Vanguard conference invite for David France

Exploring El Sistema - Tue, 2015-05-05 10:36
The Vanguard is an "annual experiential urban leadership gathering of the best and brightest young urban leaders working to improve cities across sectors, including urban planning, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation, sustainability, design, art and media. Each year, Next City selects 40 applicants whose smart ideas for cities, experience in... Sistema Fellows Program

The Ensemble, May edition

Exploring El Sistema - Tue, 2015-05-05 10:23
The May edition of Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth's publication chronicling the emerging field of El Sistema-inspired activity in the US and beyond is found here. Sistema Fellows Program

And So It Begins: Groundbreaking on SLPC

NEC Construction News - Tue, 2015-05-05 10:23

NEC Marks Official Start of Construction with Celebratory Ground-breaking Ceremony

Transformative Student Life and Performance Center to Open 2017

Conservatory Board Members, Donors, Officials, Students, Faculty, and Staff Gather for Musical Ceremony at St. Botolph Street Construction Site

Celebrating the start of construction on its Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC), New England Conservatory hosted a joyful groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday on the construction site at 241 St. Botolph Street in Boston. Board members, donors, faculty, staff, students, government and arts leaders, gathered on the current parking lot to lift symbolic shovelfuls of sand. There were speeches that paid tribute to the many people who had supported the project from its inception. And NEC brass and jazz students performed appropriately festive musical selections.

The first new construction at NEC since 1959, the $85 million SLPC is scheduled to open in 2017, to coincide with the Conservatory’s 150th anniversary. It will house a new residence hall with 250 beds, a two-level library for audio and print resources, a new dining commons, a black box opera studio, large orchestra rehearsal space with acoustics mimicking Jordan Hall, and a small ensemble room with recording studio suited to jazz and contemporary improvisation.

Designed by Ann Beha Architects with Gensler as Associate Architect, the project will be built by Tishman Construction, an AECOM Company. Beha’s firm, which is headquartered in Boston, also steered the restoration of NEC’s historic Jordan Hall in 1994–1995, receiving numerous awards for historic preservation and illumination. Tishman previously executed the $21 million exterior renovations of the Conservatory’s four buildings in 2009–2010, winning numerous awards for historic preservation and green initiatives.

Funding the project through a combination of private philanthropy and financing, the Conservatory has raised more than $60 million in donations to date. Trustee Board Chair, Kennett F. Burnes, who presided over the groundbreaking, credited the “extraordinary” support of Board members, alumni, and others who are helping the Conservatory meet its fundraising goal.

“The Student Life and Performance Center will transform the life of NEC students, faculty, staff, and the community,” Burnes said. “It will reflect and augment the Conservatory’s eminence in Boston and in the world of music education and performance.”

Along with its state of the art venues and facilities, the SLPC will also fill a more mundane gap—that is, spaces where students can just hang out. “When I was a student back in the 1980’s, if we needed to find someone, we either left a note taped to Beethoven (the statue in the Jordan Hall building) or hung out on the steps of Jordan Hall, hoping, by chance, our paths would cross,” recalled Trustee Deborah Elfers ’82 in her remarks. “I can’t imagine what it will be like for students and faculty to have gathering spaces—for the first time!—and how that will enable the spontaneous collaboration between different musical specialties, so necessary for a musician’s evolution…It’s just this collaborative environment that makes NEC stand out from the rest—it’s what we have become known for.”

For further information on the SLPC, check the NEC Website here

In photo L to R: Overseer Hope Baker, architect Ann Beha, Trustees Thomas Blumenthal, Wendy Shattuck, Michael Thonis, Deborah Elfers; Board Chair Kennett F. Burnes; Overseer Helen Powell; President Tony Woodcock; Life Trustee Steven Friedlaender. Photo by Pierce Harmon

Get to know Corey Seapy, conducting & clarinet

Preparatory School - Sat, 2015-05-02 13:00

What advice would you offer to young performers?

Listen to yourself very carefully and never say “I can’t.” Be disciplined,  patient, and use a metronome. Practice slowly first. Don’t be afraid to take chances and make emotional connections. Make every sound expressive, unless the composer tells you otherwise. If you don’t love it, do something else. If you do love it, do it as much and as meaningfully as you can.

Apart from music, what other activities do you find enriching in your life?

I like spending time with family and friends, skiing, being outdoors, and reading.

How would you describe the tone of your instrument/voice?

Limitless! That’s the best part about conducting.

Who has been your biggest source of inspiration throughout your education/career?

Claudio Abbado

If you could choose one career outside of music, what would it be?

A teacher of some sort. Perhaps a ski instructor.

What is your favorite genre of literature?  What’s the most memorable thing you’ve read in the past year?

Nonfiction. “Corresponding with Carlos” by Charles Barber.

What have you been listening to most recently?

Sibelius, The Punch Brothers, Radiohead, Elgar, Madeleine Peyroux, and Sonny Stitt.

Do you have any pets at home?  If so, where is your favorite place to take them for a walk?

Our guinea pigs don’t get out much. Bixby and Maestro are scared of anything that moves, including each other.

St. Botolph Entrance, Bike Racks, Parking Lot Closure, Offices Moving

NEC Construction News - Thu, 2015-04-30 09:44

May 1 Update

Dear NEC Faculty, Staff, and Students,


You’ll be pleased to learn that construction of the handicapped ramp is wrapping up and the Main Entrance of 241 St. Botolph Street will re-open on Friday, May 1. That means you will not need to access the building from the basement door.  Indeed, the basement door will also be closing permanently on May 1.


GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY: May 5 at 3:30 pm in the white tent on St. Botolph St. Parking Lot. Don’t miss this celebration. Cookies and cake refreshments to be served.

PARKING LOT CLOSURE: The St. Botolph parking lot will close permanently as of Monday, May 4. This means that College and Prep faculty may use the lot through Saturday, May 2.

BICYCLE PARKING: On May 19, 2015, the bicycle parking area located in the Residence Hall Courtyard will be closed until August 21, 2015 due to work associated with construction of the Student Life and Performance Center. Please use racks to the left of the Jordan Hall entrance, and beginning May 19 near the St. Botolph Building main entrance.


OFFICE MOVES:  With the coming demolition of SB 113 (the annex), the closing of the parking lot, and other SLPC-related construction work, the following offices will be moving:

Entrepreneurial Musicianship:
As of May 18 to SB 320
As of Aug. 7 to SB 227

Student Services:
As of May 18, Shi Teeters, Hegland, Vaughn to SB 309
T. Handel to SB 380
B. Winkley, A Wolniak to SB 311
As of Aug. 10, all personnel to SB 225

As of May 18, DiGiorgio to Admissions until 6/5
Schaphorst, Macadam-Somer, Netsky to TBA
As of Aug. 15, all personnel, 295 Huntington, Room 205

Health Services:
Closed for the summer
As of Aug. 17, 295 Huntington, Room 309

As always, if you have questions, contact Mike Ryan ( 617-585-1187), Karen Kidd
(617-585-1181) or Ellen Pfeifer  (617-585-1143).

The Death of Liberal Arts? Or the Reunion of Broken Parts

Huffington College - Fri, 2015-04-24 15:05
Zakaria is a compelling spokesman for the Liberal Arts. He shows unequivocally their importance in the cultural, economic and developmental world and how our world becomes threatened by the narrow focus of Manichean politics. Tony Woodcock

Bike Parking Area at Residence Hall to Close Temporarily

NEC Construction News - Thu, 2015-04-23 12:03

Dear NEC Faculty, Staff, and Students,

On May 19, 2015, the bicycle parking area located in the Residence Hall Courtyard will be closed until August 21, 2015 due to work associated with construction of the Student Life and Performance Center.

All bikes must be removed by May 19, 2015.

Unfortunately, if any bikes are not removed, Building Operations will dispose of them.

For those who need to park bikes, an additional rack has been installed to the left of the Jordan Hall entrance. There will also be access to the bike racks located near the St. Botolph Building entrance when construction of the handicapped ramp is completed in the next few weeks.

As a reminder, the City of Boston does not allow any bikes to be locked to wrought iron fencing located along Huntington Ave. and Gainsborough St. (To comply with that regulation, NEC is forced to remove such bikes and fine the owners $25.)

As always, if you have questions, contact Mike Ryan ( 617-585-1187), Karen Kidd ( 617-585-1181) or Ellen Pfeifer ( 617-585-1143).

Getting to know faculty member, Randy Wong, bassist, music-in-education

Preparatory School - Thu, 2015-04-23 09:24

What advice would you offer to young performers?

Build your fundamental skills to virtuosic degrees. Don’t just listen to music, but transcribe what you hear. Start a journal of interesting orchestration techniques… then transcribe them. Study solfege like it’s your first language. Learn a favorite piece by transposing it to a different key. But above all, never give up and don’t put yourself down. Music can be a lifelong passion, and you don’t have to “get it” right away… You have your whole life to improve.

Apart from music, what other activities do you find enriching in your life?

Community service and volunteerism. There are many non-profits out there who rely on volunteers to carry out their basic services. However, there’s usually a shortage of people who actually reach out and offer to help, particularly with basic or menial tasks. (Everyone wants to do the “important stuff”). I like to be one of the people that helps at the most basic levels.

Who has been your biggest source of inspiration throughout your education/career?

Musically: My peers, particularly at NEC. There’s a tremendous source of creativity and life here. From students to faculty, it’s incredible how much dedication there is collectively to our craft. Many people that I perform professionally with now, I originally met in high school and college. It’s very inspiring to be able to learn, perform, and grow together.

Non-Musically: My parents, grandparents, and wife are super sources of inspiration. Both of my grandfathers worked continually into late stages of their life (mid 80s and early 90s). My parents never let me give up my dreams of success. And my wife is a very dedicated violinist herself.

If you could choose one career outside of music, what would it be?

I’ve always been curious about dance. I never took any Western dance classes (only Hawaiian hula, which is a requirement when you grow up in Hawaii), but I’ve always been fascinated by movement and choreography. There’s so much music inherent in dance, and vice-versa, so it would probably be a good fit for my interests and personality.

What is your favorite genre of literature?  What’s the most memorable thing you’ve read in the past year?

I haven’t gotten into any fiction in a very long time. The last books I read were “How the States Got Their Shape,” which is mostly American history, and then a mathematics book, “The Joy of X.” That said, I’m trying to get into Ernest Hemingway, and am starting with his short stories.

What have you been listening to most recently?

Classical: the new “Balance Problems” album from yMusic; Pierre Fournier’s Bach cello suites; music of composer Michael-Thomas Foumai; Joe Foley’s album “Nightsongs” with Bonnie Anderson.

Non-Classical: Music recently released by my NEC peers.
“Shaken by a Low Sound” album by Crooked Still; “Lock My Heart” album by Heather Masse and Dick Hyman; “Nuestro Tango” by Natalie Fernandez; “Secret Love” album by Sara Leib; and “Ugandan Suite” by Felipe Salles; “Center Song” album by Steve Treseler; “Cockpit” album by Bootyjuice.

Do you have any pets at home?  If so, where is your favorite place to take them for a walk?

I have two “budgie” birds. They don’t walk much, but they’re also not so great at flying, so basically they glide around my music room.

Touring Boston's El Sistema-inspired programs

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2015-04-16 10:26
The first stop on my Boston Sistema tour was Sistema Somerville. I was very excited to visit because the director, Diane Cline, had volunteered at MYCincinnati during our first year, right before she moved to Boston. The first thing that jumped out at me was the hard work of her... Sistema Fellows Program

New Boston – Chapter 2

Penguin - Tue, 2015-04-14 00:56
by NATALIE ALPER-LEROUX Third-year BM Viola     The following is the second chapter of a serialized story. Check out Chapter 1 here! Chapter 2: South Station Halfway through the ride to South Station, Caela suddenly stopped crying. It wasn’t the stares of the passengers around her, first sympathetic and pitying, then impatient and condescending, as the minutes […]

International Recipes

Penguin - Tue, 2015-04-14 00:55
In honor of our NEC’s We Are The World event, we’re serving up some internationally flavored recipes for you this month. Both Elizabeth and Frankie incorporate some of their family history into each recipe. Remember also that on April 21st, you’ll have a chance to share a recipe of your own from your heritage at […]

A New Commission

Penguin - Tue, 2015-04-14 00:53
by MARIEL AUSTIN Second-year MM Jazz Comp.     Mariel was recently awarded as one of three winners of the New York Youth Symphony’s ‘First Music Commissions’ program. Her work will be performed by the NYYS Jazz Band a Jazz at Lincoln Center on Monday, March 14, 2016. Below, Mariel tells us a bit about what […]

Maya Jacobs

Penguin - Tue, 2015-04-14 00:52
by ANDREW NISSEN Second-year GD Trombone     1. How long have you been working with the SAC? This is my 4th year as the Coordinator of the Student Activities Center. I was working in the SAC prior to that as an Activities Assistant and Graduate Assistant. 2. What brought you to working there? When […]

Singing In Tongues

Penguin - Tue, 2015-04-14 00:51
by ELIZABETH WENDT Third-year BM Voice     One of the biggest perks of being a classical singer is getting to study and sing in a wide array of languages. The three main foreign languages that singers experience are French, German, and Italian, but there are so many more to explore like Russian and – my […]

Boxing In The Concert Hall

Penguin - Tue, 2015-04-14 00:50
by ALEX STENING First-year MM French Horn     On May 2nd 2015, Floyd Mayweather Jr, will fight Manny Pacquiao in what will be the highest grossing boxing fight in history. Floyd “Money” Mayweather is an undefeated five-division world champion American boxer who is the world’s highest paid athlete. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is an eight-division world champion […]

Taking Care

Penguin - Tue, 2015-04-14 00:48
by SARAH ATWOOD First-year MM Violin     ’Tis the season for auditions and recitals. Spring is a very busy time of year playing-wise, and practicing seems to reach an all-time high. There’s pressure to prepare and memorize lots of pieces, for recitals and promotionals alike. Worries about the outcome of school auditions, summer auditions, and job […]

The Power Of Positive Thinking

Penguin - Tue, 2015-04-14 00:44
by FRANKIE YU Second-year MM Trombone     I read once that whenever you are super stressed out or overwhelmed, or you feel like everything in life is just so wrong, you should smile. Smile, and you will feel better. Honestly, I thought it was kind of dumb, but I’ll try anything once. You know that feeling […]

Construction of 241 St. Botolph Ramp Begins this Week

NEC Construction News - Mon, 2015-04-13 11:50

April 13, 2015

Dear NEC Faculty, Staff, and Students,

Just a reminder and a few new details:

As you recall, work begins this Friday, April 17th, on construction of a new handicapped ramp at the entrance to the 241 St. Botolph Building.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The main entrance to 241 will be shut down as of midnight, Thursday, 4/16.
  • The temporary entrance will be through the parking lot door.  The door will be unlocked and un-alarmed from 7am to 11pm.
  • A security guard will be stationed inside the door and there will be card readers available…all students, faculty and staff will be required to swipe I.D.s at the inside location.
  • A temporary walkway will marked through the lot.  Pedestrians, please use the designated walkway for your safety.
  • Parkers in the 241 parking lot: please use caution in driving through the lot, and in particular pulling into and backing out of parking spaces.

As always, if you have questions, contact Mike Ryan (617-585-1187), Karen Kidd   (617-585-1181) or Ellen Pfeifer (617-585-1143).

Ran Blake and Film Noir

Huffington College - Thu, 2015-04-09 11:53
An extraordinary improvising musician who styles himself a "noir pianist," Ran celebrates his 80th birthday on August 20 this year. He can look back, and indeed forward, at a life spent entirely in music as a performer and as an educator. Tony Woodcock