Entrepreneurial Musicianship Expo

October 26, 2014 all-day
Pierce Hall, NEC - Boston, MA
290 Huntington Avenue
Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115
$20 community/FREE students

Join us for the third annual EM Expo, a day-long symposium devoted to giving you a peek under the hood of some of the most forward looking and inventive young ensembles in the country. This year’s ensemble-in-residence eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The Chicago-based, three-time Grammy-winning “super-musicians” (LA Times) entertain and provoke audiences across the country and around the world. eighth blackbird members will lead a jam-packed day of workshops, interactive discussions and hands-on activities, all focused on the nuts and bolts of launching a new project or ensemble. Drop in for one session or stay for whole day to collect best practices from eighth blackbird’s 18+ years of experience in fundraising, commissioning, creative programming and marketing.

Workshop Descriptions


9:30AM – Breakfast and Mingle

Meet members of eighth blackbird and connect with EM Expo participants over a light breakfast.

10:00AM –  The History and Evolution of eighth blackbird

eighth blackbird provides a rare inside look at the history and evolution of their ensemble–from their founding over 18 years ago to the daily life of the group today. This session will include a 45 minute performance, followed by an interactive discussion about the ensemble’s structure, the definition of each member’s role, and how they navigate a healthy balance between the ensemble’s work and other professional activities. 

12:30PM – Lunch and Learn: Fundraising and Marketing Tools 

Over lunch, participants will have the opportunity to connect with members of the ensemble and chose their own skill-building track. The first lunchtime session will focus on fundraising strategies: from relationship building to foundation relations and beyond. A parallel session on marketing will focus on creative applications of social media to engage audiences and promote new initiatives. 

2:30PM – Talking to Any Audience

eighth blackbird members will tackle the nuts and bolts of speaking from the stage–how to talk about a new work, create compelling transitions between pieces on a program, and engage your audience, before, during and after a performance. This hands-on session will have you on your feet to test new techniques and expand your  public speaking toolkit.  

3:45PM – Coffee Break

Fuel up with coffee, tea, or a sweet treat and connect with fellow Expo participants

4:00PM – Making it Yours: Commissioning and Curating

Explore the ins and outs of commissioning new work for an ensemble: from selecting collaborators, to communicating your vision, negotiating fees, and bringing a new piece to life. Within this context, eighth blackbird members will also discuss their process for programming and curating compelling performances. Learn how they use creative contexts, concepts and interdisciplinary collaboration to enliven the audience experience.

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