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New Fellowship Program Addresses the Future of Orchestral Culture with Six International Music Institutions

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Partners with University of Music and Drama Hamburg and Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Hamburg, Berkeley, and Shanghai Symphonies

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is pleased to join a consortium comprised of six music institutions from around the globe to launch an international fellowship program titled “The Future of Orchestral Culture.” The research and performance projects undertaken by fellowship participants will explore new directions in orchestral culture, from management to performance, and the concert experience. Led by the University of Music and Drama Hamburg and the Symphoniker Hamburg, partners also include the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. SFCM graduates participating in the program’s first year are horn player Craig Hansen ’16 and clarinetist Lotte Leussink ’17.

The new fellowship program, which began in September, gives eight fellows who are recent graduates of the participating conservatories the opportunity to spend a full academic year researching and developing innovative formats for the orchestral concert experience. Fellows will study and perform alongside symphony musicians while crafting new ideas and concepts that will be implemented in experimental events with the participating orchestras. Fellows will participate in performances, coachings, program meetings, and research. Participants are based in Hamburg and will spend several weeks in San Francisco and Shanghai implementing approaches they cultivated in Hamburg with the cities’ respective participating cultural institutions.

The new fellowship is funded through the next three years by the Federal Government of Germany with additional support from the University of Music and Drama Hamburg and Symphoniker Hamburg. All partner institutions have contributed to the concept and implementation of this project.

“We are honored to partner with our innovative colleagues in Hamburg, Shanghai, and Berkeley,” states SFCM’s President David H. Stull. “There is enormous potential in young artists seeking to advance their knowledge with professional musicians from across the world. Global relationships are strengthened and secured through the bonds of creative work—we look forward with enthusiasm to the future of this alliance.”

“As the San Francisco Bay Area's orchestra dedicated to promoting innovation, ​the Berkeley Symphony is honored to partner with SFCM in this consortium,” says René Mandel, executive director of the Berkeley Symphony. “The need has never been greater to enrich our thinking about music, how it'​s presented, and how we can connect with and serve our community, locally and globally alike. ​I applaud the visionary leadership of the Hamburg, San Francisco, and Shanghai conservatories for creating this cutting-edge exploration.”

University of Music and Drama Hamburg President Elmar Lampson commented, “Without the support of Hamburg House of Representatives Deputy Rüdiger Kruse and former State Council Dr. Roland Salchow, the fellowship would not have been possible. I am looking forward to the fantastic scholarship recipients from the USA, China, and Europe. Today, orchestral musicians who are thinking about and are flexible enough to take part in the formation of ideas to deal with many new challenges are in demand. I am very enthusiastic about the fact that we have found such excellent partners with the music colleges and orchestras in San Francisco and Shanghai as new ideas for the further development of orchestral culture can only be developed in international cooperation.”


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Patrick Gullo
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