Tag Archives | Australian Discovery Orchestra

Orchestral Musicians: Evangelists For Our Art or Violin Operators?

Catherine_Arlidge

Catherine Arlidge

This is the title of a wonderful Op-ed. piece in the Fall, 2015 issue of’ ‘Symphony‘, the magazine of the League of American Orchestras.  It’s worth reading and I suggest you do.  What I want to draw your attention to here, is just one brilliant paragraph on p.23 of the article in question.  Written by Catherine Arlidge, sub-principal second violin with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, she offers an alternative to orchestra governance models (governed and self-goverened) by analogy to the John Lewis retail chain of stores in the U.K. (John Lewis is a store somewhat like David Jones in Australia).

Catherine suggests: “However could there be a third way, a “John Lewis” vision of our U.K. orchestras following the example of the successful John Lewis retail chain, where players and staff are employed and are members? There may not be profits to share, but there would be a vision to share and a collective sense of ownership. If we could combine the best qualities of both orchestral governance models, we could create a structure that serves our art better.  Looking to the future, one key factor of sustained solvency for our orchestras will be “invest-ability.”

With the imminent website launch of the Australian Discovery Orchestra (ADO) on Tuesday this coming week (October 6), Catherine has just outlined the ‘exact’ long-term governance model aspirations for the ADO – not as a venture that relies on Government hand-outs or the strictures of Not-For-Profit structure – but an organisation that is totally entrepreneurial with high-level aspirations of “invest-ability”.  The only difference to Catherine’s model is that the ADO is made up of ‘members’ (from the outset) who are not employed in full-time orchestral practice.

So Catherine, I am a fan, not only of your far-reaching vision but because your ideas are born of being a highly experienced (and highly credentialed too, I might add) orchestral musician, and not orchestral administrator who will only think inside the box (because the box is the walls in which they operate). Kudos.

More soon,

Kevin

Forthcoming Events And The Launch of Something Very Close To My Heart

Australian Discovery OrchestraSo, I’ve just realised that I haven’t written a post since July 8 – which even for me must be a record of sorts.  Well, I did go on vacation for three weeks, and did have to move to escape from an insane landlord here in NY, but otherwise I’m not sure what my excuse is?

Oh yeah, I remember now, I’ve been planning a couple of great new projects (actually I’m starting to sound like a character in Andy McDermott’s ‘Nina Wilde’ action novels – which are just just by and by, a great read, not to mention a respite from reading more serious tomes on different aspects of music and theatre).  I digress.

Let’s start with something very close to my heart.  Yes, the logo on the upper left.  In a very few weeks time will see the launch of the new Australian Discovery Orchestra.  What no URL link Kevin?  Apparently the web site is still under development by the management team, so can’t go there right now.  But I can tell you (cue fanfare Mr. Stokowski please!) that I have been appointed Principal Conductor.

The ADO will give two concerts a year (actually three in 2016, but more on that later).  So how did this all come about?  Well a few folk who had some involvement with a previous orchestra project that I had put together in Australia, asked me whether I’d be prepared to help them put together a bigger and better version of the previous enterprise. Who can say ‘no’ to such a request!  And the reason is this: I fervently believed in and nurtured the previous orchestra for several years and it (and by this I mean the orchestral musicians who performed with the orchestra) achieved tremendous results – notably in a very short space of time.  But most importantly, those orchestral players suddenly had opportunities to perform that otherwise previously did not exist.  And that’s why it is so important to me.  Keep and eye out, as I will write more about this when the ADO web site goes live.  It’s going to be great! Continue Reading →