Are You A Jennifer Higdon Fan?

A bit of shameless vested interest promotion today in the form of advocating an upcoming performance of Jennifer Higdon’s 2010 Pulitzer-prize winning Violin Concerto on March 12, 2015 with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera (CSO) featuring their concertmaster, Holly Mulcahy.

Adaptistration People 120The vested interest part comes into play because Ms. Mulcahy, in addition to being an extraordinary musician and author of Neo Classical, is also my wife, something regular readers are already well aware of. Nonetheless, that position has also provided a unique perspective into the piece in the form of listening to the solo part taking shape over the past year.

It’s next to impossible to avoid the fact that Higdon’s piece is a genuinely wonderful and challenging piece of music with an enchanting sense of motion (the latter being something that goes missing from contemporary works too often for my taste). If you haven’t heard it, you can check out streaming services or pick up a recording, featuring Hilary Hahn performing the solo part.

Although the concert doesn’t happen until March, I’m pointing it out now because the CSO is running a 72 hour sale on their remaining 2015/15 masterworks series concerts, which includes Higdon’s Violin Concerto and if you like to save money as much as the next person, now would be a good time to buy your ticket.

If you don’t live in the Chattanooga area, then this is the ideal excuse to go visit. I once heard it described, quite accurately I might add, as the Jackson Hole of the South and if you haven’t been there before, you’re in for a real treat; it is a charming city with a wealth of fine dining, coffee houses, and cultural attractions. If you’re a Civil War history buff, there won’t be enough hours in the day plus the city sports a lovely airport, although ironically enough, you can’t get there via Amtrak (go figure).

I know there will be a few extra special reasons why you’ll want to attend, not the least of which is the composer will be attending the concert so if you’re a big Higdon fan there you go, but that info will be released in good time. But I digress, swing by the CSO’s sale before it ends on Jan 9, 2015 to get your Higdon Violin Concerto tickets (BTW, the ticket discount code is 72HOUR).

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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