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Best of Ask Edna: Using Google to Find Concert Opportunities

June 8, 2017 | By Edna Landau

I am often asked: How can I find opportunities to perform? There are several possible answers to this question but they all have one thing in common. There is a lot of work involved and there are no shortcuts that I am aware of. One approach is to set out on foot in your target area, as Julia Villagra did on behalf of her tertulias (see Tertulia), to explore performance possibilities in spaces that haven’t offered concerts in the past. The possibilities are many and might include galleries, restaurants, churches, banks and private clubs. However, in all likelihood, you will want to undertake a much broader search. Before approaching anyone, there is a considerable amount of research to be done. The most obvious solution is to target a geographical area and then look at newspaper listings and websites to ascertain where concerts are already taking place that feature performers at your level. It you live in a big city, be sure to consult publications and listings in the surrounding areas, which may include smaller community newspapers.

One approach, which I find most fascinating, is to make Google your best friend in launching your campaign. Since I live in Westchester County (NY), I decided to begin my Google search with “arts councils in Westchester County”. (Arts councils are always an excellent place to start.) The first port of call proved to be a treasure trove of information. ArtsWestchester bills itself as “Your Complete Guide to the Arts in Westchester” and indeed, it seems to be just that. From the Events category, I learned about several concert series that were totally new to me: Bronxville Women’s Club (whose upcoming event was a mandolin and piano recital), Downtown Music at Grace (Grace Episcopal Church in White Plains), Harrison Public Library concerts, and Friends of Music in Sleepy Hollow, NY, now celebrating their 60thyear! The home page of ArtsWestchester also features a Cultural Organizations Directory which yielded further information about these presenters and others, as well as smaller arts councils in the county. I googled “Churches in Westchester County with Pianos”, and although it didn’t produce a comprehensive list, it directed me to church event listings on NYTimes.com and also musical events taking place at individual churches in the county.

I have always been sensitive to the fact that it is particularly hard for pianists to identify places to perform, as creativity and resourcefulness do not necessarily lead one to a space with a piano. Out of curiosity, I googled “Senior Centers with pianos in New York City”. On page 5 (!), I found “Seniors Partnering with Arts Citywide”, which is part of the website of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. It had a list of Participating Senior Center Facilities, and indicated which had pianos. Many such facilities are eager to be approached by performers, although often, they are not able to pay a fee.

The most undoubtedly delightful moment of my Google searches resulted from my discovery of ArtsWestchester. Nestled in their Cultural Organizations Directory was a true gem: The Really Terrible Orchestra of Westchester. I kid you not. Check it out, and happy googling!


Edna Landau has dedicated over 30 years of her life to the field of artist management. She was a Director of IMG Artists from its founding in 1984 until her departure from the company in October of 2007. Her global vision, passion for the arts and uncompromising work ethic played a major role in launching this unique company, which is now the only truly international performing arts management company in the world. Ms. Landau is frequently invited to lecture at college and conservatory campuses and to meet with students in career training programs.

 

During the month of June, Musical America will be posting four free articles per week devoted to careers in the business. On Mondays and Wednesdays, we’ll post new features on preparing for/finding/or performing in a job; Tuesdays and Thursdays will be devoted to “The Best of Edna,” culled from the blog, “Ask Edna.” Edna Landau is a founding director of IMG Artists, the former director of Career Development at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, CA, and a special career consultant at The Juilliard School in New York.


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