Classical Connection Podcast 2: Bad Boys

Pianist and conductor Bill Eddins released the second installment in his pioneering classical music Podcast series, Classical Connections last September and it’s well worth your time to download your free copy to listen (no, you don’t need to subscribe to iTunes in order to have access)……

In this installment, Bill examines what he describes as the “Bad Boys” of classical music during the 1920’s. The title of the show, Classical Connections: Bad Boys is no mistake either; Bill released a CD of piano music in 2002 entitled Bad Boys, Vol. 1.

I know that doesn’t sound earth shattering in and of itself but you have to see the cover and hear the music in order to completely realize the full impact of the message Bill’s is sending home. The CD cover and insert art contains a mockup of a police mug shots and a photographic pictorial of Bill’s “arrest” and subsequent “lock-up”. It all sounds a bit like a hackneyed PR stunt until you realize that Bill is a black man (insert audible gasp here).

But that’s the whole point, Bill is quickly establishing himself as one of those rare figures in the classical music business willing to buck the trend and isn’t afraid to point out that the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. Bill attacks classical music stereotypes with a wry wit and razor sharp satire similar to how Mel Brooks used his films to attack racism.

The Bad Boys Podcast examines a few of the damaging stereotypes in classical music’s recent history but you walk away learning more about the origins of the self-inflicted rift which began to separate classical music from the cultural consciousness. But you’ll also learn a hell-of-a-lot more about classical music in the United States at the beginning of the last century and walk away with a much higher level of enjoyment for music from that time and today.

Postscript: I don’t make it a habit to promote projects from artists or organizations here at Adaptistration but I make an exception in Bill’s case because A) It’s a really good product and B) Bill doesn’t do this for direct personal gain. That means he doesn’t get paid to make these Podcasts. That added level altruism goes a long way in my book and if history has anything to say about altruism it’s that good guys don’t always finish last.

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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