Barry Alexander and Cosmo Buono are helping classical musicians worldwide launch and sustain careers as professional artists, while also helping build the next generation of audiences.
I often refer to ABI as a classical music business empire. With a single Piano competition in 2003, it quickly expanded to Voice, Strings and Flute, as well as an annual music festival, a not-for-profit foundation, and most recently an Academy (ABIA) launching in January 2015. In this interview, Barry speaks to ABI's philosophy for helping classical musicians launch and sustain their careers.
For years, ABI's seminars have been focusing on training musicians how to perform and understand the business side of music. The Academy (ABIA) came as a natural extension. The Master Class Series under ABIA enable musical students to meet once a month for 6 months - think of it as a platform where artists come together to practice repertoire and ultimately perform at Carnegie Hall for their final recitals. The Master Class Series also teaches musicians how to appear on stage, how to choose the right repertoire, how to perform under pressure and how to manage and triage the unpredictable challenges.
One of my favorite topics with Barry during the podcast is when he discussed his belief in "Talent alone is not enough." In other words - it's not just a question of how talented you (the musicians) are, but how you present the materials".
Alexander & Buono International (ABI) teaches and conditions the musicians to be proactive after winning a competition. "The competition, as a platform, helps you gain as much visibility as possible but the journey doesn't stop there. You have to know how to market yourself including how to write press releases and other subtle procedures." Barry added, "You have to understand how the market works in order to succeed in that market." As part of this process, ABI helps not only de-mystify but also de-mythologize the process.
Speaking of the struggles many musicians face, Barry responds to a misconception he often encounters as a teacher and consultant:"Some students believe that 'I'm only as good as someone else says I am. ABI creates another paradigm, that is: I am as good as my talent and my willingness to work allow me to become." Barry believes that musicians and artists must examine their abilities from inside out, in order to maximize strength and minimize weakness.
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