The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Graduate School of Journalism announced the second NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera. The institute, which will take place October 16-27 at Columbia University, is part of a series of linked programs across the country that focus on improving arts criticism in classical music, opera, theater and dance.
"The vitality of the arts depends more than most people think on lively and informed criticism, especially local reviews and coverage from their own communities," said NEA Chair Dana Gioia. "Outside our major cities, journalists who cover the arts often are over extended with multiple beats and assignments that allow few opportunities to concentrate on various artistic disciplines. Columbia has created an exemplary program of professional development for arts journalists."
The NEA Arts Journalism Institutes are helping to establish the importance of professional training in the coverage of the arts through lectures and seminars with leaders in higher education, the arts and journalism. The programs are designed for print and broadcast journalists located outside the country's largest media markets, where professional development opportunities are limited. Institutes for dance critics are also being hosted by the American Dance Festival at Duke University and for theater critics at the University of Southern California. The NEA is providing $1 million for the first two years of the program, which will help to cover most of the participants' expenses.
"We are grateful to the NEA for giving the Columbia Journalism School the opportunity to deepen its service to the profession," said Nicholas Lemann, dean of the School of Journalism. "The NEA's grant makes it possible to provide journalists from all over the country with a wonderful means of learning more about classical music and opera, over time these institutes should have a demonstrable positive effect on American journalism in each of these areas."
Andras Szanto will direct the institute at Columbia, in collaboration with artistic advisor Joseph Horowitz and institute producer Anya Grundmann.
"Last year's institute succeeded beyond our wildest dreams," said Szanto. "Many of the participants described the program as the most important professional development experience of their lives. We're thrilled that another group of journalists can benefit from this learning opportunity."
The attendees will work with senior journalists and faculty members to improve their viewing, analytical and writing skills. Because Columbia is located in the cultural capital of the world, participants will have the unique opportunity to attend performances that cover a wide variety of genres, as well as rehearsals and behind-the-scenes meetings with artists and administrators of New York's leading classical music presenting organizations. The journalists also develop a firsthand understanding of artistic creation through a physical learning component, such as a basic lesson on a musical instrument.
Invited faculty and speakers include classical music critics Justin Davidson, Jeremy Eichler, Anne Midgette, Jesmes Oestreich, John Rockwell, Alex Ross and Terry Teachout; and music professors Michael Beckerman, Walter Frisch, Karen Hanson and Elaine Sisman. Institute participants will have the opportunity to meet members of the senior staff of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic, and other leading institutions. This year's group will also attend Verdi's Falstaff at the Metropolitan Opera, among other performances.