2009 Orchestra Website Review: Overall Rankings

Between 9/21/09 and 9/28/09, 82 professional orchestra websites were examined and ranked by how well they presented their concert schedule, sold tickets, facilitated making donations, provided organizational information, utilized dynamic content, and on overall content and functionality. On a positive note, the average score reached a new all-time high since the reviews were launched in 2004…

Keep in mind; the websites were not examined on the subjective basis of color schemes, graphics, or other aesthetic qualities except in cases where those elements hindered functionality. Consequently, the reviews are not only fair but based on a set of quantifiable criteria, all of which allows orchestras of varying budget size to be evaluated on an even playing field.

2009 Overall RankingsThere were three new orchestras in the Top 10, Atlanta Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Rochester Philharmonic plus the review’s newest ensemble, Orchestra Iowa, not only earned the highest score of any ROPA ensemble in this year’s review but wouldn’t have been included if they didn’t display the initiative to respond to the open call from the end of August.

Tomorrow’s article will examine detailed category scores and survey results for each orchestra in addition to analyzing scoring trends over the past five years. In the meantime, don’t forget to weigh-on on which websites you think are best at the Reader Review page where you can leave star ratings as well as comment reviews for each orchestra in the 2009 review.

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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