Okay, Okay; I’ll Write About The Anne-Sophie Mutter Thing

In the wake of all the messages from colleagues and readers asking when I’m writing about Anne-Sophie Mutter’s mexican standoff with a patron during a recent performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony, it looks like there’s no avoiding the topic.

Adaptistration People 164

Spoiler alert: I’m not thrilled with the way she handled the situation.

That doesn’t mean I don’t empathize with her frustration, but this isn’t the last time an audience member will do something that disturbs on-stage performers.

And when it comes to highly paid conductors and soloists, it shouldn’t be too much to expect them to maintain composure on stage regardless the interruption.

I’ve written about this before, such as one of the numerous times Riccardo Muti stopped a concert to castigate audience members for making what he felt was too much noise.

Chicago Concertgoers Get A Dose Of Moody Muti

And do you remember the melt-down from pianist Krystian Zimerman when he cut a recital short after suspecting an audience member was recording the performance with a smartphone.

Join The Sacred Cow Barbecue (unless you live in NYC)

And here’s another instance from 2013 that focuses on oppressive house rules being implemented by aggressive ushers.

Time To Slaughter A Sacred Cow

While all the associated rabbit-hole discussions surrounding Anne-Sophie Mutter’s kerfuffle can be interesting, they don’t really amount to much.

In the end, we need to expect better from artists and reject righteous indignation as the ugly and counterproductive defense it is.

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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