Grading Orchestras: The Eddins Curve

There’s no particular reason why but the whole “best of/worst of” year in review stuff just doesn’t hold much fascination this year, which is why there isn’t anything going on here along those lines. But there is one year-in-review piece out there from conductor Bill Eddins that got my attention and it’s worth your time.

The Eddins Grading Curve

In particular, Eddins grades a handful of organizations based on his perception of the respective institution’s comprehensive performance (meaning, not just artistic). His assessments are pretty much spot on although his grades for Detroit and Philly might be considered generous by some.

Definitely take the time to give it a read and make sure no one tells the League of American Orchestras about it; they take great umbrage when anyone grades or ranks orchestras (come to think of it, pretty much anything remotely resembling comparative assessment is verboten).

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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 “Grading Orchestras: The Eddins Curve

  1. Would’ve liked to have seen the Portland Symphony Orchestra on your list with a grade of “A”. For the second year in a row musicians have received an end-of-the-year cash bonus. How many orchestras can boast of that accomplishment?

  2. Nina, the Winston-Salem Symphony musicians have also received a bonus the last two seasons. But we also share a conductor, guest artists, rental material, a Google calendar, …

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