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

Next week on One to One: Elizabeth Sobol is president and CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center and previously was managing director of IMG Artists and president of Universal Music Classics.

John Gilhooly
Artistic and Executive Director, Wigmore Hall
John Gilhooly told One to One about the artistic and technical logistics behind Wigmore Hall’s upcoming live-without-audience concert series, which begins on Monday with pianist Stephen Hough and continues throughout the month of June on the BBC. He describes the future and the "ecology" of classical-music performance in these challenging times. "We know we’re not going to come back 100 percent, and we all need to be there for each other."
Since arriving at Wigmore Hall in 2000, John Gilhooly OBE has heightened both the profile and the programming of this historic, century-old venue. Known primarily for chamber music and recitals, the 522-seat hall in prepandemic days offered nearly 500 concerts annually, many of them broadcast internationally, sponsored both singing and chamber music international competitions, and provided substantial educational programming to learners of all ages.
Also chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, Gilhooly was awarded Britain’s prestigious OBE in 2013, one of many honors in recognition of his immense contributions to British arts and culture.

Stanford Thompson
Founder & Executive Director, Play On Philly, and
Founding Board Chairman, El Sistema USA
Stanford Thompson talked with One to One about the impact of the pandemic on Play on Philly, both as its executive director and as its educator-in-chief. Thompson explained some of the outside-the-box solutions he and his teaching staff devised to connect with students online. Thompson also figured a way to support his teachers and staff without a PPP loan and come out ahead in the process.
A musician and educator, Thompson 10 years ago founded the tuition-free Play On Philly after-school orchestral program that has benefited almost 1,000 K-12 students in underserved Philadelphia neighborhoods. The founding board chairman of El Sistema USA, he is a Ted Fellow and serves on the faculty of the Global Leaders Program. As a consultant, Thompson has guided the development of dozens of music programs across the U.S.

Michael Kaiser
Chairman, Devos Institute of Arts Management and former president, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Part 2
In part 2 of his One to One interview (see part 1 here), Michael Kaiser tells us his arts management consulting firm recently offered a free hour of consulting to any needful arts organization. He wound up doing 427 separate consultations over six weeks, and "it was astonishing to me how well, how smartly arts leaders dealt with the very sudden attack of no earned income." It is a story, he says, that should be told to sponsors and donors—and is possibly more impactful than streaming another concert online.
Michael Kaiser, Musical America’s onetime (and only) Impresario of the Year and undisputed guru of the business of the arts, is among the most sought-after consultants in the world for his expertise in creative problem-solving in the arts.

Michael Kaiser
Chairman, Devos Institute of Arts Management and former president, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Part 1
In part one of the One to One interview, Michael Kaiser, the undisputed guru of the business of the arts, discusses "the four phases of the pandemic" and how to deal with each.
As we near the end of Phase I—the lockdown—Kaiser talked with us about preparing for the most painful phase, he says: waiting to get back into our concert halls and theaters. Here’s what we can and should be doing in the meantime.

Matthew Shilvock
General Director, San Francisco Opera
Matthew Shilvock’s task is daunting: he needs to envision a path forward for the 1,000 employees and $72 million annual budget of the San Francisco Opera.
Forced to cancel the entire summer season (18 performances of three operas), unsure of the fall season, uncertain when the company can use its 3,150-seat War Memorial Opera House, Shilvock is pondering ways for the company to be "nimble, responsive, set up quickly, and bring art to the public." And, at the forefront of that rather tall mandate, Shilvock says, he is seeking to "bring beauty and catharsis to a public that yearns for it."

Paul Hogle
President and CEO, Cleveland Institute of Music
Fast and flexible moves between a Friday and the following Wednesday helped the Cleveland Institute of Music quickly pivot during the pandemic. It is also enjoying a 20 percent increase in enrollments, Paul Hogle, CIM’s president and CEO, told Musical America.
Hogle is the former executive VP of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra who was instrumental in bringing the DSO back to life by negotiating to stream its concerts live, so we knew we wanted to hear what he had to say. "The quality of an organization’s leadership—this is where it’s an all-in thing … there’s a small group of people who think they will shut down, lock the employees away from their pay and everything will be fine&151;I feel sad for those organizations."
Musical America interviewed Hogle from his home in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Heather Noonan
Vice President of Advocacy, League of American Orchestras
Heather Noonan, longtime VP of Advocacy for the League of American Orchestras, has been instrumental in keeping the arts on Congress’s agenda. Together with her colleagues in the Performing Arts Alliance and national organizations in the broader arts sector, she has been supporting local advocates nationwide in demonstrating that the arts matter and ensuring that the CARES legislation recognizes its organizations and artists as an important part of the American workforce. This interview took place just on the heels of the first wave of funding; the second wave, now ensured, had yet to pass, but you can be sure Noonan was involved in filling the gaps left by the first.

Jasper Parrott
Cofounder and executive chairman of London-based artist management firm HarrisonParrott
The force majeure clause in contracts is a hot topic in the COVID-19 crisis. Jasper Parrott shared how he feels the standard force majeure clause being "an unbalanced and unfair instrument [that] supports big and powerful organizations," and leaves smaller organizations and individual artists in the lurch. He is responding to our first One to One interview with arts lawyer Brian Goldstein. Mr. Parrott was named Artist Manager of the Year at the ABO/Rhinegold Awards and is the co-author, with Vladimir Ashkenazy, of the widely read book, Beyond Frontiers.

Deborah Borda
President & CEO, New York Philharmonic
Part 2
The New York Philharmonic was the first major American orchestra to cancel its season (March 23) due to the coronavirus. Here, in part 2 of the interview with MA's Susan Elliott [see part 1, below], NYPhil President and CEO Deborah Borda gives insight into the factors impacting that decision; she also lends her expertise on leadership in a time of crisis.

Deborah Borda
President & CEO, New York Philharmonic
Part 1
Deborah Borda, president & CEO, the New York Philharmonic, had quite a couple weeks in March.
After sending the entire organization home, she negotiated a new interim contract over the phone with her orchestra, secured sweeping new media rights to NY Phil's archive, launched a new streaming service (NY Phil Plays On), cancelled a European tour, held an emergency board meeting with 57 members, each in a different location--and was, quite possibly, instrumental in New York adopting its current stay-at-home policy.
We were on the edge of our seat as she let us see those moments through her eyes.

Brian Taylor Goldstein
Entertainment lawyer, GG Arts Law, and author of the "Law and Disorder" column on Musical America.
The current crisis has impacted the performing arts no less than every other business. Performers and presenters and scrambling to make sense of canceled bookings and travel, lost ticket sales, and more.
Musical America's Susan Elliott turned to entertainment lawyer Brian Taylor Goldstein of GG Arts Law and the author of Law and Disorder, a column about legal issues on, to make sense of issues affecting the industry during CODVID-19, including force majeure clauses, Visas for foreign artists in the U.S., and, in light of the crisis, the need to rethink how the performing-arts business operates.





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