Orchestra League Communications Update, May 2014

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May 2014

Animating Democracy: New Roles for Orchestras

Orchestras enable people of disparate backgrounds to come together, says League VP Polly Kahn in a recent contribution to the Animating Democracy project. The article is chock full of video excerpts illustrating orchestras’ impact on their communities, including this interview by Dallas Symphony music director Jaap van Zweden on the world premiere of a work by Conrad Tao commemorating the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Opportunity and Experimentation: The Current Landscape

Framing the challenges and opportunities in changing audience patterns, public perception, and organizational models, League President and CEO Jesse Rosen offers a wide-ranging take on the state of the orchestra field in his remarks to the Association of British Orchestras Convention titled New Directions for Orchestras: The USA – What’s Going On? Read the speech here.

Ivory Ban Impacts Instruments

The Obama Administration’s effort to clamp down on illegal trafficking in African elephant ivory has had immediate unintended consequences on travel with legally-crafted musical instruments, including bassoons, bows, and string instruments that contain small amounts of ivory. The League is seeking a policy solution that will address legitimate conservation concerns while also protecting the ability of musicians to travel with the essential tools of their trade, as well as providing up to date information about existing rules for travel.

New Music By African-American Composers

Works by four African-American composers were performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in March, via the League of American Orchestras and EarShot, the National Orchestral Composition Discovery Network. The composers — Jonathan Bailey Holland, Erica Lindsay, Kevin Scott, and Matthew Evan Taylor — also participated in workshops and received feedback from mentor composers Derek Bermel, Gabriela Lena Frank, Carman Moore, and Bright Sheng.

Upending Tradition – Onstage and Off

A pre-concert hike in the mountains led by a composer-geologist? A yoga class serenaded by orchestral musicians? A Dia de los Muertos concert featuring Mozart’s Requiem performed by a chorus wearing oversized skull masks? Orchestras across the country are expanding the traditional concert experience. Read about it in the Spring issue of Symphony magazine.
Orchestras Feeding America

Over 250 orchestras from across the country have collected more than 450,000 pounds of food under the League’s yearly Orchestras Feeding America program. Hear local perspectives from two member orchestras: Springfield Symphony Orchestra, in this video posted on YouTube, above, and Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, in a news article linked here.

League’s National Conference to Focus on Innovation, June 4-6 in Seattle
Nearly 1,000 professionals and volunteers from across the orchestra field are expected to attend. Keynote speakers include MacArthur Award-winning flutist, founder of ICE, and prominent representative of the new generation of young entrepreneurial musicians, Claire Chase, and arts researcher Alan Brown, principal, WolfBrown. Register here.
Did you know… The Kansas City Symphony made unprecedented use of Google Glass recently when it released two videos giving viewers a first-person perspective of what it feels to perform in an orchestra. Three musicians and Music Director Michael Stern wore the devices. Read more here.

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