Talking Compensation

Ever since the very first Orchestra Compensation Report, the goal of the annual series is to help get past surface value salaciousness and into thoughtful conversation. To that end, I am very proud to see the topic continuing to take root across several mediums.

Adaptistration People 033While away on hiatus, the New York Times published an article on 7/27/18 by Zachary Woolfe that takes a very deep dive into this issue.

To date, it is one of the most comprehensive examinations of the topic I’ve found outside of this blog. I can’t recommend it strongly enough.

Next up, a recent edition of Opera Box Score on WNUR, 89.3 FM saw the show hosts engage in a spontaneous and meaningful on-air conversation about artistic executive compensation.

OBS’ segment was particularly entertaining thanks to host rapport and the show’s underlying sports/arts connections.

They spend a solid 20 minutes right from the show’s onset engaged in a process I hope a number of stakeholders experience.

Not all compensation issues are as cut and dry as you might think but show hosts, George Cederquist, Tobias Wright, Weston Williams, and Matt Cummings did a great job chewing through most of those crunchy outer shells to get at the creamy center of heightened enlightenment.

Listen below or at their Soundcloud channel.

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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