Beyond the orchestra
The symphony orchestra seems to be an institution set in stone with its defined roles, authorities and hierarchies. Symphonic music is complex and needs many people to collaborate in perfection. For this, clearly assigned competence and leadership appears necessary. The professional symphony orchestra translates this into job descriptions and pay gaps: the concert master has the right to speak with the conductor; the section leaders lead the timing of their colleagues; soloists in the wind section are entitled to play first parts; and finally the conductor decides alone about the musical interpretation of the work.
Since the time of Beethoven, Hector Berlioz and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, the musical direction of orchestras was transferred to a conductor who does not play himself. The result: The musicians of the orchestra have nearly no influence on the whole. Countless decisions are down to the conductor: the tempo, the balance between voices or parts, the phrasing of single passages, the sound quality or the leading of free tempo variations, the »tempo rubato«.
Orchestra of many conductors
Spira mirabilis was founded as a collective of musicians who wanted to reclaim how their orchestra would sound. An ensemble working in direct democracy cannot be called an orchestra anymore, explains violinist and founding member Lorenza Borrani. The members change the matrix of orchestral playing on several levels: On the level of rehearsing, on the level of performing and on the level of communicating with audiences. Everyone in the ensemble studies the score of the rehearsed work and all together take on the responsibility of the conductor to pass musical decisions and to keep the group together.