A Bridge Campaign too Far

I’m beginning to hear a regular complaint from orchestra patrons; they’re sick and tired of receiving persistent letters, emails, and phone calls from their local orchestras asking for donations. Here’s a few quotes from some orchestra patrons: “Why should I give more money? I already gave them money, why don’t they learn how to use it better?” “I gave money three separate times this year, but they still say they need …

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Who Owns the Orchestra?

I was having a conversation with one of my adult piano students today. We were talking about the current situation that exists in many orchestras and what may lie ahead for their future. Toward the end of the conversation she asked, “who really owns the orchestra”. Good question. My belief is that the orchestra is “owned” by those that consume the art: the patrons. I explained that to her in terms …

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Bizarre Budgeting: Part I

So why are orchestras having such a financially difficult time right now? We hear the typical explanation from orchestra administrators quite often: The shrinking stock market has reduced endowment income. Severe reductions in corporate, and individual donations. The shrinking economy. Deteriorating ticket sales. At first sight, these all seem like reasonable descriptions behind the problem, but it’s more than that. Although these reasons may be the collective straw that is breaking …

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Pandering to grants

A recent article by Greg Gittrich from the New York Daily News does a wonderful job detailing an all too common problem with a course of action undertaken by orchestra management: pandering to grant money. The article outlines how a $330,000 grant for the Brooklyn Philharmonic to study whether city school kids benefit from regular music classes. What I mean by pandering to grant money, is that orchestras seem to design …

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Reader Response: essays on orchestra leadership

In response to the essays on orchestra leadership (located in the right hand column on the Adaptistration page), violist Robert Levine writes: Most of what your wrote about musicians is accurate. I’ve found it’s hard for someone not actually in an orchestra to fully understand the psychology. My father is a noted researcher in the field of stress, and he and I wrote an article on the subject a few years …

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