A Celebration for Women Everywhere
This was thrilling news to everyone--except the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
James Glicker is president of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and in charge of 65 full-time employees, 96 musicians and an annual budget of $26 million.
His musical background includes being director of the Whiffenpoofs at Yale and SVP of marketing for the classical division of Bertelsmann. In the interim, he was a marketing VP at Procter & Gamble, and during the dot-com boom worked with the group that took GeoCities public and then sold it to Yahoo!
The business of leadership
Two weeks ago Colin Powell told an audience that leadership meant building trust and taking care of the people who get the job done.
With an orchestra, it is the musicians who get the job done.
In the Army, sergeants do not choose their lieutenant. Colonels do not meet to choose the general.
In business, employees seldom choose their president.
The music world is different. It is standard for the players to have input regarding who is hired as the conductor under whom they will be making music month in and month out, perhaps for years to come.
In spite of the fact that the Baltimore musicians pleaded with management to keep the final decision open until Thanksgiving, Glicker announced the selection of Marin Alsop in mid-July.
The musicians balked. Apparently it was less a question of Alsop's abilities than about process. "The process has been trampled on and not respected the legitimate artistic views of the musicians," said the chairperson of the players' committee.
On July 17, the musicians issued a statement declaring, "If the Board of Directors makes a decision opposed by a vast majority of the orchestra, all confidence in the current leadership of the orchestra would be lost."