One Tour, Two Viewpoints

While the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) makes its way through Europe from September 23 – October 7 on their seven city tour, patrons back home are offered the unusual luxury of having two sources for a behind the scenes peek at what it takes to move a top-tier orchestra through a major European tour…

Officially, the CSO maintains a special your website at which provides a very nice array of photos and news snippets. At the same time, The CSO Bass Blog, written by CSO bassist Michael Hovnanian, is providing a look into how the tour unfolds from a musician’s perspective.

Unlike the CSO offering, which focuses on a wonderful set of photographs, Michael’s blog focuses squarely on events from a player’s perspective and you’re bound to discover a number of things you may not have been aware of. For example, did you know that CSO musicians can book their own travel and lodging arrangements or the level of anxiety some musicians feel every time they open their instrument’s travel case (cue music from The Godfather)?

I can’t encourage everyone enough to take the time to visit both offerings, you’ll be glad you did.


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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