An Orchestral Sized Quagmire In Tacoma

At the beginning of the week, Arts Journal featured an article at, the Interactive Media Division of The Tacoma News Tribune.  The article, written by Jen Graves, details the disintegration in the seventeen year relationship between the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra and the Tacoma City Ballet. Here’s a quick synopsis of the situation: For 17 of the last 20 years, the Tacoma Symphony Orchetra (TSO) has been contracted by the Tacoma …

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The Downside Of Insufficient Communication

I’ve done my fair share of complaining on these pages about how difficult it is to obtain information from orchestra managers beyond the typical flow of propaganda style news from Marketing and Public Relations representatives.  Along these lines Art Journal recently featured a Letter to the Editor of the Charleston Post & Courier from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra board President, Ted Halkyard. In his letter he expressed his dissatisfaction with an …

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Non Profit Venture Capital?

I know, I know, by definition non-profits can’t have venture capital.  That unique form of financing that understands you may not turn a profit at first, but they have faith that one day your product or idea will and big.  These venture capitalists are usually investing in is a new idea or technology capable of opening a new stream of yet untapped market revenue.  So why is it so difficult to …

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Grant Games

I was talking to some musicians the other day who are interested in starting a small chamber group.  They were asking me about my experience starting a chamber orchestra and the resulting non profit.  In particular, they wanted to know about funding; how to go about it and where to find grants.  So I told them the honest truth; that since they would be a new organization it was doubtful they …

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A Classical Music Warrior

I do more than my fair share of complaining about orchestra managers in these writings, but I certainly don’t think all managers are bad.  There are excellent managers out there and even a few warriors among an overwhelming flock of sheep.  But one thing that really gets me going is when I talk to orchestra managers (especially executives) about the qualities that characterize a good leader.  Invariably this conversation has one of two possible outcomes; either I make a new friend or I make someone upset.

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