Tessitura’s Innovator Series is an ongoing program of brief and inspiring presentations by industry innovators, each focused on a single theme to advance insight and innovation in the business of arts and culture. Presented periodically at no cost to a live webinar audience of Tessitura Network Members and others engaged in or studying the arts and cultural sector, Innovator Series presentations are subsequently released through the Tessitura Network YouTube™ channel to expand and extend the accessibility of these powerfully innovative ideas globally.
Sarah Rothenberg, Artistic and General Director
Abhijit Sengupta, General Manager
Da Camera of Houston
Inviting Engagement with an Interdisciplinary Approach to Music
With its innovative programming, dynamic outreach activities, and artist residencies, Da Camera of Houston brings together musical excellence of uncompromising artistic standards with deeply-rooted community programs, striving to make great music accessible to all. Currently in its 28th season, Da Camera has established itself as one of America’s leading presenters and producers of ensemble music. The organization is widely acclaimed for its innovative programming, notably Artistic and General Director Sarah Rothenberg’s unique concerts connecting music with literature and the visual arts, as well as for its jazz series, featuring a distinctive mix of renowned performers and emerging artists. Sarah and Ab will discuss Da Camera’s interdisciplinary approach to its programming and to its education and community initiatives.
Catherine Devine, Chief Digital Officer
American Museum of Natural History
Serendipity in the Museum Experience
Explorer, the American Museum of Natural History’s groundbreaking interior way-finding app, launched originally in 2010. The app initially focused on visitors selecting exhibits they wanted to see and navigating directly to them (think T-Rex or Blue Whale). This was innovative, in and of itself, within a large, complex interior space. AMNH’s thinking has now evolved to use location not just for directions to selected exhibits, but also to support discovery. The delight in the museum experience is discovering things you didn’t know about, as well as seeing the iconic exhibits. That is, if one now opens the app, wherever one is, the app simply tells you what is around you that might be of interest to you. Catherine will discuss the evolution of Explorer to leverage location to support a serendipitous experience.
Jim Beirne, Chief Executive
Cultural Leadership and Social Enterprise
One of the UK’s leading new writing theatres, Live Theatre celebrated 40 years of creating new plays in 2013, and several of these plays have recently appeared in London’s West End and on Broadway in New York. Live Theatre is also a national leader in developing new strategies for increasing income and assets to support its charitable mission. Jim will outline Live Theatre’s longstanding plans to operate in a context of reducing public investment. Built around the vision and mission of the theatre, three social enterprises are up and running: a small but highly-successful online playwriting course, an incubator for small to medium enterprises in the creative sector, and a gastropub. The fourth is a large property development – with the City Council as lender rather than grant-maker.
Presenter Bios and Links to More Information
Now celebrating her 21st season with Da Camera, pianist Sarah Rothenberg has been artistic director since 1994 and general director since 2011. A pianist of “heart, intellect and fabulous technical resources” (Fanfare) and “power and introspection” (The New York Times), Sarah has a unique career as performer, writer and creator of multidisciplinary performances which she conceives and directs linking music to literature and visual art. Renowned for her innovative programming as a concert curator, prior to her arrival at Da Camera Sarah was co-founding Artistic Director of the Bard Music Festival. The Wall Street Journal recently described her as “a prolific and creative thinker.”
Under her leadership, Da Camera has been a three-time winner of Chamber Music America-ASCAP’s Adventurous Programming Award, was awarded the CMAcclaim Award, and received a Special Commendation for Outstanding Programming Concepts from Chamber Music America in 1999. She has been a Senior Fellow at the New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics in New York, and visiting artist-in-residence at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at University of Houston. Sarah’s writings on music, art and literature appear in The Threepenny Review, Brick, TriQuarterly and Conjunctions, as well as The Musical Quarterly, Nexus, Chamber Music, The Crisis of Criticism (ed. Maurice Berger/New Press) and Rackstraw Downes: Onsite Paintings (Parrish Art Museum 2010).
Sarah’s early training was at The Juilliard School with Herbert Stessin. After graduating from The Curtis Institute of Music, where her teachers were Seymour Lipkin and Mieczeslaw Horszowski, she studied the music of Olivier Messiaen with the composer’s wife, Yvonne Loriod, in Paris. In 2000, she was awarded the French Medal of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Sarah's Complete bio
Abhijit Sengupta has distinguished himself as both violist and arts administrator. In 2005, after serving as principal violist of the Florida Philharmonic and as co-principal violist of the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway, Ab established a dual career in Houston as a freelance violist. He left Houston in 2008 to take the helm of Fontana Chamber Arts in Kalamazoo, MI as artistic and executive director and most recently served as executive director of the Ojai Music Festival in southern California. He is currently the general manager at Da Camera and continues to be an active violist. Recognized nationally as an emerging leader in the arts and culture sector, Ab was invited in 2011 to participate in “The Chief Executive Program,” a two-year initiative designed to unleash the collective power of 100 of the top executive leaders in the cultural sector to address the intractable issues of competition, money and relevance. He is on the national board of Chamber Music America and served as the chair of its 2012 National Conference in New York City. An accomplished professional violist, he was a special jury prize winner at the 1997 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and has served as principal viola of the New World Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, and the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway. He appears annually at the Grand Teton Music Festival and has performed with the Houston Symphony and at the Spoleto Festival and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey to Indian parents, Ab attended Yale University, graduating in 1994 with a degree in economics, and the University of Southern California School Of Music, graduating in 1996 with a master’s degree in viola performance.
Da Camera of Houston website
Catherine is Chief Digital Officer at the American Museum of Natural History, responsible for the digital strategy and digital transformation of the Museum experience, both onsite and online. She has overseen the Museums’ website relaunch, enterprise CMS, Ticketing and CRM implementations and the evolution of the Museum’s Explorer app. Catherine has more than 25 years’ experience in the digital and technology sectors.
American Museum of Natural History website
Catherine on Twitter
Catherine on LinkedIn
Jim Beirne (MBE, FRSA Dr Litt. (Hons)) has been Chief Executive of Live Theatre since 2000, overseeing its various capital developments, and has overall responsibility for the leadership and vision for the company. Live Theatre has a turnover of £2 million and up to 40 staff when in production.
One of the UK’s leading new writing theatres, Live Theatre celebrated 40 years of creating new plays in 2013 and several of these plays have recently appeared in London’s West End and on Broadway in New York.
Live Theatre is a national leader in developing new strategies for increasing income and assets for the charity. Its Social Enterprises include award-winning gastro pub The Broad Chare, online playwriting course www.beaplaywright.com and hub for creative businesses, The Schoolhouse. The latest project is Live Works a £11 million capital project to purchase and develop Quayside fronted land and buildings adjacent to the Theatre, due for completion in November 2015, it will create new commercial offices, a new public park and a children and young people’s creative writing centre.
Jim spends time working with cultural institutions and networks around the world and is always interested in how other cities make culture work in their place.
Jim trained as a composer and musician composing for cross media projects at the South Bank, the ICA, and Dance Umbrella. Prior to moving to Newcastle to work at Live Theatre Jim was Director of Performing and Combined Arts for Yorkshire Arts Board (now Arts Council Yorkshire). Jim is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, is a board member of the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA), has been a trustee of the TMA (now UK Theatres), The Sage Gateshead, and Leeds College of Music. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Northumbria University in 2011 and an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2012, and was a nominee for North East Business Executive of the year in 2014.
Live Theatre website
Jim on Twitter
Jim on LinkedIn
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