Orchestra Musicians Can Be Temperamental?

Continuing in her series of articles entitled “How To Alienate Your Audience In 10 Easy Steps” Holly Mulcahy published the second installment which focuses on musician behavior. Although orchestra musicians don’t have as much direct contact with concertgoers or board members as music directors, there are plenty of points where poor conduct and a sloppy image can alienate audience members…

MusicianI have yet to encounter a manager that doesn’t have a good musician anecdote (and vice versa) and Holly captures some of the root behaviors at the source of many of those stories. Next month, Holly promises to focus on how managers alienate the audience. I’m anxious to see what transpires but in the meantime, I’ll have to make do with this month’s installment.

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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