In December, 2010 Mr. McManus traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal along with a team of experts to inaugurate the HEARTbeats Foundation’s program designed to use music in a therapeutic way to help children affected by poverty and conflict. The 8,000 mile journey not only debuted the service programs provided by the HEARTbeats Foundation,but it included an additional trip to Baglung, Nepal to work with world renowned Cellist, Lynn Harrell and his Artist Ambassador work with the Save The Children Foundation. You can read more about the program along with Mr. McManus’ contributions to the official trip blog.
In the summer of 2008, Mr. McManus traveled to Doha, Qatar to serve as the lead consultant in developing a comprehensive organizational and operational model for a $60 million orchestra and music academy project.
The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a private, chartered, nonprofit organization, founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar. Selected from a a wide range of international firms in a competitive bidding process, Mr. McManus organized and managed a team of existing Foundation personnel to review the proposed mission goals for the Western and Arabic ensembles as well as the academy. The initial work consisted of more than 30 individual interviews and reviewing extensive amounts of existing documentation. After becoming fully versed in the Qataris needs,program goals, and the cultural working environment, a final program was completed drawing from international best practices that best suited the challenges facing the program while also creating many new systems of operation that satisfied unique Qatari needs.
The project concluded with a four day long Governing Board retreat where Mr. McManus enlightened members about the variety of governance models across all countries which support a culture of professional Western European orchestras. Afterward, Mr. McManus took the members though their new operational bylaws and the music program’s new strategic plan. After a period of positive discussion, the Governing Board unanimously adopted 100 percent of recommendations contained in the final report.
In 2005, Mr. McManus was among the first U.S. cultural administrators and journalists to spend more than a full week in Caracas, Venezuela as an official guest of the government to study the Fundacion del Estado para el Sistema Nacional de las Orquestras Juveniles e Infantiles, commonly referred to as “El Sistema,” which resulted in the first detailed series of articles in the U.S. highlighting the program and its accomplishments.