Mystery score

Mystery score

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Conductors Yakking

A press release from San Francisco Symphony brings the news that, as part of the American Orchestras series, we'll get to hear directly from some of the music directors.

Oh, joy. We've heard a variety of from-the-podium yakking from MTT over the years - and by variety, I mean, sometimes good, sometimes not - and at one panel at the San Francisco meeting of the music critics' association, he was in outer space somewhere. Most of the time, I'd just as soon music directors stuck to conducting.

Still, what SFS is proposing is interesting: a dialog about the orchestra in the 21st century. Now, it seems to me that it should be self-evident that "playing the music of our time" should be a major goal of any major orchestra: championing the living and recently-deceased, introducing new works into the repetory, commission new works. 

But we should not look to whatever people say as making that kind of commitment. Here's what the press release has to say about the first three speakers, Gustavo Dudamel, MTT, and Alan Gilbert:
Gustavo Dudamel’s keynote conversation Sunday, October 23, “Talking About Community,” kicks off a two-concert residency of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Davies Symphony Hall October 23 and 24. Michael Tilson Thomas and Assink open a discussion of creativity on Saturday, March 17, 2012, in conjunction with San Francisco Symphony’s month-long American Mavericks festival of adventurous American music. Alan Gilbert initiates a discussion on the role of live music in a world of changing audience habits Sunday, May 13, and leads the New York Philharmonic for two concerts May 13 and 14. Composers John Adams and Mason Bates take part in a conversation and discussion following the MTT keynote during the American Mavericks festival event March 17. 
Dudamel will talk about El Sistema;  MTT will talk about the not-very-mavericky, mostly-dead composers featured in American Mavericks; Gilbert will talk about stuff we've been kicking around in the blogosphere for the last 7 years. I hope he hasn't been talking to Greg Sandow too much.

Okay, I'm joking. I'll put the full details about these appearances after the cut; they're more interesting than I suggest above because of the context. But I am imagining a talk by Franz Welser-Most with a Q&A session. How many times could we work the name "Don Rosenberg" into our questions, I wonder?



AMERICAN ORCHESTRA FORUM: Talking About Community     
Sunday, October 23, 2-5 p.m.
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco

Please note: This three-hour event is comprised of multiple sessions, with breaks in between.

Program: How have orchestras adapted to serve and respond to changing communities? How has the role of the orchestra as a civic partner in education evolved in the past century? What is an orchestra’s responsibility to its home city?

Spotlight #1: Jesse Rosen, President/CEO, League of American Orchestras, in conversation with Neil Harris, Professor of History and Art History, University of Chicago; moderated by Mark Clague, professor of music, University of Michigan.

Spotlight #2: Amos Yang, Assistant Principal Cellist, San Francisco Symphony, and alumnus, San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra; in conversation with Afa Sadykhly Dworkin, Artistic Director, Sphinx Organization, Detroit; moderated by journalist Steven Winn
Roundtable discussion:  Spotlight speakers, with Mark Clague and Steven Winn

Keynote Conversation:  Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director, Los Angeles Philharmonic and alumnus, El Sistema, Venezuela, in conversation with Deborah Borda, Executive Director, Los Angeles Philharmonic  (Note:  Dudamel’s appearance will begin at approximately 4:30)

Tickets: These events are free; no tickets are required. Advance registration is recommended at www.symphonyforum.org.

Concert tickets: The Los Angeles Philharmonic performs October 23 and October 24 at Davies Symphony Hall; limited tickets sold separately at www.sfsymphony.org.


AMERICAN ORCHESTRA FORUM: Talking About Creativity     
Saturday, March 17, 2012, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco

Please note: This three-hour program is comprised of multiple sessions, with breaks in between.

Program:   How do orchestras balance tradition and innovation? How has changing technology shaped how artists think about music, how they are trained, and how we experience it? How do classically trained musicians and composers straddle genres? What have been some of the unique contributions of the Bay Area to musical creativity?

Keynote Conversation:  Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director, San Francisco Symphony, in conversation with Brent Assink, Executive Director, San Francisco Symphony

Spotlight #1: Mason Bates, composer, in conversation with John Adams, composer, moderated by Mark Clague

Spotlight #2:  Margo Drakos, cellist and chief operating officer, InstantEncore, in conversation with special guest TBA; moderated by Steven Winn

Roundtable discussion:  Spotlight speakers with Mark Clague and Steven Winn

Tickets: These events are free; no tickets are required. Advance registration is recommended at www.symphonyforum.org.

Concert tickets: The San Francisco Symphony performs the world premieres March 15 through March 17 of John Adams’ Absolute Jest and Mason Bates’ Mass Transmission with pianist Emanuel Ax and the St. Lawrence String Quartet as part of the American Mavericks festival; tickets sold separately at www.sfsymphony.org

AMERICAN ORCHESTRA FORUM: Talking About Audiences    
Sunday, May 13, 2012, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco

Please note: This three-hour program is comprised of multiple sessions, with breaks in between.

Program: The audience experience at an orchestra concert is steeped in tradition. How can the art form evolve with changing social norms without changing its very essence? How has the way the audience participates in a live music experience changed, and how should it influence our future? Are there models outside performing arts that can inform our choices?

Keynote Conversation:  Alan Gilbert, Music Director, New York Philharmonic, in conversation with Mark Clague

Spotlight #1: Sunil Iyengar, Director of Research & Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts, in conversation with Elizabeth Scott, VP, Major League Baseball Productions, and conductor; moderated by Mark Clague

Spotlight #2:  Jonathan Berger, composer and professor of music, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University in conversation with special guest TBA; moderated by Steven Winn

Roundtable:  Spotlight speakers with Mark Clague and Steven Winn

Tickets: These events are free; no tickets are required. Advance registration is recommended at http://www.symphonyforum.org.

Concert tickets: The New York Philharmonic performs May 13 and 14 at Davies Symphony Hall; tickets sold separately at www.sfsymphony.org.

5 comments:

Brian said...

I know this is off topic, but since you mention Dudamel...

Mark Swed of the LA Times opened his review of the gala opening of the LA Phil season this week with the following, "Gustavo Dudamel’s third season as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic -– his most ambitious in terms of premieres and special projects and by far the most venturesome of any orchestra anywhere at the moment –- began Tuesday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall by seemingly playing it safe."

Is it just me, or is this nearly delusional?

Lisa Hirsch said...

I have to look over their season before I attempt to answer that question. :)

calimac said...

At least it's separate sessions from the concerts, so the concertgoer doesn't have to sit through it.

CK Dexter Haven said...

Brian, I read that and thought similar things:

"his most ambitious in terms of premieres and special projects" -- OK, maybe.

"by far the most venturesome of any orchestra anywhere at the moment" -- even I think it's a stretch to say "by far"

Lisa Hirsch said...

SFS has a pretty good season, for example.