Another Good Critic Gone

This post is getting out later than it should but I wanted to take a moment to point out the field has lost yet another first class music critic. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette music critic Andrew Druckenbrod said his official goodbye on 6/23/13 with reflection on his 13 years with the paper and words of advice about unnecessarily conservative programming at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Adaptistration Guy Out The DoorAndrew authored a wonderful contribution for the 2007 Take A Friend To The Orchestra program where he did a wonderful job at pulling the veil of elitism away to show just how easy it is to find ways to make classical music important in your life and then share it with others (but under your terms).

Communicating with Andrew was always a treat; whether it was general shop-talk or something official for the Post-Gazette, his preparedness was matched only by his remarkable ability to be the most up-beat, yet realistic, music critics I’ve had the pleasure to get to know over the years.

Fortunately, Andrew isn’t leaving the field entirely; he’s going back to school to finish an MBA and going into nonprofit consulting (break a leg!). Let’s hope he won’t be too much of a stranger.

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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