Posts Tagged ‘Astor Piazzolla’

You Don’t Know Me, But…

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

By: Edna Landau

To ask a question, please write Ask Edna.

Dear Edna:

I’m an artist sending out letters of inquiry to a handful of presenters. Can you give me an example of an inquiry letter you might send, as an artist, to a concert series or presenter when proposing a concert? —Kimball Gallagher

Dear Kimball:

In a time when the DIY approach is increasingly the way to go, especially for young artists, I commend you for plunging in and seeking engagements on your own. While nobody really knows how many presenters actually read unsolicited letters from artists, some I have talked to indicate that they might at least read the first paragraph, and if the letter is well-written and compelling, they will finish it. They might even listen to a little bit of an accompanying demo cd. It is therefore critical that your letter is concise and to the point. Your letter can demonstrate your awareness of the presenter’s typical series offerings and how you think you might fit into their artistic planning. If you have a particular repertoire strength that is somewhat unusual or can offer a new work that you commissioned, that should certainly be highlighted. You might also want to mention your interest in doing outreach activities, if applicable. While each situation might call for a specifically tailored approach, here is an example of what might prove effective:

Dear Ms. Caldwell:

In a time when recital series seem to be dwindling in number, it is a pleasure to see the commitment you continue to make to solo artists and to introducing your audiences to musicians whom they might not yet know. I am a pianist and graduate of Juilliard who seeks to offer somewhat unusual programs and enjoys engaging with audiences before or after a concert.

In the 2013-14 season, which marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, I will be offering a program which will include his Five Waltzes, Opus 3, as well as other works related to dance, from a Bach suite to tangos by Astor Piazzolla. I have enclosed a sample of a recent cd and hope that despite your very busy schedule, you might have time to listen to at least a little of it. Also enclosed are sample programs from some recent concerts, my bio, review quotes, and a brief description of some educational and community activities I have offered to presenters.

I will call you in a few weeks to see if it might be possible for us to work together. With much appreciation for your consideration,


My informal survey of presenters has not revealed a clear preference for receiving this sort of letter by traditional mail or by e-mail, with a downloadable music sample. However, several I spoke to did admit that e-mails have a way of getting overlooked in the hubbub of a given day and that they sometimes like to listen to demo cd’s en route to or from work. At the bottom of the letter, be sure to include links to your website or to YouTube, but take care to ensure that any video clips are recent and good quality. Good luck!

To ask a question, please write Ask Edna.

© Edna Landau 2012