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CLASSICAL NEWS: Audi of America Renews Dallas Symphony Orchestra Sponsorship (Click on More to view all articles)

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — Audi of America continues its support of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. For the third consecutive year, Audi is the title sponsor of the Audi Pops Series, one of the Orchestra's largest sponsorships. J Principal Pops Conductor is Richard Kaufman.

"The 2003-2004 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Audi Pops Series promises to be exciting and unique," says Kaufman. "With music from the light classics, Broadway and motion pictures, each first half will take our audience on a wonderful musical journey. This will pave the way for some extraordinary guest artists who will join the symphony on the second halves. There will be music for everyone, and I'm thrilled to be part of it."

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra's 2003-2004 season began over Labor Day weekend with Audi Pops Series concerts featuring Linda Ronstadt. The Audi Pops Series continues through May 2004 with concerts by The Manhattan Transfer, Arlo Guthrie, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Dukes of Dixieland and Righteous Brothers. Additionally, the DSO and an ensemble from the Dallas Symphony Chorus kick off the holiday season with favorites in the Audi Pops Christmas December 5-7, 2003.

"We are pleased to continue supporting the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and we look forward to another season of remarkable concerts," stated Audi Event marketing manager Maria Nahigian. "The partnership with the Orchestra provides cultural and community benefits, as well as an acclaimed venue for Audi to showcase its vehicles." Audi is also one of this year's sponsors for the DSO Gala featuring world renowned soprano Renee Fleming on September 6. — by Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Seminars Make Maestros Out of Managers

CHICAGO (AP) — The real estate executive was seated comfortably between the bassoons and the violins when the unexpected request came for her to take the podium and conduct Brahms' First Symphony.

"Uh-oh," said Kathy Engel, until now just a spectator and listener at concert performances.

Baton in hand, she managed — with hands-on guidance from a professional conductor standing behind her. Engel's debut was part of the program at The Music Paradigm, an arts-based training seminar designed to work with large organizations.

Experiencing an orchestra in action, the thinking goes, can provide a vivid lesson to managers and give them a new way to think and talk about leadership, communication and teamwork.

Call it organizational training in B (for business) major, Opus 35. That's how many companies and organizations have booked the symphonic training sessions this year at a cost of $30,000 to $60,000 each — orchestra included.

If an orchestra pit seems an unlikely place for corporate management lessons, Roger Nierenberg, the program's founder, conductor and motivational speaker, is quick to agree.

Music director of the Stamford (Conn.) Symphony Orchestra since 1988 and a guest conductor around the world, Nierenberg says he came up with the "improbable idea" for the program in 1995 as a way to get people more interested in orchestras.

But corporations proved so interested in the offbeat concept that The Music Paradigm has become a successful and growing business in its own right. Nierenberg has performed for dozens of multinational corporations and associations, working with the Royal Philharmonic in London, the San Diego Symphony, the Singapore Symphony and 50 other orchestras.

Using the metaphor of conductor as leader and orchestra as organization, the 56-year-old maestro has tapped into the small but flourishing market of arts-related business training programs, as corporations seek innovative ways to convey important messages and priorities to staff.

Arts-based training is a rapidly emerging field thanks to use by dozens of Fortune 500 companies, according to Harvey Seifter, a board member of the Arts and Business Council, a nonprofit arts service organization based in New York.

"The knowledge and the skill that artists have in creativity, teamwork, intercultural communication, collaborative management, dealing with change and envisioning the future — all of those are key areas for businesses," he said.

Nierenberg and his staff of six gather input from clients and tailor presentations to companies' preferences, working in insights and quips on topics ranging from restructuring to management change to diversity.

Managers are seated among orchestra members in rehearsal exercises to make them aware of the mastery of individual players and the ways they respond, or don't, to a conductor's baton. The result is an unusually melodic training session, although the music isn't really the message.

"It's not just entertainment, it's very effective in terms of moving the organization and getting it to communicate more internally," Nierenberg said.

"If you can talk about issues like 'We have to tune up' and 'We have to get in better balance,' that's a nice indirect way that enables people to confront issues that might otherwise be a little too sensitive."

The Music Paradigm turned a downtown hotel ballroom into a makeshift concert hall one recent morning and put 1,000 real estate broker-owners and managers at a Re/Max International conference into the "pit" with Symphony II, a Chicago orchestra.

The silver-maned, tuxedo-clad Nierenberg hailed the musicians as great artists, stress management experts and decision-makers, but cautioned: "Outstanding musicians don't necessarily mean outstanding results unless there is outstanding teamwork."

He animatedly "misused" his baton — demonstrating micro-management, self-indulgence and indifference — getting corresponding results from the orchestra. Then he stood to the side and let the musicians play, passably well, without direction.

But a great leader, he said, after putting Engel on the podium, shows the proper inspired touch and "enables an organization to feel that it can almost do anything."

Count Engel, a Realtor and general manager in Malverne, N.Y., among the converts to the artistic way of thinking.

"We've gone through training before on how to communicate with our people, but he's given me a wonderful perspective on how to take it out of the box," she said after her brief but "awesome" experience wielding the power of the baton. "I'm going to revamp the way I speak to people."

Nierenberg, who's leaving his Stamford conducting post next April, wants to help make classical music metaphors as popular with rank-and-file workers as sports metaphors. But he said his message isn't simply that companies should be like orchestras, as it's sometimes interpreted.

"It's not that. It's that the orchestra is a fantastic laboratory in which communication is intensified and turned into results almost instantly, so you can see much more of the process than with other kinds of organizations," he said. "Things snap into focus with great clarity in an orchestra."


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Ticketmaster and Honolulu Symphony Sign Multi-Year Deal

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Ticketmaster and the Honolulu
Symphony have signed a multi-year ticketing and new technology agreement. Included in the agreement, Ticketmaster will sell and distribute tickets for the performance group's more than 50 events each year. This will also be the Honolulu Symphony's first full-season utilizing Ticketmaster's ticketFast technology, a service that gives patrons the ability to download and print his/her tickets at the click of a mouse. This new integrated technology foundation features real-time barcode authentication combined with ticketFast electronic delivery, providing a secure, easy-to- use service to concertgoers.

"We are excited to be able to bring the world's latest technology to Honolulu Symphony patrons," said Honolulu Symphony spokesperson, Alan Rakov. "This partnership with Ticketmaster will help ensure that the Symphony remains a presence in Hawaii's cultural landscape for another hundred years." The Honolulu Symphony performs at the Blaisdell Center Concert Hall and Blaisdell Arena and is the oldest American orchestra west of the Rocky Mountains.

"Ticketmaster is proud to partner with the Honolulu Symphony, giving Hawaii residents and visiting tourists alike the opportunity to appreciate this highly esteemed and inspirational performance ensemble," said Ticketmaster's general manager of Hawaii, Shirley Alexander. "We are confident that the advanced technologies Ticketmaster is installing will enhance the Symphony's ticketing management and patron experience."

Founded in 1900, the Honolulu Symphony has established a legacy as one of Hawaii's great cultural and educational resources, deeply committed to exploring the challenges of cultural diversity in a community that has rapidly become a crossroads for the world. The 2003-2004 season features a lineup of classical music's biggest stars and most beloved repertoire, as well as unique East-West theme concerts that pay tribute to the cultural roots of the people of Hawaii. –by Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen