Poll: Does [BLANK] Hurt Or Help A Conductor’s Career?

Being a conductor is a funny business; prestige and presenting an aura of authority and success are very much part of the overall package for success. If you want to start a conversation fire when you’re with a group of orchestra stakeholders, ask them if they think a conductor with an adjunct or tenure track academic position hurts or helps his/her chances for landing a music director gig at a professional symphonic orchestra.

Adaptistration People 174Although that particular scenario has been a hot-button issue for decades, the real irony is even though it (arguably) skews toward the negative here in the US, the opposite is true in most European countries.

I’ve had music director clients with academic positions in Europe and they highlight those positions in their EU oriented bios. At the same time, their bios for US distribution don’t even hint at the connection.

Let’s find out what you think with via reader poll. Here are three traditional areas of artistic activity capable of influencing stakeholder perception when a conductor is actively seeking a position. Take a moment to weigh-in on whether or not you think they help or hurt a conductor’s prospects.

Sorry, but this poll is now closed but the results will be published on 8/29/2016.

Is there anything missing from the list?

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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5 thoughts on “Poll: Does [BLANK] Hurt Or Help A Conductor’s Career?

  1. As a US conductor who just made the switch from directing a state university orchestra to directing a professional regional orchestra, the results so far match up perfectly with my own experiences.

    • I maintain two resumes. One lists my DM, the other doesn’t. Anecdotally, I’ve heard a story of a search committee for an assistant conductor position with a major orchestra in which the Artistic Administrator said he’d thrown out all resumes from candidates who had earned or were in the process of earning doctorates. “If they’ve been in school this long they can’t be any good.”

    • That’s an intriguing consideration. I’ve never come across a situation where something like an advanced degree entered into the equation but having said that, I’m curious enough to ask around.

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