Guest Post: Orpheus in the Businessworld ossia Thinking Outside the Box

The following is a guest post from Dennis Slavin, Associate Provost for Faculty Development at Baruch College. He can be reached at

About ten years ago the (then) executive director of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Harvey Seifter, approached me with a novel idea: a residency for Orpheus at Baruch College. Those of you who know about the longtime residency here of the Alexander String Quartet might question the novelty, but this was a different concept. Instead of bringing music to arts and science classes and demonstrating links-to classical or romantic styles, or to narrative techniques or mathematical relationships etc.-the idea was to have business students sit in on an actual Orpheus rehearsal.

If you don’t know Orpheus, my point is obscure. Orpheus is an orchestra that functions (wonderfully) without a conductor. The idea was (and still is) to demonstrate the actual working of a “flat management system” in real time. There’s nothing staged: these are real rehearsals for upcoming performances. Sitting in on these sessions, we heard many serious discussions about significant matters of interpretation; there were lots of conflicts, lots of resolutions, and lots of lessons to be learned by our MBA students.

Ten years on, Orpheus continues to be in residence with our MBA program and honors undergraduates. I haven’t been involved in years, but the Zicklin School keeps asking them back.

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One Response to Guest Post: Orpheus in the Businessworld ossia Thinking Outside the Box

  1. Leah Schanke says:

    Here’s a link to a YouTube clip of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at work:

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