The word, “Tennessee” comes from a Native American word, “Tana-see” which means, “The Meeting Place.” Nashville is also known as ‘Music City’ – so it’s all very appropriate that the League of American Orchestras is holding its 74th National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
It’s Monday and we’ve just arrived at the conference in Nashville, hosted by the Nashville Symphony, slightly sleep deprived with the six hour time-difference kicking in, but so very excited to be here as a double-act from Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra invited to share our work and expertise to an audience of over 1,000 American orchestra professionals.
We are all here to learn from each other about how orchestras meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. Whether in the UK or the United States or anywhere in world, orchestras are so aware that they mirror and be relevant to the communities we serve. So we are so looking forward to the next three days of work dedicated to innovation, inspiration and conversation and so proud to be representing the BSO – which will be the first UK Orchestra ever to have been invited to present at this conference.
After we arrived last night, to counter the jetlag we went out to explore the musical world that is Nashville – not least “Broadway” an extraordinary road where Country Music comes to life. We couldn’t resist ‘Robert’s Western World’, for beer, chips and fantastic music but we could have chosen so many other bars as every building had live music taking place!!
In this context, to see the NeoClassical Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home of Nashville Symphony on the road next to the home of Country Music helped to set a context in our minds about the conversations we will be having in the coming days about how Orchestras relate to the societies and communities in which we live.
This morning we explored some of the centre of Nashville by going for a run – beautiful to see the civic pride of this great city represented in its Capitol Building the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park with its stunning Clarion Circle.
On Wednesday morning June 5th, we will be presenting a case-study on BSO Resound, the world’s first ever disabled-led ensemble which is a core part of a professional symphony orchestra, and what it was about the ensemble’s founding conductor, James Rose, the BSO and its cultural approach that enabled the successful integration of disabled artists into a professional orchestra.
We hope that it will inspire our fellow orchestras across the world to follow suit! Everyone at the BSO is so proud of what has been achieved and excited about the next chapter for BSO Resound.
Of course all of this has only been possible because of the funds made available by Arts Council England and its Change Maker programme and the wonderful community of individual philanthropists and BSO Resound’s supporting partner Allianz Musical Insurance. A special Howdy to y’all!
After the opening session this afternoon we have the first conference seminars which bring fellow Chief Execs and Education Directors together, then this evening we are looking forward to a concert by the Nashville Symphony. We look forward to telling you all about it tomorrow!!
Dougie & Lisa