March 8, 2016
Bruce Ridge, the longest serving Chairperson in the history of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), announced today that he will not seek a sixth term as Chair, and will step down following the 2016 ICSOM Conference in Washington, DC., August 24-27.
During his tenure as Chair of ICSOM, Ridge has been one of the most prominent advocates for orchestral musicians that the field has known. By articulating a consistently positive message about the future of the arts, Ridge has sought to build bridges wherever possible throughout the musical culture of North America. He has visited with orchestral musicians and managements across America, from San Juan to Honolulu. He has testified before the United States Congress on the importance of the arts, and also addressed international gatherings of artists in numerous countries.
Robert Fraser, President of the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians, said “Bruce Ridge has been a passionate advocate not only for musicians in the orchestras of ICSOM, but also for the power of music to transform the world entire. Bruce has been there to demonstrate that music is necessary alongside all the other arts to create a compassionate and enlightened society.”
The accomplishments achieved by ICSOM during Ridge’s tenure include the creation of “Call to Action” campaigns, which have united orchestral musicians and provided much-needed assistance to orchestras that have faced difficulties. ICSOM has also led musicians in the development of social media platforms for arts advocacy, and in recent years the organization has encouraged musicians to become involved in social causes by performing in soup kitchens and hospitals, demonstrating both the healing power of music and the importance of investment and growth in ICSOM orchestras.
"Ridge's tireless efforts on behalf of symphonic musicians have been an inspiration to everyone in this field" said Carla Lehmeier-Tatum, President of the Regional Orchestra Players Association. "His numerous initiatives will provide symphonic musicians invaluable resources for future generations."
Ridge’s extensive writings as Chair have covered topics as diverse as the economic impact of the arts to how musicians can respond to acts of terrorism with messages of hope.
Currently a member of the North Carolina Symphony, Ridge began his professional career when he joined the Virginia Symphony at the age of 15. He later studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music, where he graduated with Distinction in Performance honors.
Ridge’s articles on orchestral music and arts advocacy can be found in ICSOM's newsletter Senza Sordino on the ICSOM website at www.icsom.org. His speeches and articles have been published in numerous countries, and he has been quoted in newspapers across the United States.
The International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) represents over 4000 symphonic musicians in the top 52 orchestras in the United States. ICSOM's key mission is to facilitate communication between all members of the greater musical community and to advocate for the arts in America and beyond. More information can be found at www.icsom.org.
Please contact ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge at (919) 971-1160, or by writing .
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