ONE TO ONE

The One to One interviews:
How leaders are managing the crisis

Next on One to One: Simon Woods, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras since fall 2020.

David H. Stull
President
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Interview date: October 27, 2021
Last year, as the shutdown crippled the performing arts and all of its support systems, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) announced, through the largesse of an anonymous donor, it would purchase Opus 3 Artists, one of the last surviving large artist management companies. The move sent shock waves through the industry: The tail wagging the dog? A non-profit buying a for-profit? An automatic entrée to the 250-member Opus 3 roster for SFCM graduates?
In his One to One interview, SFCM President David Stull explains the origins of the partnership, how it will work, who pays for what, and how the arrangement will serve the performing arts by filling the gap between graduation and career launch.

Wayne Brown
President and Chief Executive Officer
Michigan Opera Theater
Interview date: September 29, 2021
When he first started discussions with director Yuval Sharon about using the Detroit Opera House parking garage to stage Twilight:Gods, Michigan Opera Theater (MOT) President and CEO Wayne S. Brown had no thoughts of Sharon becoming MOT’s artistic director on a permanent basis.
But with the huge success of the pandemic-induced Twilight, since reprised by the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and with Sharon’s keen interest in site-specific work, a partnership was born, one that has since yielded additional "Out and About" stagings in Detroit, including Blue, in the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater, and Bliss in the previously abandoned, gothic designed Michigan Theater. Next up, and this time finally back in the Detroit Opera House: La bohème, backwards.

Andrew Ousley
Founder and President, Unison Media
Creator and Curator of Death of Classical
Interview date: September 8, 2021
Andrew Ousley wears two hats: One as publicist, one as producer. In the former guise, he the president of Unison media, a marketing and public relations firm he founded in 2015 with a mission to "tell a better story about classical music." As a producer, he is best known for two New York concert series: "The Crypt Sessions" and "The Angel’s Share," both of which fall under the rubric Death of Classical. In his One to One, he explains the "cheeky" (his word) moniker.
He also talks about how classical music is evolving, crossing boundary lines and genres, how the pandemic had encouraged individual artists to become their own media hosts and producers, and how coming from a non-classical background has better enabled him to guide his clients in telling that "better story."

Nicholas Kenyon
Managing Director, Barbican Centre
Interview date: August 27, 2021
Sir Nicholas Kenyon talks with One to One about his 14 years running the Barbican, one of Europe’s largest arts complexes, offering insights into how the arts have changed during that time. Bearing in mind the impact of Brexit and the pandemic, he also talks about the future for classical music in a competitive, multi-genre arts world and discusses his new appointment as opera critic for The Telegraph.
A former music critic for The New Yorker, as well as a writer for The Times (of London) and the Observer, Kenyon’s extensive publications on music include several of the Faber Pocket Guides. Before the Barbican, he spent 11 years as director of the BBC Proms and six years as controller of BBC Radio 3.

Ron Schiller
Founding Partner & Senior Consultant
Anne Johnson
Vice President & Senior Consultant
Aspen Leadership Group
Interview date: July 29, 2021
With our industry’s baby-boomer generation entering retirement and the Musical America job listings at their highest number ever, we wanted to take a closer look. In this One to One, we turn to the experts: Ron Schiller and Anne Johnson at the Aspen Leadership Group, one of top executive search firms specializing in the non-profit realm and the arts.
Their take: Turnover is high across all sectors and at all levels, partly because of a backlog built up during the pandemic, and partly because prospective employees, having learned to work successfully on their own and out of the office over the last 16 months, are demanding more flexibility. The one trend particular to classical music, they said, is the need for increased diversity in hiring practices, on all sides of the equation.

Annie Burridge
General Director and Chief Executive Officer
Austin Opera
Interview date: July 29, 2021
Annie Burridge is coming up on five years as general director and CEO of the Austin Opera, one of just under 50 arts and culture nonprofits recently chosen by Bloomberg Philanthropies to participate in its $30 million Digital Accelerator Plan. Thanks to a prescient coincidence, Burridge had just put together a panel of tech experts drawn from Silicon Hills—Austin’s nickname—when the pandemic hit, and so was able to draw on their expertise from the get-go.
Austin Opera has been on an upward digital trajectory ever since, to the point where its popular Opera ATX outreach series is moving into virtual reality (the first offering in VR is Beethoven: Fidelio). Burridge also talks about the future of the artform as strictly collaborative, exemplified by next season’s (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, a new production that will tour among its five co-commissioners with a single cast.

Harold Brown
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Interview date: July 8, 2021
Harold Brown, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO), has been on the job since last March. He reports directly to the CEO as a member of senior staff, with the mandate to effect change and broaden the institution’s personnel profile to better reflect its diverse community.
Brown has no experience working in the performing arts; however, he cites (with a smile) his son being a student of one of the orchestra’s cellists. Rather, his impressive credentials are in the world of academia, where he has set strategy not only for equity hiring and recruitment but for retention. This applies to his work at the CSO, both within the organization and well beyond. “When they get here,” he says of attracting diverse audiences, "do they feel like they belong? Are they respected? What will make them decide to return?"

Clive Gillinson
Executive and Artistic Director
Carnegie Hall
Interview date: June 24, 2021
Clive Gillinson has been executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall since 2005, expanding the storied performing arts center into a major force in U.S. arts education as well. Like many institutions, Carnegie has taken “a huge hit” financially, though its shift to digital has broadened its footprint, says Gillinson. Nonetheless, after being dark for 18 months, it will reopen in fall—gradually—and the plan is for 90 Carnegie Hall presentations in the 2021-22 season, rather than the usual 150 or so, across its three halls.
But it’s only a plan. “Just like everything has changed weekly for the last 16 months, it will continue to change,” Gillinson says. He points to the two big unknowns that lie ahead for Carnegie. Will audiences come back? Equally important, how will rental income—comprising almost two thirds of the annual (pre-pandemic) $100-plus million budget—be impacted, especially with proof of vaccination required for entry. Says Gillinson, “We’re in such a different world now.”

Brian Goldstein
Principal, GG Arts Law
Interview date: June 3, 2021
Brian Goldstein, arts lawyer and co-principal of GG Arts Law, sets the record straight on a variety of issues—foreign travel, visas, the worldwide consulate backlog, and the hard-to-get National Interest Exception (NIE). The NIE should, in theory, enable U.S. presenters to book foreign artists who they deem essential to their business. But, says Goldstein, "It’s called an 'Exception' for a reason."
Goldstein was the first One to One interview, in March of 2020. Fifteen months later, we discuss what has changed, what hasn’t, and what should. For instance, when should an artist get paid? ("What other professionals only get compensated after they’ve completed the job?," says Goldstein.) Should presenters be more flexible? Should managers charge their artists a retainer? (“Asking artists to invest in their own careers makes sense,” he says).

Mark Volpe
CEO, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Interview date: May 19, 2021
This week's One to One: Part 2 of our "Exit Interview" with Mark Volpe, who is retiring as CEO of the Boston Symphony after 23 years (view Part 1 here).
In this segment, Volpe talks candidly about the long overdue reckoning of race in American orchestras, both among musicians and administrators. He also discusses how orchestras have evolved into media companies, and the need to monetize their increased visibility – perhaps the way sports teams turned to broadcasting and sponsorship.
He also shares some of his favorite memories, like the time Seiji Ozawa, in an international al fresco performance, managed to outpace a looming thunderstorm seconds before it broke open on a crowd of thousands.
Part 2 of a two-part interview.

Mark Volpe
CEO, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Interview date: May 19, 2021
On the eve of retiring after 23 years at the helm of the mighty Boston Symphony Orchestra, CEO Mark Volpe talked with us about reopening Tanglewood after 18 months of shutdown and about the real reason that, in 1938, legendary BSO Music Director Serge Kouzzevitzky needed to launch a summer music festival.
Volpe, also a former Detroit Symphony CEO, shares his experience of three very different BSO music directors—and how one director's sudden exit led to the discovery of a young Latvian conductor named Andris Nelsons, who went on to become BSO Music Director and Musical America’s Artist of the Year.
Part 1 of a two-part interview.

Francesca Zambello
Artistic Director, Washington National Opera
Artistic and General Director, Glimmerglass Festival
Interview date: May 5, 2021
Francesca Zambello tells One to One about the multiple alternatives the Washington National Opera (WNO) and the Glimmerglass Festival created during the pandemic to stay in touch with their audiences. As she prepares for both to go live again, Zambello outlines highlights from WNO’s coming 2021-22 season, as well as Summer 2021 “Glimmerglass on the Grass” plans, which include a new stage on the company’s expansive lawn, shortened performances of reimagined standard repertoire, and several short films.
All mark the beginnings of what she calls “the new world of opera,” which, this seasoned director maintains, is now upon us.

Teddy Abrams
Music Director, Louisville Orchestra and Britt Music Festival
Interview date: April 21, 2021
Teddy Abrams arrived as music director of the Louisville Orchestra in 2014 at the age of 26. “It was crazy,” he says now. The orchestra, despite the success of its mid-20th -century First Edition recordings, had fallen on hard times. Abrams, a recent Michael Tilson Thomas protégé, had big ideas on how to fix it and no (discernible) doubts.
Recently dubbed “the Louisville Orchestra’s Rock Star” by CBS News, Abrams describes in One to One how he seized the pandemic as an opportunity for change, making the last year one of the orchestra’s most ambitious and most visible. Its success, accomplished through an ingenious fund-raising scheme, streamed concerts, and Abrams’s hugely popular one-to-one Zoomed “Comfort Concerts,” helped to heal a community suffering from the dual devastation of Covid-19 and the civic unrest caused by Breonna Taylor’s death.

 

RENT A PHOTO

Search Musical America's archive of photos from 1900-1992.

 

»BROWSE & SEARCH ARCHIVE