Remembering Who’s Who

After posting the Lost But Not Forgotten Update earlier this week, I received a note from a middle manager that used to work at one of the ensembles which went entirely out of business. They wanted to point out that the middle managers and staffers within their orchestra received one of a few options after the bankruptcy proceedings concluded: nothing or up to a quarter of their promised vacation pay…


Of course, this is in stark contrast to what many executive managers in the similar positions receive. For example, former San Antonio Symphony executive director, Steven Brosvik, continued to receive his full pay and benefits and five executives administrators were also paid on a full time basis during that same period.

If nothing else, these situations serves as a stark reminder that within many organizations the administrative divide between executives, managers, and staffers has never been larger.

Although it has been awhile, I think it’s high time for a refresher on the distinctions between who’s who within orchestra administration. The following chart illustrates a general breakdown of departments within an orchestra administration.
org chart.jpg

To learn more about the levels of bureaucracy in an orchestra’s administration, please visit an article I published from April 30, 2004: Who’s Who In Orchestra Administration .

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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1 thought on “Remembering Who’s Who”

  1. An org chart typically puts exec. assists off to the side, to show their ancillary roles. This chart makes it look like the general manager and his assistant are co-equal.

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