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November 15, 2010

New forum for young musicians offers real-world connections, advice

screenshot of PolyphonicFacing an ever-shifting music world, young musicians today must create professional lives that cover many options: teaching, performing, working for arts institutions. But they often face career concerns and challenges the same way they practice: alone.
That’s where Polyphonic On Campus can help. Launched this month, the companion to is written by young musicians for young musicians, and it offers a forum where artists with emerging careers and students poised to enter the industry can connect. It will include video blogs, articles of commentary and advice, webinars, and directories of numerous journals and music sites.

“I remember finishing my college degree in music and thinking, ‘what exactly do musicians do to make a living . . . what will I do?’” says Jamecyn Morey, an active chamber musician and a video blogger on the site. “This project is fantastic because it addresses that fundamental question, and provides guidance to young musicians on the brink of their own careers.”

Polyphonic On Campus is the newest initiative of, a networking and information Web site of the Orchestra Musician Forum. The site is part of the Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School.

“We have signed up 12 video bloggers—students or young professional musicians, who will chronicle their journey into the professional world by posting bi-weekly video blogs. We’re hoping that they will develop a following--sort of like a soap opera,” says Ramon Ricker, senior associate dean for professional studies and editor-in-chief of “I think they will demonstrate that it’s not so bad out there in the real world if you have an entrepreneurial mindset and are pro-active.”

The editor of Polyphonic On Campus is Stephen Danyew, a prize-winning composer who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Frost School of Music and the Eastman School, respectively. The bloggers include young music directors, chamber music performers, orchestral musicians, conductors, and music school faculty members who have graduated from Yale University, The Juilliard School, Indiana University, the University of Georgia, the University of Miami, and others. Contributors also include current students from the Eastman School and Arizona State University. Over the course of a year, the bloggers will share video updates as they pursue their studies and professional opportunities.

Polyphonic On Campus features a separate section of articles on issues and topics of interest to musicians. Current articles cover subjects such as composing for youth orchestras, webcasting, and the growing professional responsibilities of conductors. Readers also will be able to submit their own articles for review.

Underscoring the sense of musical community and support, Polyphonic On Campus asks visitors to help support community organizations. By voting “Your Two Cents for the Future of Music,” visitors will help select one music institution to receive up to $1,000 for its work. The four student-nominated organizations include the Sphinx Competition, which supports cultural diversity in classical music; the Attrus C. Fleming Memorial Scholarship Fund, which supports Washington, D.C., students who plan to study music; Charity Music Inc., which loans instruments to at-risk and disadvantaged youth; and the Shropshire Music Foundation, which provides instruments and instruction to young people in war-torn places such as Kosovo and Uganda.

To read and learn more about Polyphonic On Campus, go to

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