Tag Archives | Kevin Purcell (Musical America)

Changes To This Website

Big_Change2019 is likely to be a watershed year for many people in the orchestra world. The industry has been positioning itself for several years now to be prepared, at least partly, for the seismic changes to event curatorship and diverging patterns of audience take-up for Classical Music and Opera.

Orchestras and Opera companies are struggling.  This is an established fact for significant numbers of organisations around the world, not the least in Australia. There is very low audience retention and new audience capture for these increasingly arcane artforms as perceived by the post-Boomer generations.  There is a tipping point for where existing audiences and no new audiences change the balance in perceived wisdoms about how the live concert classical music business can be sustainably maintained.

This tipping point is likely to be felt first as a tremor and then more harmfully beginning in 2019-20.  At least that is my prediction.

So, I have decided that we should similarly make further concerted and focused changes to this website from early in 2019.  I’ve also decided that it would be beneficial to cross-reference more of my work with the Australian Discovery Orchestra here as well moving forward.

This has meant abandoning some approaches to information on this site we have previously always provided to help other conductors, composers and musicians in general, in favour of highlighting how some of the more seismic events referred to above can be used by orchestras and performing arts organisations to their advantage – and hopefully ameliorate some of the challenges we will all be facing.

I wish everyone joyous and peaceful Season’s Greetings.  See you next year.


Feliz Navidad & A New Year Resolution

NYC_SkylineWhilst being privileged to take my son up to the top of The Empire State building in NYC the other day, I was watching the late afternoon sun sparkle on the water looking downtown toward the Statue of Liberty.  I was struck by the observation that, in that fleeting moment, all the elements were lining up for a fabulous photo; one simply having to wait for that moment when the effects of light and water intermingled to give the optimal photographic result.

Synonymously, it reminds me of the methodology of rehearsing orchestras to elicit the best performance. Making performances is little different to en plein air painting wherein the canvas objects are subject to shifting light densities.  Timing when to put the artist’s brush to the canvas is key to the artform – and what an artform!  For orchestral conductors, the deft touch needed to paint using the inestimable skill of orchestral players to achieve the perfect result is very difficult indeed.  Too often, as conductors, we fail subsequently asking the orchestra musicians to come back tomorrow whilst we practise our artistic insights over again.

My favorite conducting experiences this year have been with the Australian Discovery Orchestra for live-stream concerts.  My least favorite experiences – conducting university orchestras of varying abilities in the USA.  Someone questioned me recently why I found these student-level orchestras an unenviable proposition to work with, assuming my answer would in all likelihood be about the respective orchestras’ technical shortcomings. But that isn’t the problem. Continue Reading →

Prague Quadrennial 2015 Transmedia Workshop Announced



I’m very excited to announce that my SpaceLab workshop at the 2015 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (June 18-28) is now live.

The workshop is: Crossmedia: Design and Implementation of New Music-Theatre Projects


In the workshop, I’ll examine the possibilities of extending live storytelling through a transmedia approach to design and dissemination of new music-theatre projects. Distilled through an examination of still emerging trends in crossmedia practice, the workshop will explore the methodology and implementation for re-imagining pervasive, stage-based, storytelling online, to co-exist with and enhance the live performance experience. Utilising a range of approaches to distributive narrative, the workshop will cover both the design and use of effective digital tools that are available to enhance primary devised dramatic material. Examples in live performance integration, remediated, and time-shifted interactive elements will be provided and discussed.

It will be taking enrolments starting in early February.

The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space is the largest scenography event in the world that explores a wide range of scenographic practices – from stage design and costume design to lighting design, sound design and new scenographic practices such as site-specific, applied scenography, urban performance, costume as performance, and much more. In the last decade, the Prague Quadrennial has developed from periodical exhibition event into organization providing international platform for continuous projects focusing on scenography education, exhibitions, exchanges, publications, commissioned projects, international symposia as well as permanent electronic scenography newsletter, library and art school world database. The main theme of the Prague Quadrennial 2015 is SharedSpace: Music Weather Politics

Slight Restructure of This Blog and New Book in Preparation


Larry Hochman (Orchestrator/Composer)

Good morning!  Well, I’ve decided that I am going to re-structure this blog series into several different categories.  I’ve mulled over this issue for some time, but finally Web Designer-extraordinaire, Chris Stevens, and I  have decided on a ‘restructure’ plan.  Its not a question of what we intend, but how we intend to make some minor changes to information retrieval and flow.  Why do this?  Because Chris (mostly Chris!) and I have been looking an evaluating web sites together now for going on eight years.  How time flies. Continue Reading →