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Taking a Break

I may return to posting, but, for now, I'll be packing it in. It's been harder than I thought to keep blogging up since moving to Los Angeles and taking on a new job at the Colburn School.

If you want to get in touch, or just want to keep up with me, follow me on Twitter @berrymark, or find me on Facebook.

Thanks for stopping by.

HEAR Initiative Makes the Philadelphia Orchestra Look Like a Do-Gooding Think Tank, and That's Awesome

More and more, orchestras in the United States are investing in non-traditional, community-based programs that are not only helping to re-establish themselves as part of the civic fabric but are also broadening the notion of what constitutes an orchestra musician.

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Orchestra became the latest and most prominent American orchestra to take this step when it announced its HEAR initiative. It's cutesy acronym that stands for Health, Education, Access, Research, but is looks like the work behind it is anything but frivolous.

An example of a HEAR project is the orchestra's partnership with the Temple University Arts and Quality of Life Research Center and the Broad Street Ministry. After receiving music therapy training, orchestra musicians perform together with ministry guests, who include victims of homelessness and abuse. Temple University researchers then observe these performances to determine, as the ministry website puts it, "the impac…

Hartford Symphony Has Its Own Executive Director Now

Things have been rough at the Hartford Symphony for a while, and yesterday it took a step toward righting itself by promoting its artistic programming director, Stephen Collins, to CEO.

Until yesterday, the Hartford Symphony was overseen by David Fay, the CEO of Bushnell Performing Arts Center, where the orchestra performed. This dual role left Fay open to accusations of conflict of interest, and he also split administrative staff between the two non-profit organizations.

Here's a Reason to Hate the Met

Much more disgraceful than The Met's new logo is that the museum lies to the public. If you've ever gone, you'll know that The Met goes to every length to not only obscure that it's free to visit, but actively tries to get you to pay a "recommended" admission fee.

In a passive-aggressive move designed only to end a lawsuit for its fraudulence, The Met will now call it a "suggested" fee to enter on its signage. Whether its employees will be more forthcoming with the attendance policy is yet to be seen.

This kind of dishonesty is much more hurtful to your brand than any logo-design misfire.

Everyone Hates The Met's New Logo, But They'll Still Go, Right?

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It started with Justin Davidson's Vulture review of The Metropolitan Museum's new logo, who called The Met's new logo a "graphic misfire" that looks "like a red double-decker bus that has stopped short, shoving the passengers into each other’s backs."

Adweek panned it as a "letter-killing, article-elevating, butt-filled logo" and responded with one word upon viewing Wolff Olins's concept samples. Brand New has weighed in, as has Art Net News.

Everyone loves to hate logos, which makes sense. I hate logos too: we spend way too much time arguing over marks, defending them, decoding their meaning. I'd rather talk about how an organization treats us, what it says to us, how it make our lives better. 

Do Knowledge Workers Settle in Cities for the Arts, or Is It a Coincidence?

On Christmas Eve, Richard Florida posted an article on CityLab that draws on an article in the Economic Development Quarterly by Arthur Nelson and others to argue for the importance of the performing arts in drawing so-called knowledge workers to cities:
The study finds substantial evidence that performing arts organizations add to both the growth of the knowledge class and to urban economies broadly. Those with just one type of performing arts center saw a 1.1 percent increase in knowledge-class employment between 2000 and 2010; those with two types of performing arts centers saw a 1.5 percent increase; and those with all three types saw a 2.2 percent increase.  The result of this influx of new-economy careerists is a whole bunch of money made:
Over this ten-year period, the 118 metros with at lease one performing arts organization generated a whopping $60 billion in annual income and more than half a million additional knowledge-class jobs, or over 12 percent of all knowledge-class …

What Are the New Models of Professional Musicianship?

On his own blog, my colleague Nate Zeisler describes two models for musical careers. In the first model, musicians are mechanics, creating within "a very narrow, accepted window of performance practice which has been dictated by your teacher, conductor and the music written on a page." In the second model, musicians act more like designers, and come up with "new ways of thinking about the art form" by drawing on new genres of music and artistic disciplines. For Nate, the path toward a successful career is to fuse the two:
In the field of classical music, there is very little room for people who can’t infuse qualities from both sides of the aisle into their career. Great designers in music will have little to say and won’t have credibility in the field if they aren’t great mechanics. Great mechanics, for the most part, won’t have a sustainable career if they’re not thinking as designers. I agree that the most successful musicians will be able to be both mechanics …