Communication profiles

Communication positions include those involved with public relationspublications, and media manager.

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  • Sorted by last name, below

Jody Ballou

Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale
Billings, Montana
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Time in current position: 5 months
Years in the field: 1.5

Majors:
International Relations, minor in journalism

Additional Training:
Certified teacher, English as a Second Language
Self-trained graphic artist

Career Path:
Retail Graphic Designer, Billings Gazette Communications
Production Artist, The Billings Outpost
Freelance Designer, specializing in newsletters

What are the most surprising, interesting or challenging aspects of your day-to-day work?
The most challenging aspect is the workload. I am a one-woman marketing department, designing all of our print and web promotional materials while writing all of our press releases and many of our community communications. My days are never dull or routine.

What inspired you to work for an orchestra?
I love music. All music. In the small town where I live, the music scene is not a major employer. I feel fortunate to work in the industry. My skills as a graphic artist and writer got me here.

What advice would you offer to someone considering the orchestra field?
Go for it! An orchestra requires many of the same job skills as any other business, non-profit or not. On-the-job learning and refining has been critical for me and I’m fortunate to work with an executive director who has been in the orchestra industry for nearly 20 years. I’d like to start attending industry-related seminars and training. . . that’s the advice I’d offer: Mix with your peers in the industry and be generous with the information you share.

Any other advice?
Music feeds the soul. The “product” you help produce has far-reaching implications that greatly shape people’s lives and our society in general.

Amy Blum

Director of Public Relations
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Rochester, New York
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Years in current position: 2
Years in the field: 23

Majors:
Music

Additional Training:
Courses in PR and in graphic design

Career Path:
I ran my own arts publicity business for more than 20 years.

What are the most surprising, interesting or challenging aspects of your day-to-day work?
Interesting: all the new social networking PR possibilities. Challenging: keeping up with publicizing all the RPO events and news.

What inspired you to work for an orchestra?
I was familiar with the RPO from my many years in Rochester, plus I knew that artistically, the orchestra was at a very high level.

Would you do anything differently?
I believe that having a music background in orchestra PR is extremely important, so I still would come to this career from music first.

What advice would you offer to someone considering the orchestra field?
One can learn about the symphony orchestra business from all the many constituents, and it’s important to listen to all of them! Including the musicians!!

Any other advice?
One can never over-communicate!

Catherine Guarino

Director of Communications and Ticket Sales
Lansing Symphony Orchestra
Lansing, Michigan
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lansing SO

Time in current position: Less than six months
Years in the field: 1.5

Majors:
Bachelor of Vocal Music Education, minors in Applied Voice and English

Additional Training:
Arts Administration internships:  Opera Grand Rapids, Glimmerglass Opera

Career Path:
Choir Manager, Grand Valley State University
Music and Assistant Director, Shrine Fine and Performing Arts Camp 

What are the most surprising, interesting or challenging aspects of your day-to-day work?
Because I do not have an educational background in communications or marketing, the most challenging thing for me is doing new things like writing press releases, setting up interviews, relating to media, etc. Because I am also in charge of all ticket sales for the season, I find I have to juggle promoting a concert with actually selling the tickets!

What inspired you to work for an orchestra?
I knew I wanted to work for some kind of an arts organization, preferably music. My background is in vocal performance, so my first pick was an opera company (hence the internships). But there are only two opera companies in Michigan, and more than a few orchestras. The Lansing Symphony had an opening, and I applied!

What advice would you offer to someone considering the orchestra field?
Get out and experience as much as you can—do job shadowing, get an internship.

Dustin Howe

Customer Service Representative
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Indianapolis, Indiana
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Years in current position: 1.5
Years in the field: 1.5

Majors:
Communications, Music

Career Path:
Entry-level position as a customer service representative.

What are the most surprising, interesting or challenging aspects of your day-to-day work?
I enjoy learning about all of our events and seeing what events are most popular with the public.

What inspired you to work for an orchestra?

My love of classical music.

Katherine E. Johnson

Ny Phil

Associate Director of Public Relations
New York Philharmonic
New York, New York
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Time in current position: 8 months
Years in the field: 6

Majors:
Sociology and Spanish

Career Path:
Account Executive, Ruder Finn (healthcare)
Senior Account Executive, Burson Marsteller (healthcare)
Publicist, Shuman Associates 
Publicity Manager, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

Alice Kornhauser

Director of Marketing and Communications
Portland Symphony Orchestra
Portland, Maine
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Portland SO

Years in current position: 3.5
Years in the field: 6

Majors:
Music Performance

Additional Training:
I did a lot of management training (Cornell, etc.) early in my publishing career, which has been really helpful even though it was 20 years ago!

Career Path:
Managing Editor, Ziff-Davis Publications 
Vice President/General Manager, Pegasus Internet 
Consultant (technology integration for arts organizations) 
Director of Internet Projects, From the Top 
Senior Marketing Director, Lincoln Center, Inc.

What are the most surprising, interesting or challenging aspects of your day-to-day work?
How many people think tickets should be cheaper or free. Or that we should advertise in every single, tiny media outlet and website. How many people don’t know how to plan a project or maintain a budget.

What inspired you to work for an orchestra?
The opportunity to move to Portland (quality of life) and really have an impact through my work here. (The PSO is Maine’s largest performing arts organization.)

Would you have done anything differently?
I was so fixated on performance in college that I didn’t really realize I could have a career in the arts (PR, arts management). Would have been nice to know that earlier.

What advice would you offer to someone considering the orchestra field?
Don’t go to grad school for Arts Administration unless you’re getting an M.B.A. Just get a job. Remember that at the end of the day, players and management are on the same team, even if it seems like nobody else feels that way. Go to the concerts!!!

Any other advice?
Be prepared to move if you want to stay in the field. Most communities only have one orchestra (if they’re lucky).

 

Kim Noltemy

Director of Sales, Marketing and Communications
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston, Massachusetts
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boston symph

Years in current position: 12
Years in the field: 12

Majors:
East Asian Studies

Career Path:
Sales Manager, Swissotels/Swissair
Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism: Marketing Manager-Japan, International Marketing Manager, Director of International Marketing
Marketing Manager, Boston Symphony Orchestra

What are the most surprising, interesting or challenging aspects of your day-to-day work?
The most challenging is balancing the needs of the various departments: I oversee marketing, communications, sales, event services, merchandising, front-of-house operations, and corporate sponsorships.

What inspired you to work for an orchestra?
The reputation of the BSO and the importance of music in general.

What were your first steps in your professional career?
I graduated during a major recession, so I did not have many choices. I learned valuable information/skills in each job I had.

What advice would you offer to someone considering the orchestra field?

It is a very challenging, yet rewarding field. Each day is interesting and varied. 

Kevin Shuck

Director of Marketing and Communications
Berkeley Symphony Orchestra
Berkeley, California
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Years in current position: 3
Years in the field: 5

Majors:
B.S. Biochemistry
Ph.D. Molecular Biology

Additional Training:
Orchestra Management Fellowship Program

Career Path:
Production Assistant, Ravinia Festival
Operations Assistant, Pittsburgh Symphony
Director of Marketing and Development, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra

What are the most surprising, interesting or challenging aspects of your day-to-day work?
I find it interesting to develop new ways to get the word out about the Berkeley Symphony in a very crowded Bay Area arts scene, as well as generating excitement and communicating the value of new symphonic works.

What inspired you to work for an orchestra?
I fell into the field by accident while completing my graduate degree, when I became involved as the volunteer general manager for a community band organization in Chicago. I discovered that working for an arts organization provided a way to combine my organizational, computer, and writing skills with my love for music.

What were your first steps toward an orchestra career?
I first accepted a seasonal position at the Ravinia Festival, which had very broad-ranging responsibilities, followed by a six-month position in operations at the Pittsburgh Symphony. Both experiences built up my skills set in a concentrated period of time, and I learned the work culture of two very different music organizations. They also proved very effective in building my industry knowledge and professional credibility, without having to spend too long in entry-level positions.

What advice would you offer to someone considering the orchestra field?

Try to seek out several short-term experiences in a variety of settings, including internships, training programs, temporary positions, and/or seasonal work at festivals. Exposure to different work environments provides a better sense of one’s own interests and, most importantly, the types of organizations and positions that would be most fulfilling.

Any other advice?
Provided you can handle the intense periods that concert schedules demand, there are always job opportunities for capable people in this field!