The Philadelphia Orchestra Announces HEAR, A New Portfolio of Community-Focused Collaborative Initiatives
(Philadelphia, April 8, 2016)—In front of a capacity audience for its Free PopUP Concert in Verizon Hall last night, The Philadelphia Orchestra announced HEAR, a series of collaborative learning initiatives that represent the most comprehensive and dynamic community engagement in the Orchestra’s recent history. Spanning four categories—Health, Education, Access, and Research—HEAR is a portfolio of programs that promotes wellness, champions music education, eliminates barriers to accessing the Orchestra, and maximizes impact through research, all throughout the Philadelphia region.
Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin outlined the initiatives that the Orchestra will foster in the coming months and years. HEAR identifies the channels that the Orchestra will use to build partnerships and invest in Philadelphia, not only with Orchestra musicians, but also with additional musical assets, including community leaders, teaching artists, music therapists, and more.
“Philadelphia is our home, and the Orchestra dwells here in service to the people in its many communities, performing music, encouraging music-making, and improving the quality of life,” said Vulgamore. “HEAR will expand the Orchestra's reach on and off the stage, and utilize our talents and resources in support of the social compact we share with all Philadelphians. We are eager to join ‘All In’ with Philadelphia through the enriching power of music.”
At any given time, there are hundreds of people living on the streets of Philadelphia, many of whom have behavioral health challenges, encompassing mental health and substance abuse issues. In partnership with Temple University’s Arts and Quality of Life Research Center and Broad Street Ministry, Philadelphia Orchestra musicians have received training to develop intimate and informal opportunities to bring comfort to our neighbors who will benefit from music therapy.
Through a comprehensive partnership with the School District, the Orchestra will address key needs by strengthening existing programs, optimizing the supporting ecosystem of arts partners, and investing in its future. Working in tandem with the School District, the Orchestra will increase access to high-quality music education throughout Philadelphia, starting with the most underserved neighborhoods where students will benefit from the cognitive and social-economic benefits of music.
A highlight of the education initiative is an unprecedented partnership with the Eastman Music Company. This summer, Eastman and the Orchestra will launch a “buy one, give one” program. Incorporating feedback from Philadelphia Orchestra musicians, Eastman has designed La Scala, a new line of instruments specifically developed for the program. For every one purchased, one will go to a student in need in Philadelphia.
In March, the Orchestra announced the formalization of its partnership with the School District of Philadelphia’s All-City Orchestra as Lead Artistic and Presenting Partner. The Orchestra will now present the All-Philadelphia High School Music Festival in Verizon Hall annually and will provide significantly increased leadership, mentorship from Orchestra musicians, tickets to Orchestra concerts, and an increased number of sectionals. Yannick Nézet-Séguin has worked with the All-City students numerous times in the past, including at the 2015 and 2016 festivals.
A full array of Orchestra programs eliminate barriers to access for listeners of all ages to experience orchestral music either as listeners or performers. These include participatory programs such as PlayINs, SingINs, Side-by-Side rehearsals with amateur musicians, the Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition for young musicians in the Greater Philadelphia area, and NYO2, the newly-launched collaborative project with Carnegie Hall that expands the existing National Youth Orchestra (NYO) and makes it available to more students. There are regular opportunities for all Philadelphians to experience this great Orchestra throughout the city with Sound All Around concerts for children ages 3-5, Family Concerts, School Concerts, Free Neighborhood Concerts, and PopUPs. The PopUP Concert on April 7 was used as a vehicle to announce HEAR to demonstrate the opportunities the Orchestra is creating to facilitate Access. The Orchestra also provides numerous ways for audiences to learn more about music with open rehearsals, PreConcert Lectures, and its innovative in-concert app, LiveNote™.
Each initiative within HEAR leans on an existing body of research that underscores the benefits of music and music education. Through research in collaboration with local universities and other partners, The Philadelphia Orchestra expects to gain insights for actions that will create social and community benefit under HEAR programs. The partnership with Temple’s Arts and Quality of Life Research Center in support of Broad Street Ministry is one example of how the HEAR initiatives will be enhanced through ongoing research over time.
The renewed, focused vision is guided by an extensive year-long evaluation process made possible by the William Penn Foundation. This included interviews with over 100 constituents, surveys returned by over 700 program participants, evaluation of past data, and in-depth conversations with many of our existing and potential partners.
“Our work with the William Penn Foundation gave us the opportunity to listen and to discover new ways to serve Philadelphia,” said Dan Berkowitz, director of Collaborative Learning at The Philadelphia Orchestra. “With HEAR, we are responding, experimenting, and ultimately evolving with, and for, our city.”
Vulgamore also announced that two new staff members, Naomi Gonzalez and Danielle Rossbach, have joined Berkowitz to facilitate the successful implementation of the goals of HEAR.
Naomi Gonzalez is the Orchestra’s new manager of collaboration and access. In this role, she will oversee a broad portfolio of projects with a focus serving those who are underrepresented in our field, collaborating with community partners, designing youth development programs, and developing new audiences. This includes all offstage initiatives. Gonzalez was previously at Play on, Philly!, an El Sistema-inspired program, where she worked in many capacities since 2011. An accomplished teacher and violinist, she joined the Puerto Rico Symphony at age 17 before moving to the U.S. to study performance and music education at DePaul University.
Danielle Rossbach is the Orchestra’s manager of learning and wellness. In this role, she will oversee a broad portfolio of projects that develop and support pathways to engage and enrich the Orchestra’s life-long learning community, and develop and expand wellness initiatives for those in need. This includes all onstage initiatives. A passionate arts administrator and cellist, Rossbach comes from the Florida Orchestra where she was the manager of community engagement. She has also worked for the Washington Chorus and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, and she completed an internship at the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center. Rossbach holds a Bachelor of Music in cello performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
Daniel Berkowitz joined The Philadelphia Orchestra in January 2015 from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he served as the manager of Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA)—one of the nation’s premier El Sistema programs. Under his leadership, YOLA grew to reach more than 700 students in Los Angeles’ most underserved communities providing free instruments, intensive music training, and academic support. Berkowitz is responsible for the successful management of all Philadelphia Orchestra Collaborative Learning initiatives at the Kimmel Center and at a host of schools and neighborhood venues throughout Greater Philadelphia. He is the chief liaison for external community and education collaborations and will continue to grow the Orchestra’s opportunities for collective music-making that take its musicians offstage, on the road, and into the lives of music-lovers throughout the region and outside Philadelphia with the Orchestra’s residency and summer partners.
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