Special Reports

MA Top 30 Professional of the Year: Andrew Ousley

December 3, 2019 | By Clive Paget

Publicist and Presenter
Unison Media / Death of Classical

“Hi, I’m Andrew,” proclaims Andrew Ousley on his website. “I produce concerts (mostly in Crypts), promote classical music, opera and the performing arts, play in a rock band, and eat burgers.”

Quirky and unconventional, Ousley attended Brown University where he studied philosophy and fell in love with classical music. A stint as a marketer at EMI Classics in New York City was followed by a year and a half in Australia working for Naxos and a return to New York as a publicist around the time EMI was acquired by Warner Classics.

“After ten years in the record business, I’d come to realize that the publicity and marketing work I thought was most creative and forward-thinking generally ended up being more beneficial to the artists than actually helping to sell recordings,” he says, explaining why he set up his own PR and marketing company Unison Media in 2015. “I proposed that Warner [hire] me as a consultant so I could work directly with artists but still promote their recordings.”

Clients like Gustavo Dudamel, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Bell, and Jeremy Denk helped Unison to grow and now Ousley has three fulltime employees and an army of freelancers covering design, video editing, and styling. “We take an integrated, holistic approach to promotion—not just sending out a press release and pitching a few standard media contacts, but incorporating social media from the ground up, creating video/photo content for campaigns, planning bespoke events, and building a strategy that encompasses all of those in the most creative way possible,” he says.

Unison also produces a pair of concert series that have garnered considerable attention in recent years. One is the Crypt Sessions, an award-winning classical music concert series in the Crypt under the Church of the Intercession in Harlem. The other is The Angel’s Share, a program that takes place in the atmospheric Catacombs of The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. World premieres of new works by David Hertzberg, Gregg Kallor, and Daniel Bernard Roumain have been among Ousley’s personal highlights of these series.

Ousley’s curiosity, spirit, passion for spreading the word, and determination to find entry points for new audiences have all contributed to his success. The fact that his events regularly sell out just happens to be a bonus.



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