I think this is one of the finest keynote addresses I’ve heard in the orchestral music sector. An address at the League of American Orchestras’ 2015 Conference in Cleveland, Jesse Rosen, president and CEO outlines his ‘top-ten’ critical issues (acknowledged reference to David Letterman) as the future imperatives of American Symphony Orchestras.
Given the breadth of contextual 360-deg. understanding that Mr. Rosen exhibits, it is a pity that the Tier-A orchestra managements in the U.S. do not attend this component of the League’s annual conference; having their own private conference immediately proceeding this event. The pity is that much of what Mr. Rosen proposes with alacrity and abiding sense, is clearly falling on deaf ears with some of the ‘majors’. How can you tell? Just look at their websites for programmng in the coming year. Conversely, look at the Tier-A orchestras that are clearly starting to sharpen their pencils in committing to true community engagement and re-invigorating their repertoire choices (i.e., NYPhil. stand-up and take a bow). You can almost hear the life being breathed back into these institutions as they shrug off the accumulated dust of tired old war-horse programming in favor of more balanced, curated, and audience-centric choices of music from which to choose.
Moreover, it is fascinating that the greater buy-in to evolving orchestra practice seems to come from the lower-tier orchestras possessing less resources, less financial security but a more demonstrable and energised will to evoke change. These orchestra are serious champions and they extend from Nebraska to Alabama and everywhere in between.