April 27, 2012

Frank Wisneski Elected Chairman of NEC Board of Trustees

Conservatory Approves New Five-Year Contract for President Tony Woodcock

Frank V. Wisneski, a retired Partner and Senior Vice President of Wellington Management, was elected Chairman of the New England Conservatory Board of Trustees at the Board’s quarterly meeting, April 27. Wisneski, who will serve a three-year term, succeeds Cambridge architect Stephen Friedlaender, who had held the office since May 2008. Friedlaender, who had been honored at NEC’s annual Leadership Dinner the night before, was named a Life Trustee. (in photo L to R: Stephen Friedlaender, Tony Woodcock, Frank Wisneski)

At the Trustees’ meeting, it was also announced that the Board’s Executive Committee had voted a five-year extension of President Tony Woodcock’s contract. Woodcock has just completed his first five-year term in the office.

Wisneski, 65, is a graduate of Yale University and lives in Beacon Hill and Duxbury with his wife Lynn Dale, an NEC Overseer. His involvement with NEC dates to 2002 when he joined the Board of Visitors. He subsequently served on the Board of Overseers (2003-05) and was named a Trustee in 2005. He has been a member of the Executive Committee (Vice Chair), has served as Chair of the Audit and Investment Committees, and was the first chair of the Leadership Gift Initiative, which has as its goal raising the funds to support NEC’s campus redevelopment plans. His chairmanship of the Audit Committee will be taken over by Kennett F. Burnes, Lead Independent Director at State Street Corporation, and his position on the Investment Committee will be taken by Patrick M. Prevost, President and CEO of Cabot Corporation.

Since his retirement from Wellington Management in 2001, Wisneski has been active on the boards of several other Boston-area non-profits. He will continue his affiliation with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston (where he has served as President of the Overseers, member of the Executive Committee, and Chair of the Governance Committee) and the Boston Lyric Opera (where he has been Vice Chair and member of the Executive Committee).  Among publically traded corporations, he serves on the board of directors of Ameresco Inc. of Framingham.

In accepting his new position, Wisneski stated that the major goal of his tenure would be “getting the Student Life and Performance Center built (Phase I of the Campus Master Plan). That’s got to be key. The other broad goal is to make sure the Conservatory continues its great progress to date in establishing financial sustainability in increasingly challenging times for schools and non-profits.” Some more tactical items include restructuring certain committees and strengthening the Board through new membership. “These tactical goals need to be accomplished to facilitate the broader goals,” he said.

Wisneski, who was Chair Elect for 2011-12, also said he was looking forward to an ongoing working relationship with President Woodcock. “The Board’s decision to renew his contract speaks volumes about what we think his worth is and how much we value his vision and operational expertise,” the new Chairman said. “I, personally, as well as the Board, think we are very fortunate to have him in charge for at least five more years. Between the Board and Tony, besides the friendships that have grown up over the years, there is a lot of mutual professional respect.”

Tony Woodcock, who assumed office in 2007 after a career as an orchestra manager, was praised for advancing plans set in motion by his predecessor Daniel Steiner and for initiating a wide-ranging, progressive program that includes a transformative campus redevelopment.

Among Woodcock’s accomplishments in office:

  1. Creation of a comprehensive Strategic Plan that involved every constituency of the school in its creation.
  2. Successful completion of the seven-year $100 million capital campaign in June 2008 with a final total of $115 million. Also successful fundraising for several important new programs, including a $5 million gift from the Calderwood Charitable Foundation that endows the Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras chair occupied by Hugh Wolff.
  3. A $20 million deferred maintenance construction project, funded by tax exempt bonds, that served to secure and protect the Conservatory's buildings.
  4. Development of a formal campus redevelopment plan to address the facility needs of a 21st century music school. That plan was submitted to the Boston Redevelopment Authority's Article 80 zoning permit process in January 2012. Launch of a Leadership Gift Initiative to raise funds for the campus master plan as well as program and scholarship enhancement.
  5. A revamped orchestral program under Hugh Wolff.
  6. Creation of a prestigious new orchestral conducting program. The graduates of the first class, Joshua Weilerstein and Aram Demirjian, are currently serving as Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic and Kansas City Symphony.
  7. An enhanced opera and voice program headed by Artistic Advisor Stephen Lord, "one of the 25 most powerful names in opera," according to Opera News Magazine. That leadership team also includes Joshua Major, Chair of Opera Studies and Luretta Bybee, Chair of Vocal Arts.
  8. Several high profile projects including:
    o  the fall 2011 Mahler Unleashed festival;
    o An April 2010 Symphony Hall concert by the NEC Philharmonia and Hugh Wolff;
    o Two weeklong celebrations Hot and Cool: 40 Years of Jazz Studies at NEC in Boston in October 2009 and in New York City in March 2010.
  9. Design and creation of a new Entrepreneurial Musicianship program to help NEC students acquire the professional skills they will need in their careers.
  10. Creation of the Sistema Fellows Program at NEC, which trains young leaders to direct El Sistema-inspired music education centers or "nucleos."

In accepting his new contract, Woodcock commented, “I have often said that I have the best job in the world. I’m delighted that the Board has expressed its confidence in me with this new contract. It will allow me to continue working to make NEC the best possible educational destination for our students.”

For further information, check the NEC Website.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world. Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide. Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions. On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors. Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.

NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall. These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes. Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115