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Grow your leadership capacity. Build and maintain a successful career. Empower yourself to address 21st century opportunities and challenges. Join the working artists and administrators gathering at NEC this summer for our #MusiciansAtWork series.

1. Understanding El Sistema (June 1-3)
2. From Emerging to Established (postponed until 2019)
3. Building a Chamber Music Residency (Summer TBD)

Offered by NEC's Center for Professional Development and Performing Arts Leadership.

1. Understanding El Sistema
June 1-3, 2018

This institute is designed to help musicians and administrators advance their careers and invest more deeply in the mission-driven work of Creative Youth Development organizations.

It draws on expertise developed through NEC’s Sistema Fellows Program. Accomplished teaching artists and program leaders affiliated with nationally recognized CYD programming will be in residence to share their personal experiences in this growing sector.


Who should attend? 

1.    Teaching artists
2.    Musicians looking to enter the CYD sector
3.    Administrators
4.    Board members

Representative topics:

1.    El Sistema in the United States
2.    Creative Youth Development
3.    Program evaluation
4.    Creative placemaking
5.    Cultural competency
6.    Organizational culture
7.    Citizen artistry

Faculty & Presenters:

Heath Marlow Chair, Center for Professional Development & Performing Arts Leadership; (former) Program Director, Sistema Fellows Program 
Erik Holmgren Program Manager, Creative Youth Development, MA Cultural Council; (former) Education Director, Sistema Fellows Program 
Rodrigo Guerrero Program Manager, Creative Youth Development, MA Cultural Council; Deputy Director, Institutional Development & International Affairs, Fundamusical (El Sistema)
Tina Hadari Founder & (former) Executive-Artistic Director, Music Haven; Director of Music, Arts and Citizenship, Brass City Charter School
Laura Jekel Founder & (former) Director, MYCincinnati; Resident Artist, Price Hill Will Community Development Corporation 


NEC’s recently completed Student Life & Performance Center.

Enrollment & Application Deadlines:

Limited to 25 participants. Applications will be considered as long as space is available.


$400 ($300 for NEC alumni and direct colleagues of Sistema Fellows)


Starting this year, we are happy to offer an affordable on-campus housing option at New England Conservatory’s brand new Residence Hall!  You can learn more about it and view sample room layouts on NEC’s website.

Rates for 2018:

Double Room – $140

Single Room – $160

There is no linen service, so participants will need to bring sheets (twin XL) and towels. The bathrooms are communal, but gender-specific. Some floors of the Residence Hall are co-ed, while some are single-gender. For any questions, please contact Grace Allendorf.

Register for housing

How to apply:

To apply, please register online and pay the $50 application fee.

In addition, please provide a summary of your professional goals, and what you hope to gain by attending this institute (Word limit: 500). Essays should be emailed to Heath Marlow.

Apply Now

2. From Emerging to Established
(Postponed until 2019)

This institute builds on NEC’s reputation for offering first-rate career building support to current students through its Entrepreneurial Musicianship department. EM faculty and guest presenters will lead skill-building workshops, and participants also engage in guided activities designed to support reflection and strategic thinking to help them attain their artistic goals and career ambitions.

Designed to meet the needs of emerging music professionals, this institute provides participants the time and space to think deeply and creatively in a supportive environment. Participants apply concepts learned in daily seminars to their own careers and advance personal projects with constructive feedback from faculty and peers.


Who should attend? 

1.    Recent music school graduates
2.    Performers, teaching artists, educators
3.    Professionals looking to re-think and re-boot
4.    Current graduate students

Sample seminar topics:

1.    Strategic planning
2.    Budgeting
3.    Networking and building relationships
4.    Managing debt
5.    Self-promotion
6.    Social media 
7.    Fundraising
8.    Understanding nonprofits


"Coming back to NEC has given me the tools, knowledge, and renewed motivation to turn my dreams into a reality. I know where I'm headed, and I have a plan—and continued support from NEC—to get there."

Ashleigh Gordon '08 MM viola
Co-founder, Castle of our Skins

3. Building a Chamber Music Residency
Summer TBD

In collaboration with Avaloch Farm Music Institute.

A unique opportunity for professional ensembles committed to the meaningful engagement of audiences and communities to participate in an intensive residency design and planning experience.

Ensembles seeking to build long-term or annual residencies in a specific community will spend five days developing their ideas in a supportive environment of like-minded peers. In partnership with Avaloch Farm Music Institute, the ensembles will be awarded a rehearsal residency in Boscawen, NH, paired with a five-day residency at NEC, through a competitive application process.

The primary goal of the five days at NEC is to support the planning and creation of long-term or annual residencies (e.g. summer festival) that mutually benefit musicians and communities. This will be accomplished through defining and building a plan for an initiative (or organization) that provides a sustainable balance of high-level performing, engagement, and administrative activities—all specifically geared to meet the needs of professional chamber musicians. Each day is divided between seminars, advising, and individual group work.

Participants will come away with an understanding of best practices in place-based residency-building and a strategic plan for building their residency, having worked through the necessary conceptual and logistical elements (including mission, vision, competitive advantage, benchmarking, budgeting, etc.).

Participating ensembles receive follow up consultation and resources, as needed. Ensembles will be well prepared to apply to Chamber Music America’s Residency Partnership Program. (See CMA’s eligibility guidelines.)


Heath Marlow (Center for Professional Development & Performing Arts Leadership)


Who should attend? 

Ensembles committed to creating a place-based residency, with passion for engagement and community building, as well as performance. This program is intended for professional ensembles (duos through large ensembles, ensembles with variable membership), including ensembles enrolled in graduate-level professional training programs at conservatories. All members of the ensemble must participate.

Enrollment & Application Deadlines:

Limited to three ensembles. Apply to Avaloch Farm Music Institute by March 15. Priority consideration will be given to ensembles awarded a residency at Avaloch Farm. If space is available, applications from interested ensembles not attending Avaloch Farm will be considered in April.


$500 per person. Scholarships are available; contact Heath Marlow to learn more.

How to apply:

Applications are accepted through Avaloch Farm Music Institute:

Apply Now


"Thread Ensemble is interested in developing a broad spectrum of performance projects and creative ideas, which can get confusing at times. Heath has been extremely helpful in working with us to name our goals and then supporting us to create a concrete plan to achieve them."

—Abigale Reisman, '13 MM Contemporary Improvisation