No Love Lost

When it comes to attention grabbing headlines, Norman Lebrecht has a particular gift and he posted a doozy on 5/3/2012 at Slipped Disc that makes it plain as day how he feels about Tony Woodcock, President of the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) and the institution’s recent decision to renew his contract.

“Very bad news from Boston: the butcher wins a new contract”

noLebrecht has been focusing a good bit of critical attention on Woodcock for some time now vis-a-vis Woodcock’s conflict with former NEC conductor Benjamin Zander and his posts have certainly drawn more attention to the ordeal than would have likely been the case otherwise.

It will be interesting to see how NEC’s decision to renew Woodcock’s contract will be received by alumni which, in general, can be unpredictable stakeholders. NEC posted a press statement about the board’s decision to renew Woodcock’s contract, but it would be interesting to see the board meeting minutes to see what sort of discussions ensured.

I’m interested in hearing from NEC alumni. What do you think about Woodcock’s contract extension? Feel free to post a comment or send a personal note via the contact form.

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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