What Every Conductor Still Needs To Know About Working With Marketers

Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in a marketing panel for the Chicago Sinfonietta’s (CS) Project Inclusion Freeman Conducting Fellowship program.

CS FellowshipAlthough my schedule precluded participating in this year’s session, I suggested they invite someone outside the group of marketing professionals that took part during the 2016 session. Specifically, a musician who has successfully moved through the career stage where fellows are now and become adept at working with all of the artistic and marketing tools the panel was designed to cover.

I’m hoping that individual will write something about the 2017 panel at his/her blog in the near future. In the meantime, you can see what we covered via last year’s post where the panelist’s insights are just as relevant now as there were then.

You can also swing by the Sinfonietta’s website to learn more about the 2016/17 PIC Freeman Fellows: Kedrick Armstrong, Alejandro Gómez Guillén, and Kellen Gray.

The Sinfonietta is a pioneer in the field in that it was among the first professional orchestras dedicated to modeling and promoting diversity, inclusion, and both racial and cultural equity in the arts through the universal language of symphonic music. Kudos to CS Executive Director Jim Hirsch, their board, staff, and musicians for keeping the fellowship program front and center.

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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