A Few Odds & Ends

Neo Classical Article: I recently published a new article on my column at Partial Observer entitled Musical Fortune Cookies – Recalling the memories that make music special. It’s a light hearted piece that has a great story of exactly how you shouldn’t behave at an opera concert.  It’s worth the time, so go look.

Some more feedback from the compensation articles: I’ve received many, many responses, (even one which included a really neat graph to illustrate how off base I was with a particular comparison but I didn’t buy it) many of which will undoubtedly pop up in some Reader Responses over the next week.  If I haven’t responded to your email, hang tight, it’s on the way.

Quite a few of the emails I read mentioned how interested they were in reading about the discrepancy between staffers typically referred to as coordinators and their managers, and the differences between levels of pay among different musicians.  Unfortunately, those salary levels are not listed in the IRS 990 forms so acquiring the information for that type of analysis is difficult to obtain.  But I’ll do my best and perhaps there’s a generous orchestra executive willing to share the info anonymously.

More on Interlochen:  To all of you alumni who have written in I give you my sincerest thanks.  Sharing your experiences and passionate opinions are of great assistance.  If there are any more of you out there who were wondering if you should write in, stop wondering and click this link.  It only takes a second, you can remain completely anonymous, and every opinion is important. 

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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