Some Quick Revisionism

Given the popularity of the article from May 12, 2009 which examined the recent and projected base musician compensation levels at the largest budget orchestras, it seems poignant to point out that shortly after the article was published the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) announced that musicians have agreed to salary and service concessions through the end of the 2010/11 season…

150x150-ita-guy-009The 5/17/2009 edition of the Chicago Tribune reports on concession details in an article by John von Rhein and although those adjustments in compensation change the salary comparisons found in the chart form the 5/12/2009 article, Chicago is still squarely in the compensation pack of the six largest budget orchestras. Word on whether or not soloists and guest conductors appearing with the CSO in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons will lower their fees accordingly is still unknown.

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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