“Unless musicians sit on the board, they’ll never have any influence in their organization.” A fashionable phrase among a noticeable segment of orchestra musicians today, but what impact will musicians on the board of directors or board committees accomplish. How much influence can one or two musicians have when most boards are comprised of anywhere from 20 to 200 members?
Then there are the issues surrounding representation, are musician board members representing their fellow musicians or are they there to express their own opinions. Even if the musicians have a clearly defined understanding of their presence on a board are the non-musician board members aware of those parameters or even agree with them?
Whether or not musicians should participate on their orchestra’s board is, at best, a sticky issue. Although there’s no universal answer one thing is certain: learning from other musicians who have a long sense of history in the business can shed a great deal of insight onto an otherwise murky subject. Milwaukee Symphony Bassist Roger Ruggeri fits that description perfectly and draws on his more than 45 years of experience (the last 12 of which have been spent as a musician representative to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra board) to illuminate this discussion.Read More