The Public Orchestra, A Manifesto

Note: The word orchestra has its earliest known roots in the Sanskrit word ऋघाय%त ṛghāyati. The word means to tremble with anger, rage, rave.

The Public Orchestra strives to be as diverse in all aspects as the city it is in.

A sonically diverse orchestra is a diverse orchestra.

Membership into the orchestra is not based on skill but rather enthusiasm and commitment. Diversity across all demographics and heterogeneity representative of the host city are the guiding principles for the makeup and instrumentation of the orchestra.

The only musical requirements are the ability to read music notation and ownership or access to an instrument. The voice is also an instrument.

Non genre-specific music education and expanding access to all instruments is a future and ongoing goal of The Public Orchestra.

All rehearsals are open.

All performances are free.

Rehearsing takes priority over performing.

Besides rehearsing musical works, the rehearsals are also forums for conversation, discussion, and exchange. A joint meal is served at the rehearsal.

The Public Orchestra is not beholden to any repertoire or perceived standards of perfection. No pre-existing genre or tradition is ascribed to it but The Public Orchestra is indebted to the multitude of existing genres and traditions that exist in any one area.

Composers and other artists will be invited to create a new repertoire for this new body.

Repertoire is shared between all Public Orchestras.

The Orchestra has a season; membership and rehearsals should remain more or less constant through each season.

New Public Orchestras are formed with input from existing Public Orchestras. After the orchestra has been established for at least one season, the orchestra members ideally take control of all decision making.

The Public Orchestra takes place locally but exists as a large interconnected body of all Public Orchestras.

The first Public Orchestra was created in Philadelphia in 2022.

-Ari Benjamin Meyers, Berlin 2021

Zoë Keating w/ Ensemble