‘Our orchestras are facing a perfect storm moving at high velocity’
From historian Joseph Horowitz’s summary of his address to the League of American Orchestras:
Our orchestras are facing a perfect storm moving at high velocity. How fast can they adapt? The most adaptive orchestra I know is the South Dakota Symphony. Its music director, Delta David Gier, began his tenure by initiating a Lakota Music Project linking to nine Indian reservations; most recently, he took Dvorak’s New World Symphony to Native American audiences in remote Sisseton. With its enterprising nine-member “core,” the South Dakota Symphony is positioned to maximize personal interaction with Sioux Falls residents and institutions.
The Detroit Symphony, energized by a crippling strike, is another orchestra making strides toward showing the culture of the community. That Detroit is the host orchestra for the League’s 2017 conference, next June, is auspicious. The League’s sense of urgency will likely be sustained. Will the conference again identify a single focused goal? How about expanding the role of individual musicians in every facet of orchestral life?
In most places, we fear, his proposal will go unheeded. Too many boards have too much to lose if they let musicians out of their seats.
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