“As orchestra manager you should never talk with the orchestra how it should dress” (Paul Hughes, CEO BBC Symphony Orchestra, London).

Panel debate in Oslo
Panel debate in Oslo

The 2nd panel of the Int. Orchestra Conference discussed the decision making in orchestras. Catch some of the main findings:

Every orchestra has to develop its own internal communication structure between musicians and management. Communication needs trust of both sides. Trust must be build be on mutual understanding. Understanding of the needs of musicians as well of the management.

To nurture this understanding vocational training on communication, leadership, education etc. is necessary. To involve musicians in management and artistic decisions means that they have to take over responsibility. This may affect the whole performance of the orchestra, from the artistic point of view as well as from the economical one.

BBC Symphony Orchestra has developed a very good informal cooperation between management and musicians within the past 15 years. Unfortunately it is not fixed in a paper but it works.