Understanding The Importance Of Legacy Costs

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Anyone working in the labor side of things inside the orchestra and opera fields knows how much impact legacy costs have on an institution’s expense structure. Larger budgets typically mean larger legacy costs, especially pension obligations. And while that’s not going to be changing anytime soon, legacy costs in other departments have been creeping up over the years. A good example is the total cost of ownership for web-based platforms. These …

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#TBT El Sistema After José Abreu’s Death


Saturday, 3/24/2018 was a sad day with the news that El Sistema founder José Abreu passed away. I was fortunate to experience the program first-hand in 2005 (thanks to Ben Zander and the New England Conservatory Youth Orchestra for inviting me along to chronicle their tour). That visit included an interview Abreu, which became the source for an article in a four-part series about El Sistema. Back in 2005, Venezuela was …

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Good News Out Of Seattle

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An article by Janet Tu in the 3/26/2018 edition of The Seattle Times reports that the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and its musicians recently came to terms on a new four year collective bargaining agreement. By the end of the new term, musician base salary will increase 11.4 percent. But what’s really interesting is language about a major change to the musicians’ defined benefit pension plan. I’ll be reaching out to …

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Cultural Inspiration Poll Results

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Last Friday’s poll asking readers about which sort of non-classical music outlets the rely on for cultural inspiration provided some fun results. Just under 300 responses have come in and here’s where things are (since the time this article was published). It’s fascinating to see the most common option was non-classical music events. At the same time, it is great to see that most of the options were more or less …

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When Caution Pays Off

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It’s been a busy first quarter and I wanted to take a moment to share what’s been going on. A large part of my professional time has been devoted to wrapping up and rolling out a major upgrade to The Venture Platform. At the beginning of 2017, my Lead Technical Developer and I determined to take the potential loss of net neutrality seriously and initiate a strategic planning process with the …

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