When someone asks me about the path my professional life has taken, I tend to joke that I’m really not that responsible for it. I have most often just agreed when talented colleagues have asked me to do interesting things. Help Carnegie Hall get a podcast off the ground? Sure thing! Become John Luther Adams’s new music girl Friday? Sign me up! But perhaps there was no more important a “yes” than when I stood on the roof deck of the Dia Center for the Arts in Chelsea on a hot June afternoon in 2001 and formally accepted Frank J. Oteri’s offer to come and work on this crazy thing called NewMusicBox.
In the years that followed, I grew in my creative and professional thinking alongside the rapid technological and cultural shifts that the internet threw my way time and time again. I learned to code, program a radio station, and record and produce online video packages with gear that became small enough to stuff into a backpack and cart around the country. I’ve written hundreds of posts at this point, edited thousands more, and have shot probably just as many pictures in seeking to capture the myriad facets of this world we know we can never quite define and so call, simply, new music. It has been a beautiful adventure.
I’m writing this post now, however, because it’s time for me to say “yes” again, but this time it means that I will be setting down my work at New Music USA in order to pick up the next thread in a new direction.
It’s difficult to move on from a job I have committed to so deeply and for so long, but after 18 years, I’m ready for fresh challenges. I credit the amazing opportunities I have been given throughout my time with this organization for instilling in me the skills and experience that will allow me to take on the next stage of my professional life with confidence. I’m so proud of how NewMusicBox has consistently celebrated the act of music creation, often in the creator’s own words, rather than labeling it with star ratings and judging what was “best.” Together with music makers from across the country, we have shared and learned from one another as a community, the website a virtual gathering place for diverse voices and a geographically scattered field. For years my day-to-day has involved spending time listening to artists share the stories of their lives and their music, their challenges and their solutions, both as text on my computer screen and as teachers in front of my camera. It has been an education and a profound honor.
Those stories will continue full force, of course. And I look forward to reading them. For my part, I’ll be over on the West Coast, telling new-to-me stories about food and farming and life at a small inn nestled in Friday Harbor. For those who know me personally, you know that an island with an alpaca farm and no stop lights is a kind of Eden.
So here’s to the road ahead for all of us! Mine is next taking me some 3,000 miles across the country, but I’ll be carrying a dynamic world of friendships and music along with me as I drive.