Discussion Topic: Community

  1. Event video: Roundtable discussion and audience Q&A

    One last video from our October 23rd event in San Francisco is now available for viewing — the roundtable discussion and Q&A featuring our six Spotlight Conversation participants.

    From left to right that’s Steven Winn, San Francisco arts journalist and critic; Amos Yang, Assistant Principal Cellist, San Francisco Symphony, and alumnus, San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra; Neil Harris, Professor of History and Art History, University of Chicago; Jesse Rosen, President/CEO, League of American Orchestras; Afa Sadykhly Dworkin, VP/Artistic Director, Sphinx Organization; Mark Clague, Professor of Music, University of Michigan.

    One of my favorite moments is near the end, when a woman prefaces her question by saying she has attended symphonic concerts for 75 years. The audience bursts into applause but then gasps as she continues on to her question saying, “If you’d permit me to opine about music… sound without melody is noise.” In regards to programming, “where does the person who buys the ticket get to have a say?” I really hope she comes back for our next event Talking About Creativity.

  2. Some Mozart to go with your dish towels?

    Random Acts of Culture is an intriguing program that takes classical music out of the concert hall and into… well, shopping malls, farmers markets, trains and basically any place there’s a captive audience. Here is a recent video from the Mall of America, featuring musicians from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. How would you like some Mozart to go with your dish towels? (They appear to be in the home section of Macy’s.)


  3. Video: Gustavo Dudamel – Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic – on Community

    In his keynote at our first live event, Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, talked about Community and the powerful impact of El Sistema, Venezuela’s publicly-funded music education program.

  4. Making an Entrance

    Steven Winn, co-moderator of our live events in San Francisco, examines one particular part of the classical music concert ritual — the entrance. Who exactly should we be applauding for?

    I knew there was something I liked about the Mariinsky Orchestra filing onstage together at Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, where the ensemble played three knockout Tchaikovsky programs last month. But it took eavesdropping on the couple behind me one night to pin down what the appeal was.

    It’s just good theater, I’ve always thought. Good showmanship. Leave the stage empty, bring down the lights, then start the stage-filling parade to a steady rumble of applause. The tactic seems much sharper than the casual gathering of forces most American orchestras employ. (more…)

  5. Getting in on the Act

    WolfBrown Getting in on the Act study

    One of the interesting topics that came up during the Q&A session at Sunday’s event was how arts organizations can engage communities through participatory experiences. Rather than sit and passively watch a concert, people seem to increasingly prefer doing the playing and singing themselves. Certainly the eye-popping success of the YouTube Symphony shows there’s an appetite for hands-on participation in the orchestral world. Does the role of the orchestra in its community need to change accordingly?


  6. Event video: Spotlight Conversation #2

    Another video from our live “Talking About Community” event on Sunday: Afa Sadykhly Dworkin, VP/Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization and Amos Yang, Assistant Principal Cellist, San Francisco Symphony, and alumnus, San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, in conversation with Steven Winn, San Francisco arts journalist and critic. It’s an interesting dialogue about some of the societal pressures that encourage kids to participate, or not participate, in classical music.

  7. Event video: Spotlight Conversation #1

    On Sunday, October 23, Jesse Rosen, President/CEO, League of American Orchestras, Neil Harris, Professor of History and Art History, University of Chicago, and Mark Clague, Professor of Music, University of Michigan opened our “Talking About Community” event.

  8. Event video: Gustavo Dudamel and Deborah Borda in conversation

    Here is the first of our videos from yesterday’s American Orchestra Forum event in San Francisco.

    In this keynote conversation, Gustavo Dudamel and Deborah Borda discuss community, education and “symphonic metal” (a reference to that night’s LA Phil concert). It’s an inspiring talk. Under their leadership, the LA Phil is really challenging all of us to think bigger about the role of music in our society.

  9. Live Blog: Keynote with Gustavo Dudamel and Deborah Borda

    5:00pm: Deborah Borda: Indeed, music is an essential human right. We have to believe that and act on it.

    4:58pm: A discussion of the music on tonight’s concert — the electric cello concerto by Enrico Chapela is like heavy metal.

    4:51pm: Gustavo Dudamel made very different choices for the launch of his tenure at the LA Phil: free concerts at the Hollywood Bowl (not at Walt Disney Hall) and the first group he conducted was YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA), not the LA Phil. Why did he do it? Because music is for everybody. It is a human right.

    4:48pm: To see other young people playing is the way to connect young people to music.

    4:44pm: To have access to beauty is really important. El Sistema is not just a musical movement, but a social movement as well.

    4:41pm: As a kid, you love to play — it is fun to “play” in an orchestra — and for Gustavo Dudamel that attitude has continued.

    4:37pm: Gustavo Dudamel on Deborah Borda: I thought she was a stalker. Deborah Borda was very persistent in courting him for the LA Phil. On a trip to Caracas, she also realized that even if she couldn’t convince Dudamel to come to LA… she had to bring El Sistema to LA. It was a life-changing trip.

    4:30pm: Gustavo Dudamel and Deborah Borda take the stage for our keynote event.

  10. Live Blog: Roundtable Discussion

    4:12pm: Do cities still use orchestras to credential themselves? Jesse Rosen cites an example from Pittsburgh. Business leaders who travel to promote Pittsburgh abroad always include information about the orchestra. So yes, orchestras are still a source of pride for communities much as they were a hundred years ago.

    4:05pm: The audience gives a round of applause to a woman who introduces herself as a 75-year concert attendee, until she says that in her opinion “Music without melody is noise.” Some continue to applause, some gasp. Is part of the problem our mixed bag programming? Should concerts be more thematic, so people can pick and choose?

    3:55pm: What do orchestras have to learn from choruses? People have an appetite for being part of the performance itself. Over 42 million Americans sing in choruses.

    3:52pm: Time for questions from the audience. Do you have something to ask? Leave a comment on this blog.

    3:50pm: Orchestras being involved in “social justice” issues is a new idea in the United States, though not in other countries (Venezuela’s El Sistema program). Mark Clague: American orchestras have a representative function. As more people participate, it leads to new conversations.

    3:44pm: Sphinx Organization does a series of church concerts leading up to Carnegie Hall and other larger performances. The goal is to be relevant and meet people where they are.

    3:41pm: Online comments and feedback can allow for more open dialogue. Or just it does get more vicious?

    3:38pm: Amos Yang: challenging music sometimes needs multiple hearings. It can be hard to get something out of it the first time.

    3:37pm: Audience poll: do you want concerts with music you like? The audience is divided. Some people raise their hands, but some respond “What do you mean, ‘music we like?’ We also want to be challenged.”

    3:30pm: Amos Yang is offended by people who are offended when people clap between movements. (Err, not sure I got that grammar right.) Clapping between movements has a long tradition and shows appreciation for the music.

    3:28pm: How can technology be used in the context of a live performance? Afa Sadykhly Dworkin: A video of the conductor’s face communicates so much more than what you get from staring at the person’s back. Mark Clague: close-ups can help you focus on particular instruments, you actually hear the music differently, because of the visual.

    3:20pm: The roundtable discussion is an opportunity to pick up on threads and conversations from earlier in the afternoon. First topic? YouTube. Amos Yang finds it a phenomenal tool for education.

    3:19pm: Getting ready for our roundtable discussion with panelists from our two spotlight conversations.