How Do We Pick Our Rep?
The number one question I’m asked by students, audiences, and people at parties is “How do you guys pick your music?” It’s true, programming is always a mystical aspect of the business, and every group has its own process. Ours, in the spirit of chamber music, is rather democratic.
Each year, we have the dreamlist project. Each ensemble member is allowed to nominate a limited number of pieces to the dreamlist, and shares it with the whole team. Over the course of many weeks, we all listen to the works, and score them based on two criteria.
1) Do we think this is a compelling piece of music?
2) How high a priority is it to program this music next season?
And then, we fill out a spreadsheet. That’s right ladies and gentleman, even the magical aspect of programming isn’t devoid of quantitative computation in excel documents. The calculations are made for average score in each category, and then a total score is given to each work.
In a marathon meeting, we meet to discuss priorities and revise the list of “must program” pieces to a manageable level. Not everything we want to play will make it into the season, but if it doesn’t, it will be on deck for the following year. From there, we brainstorm ideas for our series, and begin to piece the programs together.
There’s a lot less magic and a lot more science than one would suspect in this process, but it is one of the most exciting aspects of our work as a team.
Hope that helps explain this aspect of our work. And believe you me, we’ve got some exciting things coming up down the road… You’ll just have to stay tuned for announcements.
Fifth House Ensemble