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WHAT THE NEA INSTITUTE IN CLASSICAL MUSIC AND OPERA participants are saying about their experience at Columbia University:

“The writing workshops were, perhaps, the most beneficial part of the 12-day institute. They were a chance to take a hard, critical look at the heart of my job, with constructive peer review. There is no doubt that my review-writing and column-writing has improved because of the writing workshops.”
Richard Bammer, features writer, The Reporter (Vacaville, CA)

“I'm still pinching myself that I got a chance to learn from Master Joe Horowitz. The caliber of lecturers was beyond reproach: editors, writers, arts managers, musicologists. Amazing! I already came to the table with a love for music and a love for reporting. Now I have more confidence that I am qualified and capable of going back to my paper and reporting on classical music with more authority. I know what to do now to give more insight into the arts to my readers.”
Cathalena E. Burch, senior music writer, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ)

“For someone who had never been to New York, it was a whirlwind introduction at the highest level. Front-row seats at the Met! If the institute had ended on the first Tuesday, I would still have considered it a success.”
Carla Carlton, A&E editor, The Courier-Journal (Lousville, KY)

“This institute was the most important professional development I have ever had. I can imagine logistical and minor ways to improve it, but fundamentally I can’t imagine a more sound, ambitious or important program for a working arts journalist today.”
Jen Graves, staff writer, The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)

“Logistically perfect. Everyone who planned this program did an extraordinary job. Perfect hotel. Perfect location. Perfect food. Perfect, perfect, perfect.”
Alexandyr Kent, performing arts critic, The Times of Shreveport (LA)

“Considering the fact that this was the first Institute of its kind, and the myriad of small and large problems that attend any kind of planning, I would say that [the organizers] pulled off a miracle. Logistics were for the most part crystal clear, and if they were not, someone could always clarify for us. I have nothing but admiration for the way the Institute was planned for and kept together.”
Grant Menzies, classical music/arts writer, Willamette Week (Portland, OR)

“I feel that taken a giant step in my understanding of the form. I went from abject fear of writing reviews to a palpable easiness. I feel I have grasp of a historical perspective as well as a superficial sense of music theory. But again, I would have liked more opera.”
T.D. Mobley-Martinez, arts reporter, The State (Columbia, SC)

“I feel like I’m coming away not only with better knowledge about how to approach concert criticism, but also better understanding of the economics and societal forces that affect classical music today. I doubt I will ever experience a more intense and rewarding immersion among the best minds of classical music. Without a doubt, this was the most educational and thought-provoking two weeks of my professional career.”
Joe Nickell, arts and entertainment reporter, Missoulian Daily Newspaper (Missoula, MT)

“I think I learned the importance of writing with conviction about music and the importance of trusting my gut feelings about a performance. I also learned that reviewing is as much about story telling as about giving an opinion; that reviews should tell a reader something about an event's newsworthiness.”
Gary Panetta, arts reporter, Journal Star (Peoria, IL)

“The writing workshops, as far as I'm concerned, justified the entire endeavor. It's impossible for me to overstate how valuable they were. Particularly in the session with Terry Teachout, it was real nuts-and-bolts stuff, precisely what everyone, no matter the experience level, needs.”
Tom Pantera, staff writer, The Forum (Fargo, ND)

“Until I came here, I'd spent little to no time actually studying classical music (its history or compositional constructs). I now recognize layers I didn't know existed, and I'm confident that I have a thin but strong foundation that is bound to broaden the ground I can potentially cover in any given classical music story.”
Matt Peiken, arts reporter, St. Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, MN)

“The meetings with experts and leaders were wonderful – especially going to the New York Times and also having the session with Beckerman. Even the reception, where I got to meet former Pulitzer winner Margo Jefferson, was valuable – just for networking and connecting names with faces. I feel I really got to meet writers I greatly admire – including Alex Ross from the New Yorker.”
Amanda Pierre, arts and culture writer, Des Moines Register (IA)

“Not only did the experts give me more tools for my writer’s toolbox, but they also worked on our style of writing. I have compiled a list of more than 100 great suggestions to help my reviews and my writing.”
Terry Rindfleisch, reporter, La Crosse Tribune (WI)

“I have been energized and invigorated by these two weeks. I am actually excited about going back and writing about our arts scene. I think these sessions have challenged some of the ways I look at classical music made in Wichita - that some of the things I disdained I have discovered are in fact important trends.”
Chris Shull, staff writer, The Wichita Eagle (KS)

“It felt like three weeks of academic and practical work crammed into 12 days.”
James D. Watts, staff writer, Tulsa World (OK)

NAJP : Fellowships : NEA Institute : Testimonials