Monday’s Pop Quiz that was designed to determine how much you know about governance, budgets, and the current job market for the professional orchestra business returned some intriguing results…
Overall, there were 62 respondents; all but one completed every question. The purpose of the quiz wasn’t to test black and white knowledge so much as create some sincere thought about the issues inspired by the questions. Nevertheless, the responses provide their own intriguing topics of conversation.
Hands down, development positions are most prevalent with 42 jobs listed. The runner up was marketing with 29 open positions followed closely by executive director/general manager with 26 open positions. At the bottom of the list are music director/conductor and education/community engagement, both with only 12 positions listed.
So overall, the bulk of respondents had a good feel for which positions are currently in greatest demand. Accordingly, given the current financial condition of many orchestras, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that development professionals are currently in such demand.
This was the first question that the majority of respondents answered incorrectly. However, once again, one job category runs away with the lead position: music director/conductor with 133 resumes on file. Artistic administration was a distant second place with 62 resumes on file and the fewest number of resumes on file were executive director/general manager with 19.
It’s interesting to think about why the responses favored executive directors. Do most people think there’s an influx of individuals looking for jobs so there must be a large number of resumes as well? After all, 27.4% of respondents believed executive director/general manager would have the greatest number of open positions. How do you think orchestras find their executive director/general manager candidates? Do you think they actively search resumes on file at the League or do they use a different method?
Questions #3 & #4
I admit that I designed these pair of questions to be tricky. However, even though the majority of respondents thought the combined budgets for all ensembles were greater than the budget for the NEA; two more respondents felt that New York and Chicago had greater combined budgets than L.A. and San Francisco. In fact, the opposite is true and that difference is just enough to make the majority of answers to question #3 incorrect:
(click to enlarge)
The 2004 budget for the NEA was $120,971,000 whereas the combined budgets for New York and Chicago came to $112,329,125, just below the NEA budget, and the combined budgets for L.A. and San Francisco came to $127,320,009, just over the NEA budget.
I think some interesting questions from all of this are “why is the NEA budget so low?” and “why do the west coast orchestras have larger combined budgets than tradition Big 5 orchestras?”. What do you think?
It wasn’t even close; the vast majority of respondents knew that the board of directors is embodied with the legal authority to govern. If you’d like to know more about why this is and how that leadership impacts an organization, you can find more information here.
Again, the majority of respondents answered these questions correctly; however, 27.4% of respondents felt that executive directors had direct control over hiring music directors and conductors. These responses inspire some good questions; such as whether or not respondents answered the way they did because they felt executive directors had more influence over the hiring practice as compared to actual authority. What do you think?
Of all the questions, I designed this one to go either way and both answers are correct. However, I personally think that “True” is more accurate as this is one area of hiring that most musicians are contractually guaranteed an ability to participate in as an audition committee empowered to design the audition process as well as actually vote for candidates.
At the same time, it can be argued that “False” is a more accurate answer because some orchestras give music directors a weighted vote during final round of auditions, thus ensuring them the capability to select the candidate they feel is most qualified regardless of how the musicians on the audition committee vote. What do you think?
It was good to see that the vast majority of respondents used the knowledge in their head or went with their gut to answer the questions. Based on the results, those instincts aren’t too bad.
As always, it’s a pleasure to see that such a wide variety of individuals who care about orchestras visit Adaptistration. In particular, the strong percentage of those that identify themselves as “patrons” and “other” demonstrates an active interest in how orchestras operate and govern themselves. Of course, that’s a good sign and I encourage those same individuals to take an active role in learning as much as they can about their respective orchestras in order to help influence its evolution and to ensure that the ensemble is reaching its artistic and organizational potential.