Why Do Orchestras Do That?

Joe Patti, my blogging cohort at Butts In The Seats, posted an open  to the Inside The Arts bloggers that I think is best suited for just about anyone that has a connection to orchestras. Joe asks “Orchestras have some of the best trained and skilled musicians around. Why do they primarily confine themselves to a certain genre and periods of music? Why aren’t they playing all the best music out there? I know most groups have a pops series, but that still barely scratches the surface of the available material and it is separate from their main product. And really, why are the pops separate?”…

question markI’m in Springfield, MO all this week working on my strategic planning and board development projects with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Springfield Regional Arts Council so I don’t have time to post a meaningful response this week. Fortunately, I know that a number of regular Adaptistration readers are in a good position to offer up opinions so head over to Joe’s post and submit your thoughts via a comment. I’ll chime in on the topic toward the beginning of next week.

Take me to Joe’s post!

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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