Hey, Some Good News Without Any Prerequisite Drama

The 9/15/2014 edition of The Seattle Times published an article by Nicole Brodeur that reports the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (SSO) not only raised $600,000 at its recent gala but also garnered a $10 million gift from Rebecca Benaroya. Yes, the Minnesota Orchestra recently announced a $10 million gift too but Seattle managed to snag theirs without having to first thrust the organization into chaos.

Even though the organization came rather close to an ugly labor dispute in 2013, the stakeholders managed to fend off outside pressures and keep it together long enough to sign a one year deal. In June, 2014 they extended that agreement into a three year extension with historically modest but comparatively healthy improvements.

So kudos to everyone at the SSO where the musicians promptly acknowledged Ms. Bearoya’s generosity at their players’ organization website and <cough>I’m sure the SSO will be posting something about it at their website and press pages soon</cough>.

Nonetheless, it’s always nice to have one more group to include when reporters as about orchestras that aren’t enduring a self-induced bout of senselessness while simultaneously trying to take everyone else down with them via hyperbolic claims that the entire field is collapsing.

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.

Related Posts

2 thoughts on “Hey, Some Good News Without Any Prerequisite Drama”

Leave a Comment