RSNO Takeover 2014, Day 1: Artistic Planning

RSNO Takeover is an intensive two-day work experience project which took place at the RSNO Centre on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 June 2014. Susannah Mack and Scott Bathgate, who have been working in the Artistic Planning department describe their experiences on the first day of the programme.

Susannah Mack – Conon Bridge, Ross-shire
Working with Artistic Planning today has been really interesting and enjoyable.  Our main job was to plan the music for the concert we would play on Tuesday night.  We had a list of 10 potential pieces to choose from, each very contrasting and with different limitations, such as ensemble size or length, meaning we couldn't pick Stravinsky's Rite of Spring due to the number of musicians we would have needed. We also had to consider the balance of the programme, for example we couldn't have Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake when we already had excerpts from his Nutcracker Suite. Too much ballet! Other things we had to consider included target audience, venue, the conductor's thoughts and themes.
After finalising the concert programme, we met with the Marketing, Development and Presentation and Operations departments in order to cover all the important details we needed to consider for the concert to be success.
One of our other tasks has been to plan our own hypothetical concert on the theme of Valentine’s Day, which gave us a good idea of the many things which need to be considered when planning orchestral programmes!
For me, a definite highlight has been to see how all the departments work together and all the individual jobs within orchestra management.  I have loved getting the opportunity to work with so many young people, getting to know people from across Scotland, and finding out how much it takes to put on a concert programme.
Scott Bathgate – Edinburgh, Edinburgh City
I thoroughly enjoyed today's session. I learned through taking the artistic planning course, that choosing repertoire for a concert is not as simple as it may seem.
Through my supervisor Manus (RSNO Executive Producer) I learned that there is many things to take into consideration when making a programme for an RSNO concert. These things include audience perception, target audience, finance and cost, promotion and possible themes to be played with throughout the concert for certain events, such as Valentine’s Day concerts. As well as this I learned how to read short hand for orchestration such as "Tmp" standing for timpani. This has helped me fully understand the inner workings of the orchestra and has given me a more broadened understanding of how much effort is put into RSNO concerts and events.
Today we made the programme for tomorrow's concert while taking all these different factors into account. Tomorrow we plan to make another programme from scratch as well as pitch the full structure of the concert to the musicians including presentations of the departments and how the orchestra will manage itself to go on and off stage in a beneficial way. A lovely day and I certainly learned a lot.
Susannah and Scott are part of the RSNO's Takeover scheme, arranged by the Learning and Engagement Department. All views expressed by Takeover participants belong to those of the individual and are not representative of the organisation. For more information, visit the RSNO website