AMSGNY Meetings

Career Opportunities for Musicologists--Presenters' Biographies

The opening section of our October 4th meeting will feature several speakers who discuss non-teaching careers appropriate for musicologists. This will be of interest to graduate and undergraduate students and the professors who advise them.

The presenters are shown above, left to right, Jennifer Oates, Sean Hickey, and Deborah Surdi.
Their biographies:

Deborah Surdi, General Manager, The Opera Orchestra of New York

With over 25 years in the classical recording industry, Deborah Surdi possesses a diversity of experience and strong track record of performance in repertoire planning, artist relations and development, marketing, budgeting, logistics and contract negotiations. In addition, as a professionally trained soprano, she also bring the necessary understanding of the needs of singers in the very competitive world of opera well as knowledge of stage craft through first hand experience both as a performer, stage director and coach. Deborah served as Vice President of Artists and Repertoire for Sony BMG Masterworks, whose labels include RCA Red Seal, Columbia Masterworks and Sony Classical. Over the course of her career she was fortunate to work with some of the world’s leading performing artists and arts organizations. In May of 2007 Deborah was appointed General Manager of The Opera Orchestra of New York. Her passion at this point in her career is meeting the challenge of attracting a broader audience to classical music, especially opera, through uses of new media and branding. Deborah is an Associate Member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and currently serves on the Grammy Classical Screening Committee. Deborah received mention in a Billboard article in October 2007 entitled "Power Players 2006: MAKING WAVES - Onstage, Backstage, Online and In Charge, Women Shape Today's Business", as one of the few female A&R executives in the classical music business" to watch.
Jennifer Oates, Head of Music Library, Queens College

Jennifer Oates is Assistant Professor at Queens College and the Graduate Center - CUNY and is Head of the Music Library at Queens College. She is writing The Musical Life of Hamish MacCunn (1868–1916), a biography of the Scottish composer, for Ashgate and has a critical edition of MacCunn’s concert overtures forthcoming in the Recent Researches in the Music of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. Dr. Oates and Dr. James John, Director of Choral Activities at Queens College, received a grant to record the partsongs of MacCunn. The recording will be completed this fall, and the performances scores, edited by Oates, will be published.

She has received various awards, including the 2004 Ralph Vaughan Williams Fellowship and the Music Library Association’s 2003 Walter Gerboth for research. In addition to presenting papers at national and international conferences, she has published articles in Europe, Empire and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music, a collection of essays on British music; College Music Symposium, The Opera Journal, and Music Reference Services Quarterly. She earned her master’s in musicology from the University of Kansas, a Ph.D. in historical musicology and a master’s in library and information studies from the Florida State University.
Sean Hickey, Sales Representative, Naxos Recordings

Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1970, Sean Hickey’s earliest music education began at age 12 with an electric guitar, a Peavey amp, and a stack of Van Halen records, the early ones of course. He studied jazz guitar at Oakland University, later graduating with a degree in composition and theory from Wayne State University. His primary instructors were James Hartway, James Lentini and Leslie Bassett.

Since moving to New York, Sean has pursued further studies with Justin Dello Joio and Gloria Coates. His works include concertos for clarinet and cello, two string trios, a string quartet, a flute sonata, a woodwind quintet and trio, several pieces for solo instruments, church as well as orchestral music. He has also composed a film score, and composed the music for a children’s play, the latter of which received over 80 performances. Sean is also active as an arranger, contributing arrangements for various artists and ensembles in the pop and jazz music spheres, most recently scoring The Winemaker for performances in Philadelphia. 2003 was a busy year with performances of his piano music at New York’s Weill Hall in addition to the first concert dedicated entirely to his chamber and solo music, at CAMI Hall. In 2004, Hickey was awarded a grant from the New York Department of Cultural Affairs as well as a Composer Assistance Grant from the American Music Center to mount concerts of his work. He has fulfilled commissions for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the St. Petersburg Symphony, New York’s One World Symphony, the Adesso Choral Society in Connecticut, the Spain-based piano/accordion duo An-Tifon, 60x60, and the Gringolts-Weiss-Fiterstein Trio. His disc of chamber and orchestral works for Naxos American Classics, Left at the Fork in the Road, released in November 2005, broke the Billboard Top 100 Classical Chart. It is available wherever records and downloads are sold.

His principal instruments are guitar and piano. Other commissions include works for cellist Dmitry Kouzov, pianist Xiayin Wang, violinist Ilya Gringolts, flutist Stefan Hoskuldsson, and for Philadelphia-based ensemble Ars Futura. He is a recipient of seven straight annual ASCAP awards and was named a semi-finalist in the Auros 2001-2002 Composition Competition, also winning second prize in the 1990 State Awards in the former Yugoslavia. The past year has seen numerous performances in New York, Washington, Russia, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland and Brazil. He is an ASCAP member and is currently composer-in-residence with the Metro Chamber Orchestra in New York. His works are published by Cantabile Publishing and Wolfhead Music.

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