New book by David Herbert, Principal Timpanist. Symphonic Repertoire For Timpani: Mahler Symphonies No. 4-6.
David Herbert, Principal Timpanist of Chicago Symphony shares his insights from his many performances and recordings of the nine Mahler Symphonies. His interpretive analysis sets the tone for intelligent, expressive performances of these major orchestral works.. Congratulations David!
Click here for a link to the publisher to order the book.
From the blog: Mask of the Flower Prince
The nonsensical ravings of a singing archaeologist. Really.
by Scott Chamberlain
I’ve seen a lot in my time as a classical music writer/blogger. I’ve covered a number of labor disputes involving orchestras and opera companies, and have seen a number of bone-headed, tone-deaf actions as a result. As this point, I assume I’ve pretty much seen it all.
And yet, I continue to be surprised. It seems that there are still plenty of labor disputes plaguing the world of classical music, and they continue to generate breathtakingly bad ideas.
Let me share the most recent—one that unfortunately has transpired in Philadelphia, the home of one of the United States’ most celebrated, venerated orchestras. This one is a whopper.
* * *
First a few words of context.
The Philadelphia Orchestra stunned the world in 2011 by announcing bankruptcy, during a time of tremendous upheaval at the orchestra. The decision drew harsh criticism, in part because the Orchestra’s financial endowment was one of the largest in the country. Many suggested the Orchestra filed bankruptcy simply as a maneuver to get out of its pension obligations to its musicians, as well as to force a 20% pay cut on them. A later report detailing all the luxurious perks in CEO Allison Vulgamore’s compensation package only reinforced the idea that the bankruptcy proceedings were a sham. Nevertheless, it went through.
Read the entire article at Maskoftheflowerprince.com
CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ASSOCIATION AND CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA MUSICIANS RATIFY NEW THREE-YEAR CONTRACT
(CHICAGO)—The musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO)—members of the Chicago Federation of Musicians (CFM), Local 10-208 of the American Federation of Musicians—and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) announce the ratification of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement, effective September 14, 2015, through September 16, 2018.
The members of the CSO and the CSOA Board of Trustees voted today to accept the terms of the new contract. The agreement includes wage and pension increases and scheduling provisions that will provide more flexibility during the season and on tour.
“The city of Chicago is so very fortunate to be the home of one of the world’s great orchestras,” said Jay Henderson, Chairman of the CSOA’s Board of Trustees. “The musicians’ dedication to performing at the highest artistic level makes the Chicago Symphony Orchestra an exceptional ensemble. This new agreement recognizes the preeminence of our Orchestra while ensuring long-term financial sustainability, and we appreciate the musicians’ willingness to work constructively in this process.”
“I have the greatest admiration for the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and am pleased we have come to an agreement on a new contract,” said Jeff Alexander, president of the CSOA. “The Orchestra serves the greater Chicago community and the world with extraordinary performances, recordings, broadcasts and educational activities. It is an honor to be part of this distinguished institution, and to work on a daily basis with the members of the CSO. I look forward to continuing to work together to advance the activities of this great Orchestra.”
“The Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are pleased that an agreement for a new contract with the Association has been reached,” said Stephen Lester, chairman of the CSO Members Committee. “We are optimistic that this agreement will lay a foundation for dynamic growth and continued success into the future.”
“For many decades, the CFM and CSOA have had a productive relationship,” commented Gary Matts, president of the Chicago Federation of Musicians. “The parties have always worked diligently to reach contract agreements reflecting the status of the CSO as one of the world’s great orchestras.”
Under the terms of the newly ratified agreement, CSO musicians’ annual salary will increase by 1% in the first contract year and 2% in each of the second and third years. The pension benefit will increase by 4.3% and there will be no changes to health care plans or contributions.
Negotiations between the CSOA and the CSO Musicians’ Negotiating Committee began in July of 2015. The previous collective bargaining agreement expired on Sunday, September 13, 2015. A tentative agreement was reached on Monday, September 28, 2015, and ratified by both parties on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. A mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), Javier Ramirez, assisted the parties in the final stages of negotiations.
Throughout the contract discussions, the CSO Musicians’ Negotiating Committee was represented by Chicago Federation of Musicians Local 10-208 President and Vice President Gary Matts and Terryl Lynn Jares, and legal counsel Kevin Case of Case Arts Law. The CSOA was represented by legal counsel Ross Eberly of DLA Piper.
The parties would like to express their gratitude to their Negotiating Committee members—for the CSO, musicians Stephen Lester, Chair of the CSO Members Committee; James Smelser, Vice Chair; Roger Cline; Robert Kassinger; and David Sanders—and for the CSOA, President Jeff Alexander, Vice Presidents Isabelle Goossen and Vanessa Moss, Kelly Cater, John Deverman and Sameed Afghani. The parties also extend special thanks to Mr. Ramirez and the FMCS.
A Positive Note-Things Aren’t as bad as you think! An interview with Bruce Ridge, Chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM)
by Melissa Trier Kirk, Lyric Opera Orchestra violist. As published in the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra Newsletter and Website.
I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Bruce Ridge, Chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM). Bruce, a bassist with the North Carolina Symphony and tireless advocate for the arts, has been travelling the country this summer, talking with musicians and spreading the positive news that charitable giving to the arts is at an all time high, and that many orchestras have emerged from the economic downturn of 2008 stronger than ever. This news runs counter to conventional wisdom, since what we often hear in the press is that U.S. orchestras are floundering and classical music is dying. Bruce’s message is that symphony and opera orchestras are more relevant than ever. Every year about this time he creates a list of positive developments for orchestras.
What inspired you to become an arts advocate?
Music fundamentally changed my life. My mother had a vinyl record collection that wasn’t so large but huge in variety including many classical recordings. As a child I had a terrible speech impediment and found school difficult. I loved the Beatles tune, “I Am the Walrus” which begins with classically hypnotic cello and bass lines, and Rachmaninoff ‘s “Variations on a Theme by Paganini”. In training my ear to replicate the music I was hearing I was able to overcome my speech impediment. Studies show that studying music as a child keeps students in school and improves mental health for folks well into their 80’s. My personal experience made me realize how critically important the arts are and that music is a force for good and beauty.
Why do you say that orchestras are more relevant than ever?
Symphony Orchestras build communities. Imagine the number of school children that the musicians of ICSOM reach on a daily basis. What I am seeing is that symphony orchestras are more necessary than ever. It is the nature of the press to write a negative story because that’s what sells. In 1970, UPI published a piece which predicted that 25 American orchestras were doomed to die. Today they are all still in business. The story that needs to be told especially coming out of the recession is how resilient American Orchestras are and how well they have survived. We rarely study our successes. Yes, some orchestras fail. According to American Express, 90% of new restaurants fail in their first year of business but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to eat! The fact is that charitable giving to the arts is at an all time high. In 2014, charitable giving to the arts was the fastest growing category of giving in America.
Talk more about the resilience you are seeing.
Many orchestras are thriving and advancing. The Cincinnati Symphony added $26 million to the endowment and will add 14 new musicians to the roster in the next few years. The simple fact is that people will give to organizations that inspire them and they don’t give to organizations that question their own sustainability. Orchestras that are putting out a positive message about what they mean to their community are seeing tremendous growth. People say that our audiences are aging, but the Cleveland Orchestra has doubled the number of students attending concerts in the past couple of years. They’ve done this by reaching out, inviting them in and creating a more appealing atmosphere. An organization that says it’s going to be around for along time serving its community into the future is far more likely to attract donations and audience members. No arts organization or business has ever solved its financial problems by offering an inferior product. Cutting and lowering our presence in the community doesn’t help.
Click here to read the entire interview at Chicagolyricoperaorchestra.com
By Tom Barnes August 14, 2015.
Humans have been making music since the beginning of time.
More recently, science has helped us start to understand it — everything from how its waves move through time and space to how it heals and empowers us. The more we discover, the more we recognize its importance and power. But the more we know, the more questions we have.
The past few years have produced some groundbreaking findings in our music knowledge. Here are seven of the most impressive:
1. Learning music has a positive effect on teenagers' brains.
When budgets are tight in America's schools, among the first areas cut are often music class offerings. But that is to the detriment of our children's futures, as a June study out of Northwestern University underlines.
Previous research has uncovered numerous benefits of music education for young children, including how it improves spatio-temporal reasoning, verbal skills and impulse control. The June study proves that musical training can have similarly powerful neurological impacts right up through adolescence.
Researchers found that music accelerates neural development and can improve phonological awareness language skills. "Although learning to play music does not teach skills that seem directly relevant to most careers, the results suggest that music may engender what educators refer to as 'learning to learn,'" Nina Kraus, senior study author and director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at the School of Communication, said, according to Medical Xpress.
Click here to read the complete article at Music.Mic
From the blog: Mask of the Flower Prince.
The nonsensical ravings of a singing archaeologist. Really.
by Scott Chamberlain
Ah, “sustainable.” It is a buzzword of the moment, showing up in discussions ranging from the environment, manufacturing, agriculture… even the arts. Of course, everyone wants to be sustainable, thinking that they, their product, or their service will stand the test of time and last forever.
Like all popular buzzwords there is value to it, and I applaud the notion that we have to look at both the long-range prospects and the long-range effects of the things we do.
But as often happens, the term has been misused by people who fundamentally misunderstand its meaning.
I’d like this willful misuse of the term to stop—particularly among arts organizations.
A Misunderstood Concept
Over the past few years, labor disputes have rocked a number of performing arts institutions, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Opera. And new labor disputes have continued to pop up like dandelions, in places like Hartford, Connecticut and Binghamton, New York. In each of these cases, management explicitly argued that the organizations’ operations, programming, and labor contracts were no longer “sustainable.” In their words, these things represented a huge financial drain on the organizations and were killing the organizations from the inside. Similarly, leaders of the San Diego Opera used this same rationale to liquidate the company altogether.
How so? Three reasons come to mind.
First, their understanding of “sustainable” was far too narrow, focusing exclusively on a particular, financial criterion. Second, they were inappropriately using an understanding of the term derived from the for-profit arena, and trying to graft it onto their non-profitorganizations. And finally, in each and every case, they tried to make their organizations “sustainable” by imposing a simplistic set of solutions to the problem: sharp cuts in the compensation packages of their union musicians and workers, plus an equally sharp reduction in programming.
With respect, this is no way to build sustainability. On the contrary, this a recipe for disaster.
I propose a different way of looking at sustainability—using more holistic criteria that can better ensure that arts organizations can, in fact, thrive into the future.
The Arts as Non-Profit Businesses
First, a couple of points. Many people seem to think that non-profits, and non-profit arts organizations in particular, are not businesses. They are. Absolutely. An ensemble like the Minnesota Orchestra employs around 90 musicians, a similar number of full-time staff, and a comparable number of part-time staff. These are real people working at real jobs, who pay taxes, have mortgages, buy cars and other durable goods, go to school, and in all sorts of ways contribute to the economy. Plus, the Orchestra not only generates revenue itself, but serves as a catalyst for other economic activities such as restaurants and parking. The City of Minneapolis estimates it lost $2.9 million in parking, dining and other business as a direct result of the Minnesota Orchestra lockout.
And it’s not just the Minnesota Orchestra that has an impact. Each year, the City of Minneapolis produces the Creative Index report that analyzes the economic impact of the creative sector, including music, theater, and the arts as a whole. In 2013, the arts contributed $830 million into the city’s economy, with $311 million coming specifically from non-profit arts organizations. Also, approximately 5% of the entire workforce of Minneapolis worked in the creative sector, primarily as photographers, musicians, and writers.
These are real numbers, and it is clear that arts organizations—and non-profits generally—play a critical role in the economy and in the community.
But at the same time, a point that I’ve hammered home again and again here on my blog is that non-profits have to be recognized as non-profit businesses. They are fundamentally different from for-profit enterprises, and thrive by following a very different business model. Based on my own experience as President of the Board at an arts non-profit (the Minnesota Chorale), I’ve found that leading a nonprofit requires a whole different type of skills and strategies than are needed in for-profit business.
Non-profits stand apart in that they are designed to meet a critical social need, or provide an important service to the community. They are driven by a stated mission, and their success or failure is ultimately determined by how effectively they live up to that mission. Yes, there absolutely is a business and financial aspect to doing this, but the business and financial strategies and decisions are always in service of the outcomes, not the profits.
In recognition of this special status, the IRS grants non-profits 501 (c) (3) status, which creates a special tax status and allows them to fundraise to support their operations. This is key—a non-profit that engages in fundraising has very different set of income streams than a for-profit business, and has to act accordingly.
Fundraising is not a sign that the organization’s business model has failed, and it is not a last-minute, shameful attempt to balance the books. On the contrary, it is an integral part of the organization’s business model and overall financial strategy.
So again—to be clear, an arts organization like the Minnesota Orchestra or the Minnesota Chorale is a business. But we cannot lose sight that it is a non-profit business. And that changes the equation as to what makes it “sustainable.”
Click here to read the entire article at Mask of the Flower Prince
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