Research lab funded to investigate new methods in classical music teaching

New World Symphony rehearsal observations

The US National Endowment of the Arts has initiated funding for a five-year project at New York University Steinhardt Music and Audio Research Lab (MARL) to study Sustainable Entrepreneurship in the Performing Arts in the post-Covid world.

The project will be led by Dr S Alex Ruthmann, Dr Bruce Carter and Dr Tanya Kalmanovitch and will research methods and practices of sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation within the United States classical music world.

The subjects under the study will include over 1300 current and past students of the university’s main project partner, New World Symphony (NWS) founded by its director, Michael Tilson Thomas.

The project will provide vital data into the future of professional classical music careers within the USA, based around two specific research questions:

  • What individual and organisational characteristics and practices best support sustainable, culturally- and locally-relevant entrepreneurial activity and innovation among current and former NWS Fellows, their employers, and feeder organisations and schools?
  • What role might performing arts training organisations such as the NWS play in promoting artistic and civic innovation among early-career musician artists within their communities and feeder organisations?

The first US$100,000 tranche of funding will allow the research team to focus on the impact of the efficacy of the entrepreneurial training given to current NWS students engaged in the Symphony’s Project BLUE (Build, Learn, Understand and Experiment) programme.

Inquiries about the Lab and project can be made to Dr Alex Ruthmann at

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