For decades nobody thought very much about them. The audience was who showed up to fill the concert hall, in a largely predictable and reliable way. An orchestra scheduled and performed its subscription concerts, and the patrons came to hear them–a straightforward cause-and-effect relationship. Like many relationships in our times, this one has changed, grown more volatile, and become anything but straightforward. No one, it’s safe to say, is taking the audience for granted now.
One last video from our Talking About Audiences event in San Francisco is now available for viewing — the roundtable discussion and audience Q&A. Recorded May 13, 2012.
Participants include: Mark Clague, associate professor of music, University of Michigan; Matthew VanBesien, Executive Director Designate, New York Philharmonic; Sunil Iyengar, Director of Research & Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts; Elizabeth Scott, Chief Media and Digital Officer, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts – formerly V.P., Major League Baseball Productions; Brent Assink, Executive Director, San Francisco Symphony; and Steven Winn, San Francisco arts journalist and author
Sunil Iyengar directs the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Since his arrival at the NEA in June 2006, the office has produced over 20 research publications and revised the major federal survey about arts participation. What does this mean for administrators, audiences, and musicians? Hard data on some of the thorny issues we think about everyday. Here he talks with Mark Clague, American Orchestra Forum moderator and associate professor of music, University of Michigan at our Talking About Audiences event on May 13.
What follows is a live blog from our Talking About Audiences event in San Francisco on Sunday, May 13.
Keynote: Alan Gilbert, Music Director, New York Philharmonic in conversation with Matthew VanBesien, Executive Director Designate, New York Philharmonic
Spotlight #1: Sunil Iyengar, Director of Research & Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts
Spotlight #2: Elizabeth Scott, Chief Media and Digital Officer, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; formerly V.P., Major League Baseball Productions
Roundtable: Spotlight speakers in conversation with Brent Assink, Executive Director, San Francisco Symphony; Matthew VanBesien, Executive Director Designate, New York Philharmonic; Mark Clague, associate professor of music, University of Michigan, and Steven Winn, San Francisco arts journalist and author
4:33pm Audience member: Orchestral music is a more positive experience than bull-fighting.
4:30pm Assink: Orchestras have an important role to play in getting rid of the divide between professional and amateur musician. (more…)
In a world of professional music-making, where does the devoted amateur fit in? Mark Clague—associate professor of music, University of Michigan, and co-moderator or our live event on Sunday—argues that orchestras need to work more closely with audiences who might be players themselves.
When the world’s great symphony orchestras were created 100 to 150 years ago, the strength of their audience was made up of amateur instrumentalists who knew from personal experience the transcendent joys as well as the endless struggles of making great music. This connection between performer and audience through musicianship rewarded both. Today, orchestras and orchestral musicians benefit not only by supporting K-12 music education but by reaching back to a lost tradition of amateur music making. Certainly I’d argue that amateurs have always made music, but our institutions routinely ignore their vital cultural heroics.
Web 2.0 has reminded us that communication is a two-way street. We now expect books not only to “speak” to us but to engage us in conversation. Our concept of “reader,” “listener,” and “audience” is thus shifting from (more…)
Participants include: Mark Clague, Professor of Music, University of Michigan; Ed Sanders, Group Marketing Manager, Creative Lab at Google; Margo Drakos, cellist and Co-founder, InstantEncore; John Adams, composer; Mason Bates, composer; Brent Assink, Executive Director, San Francisco Symphony; and Steven Winn, San Francisco arts journalist and critic.
In Ann Arbor this week, arts administrators, educators, and musicians are meeting at the American Orchestra Summit, organized by our very own Mark Clague, co-moderator of the live events in San Francisco and a frequent contributor to this blog.
The goal of the summit is “to inspire new ideas and new conversations” around such issues as productive collaboration, how to best serve audiences and communities, and the training of the professional musician in the 21st-century. (more…)
This is Spotlight Conversation #1 from our Talking About Creativity event in San Francisco, March 17, 2012.
Composers John Adams and Mason Bates talk about writing music for the modern orchestra, perceptions about classical music, tweeting in the concert hall, the role of technology and more. Moderated by Professor Mark Clague of the University of Michigan.
Is this post, Professor Mark Clague asks can anyone be a “Maverick”? See Mark Clague in conversation with composers John Adams and Mason Bates (both Mavericks themselves!) this Saturday, March 17 in San Francisco at our free, live event Talking About Creativity. Register today!
Texas rancher and patriot Samuel Maverick (1803–70)—his name was the source of the term “Maverick,” first used in 1867.
Can anyone be a “Maverick”? Can we leverage the example of this American icon to spark creativity? If so, how does our notion of the Maverick need to be adjusted to make such exceptional inspiration open to all?
The San Francisco Symphony’s American Mavericks festival justly celebrates the creativity of musical individualists, yet as a teacher I am interested in the Maverick not as rarefied genius, but as an everyday icon that inspires today’s artists, thinkers, and inventors. That there was a Maverick on the Mayflower (Moses Maverick—an ancestor of Texas rancher Samuel who begat the word) suggests that the Maverick’s risk taking, pioneering roots are deeply embedded in our cultural imagination. That Michael Tilson Thomas and the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony can create a multiple-concert series on the topic is possible only because the Maverick’s uniqueness has become a verified tradition. In American music, Maverick composers range from the 1770s and William Billings to today in the work of new composers such as Mason Bates. (more…)
Professor Mark Clague, co-moderator of our live events in San Francisco, recently gave one of his classes at the University of Michigan an unusual assignment. In the spirit of John Cage, the students were asked to create a work that used silence, chance, found instruments, graphic scores (or any other John Cage-inspired technique), perform the work, and then upload a video of the performance to YouTube.
After looking through the videos, it’s safe to say… creativity is alive and well at the University of Michigan. But what’s also striking is how comfortable these students are with these techniques. What was so revolutionary years ago is just another weapon in their creative arsenal. In their hands, it seems perfectly natural to hear the music in the making of a cup of coffee.