Interview with David Fisk (by Emma Riggs)



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00:00:00 - Experiences with the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, Northern Ireland

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Partial Transcript: Riggs: Alright. So first, if you could just introduce yourself real quick, so that I can tell people who you are.

Fisk: Sure. I’m David Fisk, the Executive Director of the Richmond Symphony.

R: So, umm, before you came to the United States, you worked in Belfast, with the Ulster Orchestra. Umm, can you discuss the ways in which the tumultuous period of history at the time impacted and shaped your goals for your position at the time as well as your actions and goals for the Richmond Symphony over the past 16 years?

F: Sure. Umm, I came to Belfast about six months after the Good Friday Agreement had been signed, so it was a tumultuous time, and completely new territory for everyone. It was, you know, bizarre, as someone who’d lived in London for the last five years, where they had still been bombing umm, public facilities as well as military ones, to see those terrorists now in power, um, in positions of authority, trying to lead and find their way, and if you remember what happened with the Good Friday Agreement, it forced the political parties to work together, so you had all of the wings of political views represented in government, and a lot of people. So what I learned as an Englishman going over there, is to tread very carefully and respectfully of all of the traditions, be they loyalist or nationalist, Protestant or Catholic, and to be very sensitive to language, as well as culture – as well as other parts of the culture. And uh, it was a fascinating time, but I realized that the orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, which is the national symphony of Northern Ireland, had really three incredibly important roles: One was being one of the very few organizations that could go into the schools, which are still segregated by religion, um and bring different schools together through different projects and that orchestra won awards for doing that. It could also, within the province, in the six counties of Northern Ireland, be able to bring different publics together, and some of the concerts that we gave were in very difficult parts of Northern Ireland, umm like the Clonard Monastery, which was in the heart of nationalist Bel-Belfast, and the priest of that Monastery had been one of the back channel go-betweens to the British Government to enable the peace process to start; he helped create the cease-fire, Father Alec Reid. Umm, we also gave performances of pieces like Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion with choirs from both traditions, so we could bring people – adults, together, as well as children. And then finally another thing which I realized there was that we could act as ambassadors of Northern Ireland to the rest of the world to show them that it’s full of culture and music is part of that culture – classical music is part of that, and we did a lot of foreign touring, to show the best side of Northern Ireland, and to encourage people to think that it was now safe to come and visit. So those are the three things that I took from the time there, umm it was still a very difficult time and we didn’t really settle because of that. And so, moving here, somebody asked me what it was like coming to Richmond from Belfast, and I said “well I came from a place which is divided by its history, and sometimes finds it easier to look back then to look forward, and umm, there are some similarities there with Richmond.”

Segment Synopsis: David Fisk, Executive Director of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, discusses his prior position with the national symphony of Northern Ireland shortly after the Good Friday Agreement.

Keywords: Belfast; Culture; Divided; Executive Director; Good Friday Agreement; History; Music; Northern Ireland; Respect; Richmond; Richmond Symphony Orchestra; Unity

Subjects: History; Music - Art Music, Western; Orchestra; Ulster Orchestra

GPS: Clonard Monastery in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Map Coordinates: 54.599996, -5.957279
00:03:54 - Mission and History of the Richmond Symphony

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Partial Transcript: R: Umm, so last year, the Richmond Times Dispatch named you as, uh one of their Person of the Year Honorees. In your interview with them, you cited Ar-Article 27 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states “Everyone has the right to freely participate – sorry – freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” Would you say that this mindset, of music and art as fundamental rights, shapes your actions and the symphony’s in the City of Richmond?

F: It’s certainly a fundamental belief that I share, that every citizen is entitled to um, cultural experiences, because it’s part of what makes us human. And the absence of that opportunity is something which I’ve worked a lot in trying to create opportunities, over the years, really from early age all the way through adult life and that is something which I have thought a lot about, and it’s something which is part of this symphony’s mission, and it has been for other orchestras that I have led before – that we want to make music available to everyone, and where it’s not available, to fix that. And that has taken us to perhaps some non-traditional roles and actions for a symphony, um, some years ago, we changed the wording of our mission so that it is now “ We perform, teach, and champion music, to inspire and unite our communities.” The performance bit is easy to understand, but the teaching and the championing, umm, is I think essential for a symphony to be effective in this day and age, and if we aren’t going to champion music in the public schools, then, why should anybody else, and in our case what it has led us to is to facilitate the purchase of musical instruments for elementary schools, uh in the City of Richmond, but also to help encourage {and some can} sometimes make happen by funding uh after school teaching opportunities as well as in school curricular work, so it’s a hugely im-important part of our work.

R: Um, can you, by any chance, give any insight into the history of the Richmond Symphony as an institution in the larger community of Richmond since its founding in 1957?

F: Sure. Well, I wasn’t around in the beginning, but I hear that (laughs) it started in 1957 – it was actually the third time they tried to start a Richmond Symphony, there was one in the early part of the twentieth century and then one, um, around the time of the second world war, and neither of those really took hold. But it did in 1957, and, and, and Edgar Schenkman um was the first conductor – music director. And at that time it was a kind of mixture of professional and amateur musicians. There was a very small number of professional musicians at the heart of it, and what happened between 1957 and today, is that very gradually, um the orchestra became more and more professional and then highly professional, so that now if we have a vacancy we attract candidates from all over the country and every one of our musicians now is a professional musician with music as their first um, as their first, umm, way of earning, which wasn’t the case at the beginning, for many of them at the time, they might have been training as professional musicians but they were working in other ways. Umm, so now over those 61 years, the Richmond symphony has not only become more professional – fully professional, um but it’s also grown considerably, in the first year, they only gave three concerts, now we give hundreds. Uh, in the first year, they may have played for thousands of people, now we play for about 200,000 people a year, uh, live and on the radio, and for us since 2015, one of the most transformational ways in which we’ve done that is by the purchase of our mobile stage.

Segment Synopsis: In this section, Fisk discusses the history and underlying mission of the Richmond Symphony.

Keywords: Champion; Community; Fundamental; History; Human; Inspire; Mission; Music; Richmond Symphony; Unite; Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Subjects: History; Music - Art Music, Western; Orchestra

00:08:05 - Programming offered by the Richmond Symphony

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Partial Transcript: R: Um, so going off that a little bit, can you discuss the traditional and more non-traditional programming and initiatives offered by the Richmond Symphony? Um, can you talk specifically about the symphonies initiatives in education and community outreach? Um, and, going off of all of that, what do you consider to be the most important role of the Richmond Symphony as an institution in the larger community?
F: Ok, we kind of bracket our offerings into three different types. What we call “Classics” would include the traditional Masterworks programing, which is the heart of our music making, and so, you’re interviewing me tonight before a concert of Beethoven and Bernstein and Kodaly, there we are, traditional masterworks, and it’s wonderful for us to be able to keep that music alive but also to commission new masterworks, as we do every year and that’s with the full symphony. Then we have other offerings that are with a smaller version of the symphony, chamber orchestra size, what we call our Metro Collection. Then we have our “Currents” bracket, and um, under that heading you would put Pops and Lollipops, and our um, very popular “Rush Hour at Hardywood” series, as well as some of the other things we might do as one-offs, special concerts, um, we haven’t announced it yet, but we’re doing Star Wars in Concert next May on May the 4th, um, and that’s the which we would say is sort of current. And then “Community” is all of our education offerings, we have about fifteen different education programs and they basically fall into two different types, we have immersion programs and ignition programs. So the ignition programs of course are designed to light a spark of interest, and they involve many glimpsing touches of music compositions – going to schools and playing a program which hopefully inspires somebody to say “can I play the violin?,” or the kids coming to us and us giving them an experience here, our discovery concerts, and many fourth and fifth graders do across the country. The immersion experiences are more, um, every week. We have five youth orchestra programs, uh including a wind ensemble and a percussion ensemble, but then the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra is the top of that, um, line, and that immersion program enables kids who want to learn to be able to pursue it to a degree of playing that would potentially put them on the path to a college career and a career in music at the end of it. Um, the community engagement work that we do is spearheaded by The Big Tent, um it’s a metaphor for what we’re trying to accomplish as well as being – a really big tent. And we um take it around the community and that work really falls into three parts the first part of the work is getting to know the community that we’re going to take The Big Tent to, so we might spend up to a year, reaching out, meeting community leaders, talking at district meetings and libraries, sending out information through residence associations, and inviting people to become part of planning a community festival. And then, those folks come together, and over the course of that eight, nine, ten months, they design the festival. They have the charge for the programming of it, for the neighborhood relations, for publicity, um, for volunteers to be found, and help with the fundraising. And we get to know the community really well through that planning process. Then the community festival happens, and the symphony plays in The Big Tent, but so do many, many other people perform, students and kids and adults, professionals and amateurs. We have maybe one or two days – even three days, we’ve done, of festivities, um with hopefully terrific weather. After that, comes the third and in a way most important part, which is continue relationships. What we hope comes out of every Big Tent festival is some kind of lasting good, um, not for us, but we kind of benefit from the reflection of that, and the most important lasting good we’ve been able to find, is in the City of Richmond, I mentioned earlier, we have been buying music – musical instruments for schools. We have through the Big Tent festivals raised over 285,000 dollars to buy instruments for schools over the last three years. And you might say, “Well, how could you do that through a free festival?” And it’s through the underwriting. We raise more underwriting than we need to actually put on the festival, because the money comes in order for there to be proceeds, and we write the check afterwards to the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation so we know exactly where that money is going, and I sign off on the invoices so I know that that music – that money is going where the donors would want it to go, and that includes people who are throwing money in the buckets for that higher purpose. And as well as those um kids, benefiting from it as a result, we also have lasting goods through the relationships that we formed over that previous year, and uh, many of the people who get involved in planning the Big Tent festivals then join the Symphony’s community council, who are the, um, connection for us to the communities that we are seeking to serve, and they help us figure out how we introduce ourselves to new audiences and invite those people, then, to come and hear us. And they invite people to come with them sometimes, to concerts, so, it’s – it’s a nice way of doing it, it’s a very personal way of doing it, it’s also a very authentic and genuine way of doing it, and much more meaningful, than just advertising in a local – local district newsletter and expecting people to respond.

R: Can you maybe talk a little bit about what kinds of music umm, is offered during one of those festivals?

F: Sometimes it’s thematic, so we gave a Festival of the River, in June, this past year, we had about 10,000 people there over the course of the Festival, and it was designed to shine a light on the importance of the watersheds to the health of the river, and in term to the Chesapeake Bay, and we had over the course of the three days 54 different organizational partners, including the State, because they joined forces with us so that the Saturday of that weekend became Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week’s culmination, it was the end of the Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week, and there was lots of environmental activities around it. The Institute for Contemporary Art joined forces with us and commissioned, we together commissioned, with them, three projects which included sending scuba divers under the river with microphones, transmitting the sound back to the banks, and melding it together with music, and that was very effective. And it was again to sort of talk about how think about the river, through music. And then we had a wonderful tap dancer, called Savion Glover, who came and danced Duke Ellington’s ballet, “The River.” Um so, we can find, we – we try to make each festival unique, and that’s where the local community committee sort of comes in, and sometimes we start with a title, so we gave one um, recently that was, um, about the north side, celebrating its people and its history. Uh, “In Tune with the North Side,” it was called. So it – somethings it’s a bit catchy. Umm, and we have done them now in many different parts of the city. When we go to the counties, um, the counties have different reasons, sometimes, for having us there, and Henrico has signed a four – a five year agreement with us to have us there for the Fourth of July, so obviously for that we have traditional music – patriotic music, and lasers and fireworks.

Segment Synopsis: Fisk gives a summary of the traditional and non-traditional programming offered by the Richmond Symphony, including Classics, Currents, as well as their education and community outreach programs, and "The Big Tent" Festivals.

Keywords: Chamber Orchestra; Classics; Community; Currents; Education; Festival; Ignition; Immersion; Instruments; Lollipops; Masterworks; Metro Collection; Pops; Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation; Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra; The Big Tent

Subjects: Music; Orchestra

00:15:47 - The 2016 - 2020 Strategic Plan

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Partial Transcript: R: So I now want to talk a little bit about the Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2020, which outlines the five goals of the symphony over this period of 4 years and beyond. The goals listed are: Public Relevance, Diversity and Inclusion, Audience Building, Financial Health, and Artistic Excellence. Today, I would like to specifically focus on the goals of Audience Building, Financial Health, and Diversity and Inclusion. So would you mind talking a little bit about the specifics behind those goals?

F: Sure. Umm Financial Health really underpins all of the other four, and if you look at our plan you can see that they’re sort of designed in a virtuous circle, each one driving the next. Um, Financial Health is the easiest to talk about in a way, because um, we know what it looks like, and it really is all about being able to not just break even on our budget every year, but always be thinking about renewing your revenue sources, diversifying those revenue sources, and not being over-reliant on one or two kinds of activity for success. Um, one of the other parts of it is about having a very, um, significant endowment, and we have been as part of this strategic plan, in an endowment campaign that will get our endowment to 20 million by 2020. That’s a nice healthy relationship in size, 20 million dollars to a six million dollar, six and a half million dollar annual budget. You want your endowment to be about three times what your operating budget is, ideally, and if you do the math, a five percent draw off a 20 million dollar endowment would represent about ten percent of our annual budget which is terrific. We’d like to get it, over time, near to fifteen percent. The other kinds of Financial Health would include making sure that you have enough cash for the day to day, um so ideally a cash reserve, and failing that, a line of credit, which is importantly, available when you need it, and then also a rainy day fund. Now, we have one of those, which is actually called our Fund for the Future, the Rudy Bunzl Fund for the Future, and that’s available to us for um, experimentation, and for investing in future success, um, for example, um, we are hosting the Olympics of the Violin in Richmond in 2020, and the instalments of the fee have to be paid ahead of time, so we can use the Fund for the Future to make sure that we’re not cannibalizing the other funding sources for that, so different ways in which you create Financial Health, but it has about five pillars supporting it.

And then with the other girls – goals, we’ve just actually renamed – to stay in touch with best practice, diversity, equity and inclusion. Because the equity piece in the middle actually sort of speaks to what I was referring to earlier with the um, equality of opportunity that is imbedded in the United Nations Human Rights Declaration. So the equity links, obviously, in to the inclusion piece, and we have been thinking about how we can look feel and be distinctly different. There was a lot of conversation about how one makes progress in this area, to be reflective of the communities that we seek to serve, and the answer to that really has to be in every area, um because you can’t just focus on one or two. The symphony has many different constituencies, it has the musicians, it has the staff, it has actually two boards – one for the symphony, one for the foundation, and all of these ancillary organizations like our volunteer league and our chorus. And all of us are thinking about how we can ensure that our membership, those that we have on the stage, reflect the audience that we are trying to attract. And um, part of that is about paying attention to the pipeline of education, because only if kids are given instruments when they are Pre-K, K, elementary, can they be given the chance to learn an instrument that takes them all the way through into a music college and out the other side, and part of our struggle with ensuring that we have great diversity on stage, is that we’re just not getting those folks coming to audition at the moment, so we have joined forces with other organizations to try to make it easier for minority musicians to prepare for auditions and then be able to afford to come to auditions, for those that need that help. And over time, it will take some time, we’ll be able to change that, but lots of other ways in which we can assure there’s diversity on stage as well as the membership of the orchestra, we do that through the composers that we commission and perform, the soloists that we have, the conductors that we have, and so on. Um, and we’re trying through the goals of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives to use our community council, to be in touch with other local and national initiatives, and to position the orchestra as um, representing the community in major commemorations, um, and one of the programs that I think people will remember, those who heard it, always, is when we um commemorated the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and gave a program with the JCC and the Virginia Holocaust Museum that was incredibly powerful, and music there was able to go where words cannot, in helping people remember, but in a way that was uplifting at the same time as being very serious. So there are ways in which music can bring people together like that and we find that partnerships are an important way of doing that.

With Audience Building – that was the other one that you wanted to talk about – um we could have chosen so many different ways of focusing on building audiences. For this particular Strategic Plan we wanted to focus on the next generation of business leaders, of foundation leaders, of um, cultural drivers, influencers, media, government, but also audience. And we started the 20/30 group which has now I think almost 90 members of folks who are in their twenties and early thirties, um that is helping us think about how we position ourselves to attract um, new audiences of that generation. I know everyone is focused on Millennials; we’re not just focused on Millennials, but it is clearly a very important demographic, and some of the programming we’ve been doing, and the way we present it is influenced by our focus on that group. Um, we started the strategic plan with help from the VCU Brown center, and some of their graduate students worked with us and some of the materials you’re seeing us using these days is because of that younger focus on the external face of our work.

R: Umm, so now I have a couple of specific questions about each of those goals.

*Background noise*

F: Do you want to pause for a minute?

R: Yah.

F: hit pause?

R: No it’s all good it’s all good.

F: Go head.

R: So I’d like to first ask about audience building. Umm, so it is common to find stereotypes that peg Symphony-goers as wealthy, white, and elderly. Umm, the Strategic Plan, in the long report, mentions um, conducting a holistic review of then-current offerings and audience base. Would you be able to comment on this common assumption, this review process, and your goals going forward in this arena?

F: Yah. It’s a stereotype that I wholeheartedly reject, because I know it’s not true, and um, anybody who comes to our programs through our website can see straight away that it can’t be true, because the variety of what we have to offer clearly appeals to every demographic, and so whether it’s through our education programing, our family programing, um, which through our lollipops series, attracts kids and their 30 or 40 year old parents, um all the way through to the pops programming that really through different programs – um, particular programs, appeal to many different demographics, all the way through the masterworks, but even masterworks, we have had now for some years, um, a way for under 18s to come free, and so you will see younger folks at our Masterworks too. So I’m actually relaxed at – at the accusation, because we can just shrug it off and say “it isn’t true, just come and have a look,” and this is one of those stereotypes that really needs to be laid to rest.

R: There – there are clearly um financial motivations for shifting one’s view to Millennials, and those younger than Millennials, but um, I’m wondering if you could describe if there are other motivations motiv – um – directing this or if it’s just the “we need ticket-goers and people to buy tickets for the next fifty years,” um so maybe if you could comment on that a little bit?

F: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to sell tickets. Um, I think our motivation is part altruistic and part selfishly strategic. Um, we genuinely want to feel available to everyone, and The Big Tent of course has been one of the ways in which we can make free music freely available in the freest of spaces, which is a public park, so um, giving free concerts, giving free broadcasts is important, but we also want to make sure that our concerts are affordable, and as well as having special programs for under 18s and for veterans and um, so on, we also do ensure that our pricing isn’t going to be um, a barrier to attendance. So it is something that we’ve head firm on that ticket prices start at ten bucks, you can pay more if you want to, I’d welcome it, but you don’t have to. Um, and, so we think about every audience, and what are the barriers to attendance, and what are the ways in which we can try to make the building itself feel welcoming, um, and, um, to different um, in different kind of ways, you know one thing we did a few years ago for a lollipops series was to have a special arrangement for um, kids who are on the autism spectrum, to be able to have a way of understanding the experience they were about to have before they had it, and then being able to be especially looked after when they came, so we think about all different kinds of accessibility issues, but at the end of the day, we want everybody to feel welcome.

R: Um, now I want to move on to financial health, which as you say, is very crucial and the underpinnings of everything else. Um, so, um, I know that your experiences in the united Kingdom may differ substantially from those in the United States, um, and I was wondering if you are able to offer any comment on the effects of the distinction between um, funding sources coming mostly from the government, versus funding sources coming from a wide variety of sources including corporations, um especially, if you are able to comment on possible ethical musings about the two big name sponsors of the Richmond Symphony being a fossil fuel company and tobacco company.

F: Um, both of those two companies do many different things then what you just said. Um, we have benefitted from, a wide range of different funding to the Richmond Symphony, and as you – as you said when I came here, I’d been very used to government funding being available, but you can um, become over-reliant upon that, and that was the indeed case in Northern Ireland, with the government changing, the entire viability of the orchestra was called into question. Here, if we have a particular problem with one of our funding sources, it isn’t gonna pull us down, um, because we do have a wide range of funding. At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships, whether that relationship is with government, or with business, or with individuals or with foundations, and through individuals as donors or as ticket buyers, and demonstrating a reason why people would want to support you. For government it’s about demonstrating civic value, and a unique and special service that you can offer, with business it is about demonstrating, again, the reason why a business would support you rather than another very well deserving organization. And that is sometimes about publicity, it’s sometimes about um opportunities for uh, entertainment, where we gave our opening concert of the season a month ago with Lang Lang, the Chinese pianist, and Genworth was one of our sponsors. Genworth is trying to pull off at the moment a merger with a major Chinese company, and it was nice for them to be able to invite that company to be with them that evening to celebrate cultural exchange, so if in some small way we were able to advance that business’s goals that would – that was nice to think about. We, with individuals, value each of our donors very highly, and I don’t mean that lightly, because a 25 dollar a year donor now is still somebody who might decide to leave you a significant bequest when they pass, so we do think very much about how we look after all of our patrons, and encourage their support as well as appreciate their support. Grasping the nettle of your question about Altria and Dominion, both um major employers, and very significant civic leaders in the corp – corporate sphere, and do vast amounts of good in both what they do with uh, business minds, but also um, what they – what they do with the profits, and it would be very strange for us to turn our backs on two of Richmond’s largest and most philanthropic employers, um, you know I think it’s up for individual consumers to decide whether they want to part participate in purchasing tobacco products and alcohol products (swirls drink) I have a gin and tonic in my hand. And it’s not for the symphony to play the role of making that decision for them, and we all need power.

R: Um, so now I would like to move on to your Diversity Equity and Inclusion goal, which as you mentioned early, discuss a change in the way the Symphony itself looks and feels, um to better reflect the communities that it wishes to attract and to serve, um, so a few weeks ago, the Symphony released a list of candidates it is considering to replace the current music director, and I was wondering if you individually or the Symphony leadership at large views this process as personifying this goal of um, inclusion, and would you be able to comment on this process and these individuals and um, its relevance to the Symphony’s visions looking beyond 2020 to the next phase of its existence?

F: Sure. So we are indeed in a music director search at the moment, and Steven Smith who has been our music director now for almost ten years, will give way at the end of this season to the process that will lead to a successor. When Steven was chosen, um, eleven or twelve years ago, when that process was going underway, um we had about the same number of applicants then as we have had now – over two hundred, from all over the world, and it was, I think a coincidence last time, that we had nine male, white candidates, and this time we don’t have any, and that is fascinating to me, because each time we choose the best. And the short listing process was conducted by a committee of board members, musicians, and I am honored as a board member as well as the executive director, and it was very, very hard getting it down to the top six, but the fact that in that top six we have two women, is encouraging because that wasn’t the case, eleven or twelve years ago, that we had that quality pushing to the top, um, and Indian – American, Chilean, Turkmenistani, African-American, um it’s very exciting to see that slowly the industry is changing, so that the best, in this search, look like the world.

Segment Synopsis: In this section, Fisk discusses the Symphony's Strategic Plan for 2016 - 2020, especially the goals of Audience Building, Financial Health, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Keywords: Artistic Excellence; Audience Building; Different; Diversity; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Endowment; Financial Health; Goals; Millennials; Public Relevance; Revenue; Strategic Plan

Subjects: Finance; History; Music; Orchestra

00:33:33 - Renewal and Lasting Relevance

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Partial Transcript: R: Um, so in closing, I’d just like to ask you, since I do not trying well know or understand the inner workings of the Symphony as you do, is there any issue of critical importance that I have missed in my questions and that I would be remiss to ignore in an exploration of the goals, roles, and missions of the institution?

F: That’s a very good question. (Laughs). Um, well sometimes one way of getting at that is to say well, what keeps you up – up at night, what keeps you awake at night, um, and it can be you know, the issues of the moment. Um, I have a very interesting job because it covers every part of what we do, and every now and then you have to pay attention to something, um one of the mottos I try to live by is “catch it before it breaks” rather than, waiting. Um, or it could be something which is more systemic, and a longer term problem to solve. Now, we are very grateful that the Richmond Symphony was founded by very generous individuals and their families, back in 1957, and I had the privilege of meeting some of those founding members when I first came, but many of them have now, of course, passed on, and one of the most important things for the symphony to do is to keep renewing itself, because if the symphony pays attention to renewing itself, it will by extension, also renew those who support it, as audience members, and as patrons, and as donors, so all of this that we’ve talked about, things like the music director change, and refreshing programing, thinking about attracting different audiences, all of this is a natural process of constant renewal and change, and a very natural one, sometimes you have to manage it and sometimes you have to push it, but it’s – it is a very natural thing to want to keep renewing the organization, and that’s how you become an institution that thrives, um not one that ultimately becomes irrelevant, or unimportant, and we are certainly important and relevant, and unique in Richmond, in being a symphony orchestra that is excellent um, and um, able to show the best of Richmond, but to bring the best of the world to Richmond, um, through very, very high quality music making, that brings people together and shares the love of music from one generation to the next.

R: That’s all I have; thanks a lot!

F: Sure!

Segment Synopsis: In this concluding section, Fisk explains the importance of renewal and change in building a lasting, relevant, quality organization

Keywords: Change; Important; Music; Quality; Relevant; Renewal

Subjects: Orchestra