Some thoughts on Artistic Vision

Artistic vision is closely linked in my mind to engaging a community and building an audience or audiences.  Orchestras are the recipients of generous private and public funding.  Because of this must mirror the community in which they reside, and must connect to their communities in meaningful ways. 

Paramount in this endeavour is that an orchestra must adhere to the principle of excellence in musical performance with absolute integrity.  This is the sine qua non of an orchestra’s existence.

The second tenet is repertoire.  For me an orchestra must be both a museum as well as a contemporary art gallery:  a repository of the great cannon of music, but also attuned to the vital music of today. And I have found that by building the trust of the community and developing that trust through artistic choices of great integrity, an orchestra and its music director can lead its audience’s taste almost anywhere to the greater good of both the orchestra and the community. 

I also believe that orchestras can engage the community and build audiences through education, community outreach and events such as popular concerts. Efforts such as these bring in new demographics to an orchestra’s support base – provided that they are of exceptional artistic excellence. 

It is my belief that “cross-over” takes place when audiences are exposed to new sounds, but in some ways this is not the main point. Instead, I believe the more areas of the community that we can touch in terms of quality of life – presenting art at its most profound level – the more relevant an orchestra will become, and this has a positive and renewing, dynamic effect on both orchestra and community. 

In this day and age when symphonic music is thought by some to anacronistic, it is vital to build and maintain loyal adherents, and I believe this is best achieved through artistic excellence, skillful choice of repertoire, and education, outreach and special events.  Through these things, an orchestra cannot help but be viewed as relevant, necessary and integral to the well being to its community.

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