Welcome to another issue of The Podium! We at Symphony Services International are catching our collective breath as we reflect on our recent Orchestral Summit. In mid-August, 50 delegates from Australia and New Zealand gathered in Sydney to hear guest speakers Brent Assink (Executive Director of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra) and Joseph La Posta (State Operating and Major Projects Manager, NSW/ACT AFL).
These speakers were both inspiring; Brent gave insights into not only his own orchestra but the future of orchestras in general and ways we can keep our artform fresh and exciting. He noted that communities in the United States have empowered orchestras to musically educate their children, and the challenges and opportunities this poses. Joseph motivated the audience with his infectious enthusiasm for AFL (despite growing up a pianist, he found himself in management of one of the biggest Australian team sports!) and we learned about the audience development strategies the organisation has used to grow participation and fans. Read Brent Assink’s keynote address.
Brent also led two hands-on workshops covering “mission creep” and how one particular American orchestra failed as a result; and the recent American Orchestras Forum, an event that celebrated the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s centennial season with a fascinating series of concerts and conversations about orchestras in the 21st century.
Delegates also participated in Constituency meetings - CEOs, Artistic Administrators and Human Resources/Operations personnel took advantage of the wonderful venue at Macquarie Bank to discuss a range of issues. Symphony Services International is very grateful to both the Macquarie Group Foundation and also to the Australia Council for their support of this important event, as well as to Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski for launching the Summit.
Features in this newsletter include Gordon Williams’ investigation of collaborative, experimental ‘hyperopera’ in Los Angeles; ex-pat Raff Wilson’s musings on life with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and our usual round of tips, information from SSI and clippings from around the world.
I hope you enjoy this edition.
Chief Executive Officer