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

Nov 25, 2020, 08:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

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.

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