In New York, I attended a concert, “Concerto per violini: 18th-century Italian virtuosi“, performed by members of Early Music New York (EM/NY).
At the end of the event, EM/NY announced the retirement from public performance of Frederick Renz, the storied conductor and early music expert who directs the organisation. They also announced that plans for future performances by EM/NY were as yet unclear.
The program notes for the event reminded us that, while most people think of concertos as works for solo instruments accompanied by an orchestra, the original definition of the term in the Baroque era, was “a work for musicians playing together.”
Such were the works performed at the EM/NY event, including pieces by Vivaldi, Arcangello Corelli, Pietro Locatelli, and Francesco Geminiani.
There’s a tension within the very name “concerto”: not just the way in which the term has evolved musically, but between the literal Italian meaning “gathering” or “accord” and the Latin derivation “concertare”, which denotes confrontation or battle. There are so many ways we can come together, in collaboration, competition, or opposition – sometimes “either/or”, sometimes “both/and”.
I was reminded of a workshop series which I ran for an organisation facing a challenging strategic situation, thick with uncertainty. Together, we built scenarios to explore how these uncertainties might play out in ways beyond their expectations, assumptions, hopes, or fears.
Those scenarios were then presented to the organisation’s board during an away day. Board members were introduced to the scenario planning approach, worked with the scenario material created by the organisation’s staff and other stakeholders, and then engaged in strategic conversation: what did these scenarios mean for the organisation? How could they inform the decisions which needed to be made?
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