Mark Almond

Associate Principal Horn, San Francisco Symphony

Mark is currently principal horn of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, a position he has held since 2016.  He was formerly third horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra and recently won the Associate Principal horn position with the San Francisco Symphony which he is due to start in the Fall.  He graduated from Cambridge and Oxford Universities and worked as a hospital doctor specializing in pulmonology for ten years prior to 2016 and has a PhD in pandemic influenza from Imperial College, London. He is also currently working on SARS CoV2 research as PostDoctoral research scholar at the University of California San Francisco.

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.