Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra - Sound Investment
Collective commissioning brings composers closer to their audience
Sound Investment was launched in 2001 as a way of developing dedicated funding for commissioning projects and to offer culturally curious people a glimpse inside an artist's creative process. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra adopted the basic format - and name - of the program from the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, which had started its group a year or so earlier. Now in its fifth year, this program continues to give members the rare opportunity to create a legacy in music, and to watch a new work develop from the composer's initial inspiration to the finished product - a world premiere.
How it works:
Sound Investment members, aka investors or co-commissioners each contribute $250 toward the composer's fee and production costs of the premiere performances. In return, each investor and a guest are invited to attend three composer-commissioner "salons," held over the course of the orchestra's concert season.
- First, investors meet the composer and talk about his or her background, influences and concept of the new work.
- At the second meeting, a few members of the orchestra come in to play through short excerpts of the work-in-progress and share their initial impressions, giving the composer a rare chance for immediate feedback on a still-developing work.
- Finally, investors sit in on a rehearsal of the piece just a few days before the premiere - usually the season finale concert - then have a conversation with the composer to discuss thoughts on the finished piece and share their reactions. Investors also receive a pair of tickets to one of the performances, and their names are listed in the program insert, on a lobby sign, and on the dedication page of the printed score.
Since its inception, the size of the investment group has grown dramatically, from 28 member households that first season, to 78 (127 individuals) today. More than three-quarters of last season's participants re-invested in 2005-06. The majority are solicited by a direct mailing targeted at about 2,500 subscribers, donors, single ticket buyers and other "extended family."
The Sound Investment program pays real dividends for audiences and orchestras:
- The thrill of getting to know an emerging contemporary composer,
- The excitement of watching an original idea evolve from conception into art,
- The satisfaction of presenting the finished composition to the public,
- And above all, the knowledge that the Sound Investment members made it all possible.
Because Sound Investment engages listeners on a profound level with those who compose, conduct and perform music, it has not only provided funds to support commissioning, but proved to be an effective vehicle for broadening and deepening LACO's base of supporters.
"You may worry about stale repertoire, shrinking audiences, the competition for time and attention, the lack of music education…you're probably not just interested in classical music's survival, you're interested in its relevance to contemporary life. And you may wonder what's in it for you. Every year, you're bringing a new work to life, a work created by a living person who weaves his or her contemporary thoughts and current inspirations into music created for a modern chamber orchestra...And what's in it for you? You get your name in print. And not just in the program, oh no. Your name is on the score. And if anyone should order up copies for their orchestras, they'll see it, too."
- Chrys Wu, Sound Investor since 2004
For Further Info Contact: www.laco.org/soundinvestment.html