Fogel, Kluger, McAuliffe, Snead, And Prescott?

Arts Journal’s Music News recently featured an article appearing in Musical America which detailed the recent annual conference of the Association of British Orchestras. The article reports that the conference invited Henry Fogel, David Snead, Joseph Kluger, Jack McAuliffe, Kate Prescott to participate as featured participants. In fact, while in the middle of reading the article, a colleague sent me an email message with a subject line of “Oh, come the #@$ on!”


My reaction to the article wasn’t quite that strong but I did find myself wondering how on earth the folks at the Association of British Orchestras came up with their American guest list. Of those individuals, I would likely include David Snead and I don’t know Kate Prescott’s work well enough to comment one way or another. Nevertheless, instead of Fogel, Kluger, and McAuliffe I would have attempted to fill those billets with managers such as Alan Valentine, James Undercoffler, and Peter Pastreich (as well as dozens of other fine current or retired manages out there).

Since I have no idea how the Association of British Orchestras went about selecting which individuals to invite, they may have contacted Valentine, Undercoffler, and Pastreich ahead of Fogel, Kluger, and McAuliffe but were simply unable to secure their services. Nevertheless, I think putting Valentine, Undercoffler, Pastreich, and Snead in a room together to talk about the issues highlighted during the Brit’s conference would have been a fascinating session worth attending.

I was disappointed that since the Association of British Orchestras decided to include some Americans in the discussion, they didn’t include any American orchestra musicians. There’s no shortage of highly dedicated, passionate, and effective musicians out there throughout a variety of budget size orchestras doing superb work related to the issues addressed during the Brit’s conference(either on their own or through their respective ensembles). As such, it would have been useful for the Brits to include a representative from that perspective.

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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