This article was originally printed on 10-9-14.

Nineteen Eastman students will have the opportunity to “adapt, invent, succeed” as newly admitted members of Eastman’s prestigious Arts Leadership Certificate program.

The Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program (ALP) was founded in 1996 and remains among the cornerstone programs of the Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School of Music. ALP offers myriad opportunities that encourage students to put the slogan “Adapt, Invent, Succeed!” into action, with courses, guest lectures, and internships preparing students to enter the classical music workforce with a skillset rarely fostered by the traditional conservatory setting.

“Most, if not all, of us enter [Eastman] with tunnel vision, saying ‘I’m going to perform.’ But after a few weeks in school, I realized it’s much more complicated than that,” explains junior Alexandra Cohen, Vocal Performance major, one of the new ALP Certificate students. “There are so many facets to this industry other than performing. It’s truly a business.”

Students apply to the ALP Certificate program in the third year of their undergraduate degree or at the beginning of their graduate degree, and remain enrolled in the program for three to four semesters. During that time, they fulfill a set of required courses within the Arts Leadership Curriculum (ALC), covering topics such as “Arts, Media and Promotion,” “Essential Technology for Musicians,” and “Gift and Grant Seeking in the Non-Profit Arts World.”

“I feel strongly that I need a well-rounded education in order to make myself marketable in today’s world, and I believe that the ALP program will be a good source for this,” junior Anne Kunkle, Music Education and Saxophone Performance major, another new ALP Certificate program inductee said.

ALP Certificate students are also required to complete two semesters of for-credit internships, available during both the summer and the academic year. These internships, which may take place in Rochester or throughout the country, engage ALP Certificate candidates in non-performance aspects of the performing arts, such as administration, marketing, technology, and entrepreneurship.

“The practical experiences gained through mandatory internships [made it] a no-brainer to apply [to the ALP Certificate program],” Cohen said.

Senior Lisa Nickels, Oboe Performance major, was accepted into the ALP Certificate program last year, and completed a prestigious internship at the Kennedy Center’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management in Washington, D.C. this past summer. “As the busiest performing arts institution in the United States, the Kennedy Center has ample opportunities for interns to network, explore the many departments, create a work portfolio, and attend performances and seminars,” she explained. “I felt prepared and organized largely due to being able to connect skills learned through ALP courses with the tasks and projects I was given.”

The ALP Certificate program plays an important role in preparing students to face changes and challenges in the professional world. The classical music field has been plagued recently with financial instability. For example, the Atlanta Symphony is currently embroiled in a calamitous labor dispute, and members of the Miami Symphony have not received wages in over a year, making it necessary for young professional musicians to approach the industry with an innovative outlook.

“People are dynamic. What an audience fifty years ago would have loved, an audience today cannot stand,” said Cohen. “I feel that our industry must be flexible and change in accordance with our changing audience. Not every student seems to recognize the need for creativity, uniqueness, flexibility, marketing, and technology skills in the twentyfirst century music world.”

Senior Lydia Consilvio, Oboe Performance major, who was admitted as an ALP Certificate candidate last year, added, “ALP has given me hope for the future of classical music and my role in it. It has provided me with a musical education that goes ‘beyond the practice room’ and into the realm of networking, marketing, and overall savvy.”

The notion of “arts leadership” means something different and personal to each student in the Certificate program. Said Kunkle, “For me, the term refers to building a connection between the arts and the general population. We hear a lot about making the arts ‘accessible’ and I believe that any leader in the arts should be aware that this connection needs to be strong in order for the arts to truly serve their purpose.”

“Arts leadership is a special brand of leadership,” said Cohen. “A good leader notices a void and fills it. Artistic leaders notice spots in the industry where they can step in and revolutionize that area.”

Nickels explained, “ALP was one of my deciding factors in coming to Eastman. I was interested in multiple careers within the arts, andw I knew that the ALP courses, resources, and networks would allow me to explore those fields while still enhancing my performance skills.” Indeed, few other music schools offer such comprehensive and innovative arts education, making Eastman’s ALP Certificate program a truly special opportunity.

Gordon is a member of the class of 2015.


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