on the record: March 2009 Archives
Those of you who read this space for comments about music may wish to take the week off. This one is about the boring subject of governance--specifically about boards of trustees. Boring? Well, I suppose it is to some, but not to me. Critical to the survival of orchestras? Absolutely. Perhaps as critical as any aspect of orchestras.
As I continue to go around the country visiting orchestras and meeting with boards of directors, I learn more and more about what makes for a successful orchestra. I always knew that the key ingredient was a strong board, but the more experience I get the more important that ingredient seems to me. And more and more, boards are coming to grips with their importance. So I find myself being asked more frequently how to go about building a strong board. What goes into it?
Reading over the listservs of the League of American Orchestras (chat groups for administrators of orchestras) I am getting depressed about the number of entries that go something like this: "Our orchestra isn't sending anyone to Conference this year. We can't afford it."
I have now experienced the conducting of Gustavo Dudamel "live" on three occasions. On top of that I've watched two video recordings and listened to at least three or four CDs as well, in some cases multiple times. I have to say that he is a phenomenon quite unlike just about anything or anyone I have experienced in almost fifty years of concert going. If you want a definition of the phrase "podium presence," the best way I can define it is to suggest watching Dudamel conduct.