Two striking visions of the future came my way last week. First was a presentation by Elizabeth Merritt, the keynote speaker at the League of American Orchestras National Conference in Saint Louis, themed “Imagining 2023.” The second came from Claire Chase in the form of her commencement address to students at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. More
League President and CEO Jesse Rosen delivered the following remarks on Tuesday, June 18 at the Opening Session of the League of American Orchestras’ 2013 National Conference in St. Louis.
Don’t you just love the Gateway Arch? What a stunning symbol of optimism and the pioneering spirit of America! It is indeed a gateway through which we create our future, and a shining upward surge toward new heights. Eero Saarinen, who designed this arch, also designed the wonderful Kleinhans Music Hall, home to the Buffalo Philharmonic. Finland has given us great architects as well as great musicians. More
Are innovation and experimentation becoming the norm for orchestras, rather than the exception? This is the provocative topic to be covered by Elizabeth Merritt during her keynote address launching this year’s League of American Orchestras National Conference in St. Louis on June 18. The session, “Imagining 2023,” is the first of two sessions featuring Merritt, founding director of the Center for the Future of Museums, a think tank that generates ideas, proposals, reports, and dreams about what museums might be. In the Conference’s closing session on June 20, “Taking It Home,” Merritt will participate in an interactive panel discussion during which orchestras will reflect on what their organizations might look like in 2023. More
When faced with a project that appears a bit too ambitious, sometimes all it takes is a little extra push. That certainly seems to be the story behind the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s May 8 Spring for Music Festival program at Carnegie Hall, which pairs Russian composer Giya Kancheli’s “Morning Prayers” from Life Without Christmas with his elder countryman Reinhold Glière’s massive Symphony No. 3, “Ill’ya Muromets.” Naxos had previously tried to enlist the BPO to record Glière’s 110-minute-plus work, Music Director JoAnn Falletta recalls, “and we had been hesitant only because of the size and endurance of the piece.” But keeping in mind the Spring for Music imperative of adventurous programming, and the BPO’s affinity for Russian music, Falletta decided the Glière was the perfect piece to play to the orchestra’s strengths while also challenging them. More
In St. Petersburg, Russia, the long-awaited opening of the new Mariinsky Theatre this week has the city in a bit of a frenzy. The theater has been ten years in the making, and in addition to the giddy opening-week excitement there is a feeling of palpable relief that it’s finally finished. There are also quite natural and inevitable comparisons with the beautiful green original Mariinsky Theatre, just across the Kryukov canal, with all of that building’s history and splendor. This modern, more ordinary-looking hall serves as a second, additional performance space for operas and ballets by the Mariinsky company, and it is a more practical space. In fact, there has been a lot of discussion in St. Petersburg on whether the design is too plain-looking or not. As company director Valery Gergiev and the hall’s architect, Jack Diamond, explained repeatedly, the idea of the hall is to feel comfortable and not too fancy, and keep all the excitement focused on the acoustics and on the stage: they want something that works. More