Be Your Own Manager

Be Your Own Manager
Be Your Own Manager is a career podcast for classical musicians from the former CEO and Artistic Director of the Vienna Concert House, Bernhard Kerres. Learn how to win your next engagement, how to build up a fan base, and how to market yourself. The podcast is an extension to the career handbook for classical musicians, Be Your Own Manager, which Bernhard co-authored with Bettina Mehne. More about the podcast, the book, and regular courses on Thanks for listening!

15/20 Music Matters
Oct 19 • 6 min
It is time to change the narrative. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK, suggested in an itv interview, that artists should retrain. An outcry by artists and media followed. But the question is not if society should support the arts and…
14/20 Four Steps to Networking and Small Talk
Oct 12 • 9 min
Networking and small talk can kill people - especially introverts. Musicians have trained their whole live to express themselves through their instruments and their music. And suddenly they find themselves at a reception or at a dinner where they need to…
13/20 Am I Good Enough? 😳
Oct 2 • 12 min
For so many musicians, young as well established, the question, if they are good enough, is always in their mind. Bernhard Kerres argues, that this is the wrong question. After having worked so hard, you are good enough. The right question is, what makes…
12/20 House Concerts in the Middle of Nowhere
Sep 9 • 34 min
Meet Leona Rajakowitsch and Clemente Prudencio, two young musicians, who did not want to wait until the COVID19 crisis is over to share their music. They started a series of house concerts in a small town in the South of Austria. The Sunday evening…
11/20 The Corona Scenarios 3
Aug 25 • 12 min
Following the last episode, Bernhard Kerres discusses potential scenarios of the COVID19 crisis and its impact on classical music. In this episode, he takes you to August 2021 - one year from now. He invites you to consider three scenarios: Australia,…
10/20 The Corona Scenarios 2
Aug 13 • 10 min
The COVID19 crisis will be part of our lives and careers for some time. We cannot predict the future and what will happen. But we can prepare for all possible outcomes. In this second episode on the Corona Scenarios, Bernhard Kerres invites you to think…
9/20 The Corona Scenarios
Jul 27 • 11 min
The COVID19 crisis will not go away. The only thing that is certain is uncertainty. Bernhard Kerres speaks about how to deal with this kind of uncertainty. And he invites listeners to the Corona Scenarios webinar on August 14, 2020 ->…
8/20 African Classical Music
May 27 • 22 min
Meet Rosalyn Aninyei, the courageous founder of the Vesta Orchestra in Lagos, Nigeria. While studying and living in Vienna, violinist Rosalyn Aninyei became so fascinated by the lively musical culture of the city, that she wanted to bring the spirit of it…
7/20 Music for Free
May 17 • 12 min
With the COVID 19 crisis many musicians turned to social media and the internet to spread their music. They brought joy to many people. Some people in the music world are now concerned if audiences will ever make the effort to go to a live concert again -…
6/20 Meet Bernhard Kerres
May 3 • 36 min
Many musicians asked Bernhard Kerres about his career path, leaving the stage, running tech companies, and returning to head one of the greatest concert halls in the world. So, he decided to share his musical career path in this podcast. He speaks about…
5/20 Meet flutist Hélène Boulègue
Apr 19 • 28 min
In this episode, Bernhard Kerres, talks to Luxembourg based flutist Hélène Boulègue about COVID 19, her discovery of André Jolivet and more. Hélène Boulègue one the first price of the Kobe International Flute Competition in 2017. In the recent months she…
4/20 Krishna Thiagarajan on the COVID 19 Crisis
Apr 9 • 37 min
Krishna Thiagarajan, CEO and President of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, talks with Bernhard Kerres on the impact the COVID 19 crisis has on classical music. He gives insides on how the Seattle Symphony stands united to secure its future. More…
3/20 Corona
Mar 30 • 24 min
The COVID-19 crisis brought the world close to a complete standstill. Musicians are facing significant economic challenges. The world as we knew it will change. Bernhard Kerres talks about trends which will impact the post Corona world for musicians.…
02/20 Time Travel
Jan 22 • 9 min
When thinking about ones career, one gets easily stuck between huge dreams and the harsh reality. Bernhard Kerres takes you on a time journey to develop a more concrete career strategy. —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a…
Jan 8 • 10 min
A happy New Year from Bernhard Kerres and some thoughts on resolutions and goals.
32/19 No More Boring Concerts
Nov 7, 2019 • 9 min
Today’s concert format comes from the late 19th century. It has something which is almost religious. And it is probably completely outdated. Bernhard Kerres talks about how musicians can think about new and different concert formats involving fans,…
31/19 Get Stuff Done (Kind of…)
Oct 24, 2019 • 16 min
Following a question about apps for time and project management, Bernhard Kerres delves into more project management considerations. The right process comes before the tools. He himself uses Daylite from Marketcircle but that’s only available on Apple…
30/19 Walk on Water!
Oct 10, 2019 • 9 min
In preparation for his lecture at the University of Music and Dance Cologne in Wuppertal, Bernhard Kerres looks at Christo and Jeanne-Claudes’ project “Floating Piers” and what it means for a career in music. More about the podcast and the book on…
29/19 Start with Your Community!
Oct 3, 2019 • 11 min
So many musicians, singers, composers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers think that having lots of “friends” on social media makes a strong community for them. It does not. Bernhard Kerres explains that musicians should start building a following in their…
28/19 Routines and Habits
Sep 25, 2019 • 11 min
While practicing is a strong established habit for musicians, looking after one’s career isn’t. Bernhard Kerres shares his ideas on starting with a self-management routine which over time should form a strong habit. This will enable musicians to manage…
27/19 Together We Are Stronger
Sep 12, 2019 • 9 min
Working on selling and marketing yourself alone can be tedious. Bernhard Kerres talks about a new system he recently came across - Working Out Loud. Based on the book by John Stepper, it is the idea of four to five people working on together on their…
26/19 Play on High Streets
Sep 5, 2019 • 9 min
The high streets of our villages, quarters, and towns, are the main artery of life in our community. Due to e-commerce, the economic cycle, and other developments, many high streets are dying out because the shops are closing down. Bernhard Kerres…
25/19 The 3Cs in Marketing Yourself as a Musician
Aug 7, 2019 • 13 min
A few months ago, Bernhard Kerres, was talking at the Nordic Orchestra Conference in Stockholm. He introduced a new marketing concept for the arts world which he called 3Cs. The 3Cs stand for Content, Community and Conversation. Today he adapts this…
24/19 You Are Special!
Jul 25, 2019 • 11 min
Being outstanding on one’s instrument, being a great singer, a motivating conductor, a creative composer, is only a start. To be successful you need to know what makes you special. Bernhard Kerres talks about daring to communicate one’s strengths, one’s…
23/19 The Power of a Good Story
Jul 10, 2019 • 12 min
What makes a good story and why should you think about stories? Your bio, your website, even your concert program is a story. Bernhard Kerres shares some secrets of good stories with you. More about the podcast and the book on You can…
22/19 Summer! - You’re To Do List
Jul 4, 2019 • 7 min
Summer is coming! Time for holidays. But also for reflection. Bernhard Kerres has your summer to-do list for you. More about the podcast and the book on You can also support the podcast on Thanks for…
21/19 Social Media versus E-Mail Newsletters
Jun 13, 2019 • 12 min
When marketing in the digital age we all flock to social media. It is so easy. But if you look at the numbers it is a big waste of time. In our latest episode, Bernhard Kerres, compares the effectiveness of social media to e-mail newsletters. What has…
20/19 Videos!
Jun 5, 2019 • 12 min
Videos are today an almost must for musicians. Videos give promoters, artistic director, agents, etc. the opportunity to get to know an artist better before actually having them audition or engaging them. Most competitions use videos today. But there is a…
19/19 Write Better Applications for Concerts and Performances
May 29, 2019 • 12 min
In our latest career podcast for classical musicians, Bernhard Kerres talks about how to write a good application for a concert or performance. He suggests to do research, focus on quality over quantity, and to follow up. What is your experience? More…
18/19 Get Paid!
May 15, 2019 • 16 min
Again and again musicians tell us that they play for free. An article in the Dutch newspaper NOS says that even the world famous Concertgebouw in Amsterdam does not pay artists for lunchtime concert. Simon Reinink argues it with the opportunity for…
Special Edition: Podiumsdiskussion Karriere heute
May 8, 2019 • 56 min
This weeks Be Your Own Manager podcast is in German! Dies ist die Aufzeichnung einer Podiumsdiskussion zum Thema Karriere heute. Die Diskussion wurde im Rahmen des Festivals Rising Stars der Musikhochschulen Freiburg, Karlsruhe und Stuttgart am 3. Mai…
17/19 Selling, selling, selling
May 1, 2019 • 18 min
Selling leads to engagements. That’s why we need to learn about it. In today’s episode, Bernhard Kerres talks about the differences of direct and indirect sales and what that means for musicians. His recommendations is to focus significantly more on…
16/19 Even Oral Agreements Can Be Contracts (RR)
Apr 25, 2019 • 17 min
In our latest Be Your Own Manager podcast, Bernhard Kerres talks about contracts. Even an oral agreement can be a contract. Documenting it might be helpful. Also, contracts should be read and can be negotiated. Furthermore in the podcast an introduction…
15/19 Your Friends Make You Famous
Apr 17, 2019 • 11 min
A recent article on cited a study that not your creativity but friends make you famous - at least that seemed to have been the case at the beginning of the 20th century when abstract art emerged. Bernhard Kerres takes this study as a starting…
14/19 Playlists will be the New Social Media
Apr 12, 2019 • 14 min
Social Media becomes crowded and overrated. Although we all spend - too - much time on it, its value for communicating with fans is diminishing. Bernhard Kerres points out that Playlists on Spotify and other platforms might be a much more effective social…
13/19 Stay Motivated
Apr 3, 2019 • 11 min
Staying motivated for the non-musical work can be challenging. Asking someone for something might even be daunting. Still, it is part of a musician’s life. Bernhard Kerres talks about why asking is always better than not asking and how to deal with…
12/19 How to Start as a Conductor
Mar 28, 2019 • 13 min
Today Bernhard Kerres is answering a question we got via Instagram. How do you start your career as a conductor? It isn’t an easy question but Bernhard’s answer holds some valuable information not only for conductors but generally for musicians.…
11/19 Music & Management
Mar 21, 2019 • 11 min
Performing outside of concert halls might be shocking for some. But Bernhard Kerres takes you through the example of a leadership course for business managers he regularly does with the wonderful Alauda Quartet for London Business School. The quartet not…
10/19 Dealing with Setbacks
Mar 14, 2019 • 12 min
Setbacks are inevitable. So it is good to find our own way to deal with it. Bernhard Kerres talks about his five steps to work through setbacks. If you like that podcast, do support it: You can order the book, Be Your Own…
9/19 Women’s Day!
Mar 8, 2019 • 11 min
Celebrating women is one thing. Changing the inequalities in classical music is a second one. Bernhard Kerres talks about what all musicians and presenters can do to increase the equality in classical music. If you like that podcast, you can support it on…
8/19 Ghosting
Feb 27, 2019 • 13 min
Have you ever been ghosted? Ghosting is a term in dating when people you were in contact with suddenly stop all communication without an explanation. But ghosting also happens in business. And you might have ghosted a lot of people. Time to change that.…
7/19 Re-Selling is Easier than Cold Calling
Feb 20, 2019 • 12 min
We often focus on performing at a new concert hall, singing in yet another opera house, or approaching a festival which is new to us. And we entirely forget that there are people who have already hired us for concerts and performances before. It is much…
6/19 Meet Flutist Daniela Mars
Feb 13, 2019 • 29 min
The Brazilian-Scottish flutist Daniela Mars is not only a rising star on her instrument but also an influencer on Instagram. She shares her passion for music, contemporary music and the bass flute with her over 33,000 followers -> @danielamarsflute. She…
5/19 I Don’t Understand Music
Feb 6, 2019 • 12 min
How often do patrons come up to you and say that they don’t understand music? One of the - difficult - tasks of musicians is to communicate about music with audiences, not in an academic way but rather a meaningful one for them. —- This episode is…
4/19 Concert Experiences and Competitions
Jan 29, 2019 • 17 min
In the latest career podcast for classical musicians, Bernhard Kerres speaks about how to enhance the concert experience for audiences with a few simple tricks. He also addresses how to prepare for competitions, especially getting used to do videos early…
3/19 Envisioning the Future, US Shutdown, the Second Woman since 1974
Jan 21, 2019 • 17 min
When thinking about the future it is better to envision it and then looking back than staring at it and not knowing how to reach one’s goals. The Self Coaching process is taken from the book, Be Your Own Manager, and extended with the element of…
2/19 - Elevator Pitch and the BREXIT Fanfare
Jan 17, 2019 • 12 min
Having an elevator pitch is crucial for young musicians to learn how to differentiate themselves and communicate successfully about who they are and what they do. Believing that classical music can comment on current political campaigns HELLO STAGE…
1/19 - Focus on Social in Social Media
Jan 7, 2019 • 12 min
Be more social in social media, start sharing and share a bit more about yourself. Vienna will see massive leadership changes in its leading cultural institutions in 2020. Will it make Vienna more innovative?
Plans and Pay
Dec 18, 2018 • 16 min
Have you made your plans for 2019 yet? Bernhard Kerres has a few tips for you. Furthermore Bernhard talks about the equal pay case at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. For links go to www,hellostage,com —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest…
Finns in and out of America
Dec 10, 2018 • 12 min
Enjoy the #classicalbuzz news roundup of classical music news from around the world. Esa-Pekka Salonen is heading back to California. Osmo Vänskä leaves Minnesota. Daniele Gatti got a quick contract in Rome. The Aldeburgh Festival won some of the most…
Your First Recording - Interview with John Anderson of Odradek Records.
Nov 30, 2018 • 43 min
Bernhard Kerres speaks to John Anderson what it takes to do the first album as a young musician. John, a former pianist himself, is the founder of Odradek Records, a non-profit label and the only one which selects new projects anonymously by peer review.…
Connect with Your Audiences
Nov 24, 2018 • 8 min
Building a close relationship with your audience will make their music experience but also your music making much richer. This requires talking and relating to them.
The 3Cs in Marketing
Nov 11, 2018 • 9 min
Marketing for classical music needs content, community and conversation - the 3Cs.
Pirates for Classical Music
Oct 23, 2018 • 9 min
This episode comes from Stockholm where I give a keynote with this title. The keynote starts with the customer journey of an audience member going to listen to a live concert. It is time to change that and to innovate the experience drastically.
The Bread and Butter Job
Oct 19, 2018 • 9 min
A career as musicians can be a challenge for your private life. The constant travel, sometimes splitting your life between two or more places require a lot of understanding from partners and family. Having a bread and butter job especially when having a…
Oct 14, 2018 • 7 min
Five years after creating HELLO STAGE we have decided to completely revamp our online classical music community. focuses even stronger on sharing the passion for classical music and creating a #classicalbuzz. Check it out!
The Golden Age is Coming!
Oct 1, 2018 • 51 min
An optimistic episode on the future of classical music with special guest Christian Ehlers. He believes that the future of classical music will be outside traditional concert halls and that it will be exciting and prosperous. Christian founded a…
The Future of Classical Music is Great
Sep 26, 2018 • 9 min
The dinosaurs are lamenting their extinction. But classical music has more people listening to it than ever before. It is up to us to believe in the future of classical music and to drive it.
Get out Pen and Paper
Sep 20, 2018 • 5 min
In an increasingly digital world, writing a note by hand can be a game changer.
Cold Calling Violinist Marie-Luise Dingler
Sep 12, 2018 • 21 min
Having coffee with violinist Marie-Luise Dingler of the The Twiolins we talk about cold calling and selling. Marie also announced an award for composers. And she introduced her Cold Calling online workshop on November 3 and 4. —- This episode is sponsored…
The 3:1 Time Management Rule
Sep 2, 2018 • 4 min
Some more thoughts on how to structure your day to be more efficient and effective.
Violinist on a Bike - Meet Justina Auskelyte
Aug 29, 2018 • 18 min
An Interview with Lithuanian Violinist Justina Auskelyte ( who is going around on a bike in her new hometown of Malmö playing the music of Bach, Paganini and others in coffee shops, barber shops, parks etc. Hear all about Justina‘s…
Happy Birthday, Lenny!
Aug 25, 2018 • 5 min
It is Leonard Bernstein’s 100th Birthday today. He is an inspiration for so many of us as a musician, a conductor, a composer, but above all as a true humanist. How does he inspire you?
Make House Concerts!
Aug 22, 2018 • 5 min
Classical music can do we some innovation. Bernhard Kerres introduces Groupmuse which organizes house concerts in the US. He recommends looking at it and perhaps bringing it to other cities around the world.
Aug 10, 2018 • 5 min
When on stage you not only represent you and your fellow musicians but are an ambassador of music. Dressing and behaving accordingly seems obvious. Bernhard was shocked that some musicians seem to think differently.
About Competitions
Aug 3, 2018 • 6 min
Should a musician do a competition? Competitions are not only about winning but about seeing where you are in your career compared to your peers.
Learn from House Concerts
Jul 27, 2018 • 6 min
Being at the Inaugural Deans & Arts Leaders‘ Summit in Harbin, China, Bernhard talks about the importance of house concerts and outreach projects.
Get a Second E-Mail Adress
Jul 20, 2018 • 4 min
Split business and personal emails in two different accounts. This will increase your creative space but also make you more professional.
Doing Recordings Today
Apr 21, 2018 • 8 min
The time when a big label signs artists with a big check and a lot of artistic freedom are gone. But today’s world offers good ways for financing and distributing your recording.
My Daily Schedule
Apr 13, 2018 • 5 min
The demand on your time is enormous. Practice, rehearsals, learning new repertoire, business issues and more can easily stress you out. My little secret is to divide my day in active and re-active slots.
Get Business Cards
Apr 8, 2018 • 7 min
Even in a digital world these small pieces of paper with your contact details on there are really helpful. Get them and make sure that they represent what you stand for.
Don’t Just Send E-Mails
Mar 31, 2018 • 8 min
We have more and more communication tools available. Picking the right one at the right moment when in contact with festivals and concert halls is important. Some guidance from Bernhard.
Portfolio Careers
Mar 26, 2018 • 6 min
A career in classical music will comprise several activities. You will play a bit solo, you might play in an ensemble, you might teach. Start to think early on about your portfolio to ensure that you are not only prepared but can really thrive in it.
Making music in ensembles
Mar 26, 2018 • 4 min
Making music in ensembles
Working with agents
Mar 26, 2018 • 4 min
Working with agents requires close cooperation. Define together what you want to achieve and what everyone has to do. Be aware of “rouge agents” who just take money but are not really artist managers. If in doubt check at
Your Route to Creativity
Mar 18, 2018 • 5 min
Finding creativity for classical musicians can be hard. The pressure on their schedule is immense with practice, rehearsals, business issues and much more to take care of. You need to think about preparing the ground for creativity to happen.
A Deal with you on Sales
Mar 6, 2018 • 4 min
Selling can be hard. As artists we would love just to be called up for a performance. Unfortunately life is different. Therefore I suggest a deal: do a bit of selling every morning and let me know how it goes.
Filling Your Calendar
Mar 5, 2018 • 5 min
Unfortunately your calendar will not fill up by itself. So you need to go out and sell. But build up a relationship first!
A Podcast on Accidents
Mar 3, 2018 • 5 min
Hopefully you will never need this podcast. Nevertheless accidents and illnesses happen. Therefore it’s important that you think about them beforehand and that you make sure that you have the right insurance and a network of people to support you.
Social Media for Musicians
Feb 11, 2018 • 4 min
There are musicians who are not on social media at all. Others seem to spend all their time on it. Do you need to be on social media as a classical musician? Some thoughts on channels and strategy.
Making Ends Meet
Feb 8, 2018 • 4 min
When starting out as a musician you might take on a job to pay your rent. This is a harsh reality. But be proud of following your dream and sharing your wonderful music even if this is not always easy.
Don’t focus on your Plan B!
Feb 5, 2018 • 4 min
If thinking about a music career don’t focus on your Plan B but fully commit to it. Music requires your full attention and is a lot of work. You cannot do it halfheartedly.
Artist Manager of the Year!
Jan 27, 2018 • 3 min
We are honored to receive the Association of British Orchestras’ Award Artist Manager of the Year! An incredible joy and great honor which we couldn’t have done without the many great musicians and people trusting and working with us! Thank you!!!
Dealing with Being Famous
Jan 23, 2018 • 4 min
Even if you have just started out as a musician you are famous to your family and closest friends. You are doing something different than they are. You are performing in front of others. Dealing with this sudden “fame” is not always easy. Here are some…
Cold Calling!
Jan 21, 2018 • 4 min
Cold Calling takes a lot of courage but can be one of the best sales techniques available to you. Forget email. Forget letters. Start cold calling!
Please call! Selling projects
Jan 18, 2018 • 4 min
In today’s world we strongly rely on non-personal communication - email, texts etc. But calling someone up or visiting someone can do wonders to your sales process. Don’t be afraid to call. Yes, make your research before to find the right person but use…
Networking for Composers
Jan 16, 2018 • 4 min
Composers mostly need and want others to reform their works. A few thoughts on how to get your works out there.
Involve your Fans
Jan 13, 2018 • 4 min
Your fans are the backbone of your career. Not only broadcast about your upcoming concerts but start a two way communication with them. Use your media channels to provide them with relevant content.
About making a recording
Jan 10, 2018 • 4 min
Recordings are a calling card for young musicians. But doing a recording is even more complex than going to the studio. Some thoughts on what to consider.