I've always had an affinity for promoting artists and creative endeavors. As a kid growing up outside New York City, I booked my older brother’s rock band; later, in between classes at UC Berkeley, I promoted friends’ paintings.
Shortly after graduation, my sister sent me an ad in The New York Times: a classical music PR firm in New York City—Hemsing Associates—was seeking a junior publicist. I took the job and moved back east. Josephine Hemsing turned out to be the greatest boss, a class act. She taught me everything and kept it fun, even observing the time-honored tradition of the martini lunch. Soon after I was hired, she asked me to pick up pianist Alfred Brendel at the Carlyle and take him to WQXR for an interview. I was completely intimidated. However during the cab ride I realized he was funny and generous, an appreciator of the absurd who talked in depth about the city's architecture and Edward Gorey. He made me see the world from a whole new perspective.
Eventually I took a job managing public relations for the 92nd Street Y's Tisch Center during the too-brief reign of Michael Barrett. Michael believed in young artists like Lorraine Hunt and Stephanie Blythe before they were superstars, presenting their recital debuts. I ran media campaigns for The Schubertiade with Hermann Prey, Luciano Berio's complete Sequenzas, and Iannis Xenakis' Kraanerg premiere. Prey, Berio and Xenakis were deeply involved in every aspect of these events. I found it all mesmerizing.
I started my own company in 1997. Miller Theatre at Columbia University was my first client. It was a thrill to watch George Steel invent the now iconic Composer Portraits series; it's equally thrilling to watch Melissa Smey run the theatre today with a style and vision all her own. From the beginning I’ve been drawn to adventurous music, musicians and presenters. I feel this is where the action is, where the stories are. And while PR and journalism have changed a lot in two decades—it’s remarkable how “new” and “different” have become the norm—what hasn’t changed is my desire to tell the world about these extraordinary artists.