First Tuesday Sessions
Experience, Expertise & Advice

This free series, led by experts in the field, consists of eight sessions held at CMA’s offices in New York City and streamed online.

Sessions are presented the first Tuesday of the month (October–June) unless otherwise noted. Space is limited; RSVP is required to attend in person.

A video of each session is posted online following the initial presentation.


Kristin Cook Ben Philippe

Kristin Cook & Ben Philippe

The Wallace Foundation

May 2, 3PM
Understanding Your Audience
Kristin Cook and Ben Philippe, Symphony Space

The prospect of collecting audience data can be daunting – where to begin, how to get it done, and how much will it cost? Hear how a community presenter approaches information-gathering: What they wanted to learn, what they actually learned, and how they used it to further their mission and goals. Learn about techniques and strategies for collecting data that will help you to better understand your current audiences and those you want to reach.

Kristin Cook joined Symphony Space's marketing team in 2013 and currently serves as the organization’s senior marketing manager for audience development. Ben Philippe has served as Symphony Space's manager of interactive marketing and new media since 2016.

This session is presented in partnership with the Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for the Arts initiative.



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Dorothy Lawson Melissa Walker

Dorothy Lawson & Melissa Walker

March 7, 3PM
Keys to a Successful Residency
Dorothy Lawson, ETHEL
Melissa Walker, Jazz House Kids

Join two seasoned musician-educators to explore a variety of models for educational and artistic residencies, with a focus on alternative approaches to funding, location, length, and mission. Learn how to tactfully and responsibly position your ensemble or organization as collaborators; develop a strong, reciprocal relationship with your community partners; define community needs; and utilize your unique skills to greatest effect.

Founding cellist and artistic director of ETHEL, Dorothy Lawson has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the White Oak Dance Project, Philharmonia Virtuosi, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and numerous new music ensembles. For 10 years, Dorothy served on the faculty of Joseph Fuchs’ Alfred University Summer Chamber Music Institute; she now teaches in the Preparatory Division of Mannes College at the New School.

An acclaimed jazz vocalist and recording artist, Melissa Walker is recognized as a visionary leader and passionate advocate for education through the arts. She is the president and founder of Jazz House Kids, a nationally-renowned arts education and performance organization that uses jazz as an effective teaching tool to help young people gain an “artistic edge.”

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Sam Krall

Sam Krall

February 7, 3PM
The Balancing Act: Pursuing the Stability of a Varied Career
Sam Krall, Syracuse University

Having a career in music today often involves juggling many simultaneous forms of employment. This mix evolves and shifts throughout any career, but careful planning and decision-making can help ensure that healthy artistic development isn’t left by the wayside. This session will focus on how today’s musicians can proactively attend to the balance of their various work opportunities for maximum professional and artistic benefit.

Sam Krall leads the development of new career programming for creative and performing artists at Syracuse University, where he designs programs, courses, and advising services focusing on career sustainability. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Krall remains an active performer, and in 2015 completed Syracuse University’s MA in Arts Leadership.

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Kaori Fujii

Kaori Fujii

December 6, 3PM
Social Action Through Music
Kaori Fujii, Music Beyond

What is the artist’s role in society at large? How can music foster positive change in our local communities, and in the wider world? Kaori Fujii, founder & president of Music Beyond, will offer a practical framework for integrating art and social action. She’ll discuss where to begin, when to seek advice, how to develop your personal narrative and mission, and different methods for supporting your goals—including fundraising, sponsorship, and community partners.

Flutist Kaori Fujii is the founder and president of Music Beyond, Inc., a nonprofit organization that trains and empowers musicians to become music teachers in developing countries. Born in Tokyo and currently residing in New York, Fujii has performed, toured, and recorded with renowned artists and orchestras worldwide, and appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Teresa Carreno Theater, Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, and Suntory Hall. She has released eight albums and was the youngest-ever prize-winner at Japan's three largest music competitions.

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Jennifer Wright Cook

November 1, 3PM
Embracing Risk: Next Steps for Mid-Career Artists
Jennifer Wright Cook, The Field

Being open to risk and failure is vital to creativity, but personal, professional, financial, and institutional barriers often stand in the way. How can we as artists build up our capacity for risk? And how can funders, presenters, and arts administrators better support creative risk-taking? Jennifer Wright Cook, executive director of The Field, will share key insights drawn from new research on mid-career artists of all disciplines.

Since 2007, Jennifer Wright Cook has served as executive director of The Field, an organization dedicated to providing strategic services to performing and media artists and companies in New York City and beyond. In 2008, she launched Economic Revitalization for Performing Artists (ERPA), an innovative mentorship program with multi-year funding from The Rockefeller Foundation. Her work has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal, Backstage, WNYC Public Radio, and by participation on adjudication panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and Dance Theater Workshop.

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Sami Abu Shumays

Sami Abu Shumays

October 4, 3PM

Community-Centered Programming

Sami Abu Shumays, Flushing Town Hall

Flushing Town Hall excels at serving the extremely diverse communities of its home borough of Queens, NY. Sami Abu Shumays, deputy director of FTH and music director of the Arab music ensemble Zikrayat, will share strategies for expanding audiences and bridging cultural divides from the perspective of both presenter and artist. He’ll also discuss how FTH and Zikrayat plan educational offerings designed to draw in audiences unfamiliar with their music programming.

Vocalist, violinist, educator, and arts administrator Sami Abu Shumays founded the Arab music ensemble Zikrayat in 2005. Since 2012, he has served as deputy director of Flushing Town Hall, where he has advocated for cultural equity and for increased support to immigrant arts. A specialist in the traditional music of Egypt and Syria, Shumays has led workshops throughout the U.S. on Arabic music and published scholarly work on maqam.

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