Hometown Plug

Although I don’t typically plug websites, I want to point out a Chicago based classical music cooperative blog, chicagoclassicalmusic.org

The site is a coordinated effort between eight Chicago based performing arts organizations and classical music radio stations and actually has funding from Boeing Company and promotional support from The Silverman Group (although I glad to see that they have funding, I have to wonder how the site may have evolved if it started life as a zero budget outfit) . You’ll also find full size horizontal banner advertisements at the top of the main page.

There’s a wide variety of material and opinions expressed by the gaggle of regular bloggers (mostly arts administrators from the eight core members) and some special online chat events. It will be interesting to see if the initiative proves fruitful in Chicago and becomes a regular part of the cultural fabric.

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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3 thoughts on “Hometown Plug

  1. The blog postings from the administrators have been nice, but the site’s members seem to have been enable to leverage their clout to get musicians to sit down for online chats. So far, Thomas Hampson, James Conlon and Yo-Yo Ma have sat down, and the results have been pleasant. Not earth-shattering, but unique and not found other places.

  2. Agreed, it will be interesting to see where they take the site as it evolves. so far, it still looks as though it’s trying to develop a homogeneous identity even though I think it would be better if they focused more on the individuality of the bloggers and presented themselves as a clearing house for Chicago area cultural ideas, etc.

    The only technical problems I’ve run into are with posting comments. sometimes I have no problems at all and other times I receive messages that my post is considered spam and won’t let it go through (granted, the comment system here isn’t much better and I would improve it if I could).

    I think the site would benefit from finding a few more artists to serve as regular bloggers – not managers or ensemble leaders but rank and file in-the-trenches players. That would give the site some juxtaposition to what goes up already.

  3. Drew and Marc,

    Your feedback on chicagoclassicalmusic.org is appreciated. For most of us, this is our first experience blogging and we are still “finding our voices”. I have invited musicians to blog and am still hoping one of the members of our orchestra will agree to making regular contributions. Until then, readers will be stuck with me and the others. We will continue to try to bringing interesting live chat guests and generally provide a forum for people who care about this music to hang out and participate. Thanks for the constructive comments.

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