An Odd News Week For The Colorado Symphony

Oscar Wilde said “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about” and that particular problem isn’t one the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has had to worry about this past week.

Oh, Give Me A Home…

newspaperThe orchestra appears to be in genuine peril over whether or not they will return to their long time concert venue, Boettcher Concert Hall, following the impending season long renovation. The 4/28/2014 edition of the Denver Post published an article by Ray Mark Rinaldi that reports on an increasingly turbulent relationship between the CSO and Denver’s Arts & Venues department (which manages the hall).

A similar situation unfolded in Philadelphia not so long ago where the Philadelphia Orchestra cited the costs of being a resident ensemble at Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts as one of the reasons for filing bankruptcy. In turn, that process gave the orchestra leverage to renegotiate new terms.

But unlike the situation in Philly, the folks running Boettcher don’t seem particularly heartbroken at the thought of losing its anchor tenant.

“The city needs an orchestra to perform in a downtown venue,” said Arts & Venues director Kent Rice. “But whether that is possible at Boettcher remains to be seen.”

Expanding the programming at Boettcher beyond a single tenant, the city figures, could allow a wide array of offerings, pave the way for smaller groups to perform in the prestigious theater and make the center attractive to people who don’t use it now.

Dude, Where’s My Score?…

In what is almost certainly a sign that the times, they are a-chanin’ the CSO announced a new series of events sponsored by Edible Events, a Colorado based company with the self-described goal of “maximize[ing] the cannabis experience and stimulat[ing] your heightened awareness of taste, smell, sights & sounds via artfully choreographed events that are incredible experiences.”

The CSO’s new sponsor is apparently so jazzed up about the promotion that it is featured on their homepage alongside big button to buy event tickets. Apparently, each event is capped at 250 so don’t wait too long to pick up tickets.

If only George Carlin lived long enough to see this day; apparently, in addition to other interests, he was also a classical music fan.

Playboy: How do you define fairly regular marijuana use?
Carlin: Oh, I was a stonehead for 30 years. I’d wake up in the morning and if I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a joint or not, I’d smoke a joint to figure it out.


Playboy: What do you listen to now?
Carlin: Classical music, mostly.



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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4 thoughts on “An Odd News Week For The Colorado Symphony”

  1. Carlin is a perfect example of a role model for youthful self-indulgence, one of mine in fact for thirty years or more, yet how many will honestly admit today in Boulder or Amsterdam or Stockholm that, stoned, Beethoven stuns– just not in the orchestra pit?

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