Always Leave Them Wanting More

She may be on the way out to run the Kennedy Center for the Arts but Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) President Deborah Rutter certainly knows how to leave them wanting more. The organization announced they had secured the two largest gifts in their history during a 6/12/2014 board meeting.

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-112The 6/12/2014 edition of the Chicago Tribune published an article by John von Rhein which reports the gifts will endow the CSO’s music director chair, apparently a first in the orchestra’s history. It is unknown if the named chair endowment is for a prescribed period of time.

The only way for Rutter to top this is by performing the same feat but on a larger scale in DC where Christoph Eschenbach is Music Director of both the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. And according to the organization’s website, it appears that neither of those positions is an endowed chair.

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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