April 2008 Archives

There has been a growing trend over the past ten or fifteen years, more prevalent in small or mid-sized orchestras than in the largest ones, but true in some of those as well. This trend has been to change the "reporting structure" of symphony orchestras. The traditional structure, still in place in the majority of orchestras, is that the music director and the executive director (that latter title may in some places be "president," "managing director," or something else) both report to the board, usually through the board chair (sometimes called "president" - am I confusing you yet?). The new trend is to have the music director report to the executive director. I presume this has come about because boards and their chairs feel they don't have the professional competence, experience, and/or knowledge to "supervise" the conductor. Another reason, perhaps, is that the conductor is often out of town guest conducting, but we still don't have a tradition of guest managing, so the executive director tends to be "home" year-round.

April 28, 2008 10:25 AM | | Comments (4)

In my visits to orchestras around the country, and my conversations with administrations and boards, I am sometimes struck by how orchestral organizations undervalue the importance of the total customer experience. There is no question that high-quality playing, committed performances, and vibrant programming are the most essential ingredients in an orchestra's success. But these things alone won't do it. An orchestral institution must examine every single aspect of the customer experience and raise it to the highest possible level.

April 18, 2008 10:53 AM | | Comments (2)
As we begin to get to the serious part of another presidential campaign, along with all of the other domestic and international issues that confront us, my mind turns to the place of the arts in our society. Some of the candidates have actually begun to articulate positions on the arts and arts education (I'll avoid appearing to advocate here - you can certainly do the research) and that is gratifying. I believe strongly that how any society views the arts says much about the quality of that society. Last year I was asked to give a commencement speech at Bowling Green University, and I decided to make that my subject. Because of my strong feelings about this subject, and because I believe that public policy regarding the arts deserves a visible place in a political campaign, I am going to re-print that speech here, even though it is significantly longer than a normal blog entry. I hope you don't mind, but these are thoughts I wanted to share with you.
April 11, 2008 3:06 PM | | Comments (4)

Many of us know that music education in America's public schools is not what it once was. Some of us are old enough to remember when virtually every public school had an orchestra as well as a band, and taught music in a variety of ways. The decline of music education, indeed all arts education, in our school systems has been widely commented on.

April 4, 2008 1:21 PM |


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