Some Early Views In Nashville

I’m happy to report that I’m right in the middle of one of the happiest places in the American classical music scene right now: Nashville, TN. I’m here to cover the opening of what I don’t doubt is one of the most significant events in this business over the past decade: the opening of the $120 million Schermerhorn Symphony Center. After my first day on-site all I have to say so far is wow…

Starting next week I’ll begin an in-depth series of articles that will show you everything you wanted to know about Nashville’s new hall, much of which you won’t find anywhere else. You’re going to get to see all of the stuff you really want to know about and more, but while I’m busy gathering up pictures and conducting interviews over the next few days, I’m going to leave you with a few appetizers of things to come (including – but not limited to – cowboy boots, a bronze bust, and a new violin).

One of the symphony center’s many fountains, first during the day and then later that evening (click to enlarge):

The Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Chorus prepare for some publicity photos following the September 6th Preview Concert (click to enlarge):

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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