The Musicians’ Voice

Volume CI, No. 10October, 2001


To the editor:

I would like to correct some misinformation that appeared in your July issue in the “Negotiations Roundup” section, headed “Quincy Jones.” The article states, “The Ross Institute placed talented high school musicians with professionals to create a group called the InterSchool Orchestra.”

The InterSchool Orchestras of New York, Inc., was founded in 1972. Six conductors work with five orchestras on four levels, a symphonic band, a percussion workshop and a large chamber music program. Children aged 6-19 come from 120 schools in the five boroughs and beyond to participate. The ISO Symphony, for advanced musicians, performs in all the major concert halls of New York City. Jonathan Strasser has been ISO’s Music Director for 23 years. This is not a group created by the Ross Institute.

The Ross Institute invited ISO’s top level Symphony to perform the concerts conducted by Quincy Jones. The music was composed by young people, and was to be performed by young musicians. Because the concerts were scheduled for a week that involved Regents exams and graduation – June 15 and 16 in East Hampton – a number of our young musicians were unable to play. They needed to be replaced, and on behalf of the Ross Institute, I felt it appropriate to offer the replacing professionals union scale. The event was never designed as a union gig of any kind.

The ISO has been a major contributor to the musical life of New York City for many years. It is no one’s recent creation.

–Ann M. McKinney
Executive Director,
InterSchool Orchestras of New York