Conductors Guild Conference Hindsight

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the 2012 Conductors Guild Conference yesterday, the What Executive Directors are Looking for in a Music Director session went well; the moderator did a terrific job at keeping the discussion engaged and the attendees were full of questions at the end.

The only issue was the lack of wireless and spotty cell reception inside Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall; it made tweeting all but impossible. Granted, kudos to Roosevelt for providing free wireless but it only reached as far as the first three rows of seats past the entrance of the hall. Consequently, any sort of productive tweeting was out of the question and that’s a real shame since conferences are becoming increasingly defined by the quality of live and followup Twitter discussions.

For example, the National Arts Marketing Project conference I participated in back in November, 2011 made Tweeting a central component of the conference and individual sessions. They even published a “50 Winning Tweets” post about the efforts which provides a terrific overview of the conference (although fair warning, the Tweet slideshow is not compatible with iPhone/iPads).

But back to the Conductors Guild Conference, I’m bummed that some last minute changes to my work schedule mean that I’m going to miss out on today’s events; I was looking forward to hearing Deborah Rutter’s keynote address, “The State of Orchestras Today.”

But I’m sure that the conference will continue to be a success and I’ll see about posting an overview of yesterday’s session sometime next week.

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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