Before he became president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Jim Undercoffler was Dean of the Eastman School of Music. And before he moved from one position to the other, the folks at Polyphonic.org had Jim sit down with me to host a video interview. Although the interview actually took place almost two years ago, I recall the discussion being frank and invigorating not to mention I had a great time. In short, Jim was a great interview host.
That 38 minute interview is now available at the Polyphonic.org website in nice bite-sized chunks, each focusing on a wide range of topics from labor relations, what’s good and what’s not-so-good in the business, instinctual behavior, the real value of collective bargaining agreements, the politics inside the business, my overall impression of American orchestras, and much, much more…
I’m still getting through all of the video clips myself, but it has been fun to see the footage again after so much time has passed, however, keep in mind due to its age some of the events Jim and I are talking about have since changed. For example, during several points in the interview we talked about the Nashville Symphony and at the time when this was recorded they not yet moved into their new hall or even completed the capital campaign to pay for it. However, that orchestra has since completed a successful inaugural season and exceeded their fundraising goals.
The good news is that these ripples in continuity won’t detract from your overall enjoyment. In fact, the video interview format is like experiencing a concentrated dose of blog-strength Adaptistration.
One of my favorite bits, which I had forgotten about, is when Jim and I are discussing the qualities in a good executive manager and how that individual should function within an orchestral organization:
JU: Do the headhunters call you to ask for your recommendations?
JU: I’m going to make sure they start doing it.
You can watch the conversation at Polyphonic.org’s interview page or just click the pic below to go directly to the video clips: