I believe that orchestras, its managements and musicians, need to be active, visible leaders on and off the stage to grow and remain relevant and viable in their communities
During my thirty-four year career as a violinist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic, one of my passions was performing music to bring awareness and dignity to the issues surrounding mental health and homelessness. For my advocacy and fundraising efforts for Mental Health America Long Beach (CA) I was named a mental health hero by the CA State Senate. Through my association with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and Street Symphony, I have been able to bring the dignity and humanity that music provides music, to the homeless community along with the benefits of satisfaction and, depth to the musicians’ life, and recognition to the orchestra.
Composer Lucas Richman and I have launched the Paths To Dignity Project, a collaboration and residency between me, your orchestra, the homeless community and its providers to build long lasting relationships and awareness to all involved. The weeklong residency begins with rehearsing with orchestra members for small ensemble performances in homeless shelters. The week concludes with a showcase concert featuring my performance of the new violin concerto, Paths To Dignity, by Lucas Richman, a panel discussion after the concert, and information booths in the lobby of the concert hall. In advance of my arrival, I help facilitate discussions between the orchestra managements, homeless providers, and media. I can also help plan for
panel discussions and information booths in the concert hall lobby if desired.
~ Mitchell Newman