Our population has changed dramatically in the past 20 years or so. Women have become increasingly valued and powerful politically, as have minority populations of every type. I believe that full participation in society is desirable and even necessary for any successful arts organization. For the Redlands Symphony, that means extending a welcoming hand to the extremely diverse population that we serve in ways that are new and exciting, both to first-time and seasoned concertgoers.
For a symphony orchestra, I have always felt that concert programming is the most important key to engaging the public. Quite simply, a more diverse audience requires more diverse programming. You might have heard my half-joking description of a traditional orchestra program as “a meat course to begin, followed by a meat course, with a nice meat course to finish.” To continue the food analogy, I propose that we could program a concert like a more modern meal, with ONE meat course supported by side dishes. Or how about a Chinese model, sampling lots of dishes with contrasting favors and textures? Could the Mexican model—an appetizer, a salad, and a main course, all interspersed with lots of friendly conversation—work as a concert? (Are you beginning to sense a pattern here? I love the cuisine and customs of every culture…bring it on!) The possibilities are endless, and I look forward to experiencing a fresh approach to programming with you.
Having said all that, I am not one for overnight revolution, so we are introducing novel ideas slowly and carefully. The Redlands Symphony has an expert team to help me shape the future. You can rest assured that the great canon of Western orchestral music is not being abandoned—only enriched!