portland Press Herald introduced me to the work of Janna Hymes and Maine Pro Musica, an orchestra that’s taking their show on the road:
“The model for the large orchestras can work. But if it’s not working—if every cog in the wheel is not working in unison with the others—you get off track and things fall apart,” said Janna Hymes, a former Fulbright scholar who moved to Maine in 2000 after stints as associate conductor at the Indianapolis Symphony and resident conductor of the Charlotte Symphony.
Maine Pro Musica is unique. It is a professional orchestra whose members all live and work in Maine. … While the 55-member orchestra is based on the midcoast, it has no home. Hymes models Maine Pro Musica after those turn-of-century bands that traveled by rail and steamship, playing in small communities across rural America. The mode of transportation has changed, but the orchestra prides itself on bringing music to communities that rarely get to hear live orchestral music. Read the full article.
Her lightweight approach to administration means there is no full time staff and Hymes runs the orchestra from her home. The funding model is also unique in that community groups raise money to pay the musicians and often use the concerts as fundraisers. The built-in community support also helps guarantee an audience in towns that the orchestra might not have a connection to otherwise. It’s an interesting new take on the orchestral model.
Topic: Audience, Community | Tags: access, maine pro musica
November 16, 2011 by Beth Hondl | Comments (0)
In this guest post, Jesse Rosen, President and CEO of the League of American Orchestras and panelist at our October event, responds to a recent report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and reflects on the question of orchestras and community. The NCRP report examines foundation giving and the organization’s press release featured this stark headline: “Arts Philanthropy Not Doing Enough to Reach Poor and Minority Populations.” Read the full report.
Since participating in our panel on the question of orchestras and community, I have been giving some thought to a new report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy that challenges the extent to which orchestras serve their communities and suggested that small organizations might be a better outlet for support.
Among the several blog posts I have seen and conversations I have had about the contents of the report, no one has questioned the need for greater philanthropic support of smaller, culturally specific arts groups and of art that promotes greater equity. In fact, art itself is a vital means of advancing justice and understanding in a democratic society. While there is no question that symphony orchestras are rooted in close associations with wealth and an elitist understanding of value and purpose, a lot has changed in recent years. It is important to set the record straight and recognize the enormous strides orchestras have made to become more far-reaching cultural citizens who support the arts education of our children and define audience to include all segments of communities. (more…)
Topic: Audience, Community | Tags: access, jesse rosen
November 10, 2011 by Beth Hondl | Comments (1)