Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Orchestra as a lifeline. Oxymoron?

All to frequently we see articles about orchestras and how they are in the middle of a shut out, or they’ve had to cut down costs, or they have gone bankrupt. This is often discouraging to read as an arts administrator. This orchestra is based out of one of the poorest and most dysfunctional cities. The first international attention it received was in 2010 in the German film, ‘Kinshasa Symphony.’ They are going on their first international tour and will be performing Congolese music as well as other orchestras classics.

I read this article and at first was thrilled to see an orchestra striving to succeed. However, upon further reading, the the writer doesn’t delve into the other questions that will surround the orchestra. How will this international recognition help their country? Is the orchestra, by being spearheaded by one of the most royal and wealthy men Diangienda, biased towards a specific goal? I think it will be interesting to see the reaction from respected orchestras and their leaders from their journey. Seeing other struggling orchestras looking for funding in the U.S., what will this orchestra gain from international tour?

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4 comments on “Orchestra as a lifeline. Oxymoron?

  1. jaredchamoff
    September 11, 2014

    I think that the subject of this article is very inspirational. I believe orchestra will gain much from their international tour. It will give the group significant exposure to citizens of powerful western countries. I’m sure that this exposure would help fund the orchestra’s pursuits, perhaps even giving them money so that musicians needn’t share instruments! All of this exposure would likely help bring more aspiring musicians to the ensemble, and therefore help grow the program.

    When you say the conductor Diangienda might be biased towards a specific goal, I am not sure what you mean? Is it because of his grandfather’s religious mission? Or his wealth and status? I kind of got the impression that he’s just trying to make SOMETHING work in Kinshasa, which the article considers “among the poorest, most dysfunctional in the world today.”

  2. torisharbaugh
    September 12, 2014

    I am curious about this partnership with Hallé in Manchester. I definitely agree that Diangienda’s has a specific vision for the the orchestra, but partnerships are all about compromise. The article even states that there will be “major input from the Hallé in Manchester”. Additionally, the Southbank Centre initiated the project, so technically there is a third party involved. I’m curious to see how this partnership works out and how the differing missions of each orchestra affect Southbank Centre’s own project mission.

  3. awellfare89
    September 12, 2014

    I have actually seen this story on “60 Minutes” and found this story inspiring. Here’s the link to the segment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hKP2tYuZFo and here’s a transcript on 60 Minutes’ website: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/joy-in-the-congo-a-musical-miracle-04-06-2012/

    It is incredible to see people who have very limited (if at all) exposure to Western music singing “Carmina Burana” and Beethoven’s 9th. I did not get the impression that the founder has an ulterior motive for this orchestra, but agree with Tori in wondering how its mission will fit in with the others in the partnership overseas. I believe this came together as a project for the love of music and blossomed especially since the German documentary on the group, not as a tool for its country. It has, however, become an unintentional diplomat that could soften the world’s perception of the Congo or at least provide further enlightenment on the plight of its people.

  4. laurenelizabethdickel
    September 12, 2014

    I also believe that an international tour can only positively affect the group. Think about all the contacts they will make and possibly receive funding and publicity from. The article was very inspirational and regardless of Diangienda bias, he is trying to make something work. And that something happens to be beautiful and life enriching. Thank you for posting this article, I think it reminds us how far and wide the impact of Instrumental music has on people.

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