The Risk Of Physical Injury Is Only Half Of The Equation

Everyone is in for such a treat with tomorrow’s Shop Talk episode on the topic of what orchestras of all budget size should be considering when planning for post-COVID concert activity. This installment features a panel of musician stakeholders and one of them, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Principal Bassoon Catherine Chen, proposed one of the most thought-provoking considerations.

Specifically, she was concerned not only about the very real physical risks but the emotional and psychological risks in the form of performance anxiety.

I’m curious to know more about what musicians think on this topic, so I wanted to prepare for tomorrow’s discussion with the following poll.

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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