Into The Fray

Over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure to serve in a variety of consulting roles for orchestra administrators and musicians. I’ve also been watching the growing amount of consultants specializing in orchestra related services, some of them deliver stellar work while others, well, don’t. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of consultants who have a significant amount of firsthand experience from the administrative, board, and musician perspectives.

There are some wonderful specialists who do a stellar job at specific tasks but, simply put, there aren’t enough individuals who possess enough inclusive experience to serve the needs of all three constituents with equal capacity.

In the 22 months Adaptistration has been operational, I’ve been able to identify a number of very unique concerns which are only being adequately addressed by no more than a handful of individuals currently in or out of the business. The result is they are not able to supply services for the intense amount of demand currently being generated.

As such, I’ve decided it’s high time to wade into the waters of regular consulting work. I’m taking this opportunity to officially announce my consulting services to the stakeholders throughout the orchestra world; boards, managers, musicians, and volunteers.

You can find additional details at my consulting website: where you’ll find my extended biography, philosophy on the business, and what I have to offer as an orchestra consultant and as a lecturer.

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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