Breaking News: Hirokami “Departs” Columbus Symphony

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO) released a statement today announcing what was described as  the “departure” of Junichi Hirokami as the organization’s music director. It is not yet clear if Junichi resigned for the position of if he was dismissed by the CSO board, however, based on a comment from CSO board chair, Martin Inglis, it looks as though the decision came from within the organization, “…as we move forward into the new season, we have agreed with Mr. Hirokami that we will do so under the leadership of a new Music Director,” said Inglis. “And we are currently in the process of recruiting a new Music Director for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.”
UPDATE 4:25PM CT: According to a letter from Hirokami, he was dismissed by the CSO board…

Hirokami’s letter was addressed to the CSO musicians and the board and claims that Buzz Trafford told him that his appearing with the organization would be hurtful to the CSO as an institution. A copy of the letter is availalbe at the CSO musicians’ website:

Postscript: Bill Eddins has some excellent views on this situation at his blog: share and enjoy.

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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