Comm profiles CA

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

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!