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Symphony musicians upset about conductor’s ouster

Response: Change was needed

By Richard Freedman @RichFreedmanVTH on Twitter

POSTED:   08/19/2014 04:54:29 PM PDT


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David Ramadanoff (courtesy photo)

Vallejo Symphony musician Kathleen Comalli Dillon blasted the orchestra’s board of directors in a seething letter Tuesday, on the heels of conductor David Ramadanoff’s pending ouster.

Ramadanoff’s 33rd year — starting with one of three seasonal concerts Sept. 21 — will be his last after the board decided it wanted to head in a different direction.

“I won’t play in the Vallejo Symphony without David’s brilliant and selfless leadership and talent,” Dillon said. “I will leave and so will many, if not most, of the fine players.”

According to board president Suzie Peterson, changes with the symphony were made based on three surveys. Dillon wondered in her letter why the VSO wasn’t informed of…

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The Fundamental Concept

As I’ve been reading and researching the background for my concept of Performance Design, I’ve been asked about the work frequently. This has prompted me to make sure to streamline the concept and make it possible to concisely explain it. In that spirit, here is a short set of bullets to attempt to clarify the idea.

  • It can be boiled down to a simple prescription for a change in mentality: 
    • A performer does not perform. A performer creates performances.
  • It follows that a performance is a created object (be it sound, visual, theatric, or some hybrid).
    • That act of creation can be broken down into three parts:
      • Design
      • Preparation
      • Execution
  • Performance Execution is the actual public act before an audience, what the public colloquially just calls the performance.
  • Performance Preparation
    • Practice
    • Rehearsal
  • Performance Design
    • I want to talk about  how to structure ones thinking around every other aspect prior to the concert.
  • The working glossary entry is “Performance Design: An interdiscipline which examines and prescribes the tools and methods for the construction of a public aesthetic performance. Includes those tools under the traditional rubric of “interpretation” (examining manuscripts, historical studies, structural analysis) but also includes music perception fields (music cognition, information theory and neuroscience), programming, venue selection, and marketing.”

And I would boil it all down to the idea that a performer in 2014 is equipped with advanced technical training in their instrument or voice (or dance or theater) but generally lacks the tools to holistically design a performance. 

It’s kind of like the Apple philosophy: I want to equip performers to design the “whole widget”. 

Please let me know what you think