I was perusing though the list of referring links to Adaptistration the other week when I can across one from a management school in Australia. Well that certainly peeked my curiosity so I followed the link back to a course at the Australian Gradate School of Management and what I discovered was a bit of a surprise.
I found a list of online reference material about orchestra management. Since my list of known Australian friends is limited to an amazing woodworker and a musician that now lives in the states, I knew I wasn’t included due to a personal connection. So I contacted the course instructor, Professor Robert Marks, to ask about the program. Here’s what I learned:
“The Australian Graduate School of Management has a special relationship with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and after Easter will offer an elective 4-day intensive course to our full-time MBA students, in which they will have the opportunity to consider the management of the SSO from the various perspectives of their MBA study so far: economics, marketing, accounting, organisational behaviour, and data analysis, assisted by the staff and musicians of the SSO, who will brief the students here at the Australian Graduate School of Management and who will host a visit by the students to a rehearsal of the orchestra, at which the students will also be able to talk to the musicians. Working in groups, the students will choose a topic about the orchestra’s management on which to write a report. The best reports will be amalgamated and a presentation made to the SSO’s management committee by students. This year is the second time we have done this, and the first in which I have been involved (I’m an economist). I’m drawing together relevant web pages with the help of others, as a resource for the students.”
All in all it sounds like a pretty interesting program to me. I can’t imagine an orchestra here in the U.S. allowing a group of management student’s access to their inner workings in order to write an analytical report. I think it has some great potential from the aspect that someone from the outside is allowed routine access in order to shed some light on how an orchestra manages itself, and that’s a very good thing.
I also like how Professor Marks (an economist, not an arts manager mind you) has the students interact with not just the managers, but with the musicians and staffers as well. It’s obvious that he understands the importance of the role individual players perform (no pun intended) in an orchestral organization.
On a personal note, I’m especially honored that Adaptistration is listed as relevant reading material. I also like that Professor Marks went to the trouble to add links for many of the individual web pages and documents that I refer to in several of these articles (many of which are from past editions of SOI’s Harmony).