bottom-up performing ensembles


In the past decade or so, there’s been an interesting trend in the performing arts world.  New classical groups are being formed with purpose similar to some ideas expressed in this chapter.  Organizations like eighth blackbird, concert: nova, and new newEar.  A common element of these performing ensembles is there ever- changing cast of players, their desire to engage audiences in new and creative ways, and explore creative interdisciplinary partnerships.

No one plays exclusively for these organizations.  Membership with any of these ensembles is in addition to having jobs with other ensembles and perhaps having a private studio.  As described in the Occupational Careers section, “careers tend to be chaotic and foster cultural innovation, and career building market-sensing entrepreneurs enact careers from the ‘bottom-up’…” (p. 100)

This arrangement is intrinsically ambiguous.  The ambiguity creates stress and challenge for the performers involved.  It also leads to innovation and creative growth that drives the art form.  Could larger and more financially stable organizations that employee salaried performers benefit creatively from some hard knocks?

Here are links to the organizations:

-Charles Palys

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