Lack of Interest: Reader Response

I received the following observation from one of our readers regarding the recent “Lack of Interest” blog. I think it is worthwhile to share because the individual currently holds an administrative position in a major Midwest orchestra. Concerning the issues of finding orchestra management candidates with experience outside of typical industry practice and education, they have this to say:

“This is the first orchestra I’ve worked for, and I’m amazed at how much groupthink there is in the industry orchestras should move away from thinking that arts administration programs are a union card to the industry. After getting an MA in musicology I was trying to decide whether to go into an AA program or an MBA program, and I am so glad I chose the latter. It gave me a much broader view of the skills needed for the industry.”

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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