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A Tempo: International Fellowship Brings Young Musicians Together to Explore Future of Orchestras

Having recently graduated from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, clarinetist Lotte Leussink and french horn player Craig Hansen are not just looking to perform with orchestras and other ensembles in their future - they hope to help change them for the better.

"Working with students, I’ve noticed a disconnect from how I was raised with classical music and how they were, so I thought this was a really great way to having a year to research," said 2017 graduate Leussink, one of eight international fellows participating in the inaugural year of the Future of Orchestral Culture program. 

The fellowship is a partnership led by the University of Music and Drama Hamburg and Symphoniker Hamburg that also includes the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.  The fellows, all recent graduates of the conservatories, are tasked with researching and experimenting with different formats for orchestral concerts.

Hansen, who graduated with his Masters in 2016, said each of the students, who hail from countries including China, Russia, Italy, and Ukraine, have been sharing their own experiences as they seek to reinvigorate the classical music traditions they love.

"We’re all really worried about the future of concert hall classical music," said Hansen.  "In Germany, and even in Shanghai in China, we’re all very, very interested in how to find opportunities to present classical music  to new audiences."  The students will perform together and with the partner orchestras, putting some of their creative ideas into practice.

A Tempo this week (11/4)  looks at this fellowship program, as host Rachel Katz speaks with Hansen and Leussink, as well as Kate Sheeran, Provost and Dean of the San Francisco Conservatory.  That's Saturday at 7 pm.

Rachel Katz is the host of A Tempo which airs Saturdays at 7 pm.