Special Reports

MA Top 30 Professional: Kathy Schuman

December 6, 2022 | By Emery Kerekes

Artistic Director
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

Kathy Schuman prides herself on keeping pace with the classical music industry. She pushes herself to see several concerts a week, experiencing new sound worlds in addition to those she knows and loves—and when she sees something truly special, she moves heaven and earth to bring it to the Caramoor Center for Music and Arts.

When Schuman joined Caramoor in 2016 as executive producer and VP of artistic programming, she sought to expand the Center’s purview. Promoted to her current post four years later, she has made new music a Caramoor priority, with the Kronos Quartet and the Silkroad Ensemble among the 2022 lineup and contemporary works tucked into solo recitals and other chamber concerts along the way. “I encourage all artists to include new or recent works on their Caramoor programs,” says Schuman.

She has also brought folk and popular music from around the world—last summer saw bluegrass picnics, Afro-Latin grooves, and a performance from Angélique Kidjo. In recent seasons, she’s dedicated herself to rediscovering and championing the music and stories of composers marginalized due to racism and discrimination. “Expanding the classical music canon is an ongoing priority for me,” she says.

The sprawling Caramoor estate contains four distinct outdoor venues, and Schuman sees selecting site-specific work as the best part of her job. “Where else can you program Mozart’s The Secret Gardener in an actual garden?,” she asks. She also spearheaded Caramoor’s foray into experiential works, starting with a free presentation of John Luther Adams’s Inuksuit in her first year. Most recently, she commissioned a site-specific work for 36 percussionists from Bang on a Can’s Michael Gordon: Field of Vision received its world premiere in the verdant Sunken Garden in summer of 2022. She hints at another special percussion piece for the 2023 season. “We’ve cultivated a curious audience that wants to be immersed in a work,” says Schuman with pride.




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