Virtual Disaster

It appears that the cold war between the makers of the Sinfonia virtual orchestra device and representative of New York City Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians is heating up again, and it’s doing so on the same battleground as before, the Opera Company of Brooklyn.

Like most wars that result in an uneasy standoff, this gift as heated up again over the very same issues as last year.  However, one noticeable difference is that at the end of last season’s conflict, Local 802 came away with a contract from the Opera Company of Brooklyn that stated, in essence, they would no longer use the Sinfonia device.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, the Opera Company of Brooklyn’s gala performance of the Magic Flute has been moved from NYC’s CAMI Hall to a loft owned by Sinfonia’s maker.

I wrote an article entitled The Good, the Bad, and the Digital which profiles positive and negative application of technology on the world of classical music.  It provides a good background and explanation of the Sinfonia and what it does.

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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