“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 20 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, manage a site for arts managers to sharpen their skills, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, and love a good coffee drink.
Whether you are a soloist, chamber ensemble, composer, conductor, academic, private teacher, or orchestra musician, there is a great deal about the business your formal training didn’t prepare you for. Mr. McManus can help mitigate that educational shortcoming by providing a wide range of services to help you advance your career and maximize your potential without having to learn lessons the hard (and expensive) way.
As a dedicated and knowledgeable guide, Mr. McManus facilitates your board to think creatively and find solutions to the unique problems facing today’s orchestras. Contact Mr. McManus to see how he can help your organization with any of the following areas:
Serving as a divisional designation of Drew McManus LLC, The Venture Platform was launched in 2010 and has become one of the leading providers of integrated web and e-mail marketing solutions. With unmatched support alongside supreme quality and value, we’re opening up a whole new world for the way arts orgs improve marketing performance and build durable relationships with their community.
The December, 2011 edition of The Strad Magazine featured a cover article written by Mr. McManus that documents the lifetime costs of string instrument ownership. Featuring exclusive and exhaustive research, the article article demonstrates the depth of understanding needed to understand this business’ complex and dynamic expense structures. As an artist in need of overscale counsel or an employer interested in establishing competitive but fair compensation, put Mr. McManus; knowledge to work for you.
Word on the street…
…his in-depth questions and ideas that never would have occurred to me otherwise made it clear that choosing him was the right move
Principal Trombone, National Symphony Orchestra
The most well-respected national symphony orchestra consultant.
Pop music/pop culture writer, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10/06/09 edition
He’s the orchestra insider. Hugely informative…
Music critic, The New Yorker
…arts admin guru.
Deceptive Cadence blog, from NPR Classical, 9/14/2012 edition
…a distinguished arts administrator.
Music critic, The Oregonian, 12/23/2011 edition
[A] very big brain weighing in on what it means to be a professional.
Host; CBC Radio One’s Definitely Not The Opera
Drew does a truly amazing job with his blog [Adaptistration]. Like nothing else I’ve seen in the field, he has opened up discussion and the light of day to classical music, particularly orchestras.
Dean, Mannes College The New School for Music
Venture Industries was nothing short of a lifesaver for me. I was coming up on an important deadline and only had a very messy Tumblr site up – I needed to get a professional, polished site up without having too much time to do it. Drew and his team made the process exactly as easy as I needed it to be, I was so relieved. Their Basecamp is self-explanatory and so easy to use, Drew explained everything to me in a way I could understand and work with, and they were very fast to respond to everything. The price was also surprisingly affordable and is worth every penny. Any artist that wants an online portfolio can trust them, and I personally think every artist should definitely have one. It’s very worth it.
After I won the MET job, it quickly became clear that a high-profile appointment like that needed a high-profile web presence…and my old homegrown cobbled-together personal site wasn’t going to cut it. Enter Venture: he understood my needs better than I did, crafting a site structure that would serve as a sharp and professional baseline, but with lots of room to grow and add content. Aesthetically, he quickly determined my style and preferences, and delivered a look and feel that matched superbly. Venture was quickly responsive to all calls and emails, and the consequent setup and launch cycle was remarkably brief. Moreover, Venture delivers one of the most powerful events manager engines around — it adeptly combines sophisticated capabilities with simple back-end control. All of this helps realize the final goal: far from being another “job” to manage, this site will now help me do mine better.
Principal Timpanist, MET Orchestra
We have received four trial lesson reservations (one by phone and one using the booking system) in 48 hours after our site went live. Needless to say, I’m delighted! The Venture Platform system is very easy to use. I have managed all of it, including locating details of the trial lesson bookings like phone numbers and email addresses, from my smartphone. I’m astounded at your ability to integrate all of its aspects at my end for maximum efficiency and intuitiveness, and at the user’s end for maximum beauty and elegance.
I’ve also already used the Freshbooks invoices to encourage parents to catch up on their September payments. Very effective, and very easy to adjust for credits, discounts, and transaction fees. It is simply magical the way new user’s registration goes directly to Freshbooks, and allows me to use it immediately without any data entry on my part. Your system does all of that!
Your support makes me confident that no matter how our music school grows, you’ll always be able to help me understand how to adjust our website and its integrated communications, registration, and billing solutions to maximize our potential to better serve our artistic community.
Bel Air Music Studios
Dr. Christopher Dillon; Proprietor
Drew has shepherded us through our new website’s development for several intensive months now and has never failed to come up with creative solutions or answer our most idiotic questions with good humour. I don’t know how he’s gotten anything else done, but the results are fantastic and it’s already helping us to transform our organization.
Michael C. Hardy
Director, The Institute of Outdoor Theatre
Drew made everything seem easy and effortless as he put my site together. He threw ideas at me I had not considered, but am thrilled he recommended them because they are now the coolest parts of my site!