Player’s putsch secures orchestra’s future

Player’s putsch secures orchestra’s future


norman lebrecht

August 12, 2019

The National Philharmonic, on the outskirts of Washington DC, has been saved from dissulution by a $500,000 donation raise by one of its players, who will now become president and replace the board.

Jim Kelly (pictured left), co-owner of Potter Violins, reckons he can do better.

Read more here.



  • drummerman says:

    It’s not $500,00″ in “donations,” it’s $275,000 in donations and $240,000 in savings. Big difference.

  • Anon says:

    Like Clive Gillinson did over thirty years ago at the LSO! Player managing is good, as they understand the musicians, unlike business types.

    • drummerman says:

      No disrespect to you Anon, but the analogy with LSO is incorrect. LSO is a “self-governing orchestra.” National Phil is not. Plus, National Phil has a $2 million+ operating budget, which requires a full-time ED. (Take it from this old orchestra manager who has been in the business for 35 years.) Mr. Kelly can’t play in the orchestra plus run his violin business and also be a full-time ED.

    • Doug says:

      Agree. The problem with the American model is that orchestras are governed by the Board. And the Board is made up of A type personalities focused on B type tasks, but with a checkbook. But given the lack of state subsidy, even a musician governed orchestra must seek donations from the community and how do you do that? You form a group of business owners with access to capital (donations) and naturally, they want control over how their funds are being spent.

  • Bruce says:

    It does sound like the previous management was in over their heads. From the article, it looks like the new leadership has some solid plans; hope they can turn things around.