Get Your Listen On

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember listening to Karl Haas’ Adventures in Good Music radio program. His program helped inspire generations of new classical music fans thanks to using one the medium of radio, which allowed him to reach people who wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to learn about classical music.

Adaptistration People 049If you aren’t familiar with the program, here’s a tribute article I wrote shortly after his passing in 2005.

Just as his show was coming to an end, the world of culture blogging was just beginning to emerge. It introduced a wave of music appreciation and listening experience outlets, one of which was violinist Timothy Judd’s The Listeners’ Club.

Full disclosure mode, Judd is a client and I’ve known him for nearly two decades and that’s one of the reasons I haven’t mentioned his blog previously. But if it isn’t already on your radar and you’re looking for a community centric online listening guide, this is where you should go.

Each post is like a mini Karl Haas program; in addition to Judd’s exposition, each post includes one or more clips along with links to more. One recent pair of articles examined a new recording from Louisville Orchestra while the next reached back to the orchestra’s past when it was a new music recording powerhouse among American orchestras.

New Release: Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra’s “All In”

The Louisville Orchestra: Five Historic Recordings

Far from a one man show, you’ll often find Judd reaching out to colleagues to include their insights. Having said that, I asked him about why he decided to jump into the fray.

I started The Listeners’ Club in 2011 as a way of sharing my favorite pieces and performances with my students, their parents, and friends. It occurred to me that many people have not been exposed to great works that I take for granted. While focusing on “classical music,” The Listeners’ Club explores a wide range of music without regard to category. It’s basically anything that catches my ear.

My aim is not to “educate” in terms of focusing on biographical details of the lives of composers. Instead, it’s about helping people experience the music. I point out a few of my favorite details and offer a few thoughts on why I think this music is so great. Then, I encourage listeners to share their own experiences.

It has been gratifying to watch the blog grow in leaps and bounds, and to hear from listeners who have made an exciting connection with the music.

I listed two of my favs above, but I wanted to see what stands out for Judd; here’s his short list:

Mahler’s Fourth Symphony: Heaven Through a Child’s Eyes

The “Philadelphia Sound” in Five Historic Recordings

The Power of Six Notes: Exploring the “Dresden Amen”

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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