ONE TO ONE

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

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.

 
Mark Pemberton
Director, Association of British Orchestra
Interview date: April 8, 2021
In his One to One interview, Director of the Association of British Orchestras Mark Pemberton talks about how musicians and organizations have been affected by the pandemic, what steps the government has taken to support them, and where they find themselves as the country emerges from lockdown. He also discusses the disastrous impact of the U.K.’s Brexit deal with respect to touring in Europe, what went wrong, and whether there is any light at the end of the tunnel.
An Oxford graduate who started his career in arts management, Mark has headed the Association of British Orchestras since July 2007 and is the current chair of the U.K.’s National Music Council, which exists to promote the interests of the British music sector as a whole.

 
Michael Kaiser
Chairman, Devos Institute of Arts Management
Former President, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Interview date: March 24, 2021
One to One checks in with arts consultant Michael Kaiser for an update from our two-part May 2020 conversation about how best to deal with the lockdown. Now that we appear to be arriving on the other side, Kaiser advises arts groups to mount more inventive, unusual programming than ever as they open to live audiences. It’s the only way to compete against the myriad other entertainment options—from cruise lines and theme parks to restaurants and movies—scrambling for visibility in what he predicts will be a glut of post-pandemic entertainment marketing.

 
Brian Prechtl
Percussionist, chair of Players' Committee
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Delegate, International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians
Interview date: March 11, 2021
In addition to being a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra percussionist, Brian Prechtl is the chairman of the BSO Players Committee and was pivotal to bringing musicians, management, and trustees together in resolving 2019’s labor and financial impasse.
Prechtl explains how, over the last year and throughout the pandemic, BSO leaders met routinely to hammer out a new five-year musicians’ contract, in effect since last fall. He credits arts consultant Michael Kaiser with facilitating the agreement; Prechtl also points to his year-long participation in the League of American Orchestras’ Emerging Leaders program with giving him a new understanding of the administrative challenges of running an orchestra.

 
Stephen Hough
Pianist, composer, author
Faculty member, The Juilliard School
Interview date: February 25, 2021
Stephen Hough—pianist, composer, writer and author—discusses the effect of the pandemic on musicians' bank balances, its impact on international touring, and reflects on how the industry might change as it seeks to re-establish live performance in a post-COVID world.
Named by The Economist as one of "Twenty Living Polymaths," Hough’s career took off after winning first prize at the 1983 Naumburg Competition in New York. An acclaimed concert pianist with a discography of over 60 titles, Hough currently resides in London and is a regular visitor to the U.S. where he is a member of the faculty at The Juilliard School. Last year he was the first musician to return to the concert platform as part London’s Wigmore Hall.

 
Heather Noonan
Vice President, Advocacy
League of American Orchestras
Interview date: February 11, 2021
In her new One to One interview, Heather Noonan, vice president of advocacy for the League of American Orchestras, explains how the latest COVID-19 relief package, including Save Our Stages (SOS) legislation, will impact presenters, venues, and independent contractors in the arts.
Updating her One to One last April, when she unwrapped the CARES Act provisions for us, Noonan here explains the new support options, from a PPP loan to a Shuttered Venue Operator (aka SOS) grant to retroactive tax credits, and more. She also urges us to keep the pressure on our local representatives to support the arts, made easy via now-familiar FaceTime and Zoom. Physical distance is no longer an excuse—"You don’t have to fly to Washington to have a meeting with your member of Congress," she notes.

 

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