Discussion Topic: Creativity

  1. 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…)

  2. 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…)

  3. 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


  4. Podcast: Chapter Six – The Creative Challenge, Off the Stage

    In a culture that exalts the individual, creativity is thought of first and foremost as the distinctive stamp of a personality, the outpouring of a specific genius or talent. But organizations can and must be creative, too, if they hope to endure and thrive. In the face of financial woes, aging audiences, dwindling arts education and the momentum of an increasingly digital universe, orchestras are challenged as never before to find creative ways of making music and making it matter to their communities.

    This podcast was developed from our public forum in March 2012, Talking About Creativity and a “Conducting Business” podcast by New York radio station WQXR.

    Chapter Six – The Creative Challenge, Off the Stage

    Play | Download | Transcript


  5. Podcast: Chapter Five – Orchestral Creativity, on the Stage

    Where does the marvel of musical creativity come from and how does it work? What parts do muses and inspiration, intuition and the subconscious, hard work and happy accident play in the process? In this podcast, we examine the ways in which creativity can flourish, falter and forge new pathways in the symphony orchestra hall.

    This podcast was developed from our public forum in March 2012, Talking About Creativity.

    Chapter Five – Orchestral Creativity, on the Stage

    Play | Download | Transcript


  6. Event video: Talking About Creativity Roundtable and Audience Q&A

    One last video from our Talking About Creativity event in San Francisco is now available for viewing — the roundtable discussion and audience Q&A.

    Read the Talking About Creativity Roundtable transcript (pdf)

    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.

  7. Live Blog: A behind-the-scenes conversation with The Cleveland Orchestra

    What follows is a live blog from our behind-the-scenes conversation with leaders of The Cleveland Orchestra.

    Participants include:

    • Gary Hanson, Executive Director of The Cleveland Orchestra
    • Gary Ginstling, General Manager
    • Joshua Smith, Principal Flute
    • Dennis LaBarre, President of the Musical Arts Association, governing body of The Cleveland Orchestra

    5:24pm Hanson: Word-of-mouth has always been the best way to get people in the hall. The dearth of formal music criticism in newspapers has not created a huge void.

    5:21pm LaBarre: The long-term commitment from conductor Franz Welser-Möst is the bedrock of the whole situation. He has been remarkably receptive to community programs. He wants to be involved.

    5:13pm Smith: Culture is changing to a more open-minded, pragmatic way of thinking about things.

    5:12pm LaBarre: As president the past three years, he’s focused on three things: 1) maintaining top artistic quality, 2) ensuring the long-term financial stability of the orchestra, and 3) strengthening “the fabric of the institution” – the three groups musicians, board, management becoming much more unified. A sense of… We are in it together, we know each other. (more…)

  8. The Cleveland Orchestra: No Longer Business as Usual

    Like many organizations, The Cleveland Orchestra has faced challenges the last few years, but challenges aren’t always a bad thing. The flip-side of challenge is opportunity and as a recent article by Zachary Lewis in the San Francisco Classical Voice puts it:

    For better or worse, it’s not business as usual at the Cleveland Orchestra. The atmosphere today is one of determination, of long-overdue gameness to collaborate, experiment, open up. Read the full article.

    The orchestra offers free tickets to summer concerts at the Blossom Music Center for all children 18 and under. They’ve also launched a popular Fridays@7 concert series, featuring an earlier start time, no intermission, and an after party. The orchestra’s Center for Future Audiences–started in 2010 and funded by a $20 million grant–ensures that such initiatives will have long-term financial and organizational backing.

    The orchestra is also expanding the definition of community by performing regularly in Miami, recently announcing a four week residency (more…)

  9. Video: Michael Tilson Thomas – Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony – on Creativity

    Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, talks about the different meanings of Creativity in the orchestral world. This video draws together highlights from our March 2012 event.

  10. If brainstorming is dead – what should we do? A different approach to innovation.

    You may have seen the recent headlines. Brainstorming is dead. It’s counter-productive, ineffective. A waste of time.

    As someone who’s been part of many a brainstorming session over the years, I can’t say I found this too surprising. I’ve seen a lot of ideas come out of brainstorming sessions, but I can’t say that I’ve seen a lot of those ideas actually work.

    So how does one foster innovation at an organization in a process that actually yields results? A recent article by Daniel Sobol in Fast Company suggests this intriguing alternative to brainstorming, which he outlines in five easy (or at least, easy-to-understand) steps. He works at Continuum, a company which offers “innovation consulting.” He also has a background in the performing arts. The solution?

    Deliberative discourse–or what we fondly call “Argue. Discuss. Argue. Discuss.” Deliberative discourse was originally articulated in Aristotle’s Rhetoric. It refers to participative and collaborative (but not critique-free) communication. Multiple positions and views are expressed with a shared understanding that everyone is focused on a common goal. There is no hierarchy. It’s not debate because there are no opposing sides trying to “win.” Rather, it’s about working together to solve a problem and create new ideas. Read the full article.

    The five steps of the “Argue. Discuss. Argue. Discuss” process are:

    1) No Hierarchy
    2) Say No, Because…
    3) Diverse Perspectives
    4) Focus on a Common Goal
    5) Keep it Fun

    Give this article a read and let us know your thoughts. Is this an idea that should be brought into the orchestral world? Anyone out there already doing this?