Message from Vanessa Reed, the New CEO & President of New Music USA

Our new CEO & President Vanessa Reed shares the reasons why she joined New Music USA. She writes, “I’ve crossed the pond because I believe passionately in New Music USA’s national and international role as advocate, connector, and supporter.”

Written By

Megan Ihnen

As I write my first message to you as CEO & President of New Music USA, I’m on day three in the office and I’m already very grateful to many of you, and to my staff and Board, for the warm welcome.

Let me start by telling you something about me and the reasons why I joined New Music USA.

My career in the UK revolved around supporting music creators, presenters and practitioners at pivotal stages in their development so it’ll be no surprise to you that I’ve been following the work of New Music USA for many years. To give you more insight into my journey so far, my professional life began in the late ’90s at the UK equivalent of the American Music Center.

Following some time away from the UK shaping funding policy for the arts in Amsterdam and Brussels, I spent a decade in London as CEO of PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading funder of new music and talent development. You can read more about what I achieved in this role here.

So that’s what I’ve been busy doing but I’m sure you’ll also want to know how I work. Here are some of my guiding principles that will inform how I lead New Music USA as we move into our second decade (we’ll be 10 in 2021!):

  • I love convening and connecting all kinds of people and ideas
  • It’s my responsibility to create opportunity in response to need
  • I’m passionate about enabling people of all backgrounds to succeed
  • I’ll work with like-minded partners to grow impact and resources
  • I’ll strive to use my influence to improve conditions for the sector
  • I’ll be out there on the ground experiencing the music that brought me into this field.
I’ve crossed the pond because I believe passionately in New Music USA’s national and international role as advocate, connector, and supporter

I’ve crossed the pond because I believe passionately in New Music USA’s national and international role as advocate, connector, and supporter and I want to learn about more of the music that’s made here in the USA (the range of US-based composers promoted in the UK and other parts of Europe is still fairly narrow in my view.) I also believe in the potential for organizations like New Music USA to do even more as the context for our work continues to evolve and as the need for our support grows. That’s why I was so inspired by the way the post I’ve taken up was advertised as an opportunity to consider “What’s Next?” for this important independent resource.

The same motivation and sense of possibility inspired me to join PRS Foundation ten years ago and this led to vastly increased resources and targeted support for a broader range of UK composers and artists. I’m keen to use and share this experience in the US. I’m equally eager to listen and to learn from you about what’s really needed and valued here as I know there will be many differences as well as shared challenges. That’s why I’ll be spending the first three months reviewing everything we do so please watch out in the next newsletter for a survey we’d love you to be part of. I’ll also be making sure that I connect with as many of you as possible wherever you’re based in the US via social media channels or a series of gatherings we plan to organize in partnership with organizations we currently support. I want to explore the relevance of our work to everyone involved in new music – from creators, performers and presenters to superfans and supporters.

In the meantime, as I settle in, please feel free to nudge us on social media or email if you have any big ideas or information to share. This is the beginning of a longer conversation!