Chamber Musicians Get Advice on Tackling Marketplace Challenges

December 29, 2014

More Information:
For Media Only: Helene Snihur (585-274-1057, hsnihur@esm.rochester.edu)

Today’s marketplace has forced all musicians to become entrepreneurs, none more so than chamber musicians. Next month, some of the music world’s leading innovators will offer their advice on meeting the challenges of today’s music marketplace at a day-long workshop sponsored by the Eastman School of Music as part of the national Chamber Music America conference in New York City. 

The pre-conference workshop, presented by the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research of the school’s Institute for Music Leadership, will give participants numerous ways of dealing with marketing, technology, and other critical topics that musicians today must consider. In addition, during the conference itself, members of critically acclaimed and musician-led new music ensembles Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble, and The Knights will discuss their innovative practices on a panel sponsored by the Institute for Music Leadership. The Institute has also organized two other panels on enhancing the audience experience and setting priorities. 

The pre-conference day-long program on Jan.15, titled “How to Succeed in a Changing Musical World,” will cover branding, technology, audience development, and collaborations. Participants will break into groups during the last session and tackle different business problems facing today’s professional musicians.  

Keynote speakers for the workshop are John Nugent and Marc Iacona, co-founders of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. The two businessmen and musicians grew their event from seven days and 50 shows in 2002 into an international event of 322 shows attended by nearly 200,000 people over nine days in 2014 “by demonstrating solid business acumen, alignment and connectivity,” said Nugent. 

Nugent and Iacona will discuss event development, reverse psychology concert promoting, logistics, and coordination as well as economic impact and how the local community has rallied around the jazz festival. 

Other workshop sessions will offer tools to help ensembles shape a distinctive brand, provide tips on effectively using technology, show what musicians can learn from business marketing, and present strategies on creating collaborations across the performing and visual arts. 

Panels analyze success stories, creating audience experiences, juggling demands 

The first of three Chamber Music America conference panels organized by the Institute for Music Leadership will be presented on Jan. 16. “Chamber Music’s New Breed—An Analysis of Success” features members of Alarm Will Sound, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and The Knights, who’ll share the “start-up” stories of their ensembles and describe growing pains, current projects and collaborations, and sustainability. 

“These ensembles are generating compelling and unique artistic work,” said panel moderator Emily Wozniak, who with Paul Judy analyzed and wrote about musician-led ensembles. “It will be inspiring for other musicians to look at the creativity that fuels these groups, and it will be valuable to examine the success of their different operational models and artistic projects.” 

The following day, a panel of musicians and arts administrators will discuss “Beyond the Music—Heightening the Audience Experience.”  Under moderator Nancy Christensen, president of Christensen Arts, LLC, representatives of The Claremont Trio, Quinteto Latino, Spektral Quartet, and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center will share their ideas on presenting engaging programs. 

“Performing artists and presenting organizations can stretch boundaries to not only vary programming, but to also engage audiences through programming and with tools to involve audiences,” said Christensen. “Today, performances are about building and sustaining relationships within communities and between artists and presenters.” 

The third panel organized by Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership, titled “How to Do It All—and Still Find Time for the Music,” will be held on Jan. 18. Under moderator Victoria Paterson, a violinist and executive director of the American Modern Ensemble, participants will describe time management strategies for musicians juggling updates to their websites, social media accounts, ensemble management, concert projects, and promotion. 

The 37th annual conference of Chamber Music America will be held Jan. 15 to 18 at the Westin New York at Times Square. 

About the  Eastman School of Music 

The Eastman School of Music ranks among the nation’s premier music schools, boasting Guggenheim Fellows and Grammy and ASCAP Award winners on its distinguished faculty. The school has been commended and recognized nationwide for giving its students an intensive professional education, entrepreneurial opportunities in their music disciplines, and the experience of a broader liberal arts education with the University of Rochester. Its prominent alumni include opera singers Renée Fleming and Anthony Dean Griffey, jazz musicians Ron Carter and Chuck Mangione, composer-conductor Maria Schneider, and composers Dominick Argento, Charles Strouse, Kevin Puts, and Jeff Beal. 

About the Institute for Music Leadership 

The Institute offers programs and courses that provide students with the specialized skills and diversified experiences they need to succeed in the changing musical landscape. These include the Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program and certificate; the Center for Music Innovation and Engagement; the office of Careers and Professional Development; and the Orchestra Musician Forum with its website Polyphonic.org . 

About the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research 

Made possible by a $1 million gift from Paul Judy – chairman of the Chicago Philharmonic Society, Life trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), and former president of the CSO board – the Center is focused on creating research on and programs for alternative artist-centered ensembles that foster new models of artistic innovation, organizational relationships, and operational sustainability. The Center award grants to support research, events, and new initiatives and has developed courses on such topics as creating and sustaining professional ensembles. The workshop at the 2015 Chamber Music America conference is the first of the Center’s planned biennial national events.