A Completely Different Type Of Ample Endowment

There’s a terrific article in the 5/13/2013 edition of Ms. In The Biz by opera soprano Rhoslyn Jones titled “You Look Like An Opera Singer.” All in all, it’s an entertaining piece with Jones taking aim at a number of physical stereotypes, not to mention a delightfully entertaining paragraph length digression about her own ample endowment (granted, she calls it a “full balcony” but this is an orchestra business blog so we might as well wallow in our own parlance).

Adaptistration SingerBut Jones’ post did get me thinking about some of the all-too-real stereotypes of orchestra managers. Although there are some terrific exceptions on both ends of the scale, orchestra managers don’t internalize the whole dress-to-impress mentality. They do a passable job at paying homage on the surface level, but there’s rarely much depth.

Granted, within the greater arts manager community, they rank toward the top of the sartorial food chain but compared to the wider for profit executive culture, it’s a different story.

If you’re curious to learn more about how others perceive orchestra managers, check out a highly entertaining post from 2004 at newmusicbox.org by composer Joseph Dalton that takes an unfiltered look at the way different segments in the performing arts field dress.

If nothing else, both articles might get you to think differently when you open the closet door tomorrow.

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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3 thoughts on “A Completely Different Type Of Ample Endowment”

  1. It depends on both department and the day’s responsibilities. 🙂 If you’re in the artistic planning or marketing department and have any performance responsibilities that night, suits all around! Same goes for any meetings with board members, other important folks, etc.

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