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A Little Traveling Music, Please …

August 11, 2005 By:
David Tilman, JE
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It's a farewell to Joseph Kluger at the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Two months ago, Joseph H. Kluger announced hisresignation as presidentof the Philadelphia Orchestra,completing his 16-year stewardshipat the end of August.

Initially appointed as executivedirector in May 1989, he wasgranted the title of president inNovember 1991, and has the secondlongest tenure as chief administrativeleader of the orchestra,exceeded only by ArthurJudson (1915-1935). A lothas happened in the interim: collaborationswith Maestro RiccardoMuti; two music directorsearches leading to the appointmentsof Wolfgang Sawallischand Christoph Eschenbach; extensiveforeign tours to Israel,Vietnam, Germany, Latin Americaand, most recently, to China;and major fundraising initiatives.

There was, of course, the renovationof the Academy of Music;the building of the KimmelCenter and occupancy of the orchestra'snew home in VerizonHall; and the development ofnew leadership roles for the orchestra'smusicians in the managementand governance of theensemble.

Kluger's administration wasalso marked by the extended musicians'strike in 1996, and theloss of a recording contract. Recently,however, he has facilitateda new contract with OndineRecords, and has made possiblethe "streaming audio" of PhiladelphiaOrchestra concerts onthe Internet site Andante.com,the first major American sym-phony to disseminate its musicin cyberspace.

Working together with asmall group of musicians whohave formed the PhiladelphiaOrchestra Media Institute, Klugerand the POMI have preparedand released a wonderful documentary,"Music From the InsideOut," which examines the multifacetedpersonalities of orchestramembers and the processby which they make musictogether.

As he reflected on his 16-yearcareer at the head of one of theworld's greatest orchestras, Klugerspoke with great pride aboutsome significant achievements,which he grouped into two distinctcategories: "The new buildingis a great accomplishment. Itook over here six months afterthe purchase of the land with a$20 million loan.

"The second large accomplishment?Integrating his life andwork with those around him, "includingthe conductor, the overallteam of people on the stageand the team of people off thestage, all of who ensure the futuresuccesses of the PhiladelphiaOrchestra," he stated.

He remains confident that theorchestra has the right people inplace to determine positive solutionsto the significant problemsfacing the company, such as anaging audience, and diminishingsubscriptions and contributions.

Kluger reminisced about themega-concert celebrating Israelat 50 in February 1998 that profoundlytouched the Jewish community.That event brought tothe Wachovia Center the PhiladelphiaOrchestra, the IsraelPhilharmonic Orchestra, MaestrosSawallisch and Zubin Mehta,a gallery of superstars, a 275-voice choir of singers from bothJewish and non-Jewish choirs,and an audience of 20,000 people.

Said Kluger: "This event wasone of the top three concerts andone of the most satisfying in mycareer!"

He is moving on to AEA Consulting,a firm specializing instrategic planning for culturalorganizations. But he will continueto reside in Philadelphia,where he can still keep an eye onthe orchestra, to which he hasgiven so much time, talent andenergy over the years.

Cantor David F. Tilman, conductorand music educator, servesas chazzan of Beth Sholom Congregationand synagogue-skillsinstructor at the Forman Centerof the Perelman Jewish Day School.

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