Easier Gigs

The 1/24/2017 edition of the Wall Street journal published an article by Charles Passy that examines the decision by New York Philharmonic president Matthew VanBesien to depart his position in favor of taking a position as president of the University of Michigan’s University Musical Society.

Adaptistration People 023VanBesien is the latest orchestra CEO to exit for an academic post. Recent examples include Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Trey Devey leaving for a position at the Interlochen Center for the Arts (beginning 2017) and in 2014, STL Symphony’s former president, Fred Bronstein, taking a position at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

It is becoming increasingly difficult not to notice a pattern and although the very top of the orchestra budget food chain used to a solid destination executives would typically cling as long as possible, things seem to be changing.

And that’s exactly what Passy’s article ponders.

In the case of VanBesien, did he leave for greener pastures or was this more of a top down decision? There will likely be plenty of speculation, nonetheless, the one thing we know for certain is the NYPhil needs a new executive leader.

It just so happens someone worth considering is going to be available in March.

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

Comments (powered by Facebook)

TWO WAYS TO SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL:

Subscription Weekly
weekly summary subscription
Subscription Per Post
every new post subscription

Send this to a friend