Building the Exponential Orchestra

A debate on empowering musicians

David Bahanovich
Zach Manzi by Even Saddler
Sophie Lewis by Hall Photographic
John Kieser by Gregory F. Reed
  • event type:Classical:NEXT 17 Conference
  • date:19 May 2017
  • time:10:30 - 11:15
  • city/area:Rotterdam
  • venue:De Doelen, Conference Room 1 (fourth floor)
  • country:Netherlands
  • event submitted by:Piranha Arts

Chaired by John Kieser (Canada/US), executive vice president and provost, New World Symphony
with David Bahanovich (US/UK), assistant director of music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Zach Manzi (US), clarinet fellow, New World Symphony
Sophie Lewis (UK), chief executive, Sinfonia Cymru

Is the future of orchestras dependent on allowing their members artistic freedom to create/curate, form sub-ensembles and perform in appropriate venues? Orchestras think linear - one group of musicians that perform together for one audience - ignoring their greatest asset - the musicians.

Is a better model to split the orchestra into many different ensembles for certain weeks, give artistic freedom to create/curate, thereby exponentially increasing productivity? Could this result in greater job satisfaction, a closer connection to communities, funding, bigger audiences and peace in labour? Or is this the beginning of the end of the great orchestra, destroying the cohesiveness of the group, and financially unsustainable?

We see musician-entrepreneurs creating their own ventures. Are these lost opportunities to the orchestra to which they belong? How do we train musicians for this new world?