The Peabody Post

National Symposium Explores Institutional Change in the Performing Arts

November 17 event convenes performers, presenters on the need for adaptability.

Next Normal graphic 1200x1200The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated troubling trends in the performing arts, exposing a long-simmering need to cultivate arts institutions that are responsive to their communities and open to evolving ways of creating art. As Ben Cameron, president of the Jerome Foundation, pointed out in February at The Next Normal: Arts Innovation and Resilience in a Post-COVID World, “We need to stop positioning things around excellence and stability and start positioning them around relevance and adaptability and nimbleness.”

On November 17, the Peabody Institute hosts a free, virtual follow-up event exploring how we build more flexible and adaptable performing arts institutions and train artists with that skillset. Seven innovative artists and administrators will present their real-life stories of reinvention and new approaches; Peabody Dean Fred Bronstein will then be joined by accomplished leaders from across the industry in discussion of the themes and lessons learned.  Audience Q&A and online networking opportunities will continue the conversation.

WHAT:           The Next Normal 2.0: Flexibility is the Future
A free virtual symposium featuring leaders in the performing arts industry

WHEN:           Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 10:00 am to 4:15 pm EST

WHO:             The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University

Fred Bronstein, Dean
with Presenters:

  • Brad Balliett, co-Artistic Director, Decoda, and bassoon faculty, The Peabody Conservatory
  • Alan Brown, Principal, WolfBrown Consultants
  • Jake Heggie, composer and pianist
  • Sarah Johnson, Chief Education Officer and Director, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute
  • Wendel Patrick, music producer, and assistant professor in Music Engineering & Technology, The Peabody Conservatory
  • Krishna Thiagarajan, President and CEO, Seattle Symphony
  • Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Founding Artistic Director/Chief Visioning Partner, Urban Bush Women

and Panelists:

  • Marin Alsop, Chief Conductor, ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Chief Conductor and Curator, Ravinia Festival; Director of Graduate Conducting, The Peabody Conservatory
  • Sean Jones, Professor of Trumpet and Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair of Jazz Studies, The Peabody Conservatory
  • Howard Herring, President and CEO, New World Symphony
  • Richard Kessler, Executive Dean, College of Performing Arts and Dean, Mannes School of Music
  • Timothy O’Leary, General Director, Washington National Opera
  • Alysia Lee, Fine Arts Education Program Supervisor, Maryland State Department of Education; Founder and Artistic Director, Sister Cities Girlchoir; professional studies faculty, The Peabody Conservatory
  • Alan Pierson, Artistic Director, Alarm Will Sound
  • Paola Prestini, composer, Co-Founder and Artistic Director, National Sawdust
  • Susan Zhang, Co-Director, The Concert Truck

WHERE:         The event will take place online. Register here:


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