“I’m about to turn the orchestra world on its head and spin it around a few times.”
Stephen P Brown
The current state of orchestras in the USA is embarrassingly unsound, to say the least. The Western World’s orchestral industry has been decimated by highly inflated costs and drastically reduced public interest. Orchestras all over the world are exploring options for future survival, a few unsuccessfully. I believe the basic foundation blocks upon which the “Industry” or “Establishment” has been built have been cracked for some time and are now crumbling under the weight of so many bandages. Whilst in college some 20+ years ago, I warned of orchestras failing after the turn of the century. No-one wanted to hear it then.
Considering all the talk I’ve been witness to in the past five years, the Industry is simply re-redressing its wounds with dirty bandages. A few brave souls are applying ointment, which will not have much impact on a broken bone, but their efforts are recognized and truly appreciated. A handful of orchestras are re-experiencing momentary respite from their woes, again.
I believe we need a fundamentally new structured approach to the whole thing:
- Any orchestra, service or product can only exist if it produces income.
- Income comes only from those who appreciate what music does to us individually and socially.
- We must educate future decision makers on how music affects humans directly.
- We should approach such education through performance, as well as other media.
- We must do what makes people feel good about themselves – all people.
The goal should be to share music with other humans, not sustain an orchestra, employ musicians, stroke our egos using a community resource, or worse: fearfully hanging on to the previous century’s way of life and expectations.
I believe it is time to start from scratch. I believe there is a sufficient pool of talent (administrative and musical) keen enough to try something brand new. I believe we should explore what that new approach should be, and implement it.
The World Orchestra Summit intends to bring together a carefully selected qualified population of those who have an existing interest in orchestral music to consider a defined model. Ideas will be shared that will greatly impact their lives and if they choose, the lives of their orchestras and audiences. A handful may want to jump on the new Orchestra train as it leaves the station on its inaugural journey.
- It’s an arts conference like none before it.
- It’s an opportunity to shake off readjusting, revamping, redoing, revisiting, reorganizing, regrouping, reconstructing, and re-anything.
- It’s a safe testing ground to see if there is actual commitment to implement new options, or if the Establishment is so ingrained in the orchestra world’s mind that it is actually just trendy talking/ saying the right things.
- It is an opportunity to begin with a blank sheet of paper and build a fresh, community- society- heart-based tool for reconnecting hard working, leisure seeking people with that inexplicable element of music that makes us laugh & cry and gives us goose bumps.
Are you ready for the World Orchestra Summit?
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