Breaking: Baltimore hires ‘saviour’ Michael Kaiser

Breaking: Baltimore hires ‘saviour’ Michael Kaiser


norman lebrecht

November 19, 2019

The former head of the Kennedy Center was once described as the Turnaround King.

But that was decades ago.

Since he left Washington five years ago, demand has dropped for the Kaiser’s snake-oil.

But then Baltimore is so far behind the times, they might easily have hired Rudolf Bing.

Dumb, dumber, dumbest.

Here’s the press release, just dropped:

November 19, 2019 – The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Inc. (BSO) announced today that Michael Kaiser of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management will help develop the Orchestra’s plan for the future.

“We are pleased to have an expert of the caliber of Michael Kaiser to work with us to develop a multi-year plan,” said BSO Board Chairman Barry Rosen.

BSO President and CEO Peter Kjome stated, “The year ahead will be pivotal for the BSO, and we are deeply grateful that generous supporters of the Orchestra have enabled us to engage Michael Kaiser. With the active involvement of stakeholders across the organization, our efforts working with Michael will result in a compelling plan that better integrates artistic vision and business strategies.”

“The musicians are very encouraged to have Michael Kaiser on board to help preserve the amazing orchestra that has been built here over the last 104 years,” said BSO Players Committee Chair Brian Prechtl. “Michael recognizes that compelling art is the key to helping arts organizations prosper.”



  • Mick the Knife says:

    Why so nasty? Basically, he said quit trying to raise the endowment and focus on your product for awhile. Whats wrong with that? BSO management needs advice; maybe Borda didn’t return their call. Its a great idea for them to reach out to someone who is more than a bean counter.

  • Eschenbach's Banker says:

    This is the man who paid Chrstioph Eschenbach a King’s ransom for years at the National Symphony Orchestra. The NSO was nearly run into the ground along with the Kennedy Center How can still be an advisor to anyone illustrates the narrow mindedness of this industry.

  • Calvin says:

    Do you really thing this will be worse than the status quo?

  • Musician says:

    Good, now it’s time for Marin Alsop to move out so this orchestra can revive itself musically / artistically too… I would love seeing more female Music Directors in the US, but she is such a mediocre conductor and musician that so many people here including myself can’t wait for her to leave in 2021.

  • David A, Boxwell says:

    “Arts Management.” An oxymoron that makes me cringe.

    • TubaMinimum says:

      Well… art institutions don’t manage themselves. I mean, I’m one of those “classical music will be fine, symphony orchestras as presently constructed… not so sure” kinds of people. So if someone wants to start a scrappy orchestra that pays half as much, rents out auditoriums, and has a GoFundMe instead of a fundraising department, I’d be rooting for you and curious how it works.

      • Enquiring Mind says:

        Meanwhile you take down well over 6 figs working as a desk-jockey for a government agency doing a job that isn’t even needed. But musicians should be happy making 42k; your proposed half-scale.

  • Omar Little says:

    How you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sparring with puppies?

    Figure out who y’all really are, because it ain’t what your trying to be. A city with over 1600 murders in 5 years has a lot more concerns than fiddling around with turnaround artists.

    Baltimore don’t have the funds to support the BSO, so rightsize yourself.

    • Guest says:

      Baltimore doesn’t support the BSO. Its the other way around to the tune of 10 million spent by the BSO on orch kids. You be clueless, bro.

      • Omar Little says:

        Nah man. You wrong on that. But I’m sure you know more than all of us.

        • Guest says:

          I can read a 990 and look at figures published in the Sun. If they spend $750 per kid and stopped, that would make up their deficit right there. There is a figure of around 1.6 million from the state. That isn’t Baltimore City and if you know anything about the state of Maryland then you know which counties primarily supply the state income tax.

          • TubaMinimum says:

            It’s an interesting question, though, whether a program like OrchKids generates more fundraising donations than it costs to run it. It’s also impossible to really know. But there is no doubt that being able to talk about impacting kids in under-served neighborhoods generates good will when you go pitching the philanthropy circles. I have no clue on whether that’s a net positive/negative to your fundraising bottom line.

      • Omar Little says:

        $1 million a year “bro”.

        Yo, let the adults parlay and go back to playing with them puppies.

        • Guest says:

          Keep reading Mr. Little: “This year the orchestra announced a $65 million fund-raising drive — $10 million of which will be devoted to OrchKids and its youth orchestra program.” Their deficit, after looking at 990 forms is 1.3 – 1.5 million a year. So, there it is. By helping inner city youth in Baltimore, they essentially run a deficit. I’m not at all advocating cutting this program. I’m saying that your original post about the City doing so much to help the BSO contradicts the facts. The City does nothing for the BSO and the BSO, in return, helps Baltimore’s youth.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    If the point of this is to start moving Peter Kjome and his allies toward the exits, then it’s a promising move. Otherwise, another big ego in a Meyerhoff that already has too many.

  • Guest 2 says:

    In response to Eschebach’s banker, Kaiser didn’t run the NSO, he ran the Kennedy Centre. The NSO has an independent Executive Director and board.