Rare Instruments And Lawsuits Make It Into The Press Yet Again

I am up to my eyeballs in deadline work so just a very quick post today to point out an intriguing set of events unfolding in Texas centered around a violin,provenance, and authentication. A 1/22/2013 article by Robert Wilonsky at the Dallas News Arts Blog reports that a Dallas Symphony violinist  has found himself facing a lawsuit for doing nothing more than buying an instrument under mutually agreed terms.

Should I Take The Louisville Audition?In short, the seller apparently couldn’t locate the authentication papers that were originally associated with instrument but located them after the sale was complete. Consequently, the seller is now attempting to extract additional monies from the buyer as some sort of  provenance after the fact. Perhaps unsurprisingly, if the local courts don’t dismiss the claim in short order, this could open up a giant can of legal worms. If nothing else, the lesson to be learned here is don’t lose your instrument’s papers!

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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