James Burnham’s famous Managerial Revolution (1941), by detailing the transfer of power over society from capitalists to managers, ought to have prepared even the art public for the inevitable. What makes the arts go today isn’t art and it isn’t artists; it isn’t (socialists and other all-knowing types to the contrary) the financial power of patrons or even the pressures of a boorish mass audience. It is rather a thriving, confident, well-paid—and well-expense-accounted—class of administrators.

Whether these administrators work in opera companies, symphony orchestras, museums, foundations, government agencies, or the numerous powerful advocacy groups funded by all these institutions, it is they who bring us the art we see and hear, and they who mediate the encounter between artists and patrons, artists and audience, and audience and patrons. In music, these...


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