Oklahoma City Philharmonic Executives Participate in Management Symposium

Article excerpt

Joel Levine raises a baton that instills silence. A wrist flick later, the first notes have dissipated into the Civic Center air, starting lines that will continue to move through time for a couple of hours.

But when the patrons are off to their after-concert cocktails, musicians' tuxedos have been shed in favor of jeans and maestro Levine's baton rests quietly in its case, there remains a $3.5 million business to run. It's Executive Director Eddie Walker's job to make sure that happens, and to do it even better, he's joined leaders of 22 other orchestras for some training through Sustaining the American Orchestra, an initiative launched by the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

It's a fascinating program, said Oklahoma City Philharmonic Marketing Director Michelle Winters. There's been one session online, a proctored chat. Our executive director sat at his desk and participated in this discussion that was led by (National Symphony Executive Director) Michael Kaiser. They went through everything from board relations and development to community assessment.

There will be another online session before Walker and his peers head to the Kennedy Center for a two-day symposium meant to help smaller-market orchestras improve their business.

Every orchestra is different because every community is different, said Winters. But there are best practices that apply to everyone, and that's where this kind of discussion can help a local orchestra.

Walker said the first online discussion would help set the agenda for the November meeting in Washington, D.C.

The agenda and the discussions are tailored to this universe of 23 orchestras, Walker said. In the first online chat it was a very open discussion so that the November agenda in Washington could really address the needs of this group. …


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