Julianne KirkJanuary 15, 2008
Julianne Kirk is Assistant Professor of Clarinet at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music and also serves as Director of the Crane Youth Music Summer Camp. An Eastman Alum and Arts Leadership Program certificate recipient, Julianne talks about why she decided to earn an ALP certificate and how it has helped her career.
Why did you participate in the ALP program?
I was really interested in exploring all areas of the music business and furthering my understanding of the inner workings of different music organizations, especially in administration since I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in Academia and performing.
What’s your personal contribution to music that you are most proud of?
Currently it is seeing my students succeed everyday and seeing how they are all turning into leaders themselves and have a great understanding of the music world at large due in part to my understanding.
I feel that through my internships and past administrative experience, I have been able to help organizations such as the newly formed Tulsa Symphony Orchestra open its doors for the first time. Doing simple things like research and brainstorming over ideas for grants.
In my first year as faculty at the Crane School of Music I co-hosted the First Annual Potsdam Single Reed Summit which brought together performers, educators and colleagues across the profession in an open and positive environment. Everyone that attended the conference seemed to walk away with a special experience they had during the weekend. We are currently planning the 2nd annual conference and I feel everyday I’m drawing more on my past experience.
How has the Arts Leadership Program helped you achieve your success?
By giving me the exposure to the “Real World” of music. The things that we don’t learn in the practice room or in our classes. How do you function day to day? What is a collective bargaining agreement? How do you negotiate a contract? How do you write a grant? I gained a wide range of knowledge about the music business and made contacts through ALP that I know have made me more successful in what I do everyday. As a college professor, I of course teach my students and classes, that is a given. But I also have to serve on committees that make major decisions about either the life of the students or the life of the faculty. I have to know how to interact with guest artists, how to fund raise, how to market, how to recruit. ALP definitely gave me ideas and knowledge that I would not have had otherwise.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle classical musicians/ music face(s) today? AND how does the ALP help classical musicians/ music overcome that obstacle?
The biggest obstacle is that we are so specialized. We play the violin, or the clarinet, or the cello but that is it. What if you don’t win that job? Orchestra jobs are hard to win and also very expensive to win with the traveling and hotels, not to mention all the time and energy we put into audition preparation when we only get 10 minutes to prove ourselves. Classical musicians need to be diverse, have many abilities aside from just being a master on their instrument. We need to know how to teach, we need to have people skills, understand management, and have a variety of skills that enable us to succeed in any avenue of music whether it be education, arts management or performance. Even as an orchestra member, you serve on audition committees, union negotiating committees and the like. So a broad knowledge of the field is essential.
Define Arts Leadership in your own words.
Arts Leadership entails having an understanding of where the arts have come from, where they are now and where we want to see the arts go in the future. As an arts leader, we want to continue to educate and inspire a wide audience so that the arts prosper for years to come. We also need to be open minded and know how to adapt to a forever changing audience and culture but also preserve the past.
Where did you work as an intern and what did you gain from the experience?
I interned with Sony as the Eastman Wind Ensemble Japan Tour Manager and worked essentially as a personnel manager for the ensemble. I learned a great deal about interacting in a different culture. I interned with the Community Music School Summer Session office and experienced what goes into organizing a summer session at Eastman with Ensembles like Canadian Brass coming in, working with chamber music students in the Music Horizons Program and daily operations in the Summer Session Office. During my last year at Eastman I worked in the ALP office and learned a lot about the daily operations of ALP. I described above my experience in my post-grad internship with the Tulsa Symphony.