Roberts to Head Entrepreneurship

How best to prepare musicians for the professional world? Rachel Roberts appointed to lead Entrepreneurial Musicianship.

NEC Announces Appointment of Rachel Roberts as Director of Entrepreneurial Musicianship

New Program to Integrate Leadership, Professional Development into Musical Training

Rachel RobertsRachel Roberts  (A. Siddique photo)NEC President Tony Woodcock has announced the appointment of Rachel L. Roberts as the first Director of Entrepreneurial Musicianship at the Conservatory.  She will oversee the creation of NEC's new entrepreneurship program that will integrate professional and personal skills development into the musical training of students. Her appointment takes effect September 21.
A flutist and 2003 graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Roberts is herself an exemplar of musical entrepreneurship.  At Eastman's Institute for Music Leadership, she completed the Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program while earning her flute performance degree.  She is also an alumna of the League of American Orchestras' Fellowship training program in Orchestra Management.  Since graduating from that program, she has served as a mentor and orientation advisor to subsequent Fellows.

Roberts comes to NEC from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra where she held the executive-level position of Director of Strategic Planning Engagement. One of her signature accomplishments at the ASO was to direct the conception, planning, and execution of the three-day grand opening festivities at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park. She subsequently managed the inaugural 2008 Classical Summer series at that venue, including the ASO's "traditions", multi-media presentations, and community engagement events.

Roberts' mandate at NEC will be to supplement the outstanding musical training of elite musicians with "the skills, knowledge, and awareness needed to create their own opportunities for musical success," she said.  "Being a top performing artist today is not enough to succeed in the musical world" and young artists need to be armed with an arsenal of professional tools. "I've loved finding leadership opportunities for myself and others that I work with, and my passion is helping others fulfill their own leadership potential."

A native of Fort Madison, Iowa, Roberts began studying piano at age five and took up the flute a few years later.  While a performance major at Eastman, she says her enormous curiosity about the various aspects of the music industry drove her to seek out new opportunities.  "At Eastman, I developed a broadened awareness of the other sides of concert production as well as what it takes to be a successful professional musician.  I learned the importance of strong communication, how to market oneself, how to set up a 501C3 non-profit corporation, and how to negotiate the complexities of the recording industry and labor relations."  She further sharpened her skills through the League of American Orchestras' program and a position prior to which she worked as Artistic and Production Assistant at the Houston Symphony.

Affirming her goal of empowering NEC's young musicians so that they can create gratifying lives in music, Roberts emphasizes that Entrepreneurial Musicianship at NEC will not be a discreet curricular program.  Rather, it will be part of a holistic approach to music education that integrates development of essential skills—such as creative and critical thinking, flexibility, intellectual accomplishment, self-reliance, and communication proficiency—with the musical training that musicians need to be successful today and in the future. Entrepreneurship will permeate everything that takes place at NEC, including studio instruction, classroom courses, performance ensembles and community engagement activities. 

Calling Roberts a "major star," President Woodcock said, "We at NEC are looking to create a program of national and international stature that will give our terrific young musicians the tools they need.  Rachel Roberts is exactly the director we need to make this a reality.  We're excited that she will be joining us."

Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory 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 Collaboration Programs, 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 and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic 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