Alan is taking just the kind of approach more and more orchestras are looking to these days. He represents a particular new-music, Gen-X sensibility, something even the Chicago Symphony is reaching for [...]
However, the bottom line is that the success of any new initiative — and the definition of “success” is fodder for a blog post of its own — depends in no small part on the organization’s motivation for launching the initiative in the first place. Too often, such attempts seem born of a vague sense that New is good, or, more cynically, of an idea that New gets funding, or, more desperately, of a realization that if something doesn’t change, the organization is sunk. But if New doesn’t fit in with your organization’s mandate, it’s not going to get you very far [...]
So which orchestras appear to be doing the best? The ones that seem to have sound artistic vision and energy: the Los Angeles Philharmonic, for instance. The ones who have established a genuine relationship to their communities [...] Then there are the ones that genuinely represent different models [...]
All of which invites a few simple questions: what qualifies as a genuinely “different model?” Not just for orchestras and performing arts organizations, but anyone? And how “different” can you get without disassociating from your mission? It seems like a tough — albeit, beneficial, thought-provoking — line to walk.