Bringing music to work: Amazon’s volunteer orchestra

Posted on: May 2, 2019

“Room 302 in Amazon’s Doppler Building is much like any other conference room,” write Gavin Borchert and Gwendolyn Elliott in an “Amazon Arts” feature in the May issue of Seattle magazine. “Most such meeting rooms don’t include 60 or so musicians … taking their first crack at Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. But this is the rehearsal space for the Amazon Symphony Orchestra (ASO), a volunteer group of the corporation’s employees who meet two hours weekly… Music director Hsing-Hui Hsu, a software development engineer … was a clarinet performance major at Rice University…. Hsu is just one of the dozens of Amazon employees who pursued music in high school or college…. Two years ago, … oboist and applied scientist Wenduo Wang launched an in-house email thread seeking classical music enthusiasts…. The first rehearsal drew 40 people…. The … first performance, in May 2017, drew an audience of 500, and now the ASO gives four public performances a year…. Probably the most eloquent testimony to the benefits of the orchestra came from [Amazon vendor manager Josh] Tuckman … when he recognized it as ‘an excellent opportunity for those of us who thought music was gone from our lives.’ ”

Posted May 2, 2019