Musicians at D.C. region’s smaller orchestras face variety of challenges

Posted on: January 10, 2011

In Sunday’s (1/9) Washington Post, Anne Midgette writes about musicians who perform with some of the smaller orchestras in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area, such as the National Philharmonic and Fairfax Symphony, among others. “These orchestras—with annual operating budgets of $2 million and $1.2 million respectively, as opposed to the NSO’s $30 million—are the largest of some 25 small orchestras in the Washington region, ranging from professional ensembles to amateur community groups. ‘I think we’re sort of the forgotten musicians sometimes,’ says Adrienne Sommerville, a violist who plays with the National Philharmonic, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the Maryland Symphony and, at times, the BSO, among others. Small orchestras are a key part of classical music’s ecosystem. A full 80 percent of the membership of the League of American Orchestras, the national service organization, are groups with budgets of $2 million or less. … Small orchestras, just like big ones, are trying to reinvent themselves. Both the Fairfax Symphony and the Alexandria Symphony are planning long-range change: different kinds of concerts, new venues, the addition of chamber ensembles.”

Posted January 10, 2011