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IDEAS | On Education and Outreach by Orchestras

21cmediagroup / 15th April 2015 / News

“The world of orchestras has reacted to external forces and embraced education and outreach, including non-traditional programming. This shift away from merely presenting concerts to becoming organizations that think of education as central is fairly universal. There are a number of factors that pushed this trend: one for sure was the desire to make up for the dwindling presence of music in schools, particularly in the States. Cynically, there was also a period some 30 years ago when education and multicultural outreach was where a lot of the grant money was. Happily, we have moved beyond those superficial motivations and are now in a later chapter of this trend: now virtually all orchestras have educational wings and have made access central to their very missions.
The potential for music and orchestras to be a significant force in education and even social change is now firmly established and the need to be forceful and proactive in those areas is no longer a question of if, but how.”

“Orchestras need the best musicians—that will never change. But what is asked and expected of these musicians is constantly evolving. Just as the educational and outreach efforts of orchestras only achieve full resonance when they connect meaningfully and organically with who the musicians are and what they do, musicians in today’s orchestras are only doing their jobs fully when they understand and invest in their expanded portfolio that is demanded by the wider definition of what an orchestra is. I want to see orchestra musicians held up as heroes in their communities—both for their brilliance as musicians, but also for how they use that talent to touch the lives of those around them through music.”

Excerpt from a lecture at the Royal Philharmonic Society, London, UK – April 15, 2015