PT77: “How to Redefine the Orchestra for Maximum Impact,” with Teddy Abrams

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Today we talk with conductor Teddy Abrams, music director of the Louisville Orchestra and the Britt Festival, about redefining the orchestra for maximum impact. We talk about the future of classical music after COVID-19 and why orchestras were hit particularly hard, everything wrong with how classical music approaches education and how we can change to actually make a difference, and the qualities that make a truly incredible and successful musician. We also discuss why every conductor should be considering how they approach leadership now, before you’re neck-deep in work again, and why we should define ourselves as “musicians” and not “Classical musicians.”

You will learn:

  • Why classical music, and orchestras in particular, were unprepared for the COVID-19 Pandemic, and how we can use this opportunity to enact great change in the organizations that will learn from it.
  • Why seeing the orchestra as a performing institution is hindering the impact that we’re able to make in our communities.
  • Why our current education programs are stuck in old paradigms, and how an evolving culture requires our orchestras to adjust with it.
  • Why we should identify as “musicians” and not “classical musicians.”
  • Why Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms would never stand for the division between art and popular music that we’ve held onto, and why they would never recognize our current models for the orchestra.
  • How Louisville is teaching its audiences to trust the orchestra and come to every concert.
  • The types of people that should not be music directors, but focus on guest conducting instead
  • How the education of conductors avoids teaching the important aspects of being a musical leader.

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