I have always been a passionate advocate for artistic excellence and its impact on society. As a conductor, I have perfected my skills so I can communicate with the players through gesture and inspiration that often comes without words. Music touches our lives in most remarkable ways and it is our responsibility as musicians to serve it well.
How to make us unique? How to reach and attract new audiences? How to grow as an organization? How to raise money? These are only few questions modern orchestra boards and staff think of. Indeed, it has become harder to navigate as an orchestral organization in the world of consumer driven economy, where all you’ve got to do to listen or buy the music you want is to click one button.
As concerning as it may seem for organizations that perform live music at a concert hall, the trends of the twenty first century can be used as an advantage in moving the work and mission of the American orchestras forward. Below I outline some ideas which I learned over the years as a conductor, and which I would encourage every orchestra board to consider in order to be successful.
Live in the present and look into the future. The orchestra and its mission must reflect, then elevate the conditions in which we are living. It has to answer the challenges of a particular area and engage communities of that area. Modern orchestra must be inclusive and diverse. The orchestra must educate and inspire the community it’s serving.
Every orchestra should make it, as part of their mission, to provide programs that engage children of all ages, whether it is putting together family and children’s concerts or giving children the opportunity to learn to play instruments and make music together. Such programs are especially important in lower income areas where children are especially vulnerable.
The Website should be simple. It should be user friendly and easy to navigate. A patron should be able to buy a ticket in no more than two or three clicks. Attractive colors and easy-to-use interface will help website stand out among others.
Technology and Social Media:
Technology has become an important part of every orchestral organization. Integrating technology in orchestral setting now means more than just performing with a laptop or electronic instruments. Every orchestra now must take advantage of the opportunity to reach audiences far away via internet through social media and live-streaming performances.
Orchestra must be an integral part of the community in which it is situated. Get out of the concert hall and into the wild. Get to know your people and relate to them with what you do as an organization.
Innovative and creative programming which includes and collaborates with other forms of art is essential for successful symphony orchestra. The repertoire must be diverse to include new music and commissions, semi-staged performances, collaboration with visual arts and graphic design, dance, film, non traditional instruments and electronic music.