on the record: April 2009 Archives
A question that I am frequently asked as I travel around and meet with the boards of directors of many orchestras is, "what is the ideal size for a board?" One would like to think that's a simple question, but it is anything but.
You may have heard (it was announced back in January) that as of July 1 I will become dean of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. This is an extraordinarily exciting opportunity for me to work with a superb faculty and administration at a theatre and music conservatory that has made huge strides in the past decade.
Not long ago I spent a day with the board, management, and musicians of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in Little Rock. That visit represented, for me, a bit of a personal milestone: I am now able to say that I have had some contact with a symphony orchestra in every one of our fifty states. That does not mean I have heard all of them--sadly, there wasn't a concert on the day I was in Little Rock--and some of those contacts were many, many years ago and took the form of just hearing a concert, not meeting with those who make up the orchestra. But still, I suspect that there aren't that many who can say they've touched, in some way, orchestras in all fifty states. And it did get me to thinking about something I've written before: the amazing resilience and quality of our American orchestras.
Last week in this space I set the hearts of music lovers palpitating with excitement as I discussed the sexy topic of terms and term limits for board members of orchestras. Since that so fulfilled my readers' fantasies about great music and musicians, I thought I'd devote a second week to a related topic--terms and term limits for board officers, and in particular the board chair.