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Alumni Highlight: Chloë May

September 28, 2009

Manhattan School of Music

I originally came to Lewis & Clark with a piano scholarship, but no plans to major in music. However, as a life-long pianist and someone who always had a passion for the arts, I found it difficult to stay away from the music building and eventually declared myself a music major. During a brief existential crisis at the end of my sophomore year I realized that I, the girl who had a career plan starting in the first grade, was going to graduate with a music degree and no idea what I wanted to do with it. My ever-attentive piano teacher suggested that I think about going into arts administration and with that, a new career plan was born.

I focused my next two years on preparing myself for my new career. I found support among my professors and the administrators in the music department, who trusted me with directing my opera classes’ production as well as stage managing concerts in the music building and elected me to represent the department on the Student Academic Advisory Board. While in London on a study-abroad program, I interned for class credit at a small music organization which put on concerts twice a week and when I came back for my senior year, I wrote my thesis on women arts patrons and administrators in 20th century America.

After graduation, I worked in the ticket office of the Grand Teton Music Festival, in Jackson, WY, where I had a wonderful summer of fantastic music in one of the most breathtaking areas of the country. From there I moved on to New York City and an internship at Frank Saloman Associates, a small artist management company who managed conductors, classical musicians and small ensembles all over the country.

When that internship ended, I went back to the music festival for another summer, this time having been promoted to help manage the ticket office. Back in New York, I decided to get an office job to prepare myself for working in an administrative environment full time. I was hired by Rubenstein Associates, the biggest public relations firm in New York City. Among others, their clients include the Metropolitan Opera, the Empire State Building and the Yankees. There I learned how to write a press release, how to deal with clients and journalists, prepare media mailings, contracts and expense reports.

When I found the job listing for a public relations assistant at Manhattan School of Music, a conservatory college in New York City, I realized that the stars must be aligned in my favor. I immediately applied for the job and got hired. At MSM my responsibilities include coordinating and writing both our print newsletter and our brand new e-newsletter. Recently I created the School’s facebook fanpage, which attracted almost 800 fans in the first three weeks it was up. I write press releases, coordinate photography and photo archives, place advertisements, collect program information and manage parts of the School’s website. 

During my time at Lewis & Clark I was lucky to have mentors who pointed me towards a career path that allows me to combine my passion for music with my abilities as an administrator. As a result I’ve found a job where I have the privilege to talk about music, write about music and where I am surrounded by extremely talented musicians every day.