Speaking Of Conductors

Adaptistration People 212A few conductor related topics today. First, Sticks and Drones co-author Ron Spigelman posted an interesting response to my blog from earlier this week entitled You Say Tomato which examines the use of over-the-top adjectives in describing orchestra conductors. He has some fascinating points that are both analytical and thoughtful.

Next up is more discussion on the UK based reality television program “Maestro.” UK culture blogger Charlotte Higgins posted some thoughts about the series following its conclusion and the sheer volume of reader comments made me think about  the blog post on this topic from Sticks and Drones’ other co-author, Bill Eddins.These two issues just go to show that the cult (or perhaps better defined as syndrome) of Maestro Mystique is alive and well (at least throughout North America and Europe).

What do you think, if they weren’t actively promoted the way that they are would conductors, as a group, have any more aurora of heightened value than a composer, soloist, etc.?

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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