Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium

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classical music

Introducing the EALS 2013 Keynote Speaker

Register for EALS 2013 HERE.

Aaron Dworkin
-Founder and President, The Sphinx Organization

One of the goals of the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium is to address what is on the horizon for arts organizations and arts professionals. And one of the recurring themes lately in the “future of the arts” discussion is diversity in the arts, both diversity in art forms and diversity in artists. So as I began searching for a keynote speaker for EALS 2013, I wanted to find someone who could address this theme for our emerging professionals.

Aaron Dworkin, Founder & President of Sphinx
Aaron Dworkin, Founder & President of Sphinx

Therefore, we at EALS are very proud to announce that the keynote speaker for the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium is Aaron Dworkin, an arts leader widely known for his expertise and work in cultural and artistic diversity.

Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, a former member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee and President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts, Aaron P. Dworkin is the Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music. An author, social entrepreneur, artist-citizen and an avid youth education advocate, he has received extensive national recognition for his vast accomplishments.

He has been featured on NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN, NPR, and Anderson Cooper 360°, and well as in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News and Free Press, Washington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and People Magazine. Dworkin has also been named one of Newsweek’s 15 People Who Make America Great.

He is the recipient of Harvard University’s Vosgerchian Teaching Award, National Governors Association 2005 Distinguished Service to State Government Award, Detroit Symphony’s 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003 Michiganian of the Year, Crain’s 40 Under 40 and Who’s Who Awards, BET’s History Makers in the Making Award, AT&T Excellence in Education Award, and “Entrepreneur Of The Year” award by the National Black MBA Association-Detroit Chapter.

Mr. Dworkin offers a uniquely strong organizational, fundraising and administrative background combined with an unwavering passion for music and its role in society. As Founder and President of The Sphinx Organization, he has built an infrastructure and led fundraising efforts totaling over 14 million dollars overseeing a staff and faculty of more than 40. The Sphinx Competition showcases the top young musicians of color of the highest artistic caliber and features top professional minority musicians through the all Black and Latino Sphinx Symphony. The organization also impacts groups underrepresented in classical music through its educational and community programming including the Sphinx Preparatory Music Institute and Sphinx Performance Academy, which reach over 35,000 youth each year.

Aaron-DworkinIn his role as a visionary leader, Mr. Dworkin has led two phases of strategic planning with The Sphinx Organization. He also served as the Co-Chair of the Arts and Cultural Education Task Force for the State of Michigan designing the required arts curriculum for Michigan schools and serves as Co-Chair of the Planning Task Force. In addition, Dworkin serves on other strategic planning committees including the League of American Symphony Orchestras.

A passionate advocate for excellence in music education and diversity in the performing arts, Mr. Dworkin has been a frequent keynote speaker and lecturer at numerous national conferences including Aspen Ideas Conference, The League of American Orchestras, National Association for Schools of Music, National Guild for Community School of the Arts, National Association of Music Merchants, Chautaqua Institution, National Suzuki Association, Americans for the Arts, American String Teachers Association, Ithaca College and the National Association for Negro Musicians. Mr. Dworkin has also spoken at the University of Michigan and Bowling Green State University.

An accomplished electric and acoustic violinist, Mr. Dworkin received his Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors. He attended the Peabody Institute, the Philadelphia New School and the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Mr. Dworkin currently serves on the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestra, National Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, National Guild for Community Schools of the Arts, National Society for the Gifted and Talented, Artserve Michigan, WRCJ 90.9 Detroit Classical and Jazz Radio and the NEW (Non-Profit Enterprise at Work) Center. He also serves on the Advisory Board of ASTA Alternative Strings Awards, the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation, the Avery Fisher Artist Program, and the Editorial Board of Downtown New York Magazine.

Dworkin has also served as a panelist on various arts committees, including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the MetLife Awards for Excellence in Community Engagement, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the National Association of Arts Presenters, Chamber Music America, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Register to hear Aaron Dworkin at EALS 2013 HERE.

For more information on The Sphinx Organization, click HERE.

For more information on the upcoming SphinxCon, the inaugural convention on diversity in the performing arts on February 15-17, click HERE.

Opera is New

The first opera I ever saw was Carmen at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion during a dress rehearsal.  I went with hoity-toity charlatans who told me repeatedly that this was a ‘good introductory opera’ with an air of disgust for my lack of exposure to the art form.  Now, I hate that opera and everything it personally stood for (not to mention if I hear the music in another commercial I might just take up arms).  I digress, opera is meant to be shared, explored, and enjoyed with a company of feelers rather than judgers.  My first experience was less than extraordinary; yes, Milena Kitic was stunning, and yes, the spectacle was more than I imagined; but the taint of others is still palpable.

Since then, I have been to many operas during their actual runs, and enjoyed some more than others.  What sticks in my craw; however, is the lack of diversity of the audience.  As a college student who received free tickets through a generous donation to my university, my ‘kind’ was outnumbered.  The audience was a veritable sea of pink and purple hair (if you don’t know what that means, it’s the color of elder women’s hair).

The last opera I went to was over two years ago, when I was still in LA.  This time I was with a friend at Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, a far cry from Carmen.  It was exquisite.  Thus was the end of my opera going days, with Opera Pacific shuttered and difficulty in affording a ticket to the LA Opera.

My path back to the opera took an unexpected turn this weekend in the most unusual of venues with the most unusual of audiences seeing one of the greatest operas ever written.  Opera in the Outfield at National’s Stadium streamed the live performance of Don Giovanni from WNO‘s performance at the Kennedy Center.  The crowd assembled was massive, the entire outfield covered in blankets and the sweater-clad.  Up into the stadium near half the lower level was filled with people of all ages and creeds.  Children were running around or like the little one next to me, positing questions about the show to his parents.  The entire audience on a whole was a good 30-40 years or so younger on average than the crowd inside the Kennedy Center.  For once, my age group was the majority.

We were free to talk and comment, free to check our phones for everything from the score of the Orioles/Red Sox game to information on the opera itself, free to eat M&M’s and drink coffee, free to sit wherever we pleased, and free to enjoy the way we wanted to enjoy.  I didn’t have to pay for a ticket (although I would have happily paid up to $20 – it was chilly, outside, and the seats weren’t super comfy).  I’m sure thousands of others (for indeed, it was in the thousands) who attended would have paid as well; but we were not asked, nor were we solicited for donations.  Instead, we were simply expected to see and hear.

WNO brought the opera to the masses, in an old custom akin to the Opera Buffa days of Mozart.  People still love opera.  The current problem is the delivery system, but by focusing on social aspects rather than financial and puritanical artistic facets, opera succeeds.

Friday Fluff

So my bff and I are enormous Stumble fans. We discovered this amazing tool back in college and now, not a day goes by that we don’t text/email/gchat/etc about the strange and wonderful things we’ve found on the internet. It is still, by far, the best time waster I’ve ever utilized and can often lead to some pretty amazing articles. I suggest you join immediately but you have been forewarned: if you find your self easily addicted to that which feels good… you may lose all stumbling control.

I’ve been resisting the urge to “stumble” these days due to a desire to rejoin society as a productive individual who shows up for work, school and friendships instead of feasting upon an endless array of internet memes and musings. But upon waking up this Friday morning with a case of the blues, I found my mouse heading back to that little red “Stumble!” button and clicking on through looking for a perk up.

So, great rationalizer that I am, I’ve limited myself to an hour of aimless stumbling in order to bring you the best little bits of internet I’ve found. So, enjoy:

Time for Three Mixes Classic With New

Classical music rocks! Especially when played by young, cute, and extremely talented violinists. Check out NPR’s Art Beat Interview with Time for Three as they get ready to make their Carnegie Hall debut this coming Tuesday! And don’t miss their “Stronger” music video below. Remember friends, art triumphs over a**holes.

Slutty Brownies

I have no idea who this blogger is nor her raison d’être for blogging (something to do with London?) but I agree, these brownies look like the best in the world:

Image from The Londoner

Now when it comes to baking, I’m a bit of a culinary snob. I like my baked goods to be from scratch, thank you very much, and consider using a mix “cheating” (much like I consider using photoshop to make “art” cheating. It’s just an opinion, not necessarily the truth). HOWEVER I’m all for cheating when it means easy steps and quick results of the gooey perfection pictured above. All you need is a box of cookie mix, a box of brownie mix, and 2 packages of Oreos and you’re ready to get baking. If you try the recipe leave your your taste-tested reviews in the comments.

Prettiest Words: All of Them

Blogger Sesquipedaedalus, (10 poins for name ipseity!) has come up with a list of 1,028 of the prettiest words. While their blog may not be the prettiest (deepest apologies, Sesquipedaedalus, tis the truth), the list reads  a bit like an epic Eliot poem. For any language lover, trying to read all of this is like gorging oneself on 25 pans of double chocolate brownies with chocolate fudge ice cream. It’s simply too much of a good thing. But taking a sampling here and there lends to some beautiful discoveries.

My favorites so far:

Cynophilist: dog-lover, one who loves or appreciates dogs

Limerence: extended infatuation or crush, contrast love

Cascarilla: West Indian shrub with aromatic bark, typically used in incense or tonics

The Rap Board

Birdman’s pigeon noise, without fail, makes me crack up. Kind of like poor Booba in his yellow sneakers. Without fail he makes me laugh. I pity and love him.

Click many at once and get a cacophonous range of music video worthy catch phrasings. Or perhaps next time your mother calls chose one at random and see how she responds.

Or maybe not.



Apparently this stuff is magic at covering up tattoos (on Caucasians. Human beings, like jelly beans, come in my flavors, Dermablend). Most of this post is boring but the video at the end, fascinating! My favorite part is when he wipes the make-up off.  Check out the video here:

The GOOD 30-Day Challenge: Art Every Day

Consider this, arts managers, when was the last time you participated in the arts? In the CREATING part? I know that between all my commitments, finding the time to paint feels like a luxury I just don’t have.  It’s almost as if when I gave up on being an artist, I gave up on every having the time to make art again. Forsooth! This is not true! So with that I’m going to take the 30-day art challenge. Some of their “task” ideas are quite cute, so take a moment to consider.

Feeling too commitment-phobic to commit to a whole month? Just for today try one of the art challenges: 10 minutes of doodling while on a boring conference call, capturing a couple images on your phone while walking to the metro… Think of it as a mind stretching exercise to keep the brain and imagination limber and post any further artistic suggestions below.

Happy Friday!

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