Imagine the future

arch blogWell, part of this isn’t imaginary. I have speaking gigs coming up — late May at the Bergen International Festival in Norway, and June 19 at the League of American Orchestras annual conference in St. Louis.

In Bergen, I’ll be speaking privately on May 30 to Klassisk, the association of Norwegian concert promoters, and then I seem to have top billing in a debate on the future of classical music, from 5 to 6 PM on May 31. Debating with me will be Rolf Gupta, a conductor, and the manager of the classical music at NRK Radio (the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation), Ragnhild Veirs. Hilde Sandvik is the moderator. She’s the Culture and Debate Editor (that’s how Google Translate puts it) at Bergens Tidende newspaper.

I’m eager to hear what my co-debaters have to say. And to learn what concert life in Norway is like, especially about the audience, whether it’s similar to ours in the US

At the League I’m billed (see the press release) — as one of the five featured attractions at the conference, under the title “A Conversation with Greg Sandow.” The theme of the conference — and where this post leaps into imagined terrain —  is “Imagining 2023,” imagining orchestras 10 years from now. And what I’ll do with whoever comes to talk with me will be to imagine a happy future for orchestras just a decade away. They’re describing this as a “group visioning experience”:

Where will your orchestra be in 10 years? Can you imagine having thousands of fans in your community who go to any concert you put on, buy any recording you make – even buy your merchandise? How far could you actually go, and what is holding you back?

I’m so eager to see where this goes. It’s like a leap into another dimension. The 1000-lb rhino in the room, of course, is what would have to change for this dream to come true. Orchestras? The community? Both? Neither? I’m looking forward to leading this discussion.

If you’re there — and if you’re in Bergen — come say hello. I’ve always had a good time on my travels, and have forged lasting bonds. With any luck, I’ll be at the entire League conference, and hope I’ll have a chance to see many of my old orchestra friends, and to make new ones.


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  1. KDjupdal says

    Great! I think we need your views also in Norway.

    I imagine concert life is different in Norway. Because of the public funding model and the fact that the government actually has increased the culture budget substantially recent years, there is a lot of activity.

    If the audience is any different I don’t know. Will be interesting to read your reflections on this.

  2. says

    When I see the Arch now all I can think of is the new Sci-Fi series, Defiance, which takes place in a futuristic terraformed St. Louis. The show is also notable in that fully fleshed out languages have been created for two of the seven alien races (by the creator of the Dothraki language for the HBO Game of Thrones series) and almost every episode has had tunes sung in those alien languages in-show!

    • says

      Jon, I was watching Defiance last night, and thought the same thing. That’s what the arch is going to make me think of. I’m not crazy about the show — I like the visual ambiance, but the aliens (for my taste) don’t look or act alien enough.

      One musical thing I loved. I was watching last week’s episode (since I haven’t kept up with the show, it doesn’t matter which one I sample). And it ended with an inspired musical choice — “Scarlet Town,” from Dylan’s last album, a long, darkish song that fit the look of the show perfectly.