Well This Is Interesting

The 4/9/18 edition of ArabNews.com published an article that reports a new agreement between Saudi Arabia and the Paris Opera “to help Saudi Arabia set up a national orchestra and an opera.”

Adaptistration People 133The article doesn’t provide many details other than mentioning “the Paris Opera company help the Kingdom produce its own classical music and shows.” Consequently, this will likely be more of a wait and see type of scenario.

Having been in the position of lead consultant to help the Qatar Foundation develop a comprehensive organizational and operational model for a $60 million orchestra and music academy project, I can say that the Saudi/French work can go in any number of directions.

In fact, it was almost 10 years ago to the week that the Qatar Foundation reached out with their initial inquiry. Barely two months later and I was on a jet to spend 10 weeks immersed in one of the most fascinating projects in my career (yet).

I took some time going through the archives and for whatever reason, it seems that I haven’t written much about my time in Doha, which I referred to as Area-51 at the time due to some confidentiality terms surrounding the work.

I think it’s high time to rectify that oversight. I have all my original project notes and documents (boxes and boxes of them in fact). I’ll set aside some time to begin reviewing those and with the benefit of a decade’s worth of hindsight, we should be able to come up with something useful.

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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