Shop Talk S01E13: Composers In Academia

Guests David MacDonald and Sam Merciers swing by the pod to talk about composers and academia. A fast paced conversation, we cover the intersection of technology and music, how career paths for composers are evolving,  ethical concerns around accepting students into composing degree programs, and more.

We wrap up the episode with a bit of visioning and I ask both guests if there was one thing you could change about the relationship between academia and the nonprofit performing arts sector, what would it be?

Here are a few highlights from the discussion:

Intermedia art is when you like to do stuff with your hands that you include in your art…that you're only sort of good at. - @housegoy Shop Talk S01E13: Composers In Academia Click to Tweet
Orchestra librarians are another good example of a career where someone with a background in music composition would be well prepared for. - @davemacdo Shop Talk S01E13: Composers In Academia Click to Tweet
I'm tenured in the sense that if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, the department would be in very bad shape. - @housegoy Shop Talk S01E13: Composers In Academia Click to Tweet

Guests

David MacDonald

David MacDonald is an award-winning composer and teacher whose music has been performed around the world, and thanks to the pandemic, also on the Internet. He teaches music theory, composition, and technology at Wichita State University, where he also directs the new music ensemble Happening Now. He is also a frequent contributor to Scoring Notes on topics related to contemporary music notation and iPad music tools, as well as cohost of the Scoring Notes Podcast. Recent projects include a chamber work for remote, socially distanced performance over Zoom, and a game score for the Apple Arcade launch title Possessions.

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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Sam Merciers

Sam Merciers is a lecturer and coordinator of music theory and composition at the University of North Alabama where he is cofounder and director of the contemporary ensemble UNACE (you-nace). He is an active composer, performer, and intermedia artist with a diverse artistic background. In addition to concert works, Sam’s work focuses on music with film, collaborative efforts in sound design for theatre and documentary film, and interactive sound installations.

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.

Comments (powered by Facebook)


About Shop Talk

The official podcast of Adaptistration.com, Shop Talk invites captivating guests to talk about engaging topics connected to the orchestra business.

Shop Talk Archives | Shop Talk; Last Call Archives

Publication Schedule (subject to change #obvs)

  • E01Reaching Diverse Audiences Through The Marcom Lens, Ann Marie Sorrell and Ceci Dadisman 08/18/2020
  • E02Art Has Always Been Political, Weston Sprott and Jason Haaheim 09/01/2020
  • E03Deconstructing Silos, Anwar Nasir and Scott Harrison 09/15/2020
  • E04Fostering BIPOC And Women Composers, Anne M. Guzzo, Daniel Hege, and Holly Mulcahy 09/29/2020
  • E05: What Orchestras Administrators Really Need, Zak Vassar and Jeff Vom Saal 10/13/2020
  • E06: The Need For Expertise, Mark Almond and Jason Haaheim 10/27/2020
  • E07: Changing Your Narrative, Mark Larson and Scott Silberstein 11/10/2020
  • E08: Centering Equity, Ruby Lopez Harper and Brea M. Heidelberg 11/17/2020
  • E09: How to Create High-Quality Video Content, Bruce Kiesling and Niccolo Go 12/08/2020
  • E10: Walking Back Artistic Elitism, Kenji Bunch and Jenny Bilfield 12/22/2020
  • E11: Being A Content Creator Before It Was Cool, Jeff Curnow 01/05/2021
  • E12: The Commercial Life, Ceci Dadisman and Marc van Bree 01/19/2021
  • E13: Composers In Academia, David MacDonald and Sam Merciers 2/2/2021
  • E14: Musician Injuries Could Soar After COVID: Artistic Decision Makers Perspective, Jennifer Arnold and Tito Muñoz 3/9/2021
  • E15: Musician Injuries Could Soar After COVID: Musician Perspective, Jon Bowen, Catherine Chen, and Yumi Hwang-Williams 3/23/2021
  • E16: Academia/Pro Divide: Eric Esparza and Michael Lewanski

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.

Comments (powered by Facebook)

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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