Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Letters! with an update

UPDATE, October 2012. I have recieved two replies to my letters. One simply stated that "Maestro XXX is from next season not the Music Director of our house, so unfortunately we cannot help you with your request" (My request was a personal meeting or just an initial phone conversation with anyone on the music staff). The other reply was a surprisingly polite but efficient rejection of any kind of interest in my person.

I wrote this blogpost a couple of months ago, but for some reason forgot to publish it, so here it is:

Once in a while I try to send out letters and bulletins to orchestra managers, music directors etc. hoping that I might catch their attention and somehow open up new work possibilities. Usually I do this in conjunction with a recent sucessfull concert or performance. This time, it's more of a general stab at new markets.

I need the work - basically anything I can get - so this is not an excersize I treat lightly. But alas, the resulting feedback is more often than not completely absent. The last time I sent out this type of information to operahouses and orchestras all over Scandinavia, I recieved 2 replies to about 30 letters, and only 1 of those could be considered in any way positive, although I have not since heard from that person. And remember, I'm not a bumbling amateur conductor or a fresh conducting student, I am a professional with quite a lot of experience and achievements to my name already. Why would orchestra managers not benefit from hiring me? (...he said with 100% objectivity...)
I expect my letters or emails just end up in a giant pile of random that those managers have to deal with on a daily basis, but what else can I do? I can't very well show up at their office with a song-and-dance routine, and having had no luck so far in finding an agent that would represent me, I have to do this work myself.

Let me give an example of a bunch of letters I just sent out today.
With this bunch, I'm targeting some top executives in the business; intendants and music directors of *major* european houses. But I do it with some backup, having support from a internationally very well known and respected director that I have worked with on several occasions. He helped me with naming specific targets, and promised to speak positively on my behalf in conjunction with these letters.

This is simply to give you an idea of how I try to market myself, and I will update this blogpost as the replies come in, if any! (without of course naming anyone, that wouldn't be pretty...)

I've made a point of writing each letter individually, printing them on quality paper and mailing them (the oldfashioned way) in quality envelopes. Still, I have no way of knowing if they will even be opened, let alone read with any scrutiny.

With each letter, I have included a short quick-read resume and a business card.. I have not included any other information such as long pages of references or list of concerts. I don't think anyone reads it unless they are already interested in me, and if they wish to know more all that information is easily available on my website. 

Is this all en excersize in futility? Time will tell.
Let me know if you think I'm doing this wrong by the way! I might benefit from it.

- Jesper

If you could magically create your dream conductor, but he/she could only posess one quality, he/she should preferably be...