Members of NAAC were asked a series of questions regarding their transitions from a career path in music to one outside. In reading these transition stories it is our hope that those of you considering your own transition might find comfort in identifying with our stories and support in our network of alumni.


Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely '70 M.M.
Vocal Performance

Job Title:
Freelance food writer; editor

Organization Name:
Radcliffe Culinary Times

Food journalism, food history

Contact Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely

Transition Questions & Responses

Q: What skills and attributes did you use from your NEC education to enhance your transition to another career?

EGR: "Analytical skills.  Singers need to understand the meaning and pronunciation of words in other languages (essential for my culinary dictionary). It also helped me become acquainted with a wider variety of people, many with great drive and ability."


Q: How and why did you make this transition?  (e.g. returned to school, networking, career counseling/ financial stability, life style of performer, family reasons, etc.)

EGR: "I started writing for local newspaper and continued, stepping up each time I relocated."


Q: What did you find most difficult in making this transition?

EGR: "The sense of shame in leaving music as my profession."


Q: What are the positive aspects of being in an alternative career?

EGR: "I can pursue music as much as I want on my own."


Q: Share one lesson or “tip” that you learned through this transition from a music career into another profession?

EGR: "To know that, like riding a bike, I am and will always be a musician, and that many people make this change for good reasons."


Q: How do you balance your passion for music with your current vocation?

EGR: "I go to many concerts and belong to various musical organizations where I bring my current vocational skills (writing, food, cooking, fine dining, etc.).  All of these support young musicians.

Also, I now sing in a fine chorus (Boston Cecilia) whose performance schedule and vocal demands suit me now, at this later time of life.  Many members are in my same situation.  We all enjoy our music-making together. The shared experience is hugely gratifying to each of us."


Contact Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely