Finding A Music Director In Kansas City

In the Sunday, May 23rd edition of the Kansas City Star, music critic Paul Horsley wrote an excellent article entitled Decision Time.  It’s about how orchestras set about selecting a new music director and it focuses on the current music director search being undertaken by the Kansas City Symphony.  It’s a well written article that’s worth your time to read and in the spirit of full disclosure; it includes a few quotes from me.  But the real interesting sections include comments and observations from KCS musicians and long time KCS patrons.

You certainly can’t underestimate the value of a good music director, but at the same time they are not the end-all be-all figures they once were.  I’ll be covering music director compensation very soon as well as examining their impact on an orchestra, good and bad.  Stay tuned

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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