TAFTO Reader Response: My Daughter The Critic

Proving that you don’t have to live by your own words (Take a Kid to the Orchestra), TAFTO contributor Lisa Hirsch decided to take her mother, Naomi Hirsch, to a concert.  So here’s Naomi’s take,



My daughter took me to the San Francisco Symphony Richard Strauss concert on Friday evening, May 20. Both orchestral selections were well known to me, so I was free to keep an eye on the musicians. I greatly enjoyed watching them play. I had forgotten to request a hearing device when we entered, but Richard Strauss’s scores are quite audible even to the hearing-impaired. [Editor’s note: What an absolutely wonderful way to say that!]Don Juan” and “Also sprach Zarathustra” were quite wonderful.


The songs rendered by Laura Claycomb were not as pleasurable to me. Perhaps my own hearing loss caused such distortion that they could not be fairly judged. I shall listen very carefully, should I have the chance to hear her again. As for now, I reserve the right to hear her again before expressing an opinion.


– Naomi Hirsch


Now, if you’re wondering what Naomi’s daughter, the critic, officially thought of the same performance, you can find out here.  However, what’s important to understand is that each individual will have their own very distinct opinion about how any given concert touched them.

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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