You Don’t See This Every Day

Renowned cellist and Inside The Arts author Lynn Harrell published an article today announcing that after 50 years of making music together, he has decided to sell his 1720 Montagnana. The post recounts his time purchasing the instrument in 1962 but one of the real highlights is a particular line that is just about the best example I’ve come across that embodies the very unique relationship between a musician and his/her instrument.


What I learned early on is an instrument of great character needs a strong personality in its player to bring out the best of its voice and resonance. ~ Lynn Harrell

Overall, the article is decidedly a historical account of Harrell’s time with the cello but done in such a way that it comes across more as a genuinely touching tribute.

Most musicians performing on an instrument of this caliber are purely users in that one or more benefactors, or a foundation, actually own the instrument. Consequently, given how rare it is to see a musician live in both of those roles, the article is decidedly unique and certainly worth your while.

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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