Peter McDowell Speaks at APAP/NYC and CMA

January 1st, 2013 by Peter McDowell No comments »
January 13, 2013
3:00 pmto5:00 pm
January 20, 2013
8:00 amto10:15 am

UnknownPeter McDowell is joined by Jodi Kaplan, Founder, Jodi Kaplan & Associates, in leading Career Jumpstart for Performing Artists on Sunday January 13th, 2013 from 3-5pm as part of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Annual Conference – APAP/NYC. This workshop, part of APAP’s Career and Leadership Sessions, is designed to give musicians, dancers, and other performing artists some simple tools and strategies for booking, marketing and publicizing their careers, their creations and their performances. Topics to be covered include: the importance of a great web site, successful PR practices, and effective strategies for working with agents and presenters (including self-representation as an artist). Participants are encouraged to bring self-promotional materials that they have created for purposes of discussion and feedback.

One week later, on Sunday, January 20th at 9am, Peter appears on a panel led by Angela Myles Beeching at Chamber Music America’s National Conference. The panel, which features McDowell, Beeching, Justin Kolb, and Michael Drapkin, will focus on Career Diagnostics.

Session Description: Is there a “correct” career path for you and your ensemble? In this interactive session, veteran managers, career advisors, and performers answer questions and offer expert advice on clarifying your career goals, avoiding common pitfalls, and taking positive steps to raise your professional profile.



Lesson for 2013: Kindness to Self

January 1st, 2013 by Peter McDowell No comments »

flowersI was recently asked by my friend, the excellent Chicago-based Fundraising Consultant Mark Warner (MDW Consulting), to write a guest column for his January newsletter. I decided that I would share with readers a short list that changed my life in 2012, taken from Howard Schubiner’s excellent book, Unlearn your Pain. Nominally the book is about back pain, but the words below can be used effectively in work and career situations to unblock situations and to help move forward with projects and goals in a positive, healthy way. I have used these with my clients and will continue to do so in 2013. Schubiner’s words are simple, yet powerful, as quoted below:

“One of the most important aspects of…improving your psychological health is to be kind to yourself. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is very easy to develop and maintain a self-critical attitude. I urge you to take time each day to be kind to yourself. You can do this…by catching yourself in self-critical thoughts, and by doing some things for yourself. If you forget a task or don’t finish all the work or errands on your list, be kind to yourself.

Here are some examples of what I mean by being kind to yourself.

  1. Accepting that you are human and that you cannot be everything to everyone.
  2. Accepting your faults and realizing that you are a good person.
  3. Forgiving yourself for your mistakes, just as you would forgive others whom you love.
  4. Learning to say “no” to certain requests.
  5. Sending positive and caring messages to yourself.
  6. Recognizing that many others have been in your situation and have survived and thrived.
  7. Accepting your feeling as being normal.
  8. Catching yourself when you send critical messages to yourself and replacing those with kind and understanding messages.
  9. Figuring out what you need and not being shy about asking for it or taking steps to attain it.
  10. Taking time for yourself to do things just for you or just to allow you to relax and enjoy life.
  11. Standing up for yourself.
  12. Realizing that you are an important person on this earth and that you deserve to be happy and healthy.”

Read this list everyday, and you will find that certain burdens, fears, or concerns will dissipate, freeing your mind and your energy for active pursuit of your goals and happiness. My best wishes to you for a happy, healthy and productive 2013!

Blair Thomas: MOBY-DICK (excerpt) at Storefront Theater

December 21st, 2012 by Peter McDowell No comments »
January 20, 2013
2:00 pm

1W8A3200Blair Thomas & Company, a national and international touring puppet theater company founded in 2002 by puppeteer and director/designer Blair Thomas, presents work-in-progress excerpts from its future production of Moby-Dick on Sunday, January 20th, 2013, at 2pm at Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph, Chicago. Admission is free – for reservations visit or email

Narrator Ishmael recounts his journey on the Pequod as Captain Ahab’s relentless pursuit of the White Whale leads the entire crew to the depths of the ocean’s great unknown.  The words of this great American novel are brought to life on the stage through bunraku puppets and rolling paper scrolls.

Blair Thomas & Company is a national and international touring puppet theater company that was founded in 2002 by puppeteer and director/designer Blair Thomas.  They have made over a dozen original puppet theater pieces including: Cabaret of Desire, a staging of short works by Federico Garcia Lorca; The Ox-herder’s Tale an interpretive staging of the Buddhist parable of 10 painting of enlightenment; A Kite’s Tale a collection of piano pieces staged with silent narratives including Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Chopin’s Scherzo in b minor.   They have also toured with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  They have made collaboration productions with other companies such as Pierrot Lunaire a staging of Arnold Schoenberg’s song cycle with the chamber music ensemble eighth blackbird; an original adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant and an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s The Houdini Box both with the Chicago Children’s Theatre.  Twice Blair Thomas & Company has received the international UNIMA awards for excellence in the art of puppetry.  Twice the company has performed at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, once during when Blair was the first artist chosen to fill the Jim Henson Artist-in-Residence position at the University of Maryland.

In the Works is a performance residency program that gives emerging and established performing artists the opportunity to test-drive new work in a public setting. Each residency is tailored to the needs of the artist or company and their project and each showing is a unique opportunity for audiences to get a behind-the-scenes look at new work by Chicago artists. This program is made possible through a grant from The Boeing Company. Admission is either free or low-cost.  Visit for a complete schedule.



Chicago’s Chinese Fine Arts Society Receives NEA Grant

December 13th, 2012 by helen No comments »
December 1, 2012toDecember 31, 2012

The Chinese Fine Arts Society has received an NEA grant to support it’s amibitious “Five Elements Project”.  The grant is one of 832 Art Works grants totaling $23.3 million in funding nationwide.


Chicago, IL – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that Chicago’s Chinese Fine Arts Society(CFAS) is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The Chinese Fine Arts Society is recommended for a $17,500 grant to support the 2013-14 Five Elements Project.

The Five Elements Project, dedicated to the memory of Barbara Tiao, the late founder of the Chinese Fine Arts Society, is a multifaceted, two-year initiative seeking to create several important new pieces of music that will touch on the theme of the traditional Chinese elements, namely Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. 2013 is the five-year anniversary of Ms. Tiao’s passing, and 2014 is CFAS’s 30th anniversary, making this a momentous two-year period for the organization. This project engages two of the United States’ most lauded Chinese composersZhou Long (2011 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Music) and Huang Ruo, to create compelling works of music that explore the theme of the Chinese Five Elements, to be premiered in a concert series in 2014. Mr. Long’s composition will be comprised of five movements and scored for clarinet, pipa, piano, violin, viola and cello. Mr. Ruo’s will be a violin piece written for longtime CFAS collaborator and friend, Rachel Barton Pine.

“I’m proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public including The Chinese Fine Arts Society’s Five Elements Project,” said Chairman Landesman. “These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs.”

“My late mother, Barbara Tiao, would be so pleased” says CFAS Board President Julie Tiao Ma, “She strove for excellence and for creating a new canon of Contemporary Chinese music. To engage the best of today’s composers will be a thrill and an honor for CFAS.”

In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $22.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at

Pianist Inna Faliks at Salle Cortot, Paris

December 13th, 2012 by Peter McDowell No comments »
February 18, 2013
8:30 pm

0050 b&WMEDIUMPianist Inna Faliks will appear at Salle Cortot in Paris, France, on Monday, February 18, 2013, 8:30pm, under the auspices of Pro Musicis. Salle Cortot is located at 78 rue Cardinet – 75017 Paris – Tel : The mixed program will include works by Beethoven, Schumann, Shchedrin, and Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin.

Program will include:

Shchedrin Basso Ostinato
Beethoven Polonaise in C op 89
Beethoven Sonata Op. 57 Appassionata
Ljova “Sirota”, written for Inna Faliks in 2011
Schumann Davidsbundlertanze op. 6

Pianist Inna Faliks has set herself apart in thousands of performances as a sincere, communicative and direct performer whose virtuosity, power and risk taking serve the depth, intelligence and poetry of her interpretations. Inna’s command of standard solo and concerto repertoire is highlighted by her love of rare and new music, and interdisciplinary and audience-involving programs and lectures. These include her award winning Music/Words, where she alternates music with readings by contemporary poets, her program of piano music of the poet Boris Pasternak (on MSR Classics Sound of Verse, which drew comparisons to Argerich and Cliburn), 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg – new variations on Bach’s Aria , music of women composers, and many other programs. She makes sure to present programs that include both beloved crowd pleasers and music that is new and challenging, creating an adventurous, moving and involving experience for the audience. She is a musical omnivore. Faliks debuted as a teenager with the Chicago Symphony and at the Gilmore Festival to rave reviews, and has been exciting and moving audiences worldwide since then.