At concerts by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, audience members see just a handful of African-American and Latino musicians playing in the orchestra. In New York last year, the sensational clarinetist Anthony McGill – whose first orchestra post was in Cincinnati – became the first African-American principal player to be appointed in the New York Philharmonic’s 173-year history.
For decades, orchestras and conservatories of music across the country have struggled to recruit ethnic minorities to their ranks.
Now, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $900,000 grant to the Cincinnati Symphony and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music to help address that problem. A new initiative will establish a groundbreaking fellowship program aimed at providing opportunities for under-served musicians at the graduate level. The intent is to help prepare them for the exceedingly competitive world of professional orchestras.
The pilot program will start in the fall of 2016. It is the first program of its kind and could become a model for classical music organizations around the country.
Continue reading the article at cincinnati.com
Written by Laurie Niles
Published: July 17, 2015 at 5:51 PM [UTC]
Some good news for music education in the United States: the U.S. Senate named music as a "core subject" in its Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization proposal, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), which passed Thursday with strong support on all sides, with a final vote of 81 to 17. "By naming music and arts as core subjects in the Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate has acknowledged and begun to address the national problem of the narrowing of the curriculum that has taken place under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for more than a decade now," said the National Association for Music Education.
This did not happen without a major effort. Earlier in 2015, music advocates sent more than 14,000 letters to legislators, asking that "music" be specifically recognized and named in the legislation as a core academic subject.
Now the legislation goes to a conference committee to be reconciled with the House of Representatives's version, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), which passed by a much narrower 218-213. (Here's more about it from the National Education Association>)
Continue reading the article at Violinist.com
July 17, 2015
Indianapolis Business Journal
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has scored a molto festivamente surge in ticket sales for its 2014-15 indoor concert season, as the number of patrons jumped 15 percent, the ISO announced Friday.
The ISO sold 127,835 tickets for the 142 concerts in its latest indoor season, which ended last month. That was up from 110,770 tickets for the 2013-14 season. Of the 127,835 tickets sold for the latest season, 59,765 were from subscription packages, up from 48,782 the previous season.
Accordingly, the group recorded a jump in the number of subscription packages sold. The figure rose 24 percent, to 8,589, compared with a year earlier.
The ISO’s subscription series include classical, pops, Happy Hour and family programs. In the most recent season, the orchestra also added a six-concert series of classical music at Carmel’s Palladium, as well as the seven-concert 317 Series in Hendricks County and the Greenwood area.
The two new series contributed to a 52-percent rise in the number of new subscribers for the indoor season—2,969 compared with 1,941 the previous season.
“The strong sales and attendance results confirm that we continue to reach more people in our community and that there is a real buzz about the ISO’s performances,” said Gary Ginstling, CEO of the ISO.
The indoor season does not include ISO's Symphony on the Prairie series.
The results for the 2014-2015 indoor season built on sales growth during the previous year. The 110,770 tickets sold in 2013-14 were up 19 percent from the 2012-13 season, and the 45,500 subscriber tickets represented a 30-percent rise.
The group declined to release revenue from ticket sales during the indoor season. It reports overall revenue for the fiscal year at its annual meeting in December.
Continue reading the article at Indianapolisbusinessjournal.com
Atlanta Journal Constitution
July 16, 2015
After bruising negotiations that led to a nine-week lockout of musicians, delaying the launch of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 70th anniversary season by nearly two months, finally there is a pleasing coda.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned that the ASO finished the 2014-15 season with a surplus, reversing a slide of 11 consecutive years of deficits that caused management to take a hard line on the mounting debt.
Though final fiscal 2015 figures will not be known until later this summer when financial records are complete for the Woodruff Arts Center — the nonprofit entity over the ASO, Alliance Theatre and High Museum of Art — Woodruff spokesman Randy Donaldson said early numbers show revenues exceeding expenses by a “solid six figures.”
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano conducts the national anthem on the opening night of the delayed 70th anniversary season. CONTRIBUTED BY JEFF ROFFMAN
ASO musicians, who went nine weeks without pay during the lockout, will share 22 percent of the surplus, per the four-year collective bargaining agreement that was hammered out in November with the help of federal mediators. That is a small, if welcome, bit of business, however, compared to another big development regarding the ASO.
The Woodruff also is revealing in Thursday’s AJC exclusive report that $13.3 million has been raised in the ASO’s Musicians’ Endowment Campaign in just seven months toward its $25 million goal.
Continue reading the article at Atlantajournalconstitution.com
Bolstered by a successful fundraising campaign and a new contract with its musicians, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will be hiring fourteen additional musicians over the next four years, the New York Times reports.
Unlike many performing arts organizations that have spent heavily from their endowments in the face of mounting deficits, labor strife, and dwindling audiences, the orchestra has managed in recent years to maintain a 5 percent spending rate and expects to reduce that to 4.5 percent by 2020. It's a significant turnaround for an organization that had seen its endowment shrink from $92.7 million in 1999 to $56 million a decade later. "We didn't have enough cash to make the next payroll," Trey Devey, who became the orchestra's president in 2009, told the Times.
While the orchestra has sold out many more shows in recent seasons and attendance has grown, it is still projected to average only 69 percent of capacity this season at its home, the Music Hall, which seats 3,417. A $125 million renovation of the hall planned for the 2016-17 season poses its own challenges. But orchestra officials believe the steps they have taken in recent years, such as reducing personnel costs by 15 percent in 2009, helped attract philanthropic support that has put the organization on a more solid footing. Despite an $85 million fund established in late 2009 by Louise Nippert to assist local performing arts organizations, the symphony still faced a large unfunded pension liability, which it addressed through a negotiated delay on a promised raise for musicians.
Continue reading the article at Philanthropynewsdigest.org
PHOTO BY SEAN HAGWELL
Mike Tetreault has spent an entire year preparing obsessively for this moment. He’s put in 20-hour workdays, practiced endlessly, and shut down his personal life. Now the percussionist has 10 minutes to impress a Boston Symphony Orchestra selection committee. A single mistake and it’s over. A flawless performance and he could join one of the world’s most renowned orchestras.
By Jennie Dorris | Boston Magazine | July 2012
It’s close to 5 o’clock on a late afternoon in January when Mike Tetreault, a tall, lanky redhead, turns off Massachusetts Avenue and enters Symphony Hall through a side door. He checks in with the security guard and then heads for the basement, wrestling with more than 150 pounds of gear (mallets, snare drums, tambourines) in a backpack and a roller bag. The rest of the instruments he’ll need tonight will be supplied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He’s an hour and a half early.
The basement of Symphony Hall is nothing like the velvety opulence upstairs. It’s cold down here, with concrete walls and harsh fluorescent lights. As Tetreault signs in at a table and waits to get into a practice room, he notices the oversize instrument travel cases that are strewn everywhere, ready to safeguard harps and timpani during symphony tours. Tetreault, a Colorado-based percussionist, has already survived a nerve-wracking round of cuts to get this opportunity tonight to audition for one of two openings at the world-renowned BSO. He reads the list of the other contenders and is pleased to see a bunch of names he doesn’t know. Younger, he reassures himself. Less experienced. Hopefully that’s an advantage for him.
Continue reading the article at Boston Magazine.com
The Musician’s Report: Houston Symphony Principal Cellist Brinton Averil Smith Addresses Their Board
Ladies and Gentleman of the Houston Symphony family, on behalf of all our musicians, thank you for joining us and welcome at this momentous time in our history. The last 100 years have seen vast changes, but there are still people in this room who knew Miss Ima Hogg. Who could have imagined 100 years ago, when she began a project to bring music to her small city, that her act of faith would grow to become an internationally renown institution serving every citizen of our booming metropolis?
In truth, the degree of success we are enjoying today on so many levels was hard to fully imagine even 8 years ago when I moved here. That was a challenging time, but I was drawn by the passion I saw in the orchestra here, and by the optimism and energy I saw in this city. Houston struck me as a place where people still believe the future is theirs to build, and build it you have.
When I attend board meetings these days I am amazed by how much activity is going on; how the orchestra is planning for the future, and reaching into every part of our city. The criticisms that are often leveled at American orchestras – that they are exclusionary, isolated, out of date or out of touch- are all dispelled by the work we are doing here. We aren’t waiting for a crisis to build relationships throughout our city, or to open our doors and share our music with the broadest range of our population, or to send musicians to bring music into our schools and hospitals. We are doing it now, in good times, because we believe in it. I have not seen a better staffed, better run orchestra anywhere than what you see here today, and I’m extremely proud of our team and all they are doing.
You know already how well the orchestra is playing today. I believe I can say without exaggeration that some musicians in this orchestra are truly among the very best in the world at what they do. And with our growing reputation it can get even better as we add new musicians in the coming years. We are about to embark on a new era with Andrés Orozco-Estrada. His intelligence, charm and blend of European and South American cultures sounds like a marketer’s fantasy, but only great musicianship wins the hearts of the musicians, as he has. I’ve had the good fortune to have worked with almost all the top conductors of my era, and Andrés is one of the most talented and exciting conductors I’ve ever worked with. His time with us could become the symphony’s greatest era yet.
Continue reading the article at houstonsymphonyblog.org
The names inscribed on the façade of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner – are familiar to every concertgoer. But another name that is proudly displayed not once, but twice alongside this pantheon of musical masters may be less familiar to you: Theodore Thomas.
Theodore Thomas founded what would later be known as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was its first music director. But he was much more than that. Called “the father of the American orchestra,” Thomas was a champion of American musical excellence and left an indelible mark on the formation of our country’s orchestral tradition.
“Talentless and Sluggish” Beginnings
Less than 200 years ago, the phrase “American musical excellence” would have been something of an oxymoron. After all, the United States was considered unlikely soil for the planting of a great orchestral tradition. Our nascent nation sought to establish its own cultural institutions, though was ideologically opposed to the aristocratic patronage of the arts that was so central to European music. The United States also needed trained musicians, and plenty immigrated from Europe to the U.S. for work.
Back in Europe, many were not just doubtful that America was capable of establishing its own orchestral tradition: they were contemptuous of it. Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick jabbed at the opportunism of musical émigrés when he characterized America as “the promised land, if not of music, at least of the musician.” Negative stereotypes of American orchestras persisted as late as 1909, when Gustav Mahler wrote about the New York Philharmonic to a friend: “My orchestra here is the true American orchestra: talentless and sluggish.”
Continue reading the article at blogs.wfmt.com