Teaching Entrepreneurship to Musicians

The following video presents the opening session from the inaugural NYU x NWS Summit introducing the New World Symphony’s (NWS) BLUE Program, its entrepreneurial and leadership training program which accounts for approximately 20% of NWS Fellows’ curricular time. Watch and read along to learn more.

NWSxNEA Research Lab Summit on Sustainable Careers in Music

Beginning in 2021, the NYU NEA Research Lab led by Dr. S. Alex Ruthmann, Dr. Bruce Carter and Dr. Tanya Kalmanovitch partnered with the New World Symphony (NWS) to research methods and practices of sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation in the classical music ecosystem in the United States.Replay the sessions from our first NWS x NYU Summit on March 13-14, 2023 where we envisioned the fearless future of orchestral musicians and their careers.

Our partnership takes root in a field that’s evolving in the context of a global pandemic. Our initial research study zooms in on the impact of current NWS Fellows participating in the NWS BLUE (Build, Learn, Understand and Experiment) program—but the implications reach far beyond.

At the Summit we debated and discussed the real world challenges of supporting musicians in a rapidly changing world. Topics included:

  • The NYU NEA Research Lab’s initial research findings on NWS BLUE
  • Beyond artistic excellence: Inventing, building and sustaining orchestral and classical music careers today
  • How funders can pilot change by building more meaningful partnerships with organizations and musicians
  • Emerging best practices in musician entrepreneurship training in the U.S.
  • Challenges and successes: How 30 years of NWS alumni are building and sustaining careers in today’s uncertain landscape
  • Strategies for skill building across the lifespan: Supporting professional development from pre-career through late-in-life
  • Setting a multi-year research agenda and initiating a research network

The NWS x NYU Summit provided extended opportunities for open discussion and dialogue as we worked toward and developed research partnerships for our future work.

Watch the following video to learn more about our initial research findings as shared at the inaugural NYU x NWS Summit profiling the NWS BLUE Program during the 2021-2022 concert season and academic year. 




This NEA Research Lab is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (Award#: 1879471-38-C-21) from its Research Labs program, specifically under their priority area on Arts, Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The opinions expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not represent the views of the National Endowment for the Arts. The National Endowment for the Arts does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included in this material and is not responsible for any consequence of its use.

Musician Career Case Studies

Stay tuned for publication of a series of musician case studies exploring how musicians are actively building, innovating, and sustaining careers in and around music.