Orchestras In The Olympics

No, this isn’t about synchronized conducting but as I’m watching the opening ceremony for the Olympics in Beijing, I wonder what part classical music (the Western European variety) will play in this year’s games. I know the Cincinnati Pops is in Beijing to officially take part in planned entertainment events but is anyone aware of any other orchestras who are taking part (regardless of nationality)?

Regardless, I’ll be happy with the games if they don’t use that dreadful version of the Star Spangle Banner for medal ceremonies (or replace it with anything as equally dreadful).

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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2 thoughts on “Orchestras In The Olympics

  1. The Cincinnati Pops is the only orchestra from outside of China performing as part of the 2008 Olympic festivities.

  2. Drew, have the Area 51 band do an arrangement and send it to NBC. Could it be any worse than what you have heard?

    Probably not, but if I remember correctly from the previous Olympics, the organization hires a single composer to write arrangements for all of the national anthems. To me, that seems like an unusual arrangement (no pun intended). If anyone can offer more details, I’d love to learn more about how that works. ~ Drew McManus

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