I am a composer, an educator, a performer, and an entrepreneur. I direct many programs in the city: I am the Associate Director of Making Score, I teach with the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composer Program, and I am the director of VisionIntoArt Presents, Inc.
Then…1998 VisionIntoArt began as a school project in 1998, with performances held in dance studios. VIA won an interdisciplinary grant from Juilliard which funded our first public performance at Lincoln Center Institute. The following year VIA went on to perform at key note performances at the Council on Foundation, North Carolina School for the Arts and Dickinson College.
Now…2007 VIA has performed over fifty trans-media performances in festivals, halls, museums, theaters and clubs across United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, and Mexico. VIA has commissioned fifteen new works from composers since 1999, and has performed over one hundred works by emerging and established composers of our day. VIA has additionally commissioned five poets, four visual artists, six filmmakers, six choreographers, four directors, five writers, three lighting designers, three sound designers, and has worked with over sixty musicians, actors and dancers as guests to the VIA core group, creating a truly interdisciplinary community.
All this work has broadened my vision of the field I work in; it has helped me make useful contacts, and has allowed me to continue my passion as the director of my very diverse group. I was initially attracted to New York because of it’s multiculturalism. This eventually has become one of the trademarks of VisionIntoArt.
I have always been driven to create a safe community for the artists I work with, and all I’ve learned so far has helped me make informed and intelligent opinions.
Your website should be a clear map to who you are.
Begin by assessing your skills.
A well-rounded musician today has interests in multiple areas:
performance and collaboration (be it musical or cross disciplinary)
education--ensuring the future of what we do
administration--managing your career
production--new avenues of expression; collaboration, multimedia
publicity and marketing--how do you spread the word?
… and countless other creative outlets relevant to your craft.
Regardless of whether you choose to illuminate all these different areas as work for hire, these fields are necessary in today’s artistic journey, which is less reliant on managers and outside agencies, and more reliant on you!
Websites are incredibly important as you all know, and are a good way to keep people constantly updated with your activities. All the fields above should help you build a clear website. HTML websites are usually preferable as flash can sometimes discourage viewers because of slow loading. You can still be artistic without flash, or with minimal flash. The following are good examples of this.
(I love this website--it is fresh and puts a fun spin to her info)
( a good website and blog, combined)
Great web designer:
I designed my own website on Networksolutions.com,
A very simple host that is easy to use, and easy to update.
Regardless of whether you go with a designer, always
know how to update your site, so choose a host you are familiar with.
Curators, presenters, grant makers, and collaborators will be looking at your website, so you need to think about what they are looking for. Curators and presenters will be looking to see the quality of your projects: be clear and concise with each, and make sure you have great documentation. Grant makers will be looking to see how clearly you are defined as an artist, and what systems of support you have set up to fund your project. This is where having a clear mission statement, and a flashy section on past accomplishments, will help.
Artists will be interested in all the above (as all of your audiences will be), with an emphasis on documentation. Today, photos, recordings, and videos are essential. As a general rule for your performances, have a clear idea of who your audience is and have innovative ideas for how to reach them. Your website is your chance to show off any marketing strategies you may have.
Knowing what AUDIENCE your activities are targeting helps grant makers and curators understand your intentions better.
As an example, VIA targets three primary audiences through its performances:
1) High School Students - High school students are highly creative, yet may be turned off by musical and artistic educational experiences traditionally offered by public schools. Furthermore, high schools are increasingly dropping funding from their arts programs, and outside programs are relied on more heavily than ever to take the place of traditional outlets. VIA is dedicated to providing students with access to high-quality art and music as a way to expand their education and involvement in their community.
2) Young Adult and Young Professional audiences - Young Professionals (25- 40) are looking for a way to connect to their culture in an authentic way, to truly enjoy a concert-going experience, and to socialize in unique settings. VIA is committed to reaching audiences outside of the immediate artistic community.
3) Visual art, music, and film/poetry enthusiasts -
When VIA was formed, we understood the need to unite audiences divided by the barriers of genrefication. The gallery audience was not attending classical music events, and similarly, the music public was not necessarily attending gallery or poetry events. VIA's collaborative community of artists draws audiences from each discipline, creating an audience that transcends genre and allows art to be organic, collaborative expression.
By performing in different venues, museums, clubs, theaters, schools, etc. VIA continues to expand its audience base. VIA targets new audiences through myspace, various blogs, websites, and radio stations (WNYC, ASCAP radio).
Paola Prestini’s music takes the listener on a journey through different life experiences, creating an aural and visual map of the different countries and cultures that have inspired her.These travels sonically reflect the impact that collective identities, cultures and values have when they meet and dissolve in a person whose artistic roots are the collective sum of many parts.
This culminates in a romantic vision told in the form of calls to prayers, spirituals, narrations, and electronic resonances that come together with visuals to create Prestini’s unique voice.
Below are examples for the points we think about when VIA markets itself, and how we created our mission statement:
We are a collaborative group based in new music
We hail from different countries
Many of our works have a political edge
Our brand of multimedia includes popular interests and can be marketed to a wide audience
New Music: New collaborations: VisionIntoArt
Collaborating across forms and cultures, VisionIntoArt creates transmedia works drawn from today. Transcending genre--from New Music to Geopolitics--VIA challenges audiences to see and hear art differently. A diverse, multi-disciplinary collective, inhabiting sound and sharing process, VisionIntoArt embraces the role of the artist as public intellectual and political touchstone.
Title tags are the html code for your pages. The words you use between the <title> and </title> determines what appears in the top title bar of your browser. Search engines use this to determine your site; so….
Make sure you define yourself succintly through key words: meaning, <Paola Prestini, composer> may not be enough. <Paola Prestini, Composer, Multimedia Artist and Educator> will land me more hits.
Using taggers will help you generate more traffic
Cultivating that fan base: Public Radio Stations
Research Radio Stations to play your work
List of NPR stations www.npr.org/stations
Public Radio Fan www.publicradiofan.org
Research Internet Radio Stations to play your work: there are independent sites, and spin-offs from local NPR stations that are a great source for online airplay.
Assemble a list of contacts you have in these different fields. Always begin with contacts that are closest to you and then spiral out from there. If you do not know many people, then it’s time to do some research.
Look online and create a database;
The database should include:
service organizations, educational institutions and foundations as well as the directors, assistants, mentors, and teachers who populate them.
You should also be looking for media people: writers, editors, producers, radio show hosts and radio station directors etc, who can give you exposure.
Once your list is assembled your goal should be to meet with as many people in person to ask for advice. Email introductions can work, but a direct phone call is always better. These meetings are the best way to learn from others’ experiences while letting people know you are seeking work.
Do not be afraid to ask for introductions that can potentially open other doors and opportunities. I found that most influential figures are often generous with their advice and time. They will admire your effort, and it will remind them of the paths they once took.
You will need to create promotional materials that are available to view and are downloadable on your site. This is how you market yourself, so the language you use and style you choose is very important.
The topics can be modified for personal or organizational use. Remember, it is important to begin somewhere, so don’t be discouraged if you do not have material to fill out the topic fields below.
Philosophy is equally important, and as long as you keep it succinct, supplement the fields with short philosophical statements about the direction you are headed in. There is only one way to grow and improve, and it’s by trial and error!
This is where you want to share season dates and upcoming projects. Presenters and curators are always looking for innovative programming, projects and collaborations.
You can list proposed projects, but in general it’s best to list projects you are already in the process of trying out and that have a completion date. This is what open rehearsals are for: they allow you to experiment in safe settings.
I encourage any artist or group to open up rehearsals for constructive criticism, and for potential engagements with curators or presenters.
1. VIA Thematic Performances (works presented in theatrical venues)
The development of interdisciplinary work with resident artists in an arduous, process based fashion resulting in one large multimedia work per year
These multimedia performances are presented more often on tour in national and international venues such as Teatro Manzoni in Italy, MACO in Mexico City, and in NYC at venues such the Whitney at Altria, and Symphony Space.
2. VIA Medleys (shows presented in museums, halls and clubs)
VIA Medleys are non-thematic shows that feature the ensemble collaborating with visiting artists to VIA-they are our playground for new ideas. These shows are presented in clubs such as Joe’s Pub, the Stone, Bam Café, and the Whitney Live series in New York City.
These performances are generally $12 and under or free, and generally attract a younger, club going audiences who follow the music and spoken word scene. Audiences: students from our education programs; fellow myspace bloggers; diverse audiences from all New York boroughs.
VIA believes the future of new art lives in education. All VIA artists are experienced and committed teachers. VIA has taught and conducted educational residencies with organizations such as the Whitney Museum in collaboration with Youth Insights, the American Composers Orchestra, Presbyterian University, Dickinson College, and EtnaFest in Italy. Each VIA Project has a designed education segment offered for elementary school through college.
VIA holds a longstanding partnership with Brandeis High School, an empowerment school in NYC. VIA focuses on teaching the principals of composition through music technology.
All VIA works are recorded, and all shows include electronics and recorded backing tracks that are created throughout the year. VIA works in a loft in Greepoint Brooklyn that doubles as a recording studio.
This type of documentation of the VIA repertoire broadens exposure and assures a longer "listening life”.
A good newsletter: http://www.ps122.org/newsletter/ We use this: http://www.ymlpr.net/ Here is a constructive site on how to build a newsletter: http://desktoppub.about.com/od/newsletters/a/newsletter_part.htm Remember to include photographs of your activities, (we live in a highly visual world), and provide work samples with music or film, if relevant. As you develop in this profession, remember to keep people in the loop about your activities. Certain periods may be dry in terms of work, but if you continue to send emails, send newsletters, maintain a blog, make phone calls and maintain your contacts (without exaggerating!), work will always come.
You don’t need an iPod to create your own cast. A podcast is like an interactive visual blog, and you can use several different sources like iTunes, Yahoo! Music Engine, and FeedDemon. It’s a great way to show off your new studio work, a new collaboration, and you can even speak directly to your fans.
If you do not have reviews from well-known critics, ask mentors or artists you respect to review a concert or work of yours. These are important validations of your person and career.
Get to know reviewers by visiting their websites, blogs, and by emailing them. Many of them are the ones who will release your press releases…Many of them also have blogs, which are great ways of getting reviewed prior to a large scale review.
For how to list reviews:
Ask your fans to post reviews on Amazon, Myspace, and CD Baby
Remember to gather email addresses at each of your events, and also to gather them and keep up to date with your mailing list on your site.
Tracking your visitors is easy by installing http://extremetracking.com which helps track what states your visitors are from, what time of day they visit, and which pages are most frequented. This is a free service.
You can also improve your chances of getting listed with priority in search engine results through the following sites:
Friendships are important-everyone you meet along your path to success should not merely be considered a contact, but a window into a new perspective or world. People are attracted to honesty. Offer people a direct view into who you are, and success will be yours.
Lastly, don’t forget to talk about your site(s) in all media interviews!