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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.

Kate Lidbetter
Chief Executive Officer

2013 Orchestral Summit

Experimental City

When people think Los Angeles, they often think Hollywood and ‘Hollywood’ tends to be a byword for glitz and superficiality. But Los Angeles is also a home to musical experimentation. The big buzz last year was Crescent City, the groundbreaking operatic production in an old warehouse in Atwater Crossing. Gordon Williams has the full story.

A Postcard from Asia’s World City

China is undoubtedly the place to be for classical music, according to Raff Wilson, formerly Artistic Administration Manager of the Sydney Symphony, and now Director of Artistic Planning for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. In this article he describes his experiences.

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra is Australia's national baroque orchestra and 2014 marks the 25th year since the Brandenburg's establishment. Under the charismatic leadership of the Orchestra's Co-founder and Artistic Director Paul Dyer AO, the Brandenburg features the finest period musicians from around Australia. Learn more.

Speed read

Some more interesting articles from the world’s papers.

League of American Orchestras’ Jesse Rosen on provocative choices for orchestras.

Ivan Hewett explains why young people care about classical music.

...and a Pulitzer Prize-winner asks ‘Why write symphonies?’

The Lowdown on Downloading Sheet Music

Does downloading sheet music from the internet really save you time and money? Unless you’re downloading from a publisher’s website, you may be breaking the law if the music is in copyright. The quality of scanned scores and parts is often poor and there is the cost and effort involved in printing and binding them, especially an entire orchestral set with 40 to 60 parts. Downloaded music also invariably ends up in the garbage bin if the music is no longer needed after the performance and there is nowhere to store it. By hiring music, you’ll not only be friendlier to the environment, but you’ll be using legal copies of the music in the latest available editions printed and bound in a format optimised for performance. Most hire materials will already be marked with bowings which will save valuable rehearsal time. Visit the SSML’s online catalogue to browse our extensive collection.