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.


Zara Lawler

Zara Lawler

March 6, 3 PM
Strategies for Educational Outreach and Youth-Centered Programming
Zara Lawler

What makes a successful and engaging educational program? How should ensembles approach it differently than traditional concert programming? What is the best way to cultivate effective school and community partnerships? In our next First Tuesday Session, flutist, interdisciplinary performer, and educator Zara Lawler discusses how to develop interactive youth-centered performances as well as strategies for forming meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationships with education partners.

Flutist Zara Lawler specializes in theatrical chamber music, interdisciplinary collaborations, and engaging performances for young audiences. Lawler directed the US premiere of Il Cerchio Tagliato dei Suoni (Salvatore Sciarrino’s work for 104 flutists) at the Guggenheim Museum as well as a Flute Jamboree at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Recent engagements include the Periapsis Open Series in Brooklyn, NY and a Massachusetts school tour with her duo, Lawler + Fadoul as part of CMA’s Residency Partnership Program.

An in-school ensemble for the National Symphony Orchestra, Lawler + Fadoul’s family show Break it Down! has had multiple engagements at the Kennedy Center. The duo’s theatrical concert Clickable—which debuted at nancy manocherian’s cell theater in NYC in November 2016—will be released as an album in 2018. L+F’s first album, Prelude Cocktail showcased four centuries of prelude repertoire (and some fugues). The album was part of the duo’s ongoing Gronica Project, which aims to increase the repertoire for their unique flute and marimba instrumentation.

Lawler studied at The Juilliard School with Carol Wincenc and Sam Baron.



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Nancy Christensen

February 6, 3 PM
Understanding Artist Management
Nancy Christensen

Every ensemble—from young or emerging to well-established performers and educators— ponders artist management. Should an ensemble seek a large, well-known agency? Is self-management a better alternative? When is the appropriate time to look for management? Experienced artist manager Nancy Christensen of Christensen Arts will answer these questions and more in February’s First Tuesday session.

With an expertise built from over 25 years of experience in the field of performing arts, Nancy Christensen has crafted a management company dedicated to broadening and deepening performance opportunities for artists while building project and program-based relationships with presenting organizations in their communities. In addition to founding and leading Christensen Arts, she is the program director for an after-school music program connected to William Paterson University in Paterson, NJ. Christensen has served as a juror for the SAVVY Chamber Music Competition and as a speaker for the SAVVY Chamber Musician in Action Workshop in Columbia, SC.

Prior to working as an artist representative, Christensen served as education director at Chamber Music America where she created and implemented the Education and Residency Institute and administered the NEA/Chamber Music America Rural Residencies Program. During the 1990’s, Christensen served as program director for Midori & Friends as well as program coordinator for Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Art degrees from the Eastman School of Music. In 2015, Christensen completed her second term as a board member of the Western Arts Alliance where she also served as the organization’s annual conference co-chair for four years.


Candice Hoyes

Candice Hoyes

December 5, 3 PM
Digital Strategies
Candice Hoyes

What should artists know about the latest trends in press and digital content? Join entrepreneurial multi-genre artist Candice Hoyes as she shares career insights and successful strategies using content platforms such as TED, Music at Google, and other digital partnerships.

Soulful, lyrical, and classically trained, vocalist Candice Hoyes is a storyteller who dares to draw from sources rarely combined. She has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall, the North Carolina Opera, the American Jazz Festiv'Halles at Paris’ Sunside, ARCUB Cultural Center of Bucharest, New York Hot Jazz Festival, and the Women's Jazz Festival at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. She has performed and recorded with distinguished artists including Wynton Marsalis, Philip Glass, Deepak Chopra, Wycliffe Gordon, and Ted Nash including Abyssinian Mass for Blue Engine Records.

Recently, Hoyes has expanded her performance prospects to appear at venues such as New York Fashion Week, Yamaha Artist Center, the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, the BET Experience, and Music at Google. Her TED Talk and musical performance, "What Drives Us" was published to critical acclaim.

Aleksandr Karjaka

Aleksandr Karjaka

November 7, 3 PM
Photography to Fit Your Brand
Aleksandr Karjaka, Karjaka Studios

Why are quality photos important to your work? How does imagery play a part in artistic or organizational success? Join photographer Aleksandr Karjaka, founder of Karjaka Studios, as he discusses the importance of marketing through photos and how the right imagery can tell a story and build a strong brand with authenticity and distinction. He’ll offer a practical and thoughtful framework for choosing the right photographer, setting up a productive photo shoot, and creating alignment across your brand–allowing you to capture quality photos that represent your work and help create the image you want to project to the world.

Aleksandr Karjaka is a New York City-based artist who listens with his eyes to capture the authentic artist within each subject. By exploring every day, unscripted moments, he crafts iconic imagery in which the ordinary is elevated to the universal. His photos have been featured in numerous commercial campaigns, magazines, and encompass industries from fashion to architecture to the performance arts. With a unique pulse on the arts world, Karjaka is in particularly high demand among preeminent artists, ensembles, and performance schools. He works in both color and black and white formats, and is equally skilled in film and digital photography. He shoots primarily with the Hasselblad H6D50c.

When not behind the camera, Karjaka, who is also a professional clarinetist, may be found performing at venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House. (

Ulysses Owens, Jr.

Ulysses Owens, Jr.

October 3, 3 PM
Carving Out Your Own Place in the Music Industry
Ulysses Owens Jr., jazz drummer and producer

What new skills do artists need to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving music industry? Join Ulysses Owens Jr., an entrepreneurial jazz artist and producer, as he shares career insights and successful strategies to help students and professional artists thrive in an increasingly complex business. Owens will highlight the importance of maintaining simultaneous career channels and tactful branding strategies. He’ll also discuss tips for managing business relationships and social networks for long-term success.

Heralded as a “powerhouse of a showman” (Glide Magazine), a “legitimate jazz triple threat” (Critical Jazz), and a drummer who “take[s] a back seat to no one” (The New York Times), Ulysses Owens Jr is an established performer, touring artist, producer, and artistic director. He has released four albums as a bandleader and is featured on GRAMMY-award winning albums from Christian McBride and Kurt Elling.

Owens teaches in The Juilliard School’s jazz studies program and serves as artistic director for Don’t Miss a Beat, Inc., a non-profit founded by his family in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. He received the 2013 ASCAP Plus Award and the 2015 Jazz at Lincoln Center Swing! Award, and has been named a Rising Star by the DownBeat’s Critics Poll five years in a row. (

Gary Padmore

Gary Padmore

Eun Lee

Eun Lee

June 6, 3 PM
Rewriting the Rules of Engagement: Creating Sustainable Dialogue with Communities
With Gary Padmore and Eun Lee

What skills do today’s ensembles and presenters need to form a meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationship with their local communities? How can they engage with the pressing issues of the day, while offering space for productive, equitable dialogue? Hear how Orchestra of St. Luke’s—an established presenter with a demonstrated commitment to education—and The Dream Unfinished—the recently-formed activist orchestra—approach community engagement.

Gary Padmore is Director of Education and Community at Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and is responsible for developing and overseeing its education and community programs, partnerships, and performances. Before OSL, he served as Associate Director of Programs at Midori & Friends, providing skill-based music instruction and enrichment programs throughout New York City.

Eun Lee has built her career finding ways to breathe social relevance into classical music. She most recently taught at the Corona Youth Music Project, where she founded their woodwind studios; and the Diller-Quaile School of Music, where she worked with young learners and provided professional development to staff in early childhood centers throughout upper Manhattan. Currently, Eun works as the Manager of Youth Programs at the Orchestra of St. Luke's. In addition to her educational and administrative activities, Eun is the founder of The Dream Unfinished: an Activist Orchestra.

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Kristin Cook Ben Philippe

Kristin Cook & Ben Philippe

The Wallace Foundation

May 2, 3 PM
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, 3 PM
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, 3 PM
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, 3 PM
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, 3 PM
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, 3 PM

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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