An Excellent Example Of In-Depth Arts Journalism

Although it doesn’t deal directly with orchestras, Mark MacNamara authored an article for the 12/16/2011 edition of San Francisco Classical Voice that is a benchmark example of how an in-depth article on governance related issues should work.

In particular, the topic focuses on the decision by the of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) board to not renew the artistic director’s contract. And even though this situation is outside the immediate field, you can draw a number of parallels between what MacNamara covers in his article and the impetus, reasoning, and process behind similar decisions at [sws_css_tooltip position=”center” colorscheme=”rosewood” width=”450″ url=”” trigger=”orchestral organizations” fontSize=”14″]Remember San Antonio Symphony back in 2006? [/sws_css_tooltip].

Be forewarned, it’s not a quick, five minute read. But that’s a large part of its value in that it takes the time to provide a great deal of history and then examine the issues from multiple perspectives.

If ever city with a professional orchestra could have local arts coverage like this which is concerned as much about examining the health of internal governance as it is about artistic integrity, it would bode well for the entire field.

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 “An Excellent Example Of In-Depth Arts Journalism”

  1. One of the 23 departed Colorado Symphony Board members is going on a conservative Republican radio show in Denver this morning
    to be “interviewed” about the organization. It seems this group’s negative-rhetoric media campaign is continuing, despite their coordinated decision to leave. One thing can be assumed after looking at their previous propaganda attempts in the Denver Business Journal and the Denver Post: the interview won’t be “An Excellent Example of In-Depth Arts Journalism.”

  2. Kudos to Jerry Kern, CSO Board President, for being a class act today as a guest on Mike Rosen’s show on KOA. Jerry not only behaved like a real gentleman, but he put former CSO board members Bruce Clinton and Heather Miller to shame with the facts. Looks like Bruce Clinton will continue to be a sore loser since he couldn’t destroy the CSO and start another “New World Symphony” with a residency program for the Chicago Symphony AND build a new and unnecessary hall here in Denver with his name on it. And by the way, Mike Rosen, it’s fine with me if you are anti-union, but ignorance won’t work as an argument, so next time, do your research. Listen to the interview here: (12/22/11, 10:00 AM).
    Long live the CSO!

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