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Seasons greetings

Seasons greetings to you all – Member and Associate orchestras, and readers from Australia and around the world.

As the year draws to a close we are looking inwards, to consider Symphony Services International’s wonderful Artist Development program. The six Australian symphony orchestras are justifiably proud of this wide-ranging program which supports developing composers, performers and conductors. In 2014 we have researched the best the world has to offer in each of these areas and are making changes to our own offerings accordingly.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to our outgoing Course Director of the Conductor Development program, British conductor Christopher Seaman. The program is now firmly established at a high international level after 11 years under Christopher’s inspirational leadership. From 2016 the orchestras’ chief conductors will become involved in the teaching of the program and consequently Christopher will not continue as Course Director after 2015. Next year will be a celebration of his wonderful contribution and I am delighted to announce an annual scholarship to be awarded in his name to a young conductor who shows great potential, to be used in a manner that furthers their training and/or career. More can be found about both our future plans for the Artist Development program, and about Christopher’s wonderful contribution, below.

Gordon Williams explores a recent surge in interest in choral and a cappella singing both in Australia and the United States in his article titled The Pop of Vox. Young men, in particular, are flocking to join choirs and Gordon investigates the phenomenon while wondering whether it will change patterns in audience attendance for orchestras and other music presenters around the world.

Read also about our recent Summit held for orchestral librarians, attended by delegates from Australia, New Zealand and Asia and featuring discussions about the digital presentation of music as well as a variety of other topics.

As usual, our Speed Read brings you news from around the world, and our featured Member orchestra is the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The team at Symphony Services International wishes all our readers a safe and happy festive season.

The Pop of Vox: the rise of voice

Is singing in choirs now the best way to pick up girls? Gordon Williams considers the worldwide revival of a cappella among the young. Read all about it.

A thriving Artist Development program – what really counts?

CEO Kate Lidbetter looks back on 17 years of Artist Development activities which have furthered the careers of countless Australian conductors, composers and performers. You can read her article here.

Asia-Pacific Orchestral Librarians’ Summit 2014

Just a couple of weeks after world leaders descended on Brisbane for the G20 Summit, orchestral librarians from around Australia and overseas convened for the Asia-Pacific Orchestral Librarians’ Summit 2014 on the 29th of November. Vi King Lim, Library Manager at Symphony Services International, reports on the event.

Featured Member Orchestra – Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1932 by the ABC, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has evolved into one of the world’s finest orchestras as Sydney has become one of the world’s great cities. Resident at the Sydney Opera House, the SSO gives around 200 performances throughout Sydney and NSW each year, and its international tours have earned it worldwide recognition. Read more.

TOP TIP – revisions to new music

This edition’s Top Tip comes directly from the panel discussion on “Revisions in Contemporary Music” at the recent Asia-Pacific Orchestral Librarians’ Summit. In contemporary music the most recent revision of a work, incorporating all changes the composer has made since its premiere, is usually the definitive version to be performed. Occasionally scores and parts which are out of date or inconsistent with each other remain undiscovered until the first rehearsal, creating potentially big problems. Here are some tips for orchestral librarians to try to avoid these situations:

  • If you suspect that a work may have been revised, ask the publisher or hire agent specifically to provide the latest version when placing your order.
  • When the materials arrive, note whether a revision date is indicated on the score and parts.
  • Contact the composer to confirm whether the ordered materials contain the latest revisions.
  • Always allow plenty of time to check the materials thoroughly for any inconsistencies and errors.

Speed Read

Here’s another idea for ‘saving’ classical music.

Plus an article on how one Australian orchestra is saving its musicians’ ears.

And, finally, an interview with a music education administrator who ‘isn’t about maintaining the status quo’ but helping students discover what 21st century musicians need.