Off To The 2012 Orchestra Summit

The 2012 Orchestra Summit at the University of Michigan kicks off this evening and sessions begin in earnest tomorrow and run through Friday. I’ll be participating in the What’s Working and Must Work session from 10:50am-12:00 noon ET on Friday with a presentation and discussion on the project previewed here at the beginning of the month.

Adaptistration People 152aThe project consisted of asking a cross section of managers, board members, and musicians to answer one of two straightforward questions: orchestra musicians were asked “What do you think Boards/Managers get right?” while board members and managers were asked “What do you think Musicians’ Unions get right?

Fortunately, you won’t need to be at the session to read about the results as tomorrow’s article provides a verbatim account of the replies along with an in-depth examination. So make sure you stop by tomorrow so you don’t miss out.

You can follow Summit sessions by plugging into attendee Twitter chatter at #orchsummit2012 along with the official forum blog featuring posts from authors chosen to represent the range of participants and share their thoughts and observations on various themes and panel sessions. Once again, I’m pleased to host the Summit blog at

In the meantime, you can learn more about the Summit via the following resources:

Summit Website

Summit Schedule

Participant Bios

    Official Blog    

Last Minute Registration

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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