From a Curator’s Wish List to an Institution’s Evolving Interests: John Glover and Kaufman Music Center’s New Vision for the 21st Century Musician
Previously published by the author Ilona Oltuski on BlogCritics
The administrator, producer, composer, and curator John Glover was recently appointed Director of Artistic Planning at Kaufman Music Center—a newly-implemented position—and he brings plenty of experience to the center’s diverse missions and ambitions.
The focus of Glover’s work is to facilitate programming that connects artists with their communities. Speaking about his concurrent residency as Artistic Director of the genre-bending Look and Listen Festival, he commented: “Our programming is intended as a reflection of the city’s inspired and diverse approaches to music-making, and how that intersects with the inventive spaces of New York City’s art scene.”
During his tenure as Vice President and Director of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music, John Glover oversaw operations and guided the strategic vision for the space. His primary goals were to ensure that the center addressed the diverse needs of the modern classical musician by providing affordable rehearsal space and accessible performance facilities for self-presenting ensembles, and to foster a healthy commercial recording operation ranging from Broadway cast albums to film scores.
Alongside that work, Glover has been involved with producing and curating contemporary music festivals and series including NYsoundCircuit, NOise, theUnCaged, and the Toy Piano Festival.
Glover’s accomplishments balance pragmatism with an inspired vision. “At Kaufman Music Center, before implementing any new programs, I am spending time just observing what is already here,” he says. “From my first day, what jumps out at me, when going floor to floor, is the amazing range of music-making happening on a daily basis.
“The same elevator that takes artists we present to the backstage of Merkin also takes a young child to their first cello lesson, or a member of our administrative team to their offices. We’re all part of the same community. There’s something in there that is very inspiring and unique about that, and I look forward to translating that into our future programming.”
At the DiMenna Center, Glover started from the ground up as scheduling manager, going on to manage usage of the space, balance the rental needs of New York’s musical communities, and begin initiatives for Orchestra of St. Luke’s to produce unique concerts in its home space. Prior to DiMenna, he worked as Production Manager for the American Composers Orchestra, supporting new collaborations between the orchestra and a wide range of composers and performers, including the annual Underwood Readings and the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute.
Glover’s own works for concert, opera, dance and theater, which have been presented in venues ranging from Rockwood Music Hall to Carnegie Hall, have earned him a reputation as “an unabashedly expressive composer” (The New York Times); his empathy, vision, and deep knowledge of music from that personal perspective informs his curatorial work.
Now, at Kaufman Music Center, it will be about “further uniting the professional and educational elements of our public-facing programming.”
Kate Sheeran, recently appointed Executive Director of the Kaufman, adds that “John’s emphasis on creating community and engaging experiences for everyone on stage and in the audience will be palpable for the thousands of people who perform, learn, and listen to music here each year.” Kate’s work has been trail-blazing, as she brings to the Center a present-day vision on the musician of the 21st century, focusing strongly on current relevance and communal engagement.
“Part of deepening the connection between our presentations and our educational initiatives is the launch of Kaufman Music Center’s new Artist-In-Residence program,” Glover says. “This season our artists are Nathalie Joachim, JACK Quartet, and Rob Kapilow. In addition to performing on the Merkin Hall stage in ‘What Makes It Great?’ and the Ecstatic Music series, these artists will present masterclasses, coach chamber music, and teach classes at Kaufman’s Special Music School and Lucy Moses School. Nathalie will perform with our teen new music program, Face the Music; Rob will work with students to develop community-based performance projects; and JACK will coach students across all of our performance programs.
“These artists also represent the scope of what we do at Kaufman Music Center. We balance unique approaches to the classical canon with contemporary music. Our aim is to continue to shape the future of classical music by presenting a diverse and inclusive range of artists and perspectives, as well as supporting future professional artists. One example of this commitment is Luna Lab, which mentors young female and non-gender-identifying composers.”
Built on a strong identity, the Kaufman Music Center’s vision of that musician of the 21st century wraps itself around the many different core foundations and forward-thinking initiatives that made up the center in its early, humble beginning as the Hebrew Arts School. With John Glover at the helm, the Kaufman is sure to maintain an edgy appeal in line with its current architecture’s façade.