The Classical Music Podcast You Didn’t Know You Wanted And Doesn’t Yet Exist

Recently, a colleague turned me onto the Song Exploder podcast, which is produced and edited by host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway. The show premise is straightforward: Where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.

Hirway takes a deep dive into a single song and often breaks things down even more by diving into specific tracks from the original recording session. Each episode is right around 15 minutes and while there is the occasional classical musician, the bulk of content focuses on rock and pop artists. An ideal example of this is the episode featuring House of Cards composer, Jeff Beal. Its fascinating hearing him talk over a single track of the open credits piece and how, in conjunction with the director, it contributed to an overall structure.

It would be fascinating to adopt this format to feature new classical music by living composers. Take a single movement from a recording, extract each track and dive into the why. Having a series dedicated to Film and Television music would be fabulous as well.

I can think of several people who would be wonderful hosts: classical music super fan Jonathan Becker, composers Alex Shapiro, Kenji Bunch or George S. Clinton, conductors Bruce Kiesling or Bill Eddins, acoustician Christopher Blair, timpanist Jason Haaheim, and violinist Holly Mulcahy. In fact, it would be cool to rotate hosts per season in order to give the show more variety and cast as wide a net as possible into the world of living composers.

There’s the idea, now someone can get out there and run with it.

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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