The South Netherlands Philharmonic has just answered that question. It published the official orchestra foto for the year 2018 in which the musicians and the staff-members are standing side-by-side.
This is a quite a step. The traditional definition of the symphony orchestra considers the musicians (plus sometimes the conductor) as the orchestra. The staf is seen as a support facility and is not considered to a central element. I am, however, strongly convinced that this reading is already outmoded for some time because musicians and members of staff create the orchestra’s value together. Orchestra’s today are institutions in which members on the podium and members behind the scenes have to work together to keep the orchestra going.
Just think about the production of a concert series today. Long before the rehearsals start, the hall is booked, the program is put together and the marketing activities have started. All this usually without musicians being involved. When the musicians start to prepare a concert the tickets of a subscription series are already sold. The musicians then show their art in the concert. And before the concert ends, the staf is already busy with after sales. The truth really is, that the symphony orchestra cannot exist without musicians nor members of staf.
That’s why I am extremely glad that my orchestra, the South Netherlands Philharmonic, has actually embraced that thought. And that the official foto for the year 2018 reflects that concept of being one organization in a very artful way. Big thanks to photographer Simon van Boxtel.
An orchestra foto in high resolution can be downloaded here.
A link to the South Netherlands Philharmonic’s press release can ben found here.
For those who read German: my book “Zukunftsstrategien für Orchester” explores the concept of musicians and staf alongside to each other in more detail.