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Orpheus Music meets Business Part 1/4

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Published on May 17, 2011

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Presents: Music Meets Business. DVD. Directed by Ayelet Heller. [Germany]: EuroArts Music International, 2005. 2051837. $16.99.


The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, established in Boston in 1972 was founded by cellist, Julian Fifer, with the intent of creating a professional ensemble that performed professionally without a conductor. That did not mean however that its performances were without leadership. The leadership was planned from the start to be internal and shared by all players. Within a given composition, leadership roles are dictated by the music, giving more weight to those performers whose musical roles are more substantial. This model, based on the standard performing mode for chamber music, has precedent in Baroque performance practice, where the keyboard player (generally a harpsichordist) conducted from the instrument, all the while taking part in the music making. In the Classical era, Mozart performed most of his piano concertos in this manner as well. Still, the pervasiveness and steadfast intent of Orpheus's conductorless band of 20--25 musicians over the last 33 years makes this chamber orchestra unique. The numerous Grammy winning CDs and DVDs the group has produced and their yearly concert seasons and tours attest to their success and popularity.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Presents: Music Meets Business, a film by Ayelet Heller, presents the "Orpheus Process" and how its adaptation might influence the management styles of business organizations throughout the world. In the 1980's, chief executive officers (CEOs) began to notice Orpheus's internal self-management system, and marveled at how well everyone worked together, like a "well oiled machine" with leadership, individual responsibility and cooperation the necessary norms to achieve stunning and highly elevated music making at its concerts. This DVD features CEO interviews and actual workshop sessions (rehearsals followed by performance) where Orpheus demonstrates its modus operandi for such diverse business organizations as Harvard University School of Business, Morgan Stanley, both in New York and Japan, and DaimlerChrysler in Berlin. Executives marvel that when the players might disagree, no one tried to dominate or steal the limelight. Every group member has a voice, and is respected for their ideas, opinions and talents. With this level of respect, members might agree to disagree without adversely affecting the music making.

Business leaders, looking for new management models capable of responding with flexibility and creativity in today's high tech, instantaneous environment have reacted very positively to the values of the Orpheus Process. Taking the principles of Orpheus and applying them to corporate business brings hope for a revolution in how businesses are managed, and a renewed vision of valued teamwork and creative contributions. For musicians and all in the business world this DVD explores stimulating concepts, which if embraced, could transform and improve the bottom line of any organization.

Kathleen Haefliger

Chicago State University

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