Roger Nierenberg

Creator of The Music Paradigm and Former Director of the Stamford Symphony Orchestra
Roger Nierenberg
  • Conducting career spanning twenty years at the helm of two successful American orchestras
  • Creator of the experiential learning program The Music Paradigm
  • Places audiences amidst a live orchestra to simulate business challenges using music as a metaphor
  • Demonstrates leadership lessons in an authentic way that translates to real progress within a company

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After a distinguished career at the helm of two American orchestras, Roger Nierenberg has emerged as a creative force for innovation in the presentation of symphonic music. For 14 years, he led the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in Florida, where he succeeded in building one of the great concert halls in America. The pinnacle of his time in Jacksonville was the orchestra's appearance in the Carnegie Hall Festival of American Orchestras. During his lengthy tenure with the Stamford Symphony in Connecticut, the orchestra developed a reputation as one of the finest in New England. Nierenberg has guest conducted many of America's most distinguished orchestras and opera companies including the Detroit Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the Atlanta Symphony, and has performed at some of the world's most prestigious music festivals including the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and the Dallas Opera. Abroad his many credits include having conducted the final concert at the Prague Spring Festival and at the Beijing Festival, and touring with the London Mozart Players. 

His recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra can be found on Sony Classical Records and his recent book Maestro: A Surprising Story about Leading by Listening is published by Portfolio, a division of Penguin Books, USA. It is available in a number of languages, including an e-book version, and was honored in 2009 as the Best Leadership Book from 800-CEO-READ.

Nierenberg is the creator of the highly successful experiential learning event, called The MUSIC PARADIGM, in which an orchestra is used as a metaphor for any dynamic organization. With participants seated among the musicians, Nierenberg leads a series of exercises, carefully crafted to address the sponsoring organization's specific themes and issues. The MUSIC PARADIGM provides a creative framework for rethinking leadership style, philosophies, teamwork, and effectiveness. Since its inception in 1995, MUSIC PARADIGM sessions have been held for hundreds of major companies, government organizations, leading educational institutions, and global consulting firms throughout the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and Latin America with over 90 different orchestras. It has been the subject of reports on ABC, CBS, CNN, and PBS and was the sole feature of an hour-long broadcast of the BBC's Money Programme.

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Speaker Video

 The Music Paradigm. Simply stated, The Music Paradigm uses a symphony orchestra as a metaphor for any dynamic organization, particularly during a time of challenge or change. The concept was created and developed by Roger Nierenberg, Music Director of the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

How it works

The executives are seated among musicians of a professional symphony orchestra. The musicians, however, are asked to do more than simply perform. The conductor leads them through a series of exercises that powerfully demonstrate critical truths about the functioning of organizations. These exercises are designed specifically for the sponsoring group. Executives discover themselves in the middle of a business simulation that invites breakthrough insights about themselves and their working relationships with colleagues.

The interface of the musicians and the conductor is similar in many ways to that of an organization and its leaders. The conductor may be viewed, for example, in the context of the company CEO or a team leader, and the instrumental families (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion) may be seen as business units or teams. The orchestra’s response to the conducting is almost instantaneous and their interactions are strikingly direct. This mirrors the leadership, teamwork, and communication that must take place in any organization.

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Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listenin

Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listenin