The Future Symphony Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit think tank dedicated to classical music. It is a place where ideas are reborn – ideas that boldly challenge and unflinchingly reframe the ways we understand the problems facing orchestras and classical music in our modern age.
Comprised of a growing community of the world’s best and brightest thinkers, scholars, theorists, researchers, artists, craftsmen, and business minds, the Institute focuses on providing visionary leadership and contributions to strategic thinking, scholarly research, policy formation, and public dialogue.
Our work is built upon the values we hold dear. Among these are happiness experienced as the pursuit of a good life well lived; human flourishing, community, and civic virtue; the persistence and intelligibility of natural order and hierarchy; recognition of exceptional human talent and the importance of earned success; the time-honored principles of free enterprise and free association; the traditions of Western Civilization; beauty, goodness, and truth as eternal and supreme transcendentals; the wisdom and dignity of old age and the value of maturity; and the importance of education as that which instills in us the higher virtues and develops our character.
Vision & Mission
Our mission is to formulate a strategy for the renaissance of live classical music and to translate that strategy into programs made freely available to everyone they may benefit.
By the term classical music we mean the Western tradition of art music, which, together with the symphony orchestra, represents an achievement unique and unparalleled among cultures in this or any other age.
There should be no doubt about the need for a renaissance. The long retreat of music education from public school curriculums, the frequency of closures and lockouts among the nation’s longstanding musical institutions, the growing tendency to couch arguments for the relevance or irrelevance of classical music in political, utilitarian, antihistorical, and reductionist terms, the surge in popularity of “solutions” that offer to repudiate or even dismantle the tradition, the administration of the art form as a socialist program or government agency and the subsequent slouching toward bureaucratic bloat and uninspired mediocrity, and the paucity of viewpoints upon any of these subjects all point to a growing gap between those who speak today for classical music and the eternal and transcendent art form itself.
But nor should there be any despair about the promise of a future for classical music. All around us we see the signs that a rebirth is nigh. The glorious musical heritage bequeathed to us sprang from a deep well of love and piety, reverence, and affection within the human heart. And despite the errors of any age – perhaps even because of them – people are still moved principally and most lastingly by love. We still long to be inspired by wonder, to feel the selfless fulfillment of devotion, and the security of belonging. Music has the power to move us in this way more than almost anything else we can name.
And its power is all the greater for the fact that our experience of classical music, especially today, is wholly unlike our other experiences. It stands outside of time, and looks lovingly from its vantage point across the wide panoply of history. It invites us to stand there with it, in intimate acquaintance with everyone we’ll never meet – those who are long gone but who, nevertheless, already know us because they know and sympathize with the condition of our humanity. Our musical communion across the centuries is the fruit of forgiveness that first took root in our hearts as sympathy and a mutual and abiding love for what is true, good and beautiful. Before trying to “modernize” music, then, we should remember that the great Renaissance was itself born of a loving look backwards. And already we see people in all walks of life making the first Petrarchan glances over the shoulder of modernity.
For the new renaissance to take hold, Western art music must do more than survive in the cloisters and towers of our conservatories and grandest orchestras. We envision a world of active and flourishing amateur, community, youth, and professional orchestras where the joyful practice of playing acoustic instruments and the inspired legacy of classical music find themselves again at the aesthetic center of community and family life. We envision a world in which classical music and its principles are unquestionably as important a part of any school curriculum as reading, writing, and arithmetic. And in this world we envision, as already in our own, the music forever renews itself by renewing our spirits, our imaginations, and our moral sensibilities. It shapes us even as we shape a phrase or a line in song.
A renaissance for classical music means a renaissance for humanity.
Orchestrate a Renaissance
It’s born of ideas and grows from the heart. But it doesn’t catch fire until we all jump in.
Founder & Executive Director
Andrew has served as principal trumpet of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) since his invitation by Yuri Temirkanov in 2001. He is former principal of the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and of the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico. He also served as principal of the Oslo Philharmonic for the 14/15 season and most recently, guest principal with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has been soloist under conductors Mehta, Temirkanov, Rozdestvensky, Herbig, Venzago, McGeegan, Stenz, and Lintu and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2012 with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Constantine Orbelian. He is presently on the faculty of Catholic University of America, where he serves on its Arts Council and is one of its Catholic Arts Ambassadors. He also serves on the board of the Academy of Arts and Letters. Andrew’s interest in orchestral affairs and challenges began while he was a music student, renting a room from the Boston Symphony’s long-time chairman of the Players’ Committee and thereby gaining a unique and candid vantage point from which to consider the inner workings of that highly successful organization. In Baltimore were spent his most formative years grappling with the challenges facing orchestras, through the many struggles of the BSO. There, he served on various orchestral committees before formulating his first strategic plan for the organization called Repositioning the BSO in 2003, collaborating with Robin-Marie Williams, strategic planner for NASA and the Department of Defense. It was this initial effort and subsequent years of watching, studying, and seeking out expertise that culminated with his launching of the Future Symphony Institute in 2014 with Roger Scruton and Léon Krier. Since 2010, he has served as the chairman of the Artistic Advisory Committee for BSO. He has presented lectures on behalf of FSI at universities such as Baylor, St. Thomas, Washington College, Rhodes College, Rice, as well as for Classical:Next, The New School (NYC), The Academy of Philosophy and Letters, and Front Porch Republic.
Sir Roger Scruton (1944-2020)
Alfred S. Regnery Distinguished Senior Fellow Emeritus
Sir Roger is one of the world’s leading philosophers in the field of aesthetics. Having graduated with honors from Cambridge, he has subsequently held positions at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions including the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, St Andrews, Princeton, and Boston. Called to the Bar after his studies at the Inns of Court in London, he is a fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the British Academy. Moreover, Sir Roger has been awarded the Czech Republic’s Medal for Merit in recognition of his efforts to establish an underground university in Czechoslovakia during its last decade of communism. Today he serves as a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC. But his principal activity remains what it has been for the last 30 years, which is writing. Sir Roger is an astonishingly prolific writer on a broad range of topics in several genres. His serious academic research has been in the area of aesthetics, with two books – The Aesthetics of Architecture and The Aesthetics of Music – that have made important contributions to their respective fields. In addition he has written essays, criticism, autobiography, invocations of country life, novels, and poems. Deeply devoted to classical music, he is also an accomplished amateur composer, having written two well-received operas and the libretto for a third.
John Borstlap is a composer and author on cultural subjects, covering music and the visual arts. He studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory and took a Masters Degree at the University of Cambridge (England). His Violin Concerto won prizes at the Prince Pierre Competition in Monaco and the Wieniawski Competition in Poznan (Poland). John’s third symphony is due to be premiered by the Kammersymphonie Berlin in the coming seasons. Other orchestral performances are currently under negotiation in the US, Germany, and Vienna. In 2016 Borstlap’s new work ‘Feierliche Abendmusik,’ a shared commission by the Dallas Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, was premiered by the respective orchestras under the direction of Jaap van Zweden. John’s book The Classical Revolution: Thoughts on New Music in the 21st Century is definitely recommended reading.
Léon represents the best of a new breed of architects in the remarkable way that he elucidates the relationship between our buildings and the institutions of our civilization. He is world-renowned as an architect, an urban planner, and an architectural theorist. Originally from Luxembourg, he was educated in Stuttgart and then in London, and has since held positions at the Royal College of Arts and the Architectural Association there, as well as at both Princeton and Yale here. Notably, he has served as consultant to His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales since 1987, and from 1988 onwards he has been the masterplanner and architectural coordinator of HRH’s new town of Poundbury. Léon was the leading figure in the Reconstruction of the European City movement. The Académie Française accordingly awarded him its Silver Medal in 1997 for the clarity and intelligence of his vision for cities, articulated in his book Architecture: Choice Or Fate. The complete body of his theories and his practice of building houses and towns that speak to the human spirit and respond to the patterns and scale of human life is now compiled in his book The Architecture of Community. Léon is counted chief among the New Classicists. He is himself a great lover of classical music and an accomplished amateur pianist. He has even designed a piano.
Mark Dulworth is a husband, father, and businessman with a lifelong interest in music, liberal education, and aesthetics. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and St. John’s College, he is President of Dulworth & Company, Inc., a family-owned and operated insurance planning firm. He played classical piano throughout high school, then learned bluegrass banjo and electric bass for fun. He is Board Chair of the Houston Institute, which is dedicated to character development and serves both Rice University and the Texas Medical Center. He has served on other non-profit boards over the years, including the Houston Food Bank, the Foundation for the Retarded, and the Sam Houston Area Council. He and his wife Carole have four sons, all of whom play the piano and the eldest of which graduated from Peabody Conservatory with both undergraduate and master’s degrees in Composition, Sound Engineering, and Acoustics.
Birgit Kovacs, MD, MBA, brings to the Institute her passion for music as well as her experience as a physician, scientist, and executive in the pharmaceutical industry where she has served in a number of leadership roles during the past 15 years. An expert in Rheumatology / Immunology by day, Birgit is a dedicated musician by day and night. She is actively involved in multiple ensembles – playing cello, trombones, cimbasso, and tuba – and serves as a member of the development committee of the World Doctors Orchestra USA. As a cellist and trombonist in the World Doctors Orchestra, Birgit has performed benefit concerts in countries throughout the world, including Armenia, South Africa, Romania, Germany, Austria, and the US.
Dhiru A. Thadani is an architect and urbanist. As a design principal and partner, he has completed projects the world over. Thadani was born to the boisterous urbanism of Bombay, India, and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1972 to attend The Catholic University of America, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture. During his forty years in Washington, he has taught, practiced, and worked to place architecture and urbanism in the public eye. He is the author of Visions of Seaside: Foundations / Evolution / Imagination / Built & Unbuilt Architecture, published by Rizzoli in June 2013. His previous book, The Language of Towns and Cities: A Visual Dictionary was published by Rizzoli in 2010. He is also the co-editor of Léon Krier: The Architecture of Community published by Island Press in 2009. Since its formation in 1993, Thadani has been a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and is a former board member. He was a 2001 Fellow in the Knight Program for Community Building, a five-time recipient of the CNU Charter Award for design, and the recipient of the 2011 Seaside Prize.
Gary’s considerable experience and success as an arts administrator affords the Future Symphony Institute many obvious benefits. Gary joined the staff of Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum in 1985 as its Director of Curatorial Affairs. In 1994, he was appointed the museum’s Director. His tenure saw many transformative strategic initiatives at the museum that resulted in an impressive expansion of both the institution and its reach. Gary has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including appointment by President Clinton to his Cultural Property Advisory Committee and Knighthood in the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) conferred by the French Minister of Culture and Communication. In support of his strong commitment to Baltimore and the arts, Gary has served on several boards, including Maryland Citizens for the Arts, the Maryland Humanities Council, the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, and the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors’ Association, now Visit Baltimore. He has also taught numerous courses in the Master of the Liberal Arts program of Johns Hopkins University, of which he is a board member.
Ken offers the Institute his extensive experience as a management consultant and one of the founding members of Achievence LLC, a premier growth consulting firm in the Washington, DC metro area. A seasoned executive, Ken founded Achievence to act as a growth accelerator, now having served over 350 companies in the United States, PAC Asia, Central and South America, the Middle East, and Continental Europe. His clients include Deutsche Post Global Mail, American Express, ESS, SAIC, Rolls Royce, Morgan Franklin and PricewaterhouseCoopers as well as some fast growth businesses such as Red Hat Linux, PAR Government and BrainBench. Ken has also worked with many major professional services firms on strategy, competitive positioning, messaging, compensation, strategic planning and go-to-market strategy. As a trombone player, Ken is an active solo artist and in high demand as a clinician and teacher. His primary ensemble responsibilities are with the Capital Wind Symphony as their principal trombonist, but he equally enjoys focusing on the expansion of trombone as a solo and chamber instrument and playing with his colleagues in some of the nation’s leading orchestras.