A music school is entering the orchestra business, forming a new training ensemble in New York whose players will get master’s degrees. The New York Philharmonic, meanwhile, is expanding its teaching role, starting an academy to train students all over the world.
There was a whiff of “Freaky Friday,” or perhaps “Trading Places,” about this pair of unrelated, yet oddly symmetrical developments that were announced on Wednesday, with a school behaving like an orchestra, and an orchestra behaving like a school. But both initiatives underscored the extent to which the difficulties facing classical music in the 21st century are forcing venerable institutions to adapt, if not reinvent themselves.
The new training orchestra, which is being formed next year by the Longy School of Music of Bard College, in Cambridge, Mass., and Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., will offer a three-year master’s degree program, with the musicians paid stipends to play concerts with respected conductors and tour. Leon Botstein, the president of Bard, said that he envisioned it as the equivalent of a medical residency for postgraduate musicians.
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