RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • PAS Diversity Alliance Spotlight: Catherine Cole, Artistic Operations Coordinator, the Florida Orchestra by Haley Nutt

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Nov 25, 2020


    Catherine Cole

    PAS Diversity Alliance
    : What is your job description?

    Catherine Cole: I’m a member of The Florida Orchestra’s (TFO) operations team and am responsible for managing hospitality and contract advancement for our guest artists and staff conductors. The bulk of my work is fulfilling guest artist contract requirements, which includes booking flights, hotels, and ground transportation for guest artists, preparing itineraries, and making sure the artists are paid on time. I am the guest artist’s go-to person while they are in town and help ensure they have a positive and memorable experience with the orchestra.

    PAS DA: How might you describe a “day in the life” for you? 

    CC: TFO is a traveling orchestra. We play in at least three different venues every week in the Tampa area, so I am constantly on the go! I attend most orchestra services (we have 7–9 per week), so a lot of my work is done from a spare dressing room at a venue. I even have my own trunk that travels on our company truck where I store my hospitality supplies (hand towels, cases of water, tea, paper products, first-aid kit, ice bucket, snacks, etc.). A typical day might consist of a trip to the grocery store for a guest artist’s rider items (their list of required items for every service), preparing dressing rooms for the conductor and soloists, setting up catering spreads, greeting guest artists and going over their schedules, and working through a rehearsal and concert to make sure everyone is where they need to be at the right time. We have long days!

    PAS DA: What inspired you to pursue a career in arts administration? 

    CC: I’ve always been interested in a multi-faceted career in the music industry and have felt at home working in production and logistic planning. I decided to explore arts administration when I was in graduate school completing an Arts Leadership certificate. This program lead to several internships in the administration realm, including work at a classical radio station and operations positions at various summer music festivals. I love producing concerts, so the TFO opportunity felt like a great next step to immerse myself in the world of orchestra operations, and now I assist in producing over 100 orchestra concerts a season.

    PAS DA: What advice could you offer to someone considering a career in arts administration?

    CC: Summer music festivals are a great place to start for discovering what aspect of arts administration might interest you, as they usually hire seasonal positions in operations, fundraising, marketing, and community engagement. It’s also helpful to find someone in the field who is doing something you find interesting and ask them about their job; I did this a lot when I was interning. Create opportunities for yourself to try on your administration hat: put on a concert or short festival, apply for a grant, run a consortium, market your chamber group, etc. You’re probably already doing arts administration in some aspect of your musical life!

    PAS DA: Who are your influences in the percussion world?

    CC: I am influenced by the festival producers, the instrument inventors, the composers and method book writers, and anyone who is using their artistry to make a positive impact in the music community.

    Haley NuttHaley Nutt is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida State University. She earned her Doctorate in Musicology and Master’s in Historical Musicology at FSU and a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Texas Christian University. Haley is a member of the PAS Scholarly Research Committee and the Diversity Alliance, and has presented her research on percussion, gender, and institutions at PASIC, the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, and other regional and national conferences. During her time as a graduate student at FSU, she was the director of the FSU Rock Ensemble and has performed frequently with the Balinese Gamelan and Percussion Ensembles.

  • PAS Diversity Alliance: Cesar Gonzalez Cisnero, Percussion Chair, National Superior Conservatory, Quito Ecuador

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Oct 22, 2020

    Cesar Gonzalez Cisnero

    PAS Diversity Alliance: Where were you educated and who were your percussion teachers?

    Cesar Gonzalez Cisnero: I was educated in the Orchestra System of Venezuela, better known as “El Sistema.” My main teachers, who I deeply appreciate, were Jose “Cheo” Cardenas in elementary and middle school, then José Alberto Marquez in college, and my master’s degree with the Puerto Rican percussionist José Alicea in the Simón Bolivar University of Venezuela. Thanks to “El Sistema,” I also received classes in summer camps and festivals with many great master percussionists, like Rainer Seegers, Wieland Welzel, Jhon Grimes, Fernando Meza, and Jerry Leake.

    PAS DA: Describe your orchestral performing experiences.

    CGC: I had the opportunity to be part of the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, where I developed my professional career, and had the experience to play with important conductors like Krzysztof Penderecki, Gustavo Dudamel, Alfredo Rugeles, Sung Kwak, Giancarlo Guerrero, Claudio Abbado, Christian Vasquez, Cesar Ivan Lara, and Roberto Tibirica, among others. In Ecuador, I played with the National Orquestra of Ecuador as an extra percussionist, under the direction of Alvaro Manzano and Andrea Vela.

    PAS DA: What challenges have you faced, pursuing a career in orchestral performing? 

    CGC: The principal challenge is the high level of competition and the few positions available in the orchestras to a percussionist.

    PAS DA: What challenges have you faced as musician during COVID-19?

    CGC: Adapting to the constant use of technologies for broadcasting, recording, and capturing new audiences, and adapting spaces that have not been thought of as rooms for classes or presentations. All this translates into a hard blow to the economy because profits are few and investment in equipment is needed to face the new normal. It Is a difficult situation to deal with.

    PAS DA: Please describe your work as a percussion educator.

    CGC: My job is to make students fall in love with music through the world of percussion; then I try to choose the best way to teach based on their strengths and weaknesses. For me it is especially important that the students develop two components: group work and individual work. The percussion ensemble as part of group work is essential to develop the skills of teamwork, sound control, breathing, interpretation, and putting technical resources into practice. Individual work through a repertoire that can be put on stage in a prudent time, allows the student to reach the goal step by step.

    PAS DA: How does your work as an educator relate to your career as an orchestral performer?

    CGC: They are directly related, because as a professor of the National Superior Conservatory of Quito, we train percussionists to feed the different groups in the country, such as orchestras, bands, chamber groups, and different artistic projects.

    PAS DA: What is your advice to players who want to pursue performing with an orchestra professionally?

    CGC: Focus on understanding how technique is the best tool to express our feelings when it comes to playing music. Don’t fear going wrong, because the only way not to make a mistake is doing nothing, and nobody goes far doing nothing. Be patient, persistent, humble, and extremely disciplined.

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