This week, we’d like to draw your attention to a pair of papers on topics of great interest to orchestra managers, prepared by students with a keen career interest in the arts. We thank Kelly Hill (Hill Strategies Research) and Tim Crouch (Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra) for bringing these papers to our attention; we also salute the authors, who have generously given permission for us to post their work on the OC website.
Christopher Merkle wrote Building the Modern American Orchestra: Significant Literature on Major Aspects of the Orchestra Business Model in the United States while working on Master’s degree in Arts Management at Washington D.C.’s American University in 2014. His goal? “[T]o encourage readers to make informed changes to their existing business models by using the most current and relevant research in the orchestra field.” In this reader’s view, he succeeds: the paper is coherently structured, contains a wonderful bibliography, and demonstrates a strong knowledge of the business dynamics of symphony orchestra organizations.
Gillian Arnold, a student in Humber College’s post-graduate Fundraising Management program, wrote The Aging Audience: Myth or Crisis, a study of the impact of audience demographics on arts organizations’ strategy choices. This is an enjoyable paper: Ms Arnold brings a conversational tone to her work, cites credible research on audience and donor trends and motivations to shed light on some key topics, and undertakes some primary research (with arts managers and her own on-campus peers) as well.