Skip to main content


A series of free events featuring curated conversations with musicians—including NEC alumni—who are creating their own opportunities, building their careers, and taking initiative to make their musicianship relevant to society.

Events will be held in the President's Library (Jordan Hall building, 2nd floor) unless otherwise noted. Please join us, and feel free to bring your dinner!
Advance registration recommended; RSVP to 

Monday, January 30, 5:45-7:15 pm
Tracking the growth of El Sistema in Boston

NEC’s Sistema Fellows Program ran from 2009 to 2014, contributing to the growth of numerous El Sistema-inspired initiatives in Boston. What do these programs look like now, what are their current challenges, and where are they headed in the future? 

Avi Mehta, Margarita Muniz Academy (Sistema Fellow ‘12)
Graciela Briceno, Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program (Sistema Fellow ‘11) 
David France, Revolution of Hope (Sistema Fellow ‘12) 
Julie Davis, Bridge Boston Charter School (Sistema Fellow '12)
Josue Gonzalez, Conservatory Lab Charter School

Wednesday, February 8, 5:45-7:15 pm
Palaver Strings: Planning for our future

Palaver Strings is a three-year-old musician-led initiative “passionate about taking classical music beyond the concert hall to engage with diverse and new audiences.” As the Palaver musicians look to create a long-term community-based residency that balances performance and education, where will this path lead them? How will they get there? Palaver members discuss the results of recent strategic planning efforts.

Maya French, Executive Director; violin
Matthew Smith, Community Engagement/Development Coordinator; cello
Kiyoshi Hayashi, Education/Community Engagement Coordinator; violin (BM ’16)
Alex Goodin, Education Coordinator/Marketeer; bass

Monday, February 13, 5:45-7:15 pm
Thread Ensemble: Using improvised music to connect to our lived experiences

Thread Ensemble formed at NEC in 2012 to explore a shared love of improvisation and storytelling. As it evolves, the ensemble is exploring how to “curate the connection between listeners’ lived experiences and improvised music.” How do they do this? Get a peek under the hood as Thread demonstrates how it “adapts to each unique audience and environment with original music created in the moment.”

Rachel Panitch, violin (MM ’13)
Abigale Reisman, violin (MM ’13)
Andria Nicodemou, vibraphone and percussion (MM ’13)


Tuesday, February 28, 5:45-7:45 pm (location: St. Botolph 311)
The Artist‐as‐Entrepreneur: A critical look at the "21st Century Musician" model

Tanya Kalmanovitch co-designed and teaches ENTP551: The Entrepreneurial Musician, a course for NEC’s graduate students. In this presentation, Tanya will critique the popular concept of entrepreneurship in music and promote a “more nuanced conversation about the future of music and the professional musician.”

Dr. Tanya Kalmanovitch, NEC Faculty, Entrepreneurial Musicianship, Contemporary Improvisation

Thursday, March 2, 5:45-7:15 pm
Roundtable discussion: Developing community-based music initiatives

Last year, 14 musicians participated in a weekly course that supported them to design and build their own community-based artistic endeavors. This is an opportunity to check in and see how their work is progressing. What are the biggest challenges? What are resources that they have discovered? How have their ideas and strategies changed?

Alumni of Building a Community-based Residency

Monday, March 6, 5:45-7:15 pm
Castle of our Skins: Celebrating Black artistry through music

Castle of our Skins uses concerts and educational workshops as vehicles to invite “exploration into Black heritage and a curiosity for Black culture.” What started out as an idea for a single concert has since grown into an organization attempting to promote cultural pride, curiosity, and harmony “through and beyond music.” How does the organization think about achieving this vision? What are the next steps?

Ashleigh Gordon, Co-Founder; viola (MM ’08)

Tuesday, March 14, 5:45-7:15 pm
School of HONK: Activist street bands and making music joyful

School of HONK meets every Sunday afternoon to make spontaneous music and parade through the streets of Somerville. Anyone can join in, and novices are welcome. How is this different from other music education initiatives? How does the tradition of activist street bands help us to look at music differently? 

Kevin Leppman, Executive Director; Co-Founder, HONK! Festival

Wednesday, March 15, 5:45-7:15 pm
How to survive as a freelance singer in Boston

How do classically-trained vocalists navigate building a professional freelance career in Boston? What are opportunities to embrace? What are pitfalls to avoid?

Lindsay Conrad, freelance soprano, Co-Director, Opera On Tap Boston; Production Assistant, Boston Lyric Opera (MM '11) 
Seth Grondin, freelance bass-baritone, Executive Director, New School of Music
Bethany Worrell, freelance soprano (MM '11)


Tuesday, April 11, 7:00-8:30 pm
musiConnects at 10: Performing, teaching, and creative placemaking

Since 2007, musiConnects has been learning to “model and teach self-expression, peer leadership and community development through the transformative power of chamber music.” What does this work look like in its tenth year? How does the organization support its community-based musicians to pursue this mission as both performers and educators? 

Betsy Hinkle, Founder & Artistic Director; violin (MM ’01)
Jason Amos, Resident Musician; viola (GD '09)  
Nancy Galluzzo, Executive Director

Friday, April 28, 3:30-5:00 pm
Kithara Project: Social change through classical guitar education

With program sites in Boston and Mexico City, the Kithara Project is looking to change the life trajectories of children through learning to play the guitar. How do the founders balance leading this work with active performing careers? What are their ambitions and next steps?

Adam Levin, Co-Founder; guitar (MM ’08)
Matthew Rohde, Co-Founder; guitar



Dates, locations, and personnel are subject to change; please check back.