The Search for Shining Eyes

Audiences, Leadership and Change in the Symphony Orchestra Field

Dr. Thomas Wolf

2006, 54 pages. John S. and James L Knight Foundation , Suite 3300, 200 South Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL, 33131-2349, 305-908-2600

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Between 1994 and 2004, a critical period for the symphony orchestra field, the Knight Foundation dispensed more than $13 million in its "Magic of Music" symphony orchestra initiative. This concise history, commissioned by the foundation, not only chronicles the history of the program, but also identifies a number of significant lessons learned by the initiative.

Fifteen orchestras were supported during the program, with grants for planning, implementation, research and technical assistance. The intention of the program was to be transformational. This history reports that most of the grants made through the initiative were only marginally successful, and some of the most significant outcomes were only indirectly associated with the projects that were initially funded.

The report's honest and straightforward documentation of the successes and failures of this long-term commitment, and the willing-ness of the funder to change courses as needed is exemplary. The chapter on "lessons learned" for orchestras and funders is of particu-lar note. Overall, this small volume contains a wealth of useful information and ideas.