National Arts Journalism Program

The idea behind long term planning requires an organization to look at their past, examine their present, and visualize their future.


But what if your organization isn’t a single entity such as an orchestra?  Is it possible for a loose confederation of individuals with a common tie to engage in long term planning?


The Music Critics Association of North America and the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University hopes they’ll be able to accomplish exactly that. 


Described by the conference hosts as an event that hasn’t taken place in half a century, the “Shifting Ears” symposium will be conducted from October 15-17, 2004 at the Columbia University School of Journalism, New York City.


Think of it like a gathering of a nation. 



For those of you out there unfamiliar with political science nomenclature, a nation is defined as a group of people with common customs, origins, history, and language whereas a state is a defined as an internally autonomous territorial or political unit constituting a federation under one government.  So it’s not far fetched to look at an orchestra as a “state” and music critics as a “nation”.


Historically, these gatherings sometimes produce a wealth of shared knowledge and result in defined direction and a new sense of unity and sometimes they produce less than exciting results.  But regardless of the outcome from this symposium, it’s guaranteed not to be boring.

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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