There’s a fun article by JP Mangalindan in the 12/19/17 edition of Yahoo Finance that examines the company sponsored 80-piece orchestra at Amazon.com. Although doctors’ and lawyers’ orchestras have a long history, I can’t think of another volunteer orchestra this size organized entirely within a single company (I’d love to hear about others).
Although the article doesn’t clarify exactly how much of a budget the group receives, it reports Amazon provides rehearsal and performance space. Currently, the group schedules a few concerts per year and uses some of those events to raise money for charities, one of their recent efforts raised over $18,000.
According to the article, the group’s conductor is Fred Clarke, Senior Manager, Alexa Engineering. In addition to an MBA, Clarke has a BA in Music Theory from Yale where, according to his LinkedIn profile, he was a member of the band and orchestra as well as conducting the Berkeley Chamber Players.
It’s a genuine feel-good article. Not only is it heartening to see a company find value in facilitating employee cultural creativity but it’s fascinating to see one with so many employees that have experience as instrumentalists and the desire to continue performing.
If you’re curious what they sound like, you can find a recording of the group from July, 2017 here: https://youtu.be/UcCZiQGCaG8 (I would otherwise embed the clip, but it appears the video owner has embedding disabled).