Patrick Rappleye got in touch with me in April. He is a masters student in horn performance at the University of Iowa. He was asked to put together a presentation on a brass ensemble and he chose us! What follows are the interview questions he sent me along with my answers. You can also see this interview along with other interesting tidbits that involve brass ensembles from around the world by going to Patirck's blog here.
PATRICK: How do you book concerts? Do you have a management service or do it on your own and what are the main difficulties?
DANIEL: QUADRE is a self-managed ensemble. Our strategy for booking concerts is two fold.
First, we have a series of home concerts we produce in the San Francisco Bay Area where we are based. We usually present 3 to 4 home concert series a year. Venues for these series include one or more of the following: performing art centers, community music schools, churches, and private homes. These events give us a chance to regularly connect with our local supporters. They also give us the opportunity to try new things out programmatically.
Second, we set up tours around the country. They usually last from 7-10 days although we were once on the road for a whole month. We find presenters – those that book us for concerts – through booking conferences and associations (Western Arts Alliance, Chamber Music America), our online research of venues in different geographic areas, and our own personal contacts.
Both of these strategies take a great deal of work. We are a nonprofit organization with 4 artists, one paid staff-person (myself), 4 volunteers, and a board of directors made up of 7 citizens from the community. In regards to booking concerts, the volunteers and I construct the tours (contracts, travel), manage the books, and handle the fundraising/development. The board helps ensure the long-term health of the organization and maintain its financial stability. Administratively, the artists organize and decide the programming, contribute potential leads and contacts, and help out as needed (grants, artistic partnerships.)
Of the two strategies above, the first one is contingent on being open to potential partnerships and collaborations. Most of this work is made possible due to revenue from contributed (grants and personal appeals) and earned sources (ticket sales and performance fees.) For the second strategy of tours, most of our revenue comes from performance fees with a little supplemental income coming from merchandise sales (sheet music and CDs).
The main difficulty with both of these core activities is finding the partners and clients to make them possible. After ten years in the business, it is easier although it is still a constant challenge.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Quadre, the ensemble that was the subject of his final project, has posted his interview on their blog: