Reader Response: Insufficient Communication

A frequent reader sent an email pointing out an ambiguity from last Thursday’s article entitled The Downside Of Insufficient Communication.  They pointed out that I failed to mention that the Charleston Symphony orchestra musicians recently accepted a nearly 20% pay cut in order to help keep the orchestra’s finances stable.

Although I did refer to the musician pay cuts by mentioning that the Charleston Symphony Orchestra had to institute large cuts in artistic and staff expenses, I can certainly see where that is a vague statement.  I tend to forget sometimes that not everyone realizes an orchestra’s single largest artistic expense is musician’s salaries. 

But in the end, there is no misunderstanding that the only way the CSO was able to avoid financial collapse was due to the musicians accepting the nearly 20% pay cut.  On a side note, it would have been better for the organization if both the Music Director and Executive Director accepted an equal percentage cut in their pay as well.  But that’s a topic for another day

On another note, I published an article at my column on The Partial Observer today about the often-underappreciated Military Bands.

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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