Even More Research Into Making Concert Halls Safe

There’s a fascinating interview in the 9/25/2020 edition of KUER.com, NPR Utah, where host Caroline Ballard examines a recently completed project by a team at the University of Utah led by scientists Tony Saad and James Sutherland that studied Abravanel Hall’s airflow to help identify risk for musicians in the Utah Symphony.

You can listen to the full interview at the radio station’s website, but a few bits that jumped out included:

  • One of the lead scientists is also a member of the Tabernacle Choir, so there’s more than just an academic interest in the project.
  • A venue’s ability to manipulate air flow via air handling systems has tremendous impact. The more flexible the system, the more options will be available.

It’s encouraging to see more resources dedicated to these efforts.

To that end, regular readers likely recall when we examined the large scale German study, Project RESTART-19, that took place at the end of August. That group has been steadily adding content to their website and we’ll hopefully begin seeing early results within a month.

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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