Enough With the Music Metaphors

Although the situation at the Louisville Orchestra is in stasis until the initial bankruptcy hearing on 1/6/2011, that apparently hasn’t stopped some of the local television outlets from having a field day with clichéd music metaphors when reporting on the situation. Case in point, the local Fox news outlet broadcast a segment on 12/27/2010 that was riddled with gems like “struck a sour note”…

If that weren’t enough, we also get the following treats:

  • “…a complex score of legalese is being composed…”
  • “…arguing the orchestra is playing the court like fiddle…”
  • “…its bankruptcy filings are like the music…”

Groaners aside, the article does offer up an interesting juxtaposition as Kim Tichener is quoted saying “the judge has implored us not to use the media to talk about the proceedings]…” yet representatives from musicians and the management and board are included in the article doing exactly that. Granted, it’s all polite but all of that could change after next week.

Whether or not the judge will take any of public statements into consideration is something else we’ll find out next week. Until then, enjoy the clichés.


POSTSCRIPT: There’s nothing quite like the pleas of children to tug on the heartstrings and the 12/28/2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal published an article by Rachel Feintzeig that reports on how a group of letters from Louisville fourth-graders made it into the bankruptcy proceedings. This is definitely worth your time to read (and cliché free to boot).

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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4 thoughts on “Enough With the Music Metaphors

  1. Don’t get me started on news media cliches. I noticed this headline today:

    Naples Philharmonic to hunt for new boss

    I recommend a .30-30.

  2. Drew,
    What’s your take on how Facebook may play a role in all of this. Judge has asked no one to talk to media, but we all know media is no longer defined as a traditional news outlet. FB and Twitter are considered sources of news…so when the LO or Musicians Assoc. has a FB page, how does that impact the request (not a ruling, to be clear) of a federal judge not to talk publicly? I noticed that the LO has removed its FB page, but the musicians still have one.

  3. That is an excellent question Daniel and when it comes to the official pages founded and managed by the respective parties they will need to be mindful of any official statements via those outlets in the same way they would treat a traditional press release or media interview.

    I did not notice that the LO removed their FB page and if that is something they intended to do, I’m sorry to see it since it still serves as a valuable interface with the community. Likewise, I’m sure everyone is hoping they come through this with relationships in tact and rallied behind a single vision and to that end, maintaining public communication channels will be a critical component.

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