Next Stop, Lawyerville

On Sunday, 7/24/2011 I had a good bit of fun as the guest on, the new music and music news video podcast. The topics were quite diverse and as always, the SoundNotion hosts (David MacDonald, Sam Merciers, and Nate Bliton) were their regular inquisitive/challenging/edgy selves; simply put, they are an interested and interesting group.

In particular, we discussed recent events at the Louisville Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra as well as the good news surrounding Toronto Symphony’s tSoundcheck program. It’s also worth noting that although it has been awhile since we checked in on that program, we were covering it as far back as 2004 as a worthwhile program other groups should use as a model. You can find most of those articles via the Toronto Symphony article index (skip past the website review entries).

We also talked about the controversial album art for Steve Reich’s upcoming CD (personally, I don’t have an issue with it), the potential impact of Borders’ closing on classical music CS sales, and more.

I have to admit that doing the Skype video thing as a guest appearance is fantastic. It’s convenient, provides better interaction for the viewer, and the SoundNotion crew is steadily working out the technical kinks that define the inherently complex functionality of Skype video conference calling. So all in all, it produces a good final product.

Head on over to for the entire episode.


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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0 thoughts on “Next Stop, Lawyerville”

  1. That is ultimately up to the guys at SoundNotion so we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires. In the meantime, this topic was covered to a certain degree back in 2006. First, New Music Box’s Molly Sheridan spearheaded a video taped discussion panel I moderated on composer issues and part of that discussion included this topic. The videos are still available at

    Next, I posted an article on the topic shortly after the New Music Box session, I posted a little something on the topic at

    • Oh, excellent–I used to read newmusicbox (before the new incarnation) regularly. Will definitely look at those posts/videos!

      I’d been talking to a number of locals here (especially a number of the composers) about the idea of connecting with the community through living composers. The Louisville Orchestra used to be internationally known for this, after all. There just seems to be so many institutional (not all within the LO itself) and systematic barriers bottlenecking a push into that role again, it seems. I mean, heck–UofL houses who knows how many Grawemeyer scores as well as the Award itself; the first edition recordings have not been released in digital format yet; on my side of the river where I teach we have recording capabilities which have been primarily used for our New Dynamic Records label focusing on new music.

      So much local history and local resources (both human and technical) to integrate with the organization that it’s always seemed like a shame that these things couldn’t come together in a fruitful (and possibly profitable) way.

      I wasn’t sure what your stance was regarding composers and how they would or could fit into the modern American symphonic models so it was really great to hear you say the things you did! Ok, now to check out the links you posted–thanks!

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