Kahn: Rediscovering the common humanity and shared love of music

Posted on: February 2, 2015

“Last June I stepped down from my full-time work in service to orchestras,” writes Polly Kahn, former vice president for Learning and Leadership Development at the League of American Orchestras, in a January 26 post on Polyphonic.org, the online orchestra musician forum. “As most of my friends and family know, until that point, I would wake up most mornings worrying (obsessively!) about orchestras. What more could I do to help bring about greater understanding and harmony among all those who care—the musicians, staff, boards, volunteers, audience, and donors/investors? … I am back playing Bach every day, playing chamber music, playing in a couple of community orchestras, and it’s given me pause to think about the various roles we all play in making and supporting music. More than ever, I am thinking about the artificial, misperceived divide (in my view) between those who make music and those who ‘consume’ it.… Am I a different person as a player (though an avocational one) than I was as an administrator? This duality prompts me to invite you to think with me around three topics: 1. We are in this together: We can’t set aside our common humanity and shared love of music as we navigate challenge. 2. Facing the tough truths: What does growth for orchestras really mean? 3. Being a player versus being an audience member; how different they are. Why?”

Posted February 2, 2015