Maybe Mendelssohn Just Inspires Violence

For my money, it doesn’t get much better than reading an account of Joe Patti attending an orchestra concert. For those who don’t know Joe, he’s the author of Butts In The Seats and a fellow arts manager who runs a presenting theater in Honolulu, HI. Joe posted a piece on 9/21/2009 that reviews his experience attending a Honolulu Symphony performance featuring Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer performing Meyer’s Triple Concerto for Banjo, Double Bass, and Tabla…

Does Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony make you want to hit someone with a hammer?
Does Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony make you want to hit someone with a hammer?

What I love about Joe’s observations is just how observant he is of everything around him that contributes to the overall concertgoing experience. Like some sort of arts manager sponge, he soaks up everything he comes into contact with which ultimately contributes to a far more comprehensive picture of the event than would likely appear in print at a traditional media outlet.

The fact that Joe is more of a theater guy than an orchestra guy only makes his observations more useful to those of us directly involved in the orchestra business. If you’re a marketing professional, artistic administrator, musician, or executive you had better take that time to read Joe’s piece. In particular, don’t miss the part about how something as simple as a website concert event listing can contribute to an infrequent concertgoer’s level of mystification and overall concert experience (and therefore likelihood to purchase another ticket).

Fortunately, there are more of Joe’s orchestra observations to go around than this one blog post. He wrote a pair of articles for the 2006 Take A Friend To The Orchestra initiative (part 1, part 2) and has a few other great orchestra concert related posts scattered through his blog.

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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