Success story in Indianapolis

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, BRUCE HEMBD has lived in Phoenix, Arizona (USA) since 1991. He performs regularly with the Arizona Opera, Southwest Brass, Quintessence Chamber Ensemble, Palo Verde Brass, Desert Chamber Musicians, Symphony of the West Valley, and the Tucson and Phoenix Symphonies, in addition to many other ensembles throughout Arizona.

Before moving to Phoenix, Bruce held principal positions with the Mexico City Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and was also third hornist in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. He has also freelanced in Europe (Austria and Germany), and in the Rochester (NY), Cleveland (OH), Houston (TX), and Chicago (IL) areas in numerous chamber ensembles, orchestras, musical shows and solo recitals.

Having grown up in Indy, I am a little familiar with their history. At one time the Indpls. Symphony performed in the dingy Clowes Hall on the campus of Butler University. Their salary was fairly average or even below average for the time back in the 1970’s.

When Raymond Leppard came to Indy in the late 80’s, he made it a mission to raise the bar significantly. The orchestra secured its own hall in downtown Indy (a beautifully renovated movie palace) and its management took an aggressive approach towards fund-raising and an endowment. Some housecleaning happened at all levels and the salaries and quality went up significantly.

The key element here I believe was strong leadership and a strong cooperative vision between symphony management and civic leaders.

Downtown Indy is a cool place to be on most evenings - not only are there symphony concerts, but also sporting events, restaurants and shopping. In comparing Columbus to Indy, we can only hope that a similar civic vision may be in store for Columbus.

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