Are Orchestra Musicians Just A Bunch Of Zoo Animals?

At least, that’s the issue Holly Mulcahy examines in her latest Neo Classical column at The Partial Observer…

barcodezebra_resize.jpgOf particular interest for orchestra managers are the examples Holly uses from her career to illustrate how the best of intentions can have unintended results with regard to labor/management relations as well as some of the solutions she presents (some of which I know a few orchestras have implemented). I think the article is especially useful for development and marketing professionals to read and after you’re finished with the article ask yourself whether or not any of your efforts contribute to some of the negative outcomes portrayed in the article. If nothing else, it will get you thinking.


Postscript: Blogger and bassist Jason Heath has posted some interesting insights on all of this that I think are worth the time to read.

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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