NYU Steinhardt researchers receive a 5-year funding award to establish a research lab focused on entrepreneurship and innovation in classical music training programs.

We are pleased to announce the receipt of an initial $100,000 of a 5-year funding award from the National Endowment of the Arts to establish an NEA Research Lab on Sustainable Entrepreneurship in the Performing Arts as part of NYU Steinhardt's Music and Audio Research Lab (MARL). Led by Dr. S. Alex Ruthmann, Dr. Bruce Carter, and Dr. Tanya Kalmanovitch, the purpose of this Lab is to research methods and practices of sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation within the classical music ecosystem in the United States as the field responds and evolves in the post-COVID19 world. This Lab is funded by the NEA's Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation research program. 

The population under study will include the over 1,300 current and alumni Fellows from our main project partner the New World Symphony (NWS), founded and led by Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas. Our studies will focus on NWS alumni current employers, educational feeder organizations and schools, and the local communities they serve. Our initial study zooms in on the impact of the entrepreneurial training of current NWS Fellows participating in their Project BLUE (Build, Learn, Understand, and Experiment) program.

Our 5-year research agenda will address the following two research questions:

What individual and organizational characteristics and practices best support sustainable, culturally- and locally-relevant entrepreneurial activity and innovation among current and former NWS Fellows, their employers, and feeder organizations and schools?

What role might performing arts training organizations such as the NWS play in promoting artistic and civic innovation among early-career musician artists within their communities and feeder organizations?


Our Vision and Research Agenda

Our initial keystone study will investigate and map the entrepreneurial mindsets, attitudes, and attributes of early-career musicians enrolled in the NWS Fellowship Program in 2021-2022, and their impact on their partner community organizations as they experience a new entrepreneurial training curriculum – the NWS BLUE Program – and respond to a post-COVID19 world.

Future studies will extend our understandings derived from the initial keystone study to the broader classical music training and professional ecosystem to investigate the successful entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial mindsets, organizational characteristics, and practices of NWS program alumni, the organizations and communities in which they work, as well as the feeder educational organizations whose graduates become future NWS Fellows. Vital to understanding entrepreneurial mindsets and practices of sustainability, cultural relevance, and creative place-making within and through the classical music field is a trans-disciplinary approach to research, integrating strategies drawn from the disciplines of education, psychology, artistic practice, and critical theory. Our research methods utilize quantitative, qualitative, and artistic research methods for data collection, analysis, and dissemination. 

Key Personnel

S. Alex Ruthmann, PhD - Principal Investigator

S. Alex Ruthmann is Associate Professor of Music Education and Music Technology, and Affiliate Faculty in the program on Educational Communication and Technology at NYU Steinhardt, and Affiliate Faculty in the Program on Creativity and Innovation at NYU Shanghai. He serves as the Director of the NYU Music Experience Design Lab (MusEDLab), and core faculty in the Music and Audio Research Lab (MARL) at NYU Steinhardt. The MusEDLab researches and designs new technologies and experiences for music-making, learning, and engagement together with industry and community partners including the New York Philharmonic, Shanghai Chinese Orchestra, Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, Yungu School, Portfolio School, Tinkamo, UNESCO, Peer 2 Peer University, League of American Orchestras, and the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. He and his collaborators are the recipients of major research grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Science Foundation exploring arts entrepreneurship and innovation, the interdisciplinary teaching of computational and musical thinking, and creative learning through music and media education technologies. Ruthmann received a BMus in Music and Technology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and MM and PhD degrees in Music Education from Oakland University.

Bruce Carter, PhD - Co-Principal Investigator

Bruce Carter is a music educator and researcher, whose work focuses on issues of creativity and the intersections of social justice, technology, and arts participation. Currently, Carter is visiting research scholar at New York University, where his work centers on designing violin and cello trainers for use in gaming platforms. Additionally, he consults for numerous arts organizations like the League of American Orchestras, and serves on the National Council on the Arts. Recently, research has been published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music EducationJournal of Research in Music Education, and Music Educators Journal, in addition to numerous invited chapters by Oxford Press. Lastly, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, School of Education designated the Bruce Carter Qualitative Research Center as a place for graduate students to pursue meaningful qualitative research agendas. Carter received a BM from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, an MM from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Music Education from Northwestern University.

Tanya Kalmanovitch, PhD - Co-Principal Investigator

Tanya Kalmanovitch is a Canadian violist, ethnomusicologist, and author. Kalmanovitch serves as an Associate Professor of Music Entrepreneurship at The New School, and an adjunct faculty member at the New England Conservatory researching and teaching in the fields of arts entrepreneurship and transdisciplinary arts research and practice. Kalmanovitch has published research in the fields of psychology, critical musicology, and entrepreneurial arts education, and maintains a busy schedule as an independent consultant to leading performing arts organizations on the topics of arts entrepreneurship, intercultural partnerships, and climate change. Her pioneering work as a violist in jazz and improvised music has been profiled in Jazz Times, DownBeat, and the New York Times, and her work on Tar Sands Songbook, a ten-year solo performance about coming of age in Alberta’s oil industry, is the recipient of a 2020 MAP Fund award, and was recognized by her nomination to the Grist 50 Fixers, a select group of innovators with solutions to climate change. Kalmanivitch received a BM from The Juilliard School, an MM in the History of Psychology from the University of Calgary (2005), and a PhD in Ethnomusicology (2008) from the University of Alberta.

www.tanyakalmanovitch.com www.tarsandssongbook.com

Meghan Todt Williams, Research Associate

Meghan Todt Williams is a violinist who enjoys working in all musical genres. Ensembles with which she performs include American Ballet Theatre, the New York Pops, American Symphony Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, Boca Symphonia, and Festival Orchestra Napa. She has served as acting principal second violin of the Glens Falls Symphony and was a member of the Berkshire Opera orchestra for two summers. In addition to teaching private violin lessons and coaching chamber music at NYU Steinhardt, Ms. Williams is the NYU Steinhardt Program Administrator for Orchestras and Strings and a PhD student in Music Education. She also maintains a vibrant private studio. Ms. Williams received her Master of Music in Violin Performance from NYU Steinhardt. She is also an alumna of Princeton University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Music, with certificates in Music Performance and Italian Language and Culture. During her undergraduate career, she attended the Royal College of Music, London, for a semester exchange and was awarded the Princeton Peter B. Lewis Fund for summer music festival study, as well as a full thesis grant, allowing her to conduct research in Italy.



Inquiries about this Lab and project can reach out to PI Ruthmann at [email protected] for more information.

The opinions expressed in materials on this website are those of the author(s) and do not represent the views of the National Endowment for the Arts Office of Research & Analysis or the National Endowment for the Arts. The Arts Endowment does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included in these materials and is not responsible for any consequences of its use. This NEA Research Lab is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (Award#: 1879471-38-C-21).