Today we’d like to introduce you to Cassidy Fitzpatrick.
Cassidy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up with music. I played the piano, sang at home and at school, played clarinet in my public school band program from 5th through 12th grades, and performed in musicals. I like to think that my story begins with a home filled with music. In college, I knew I wanted to major in history, but was also halfway through music major when one of my music professors said “you know you should really just finish the music major and do a double.” So I completed a European history and musicology major at Amherst College and had very few ideas about what I wanted to do out in the real world. After I sent a lot of unsuccessful applications out for media jobs in radio, film, and TV, I decided that maybe I wanted to go to law school, eventually, but that I should try out lawyering as a paralegal first.
On September 2, 2008, I started my first job in the Insurance and Financial Services Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Within the next three weeks, most of the major banks in the U.S. had collapsed in the 2008 recession. As a part of my work, I assisted attorneys investigating the role of large investment banks in the subprime mortgage collapse. I had no financial background, and if you had asked me to define a subprime mortgage or a security in my senior year of college, I would have laughed at you. That experience taught me that if I put my mind to it, I could become an expert on nearly anything. If I had decided to go to law school, it would have been the best experience. But though I realized I enjoyed working in the public interest, I did not want to be a lawyer and as I thought about what was truly important to me, I thought about the role of music and the arts in my life.
I found my first job in arts in administration with Boston Lyric Opera working in the artistic administration and development departments and helped with the initial classes of Emerging Arts, young opera singers making their big professional debuts. In 2012, I moved to Miami to take a job with Florida Grand Opera and continued working with young professionals through their Young Artist Program, at that point, I realized that I was not as interesting in producing art as I was in making it accessible and sharing it with the community. I was really enjoying living in Miami and I had heard great things about the New World Symphony and decided to apply for a job working primarily with the community engagement department. After a year in my first position, I was promoted to Director of Community Engagement.
In the spring of 2015, I decided to pursue graduate school part-time, and have just recently completed my MBA at the University of Florida. Every day I get to work with the Fellows of NWS to enhance their learning as classical musicians and help them share their wonderful gifts with the local, national, and international community.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Like many young professionals, I have had many moments of “what am I doing with my life?!” There are a couple of key moments I will highlight, first, when I decided not to go to law school. After coming to that decision, I spent nearly 9 months searching for a non-profit arts job. I did informational interviews with anyone who would talk to me, I applied for countless jobs, I networked, and found a job when I sent in a cold application and had two interviews in two days. So you never know! There were times when it felt like it would be much easier to apply to law school or stay in my job that was not really for me.
Next, my first job in Miami was not a great fit for me for many reasons and I left that job without another one lined up. For me, those two months of unemployment were the most stressful period in my adult life. Again, I networked. I did informational interviews, and wrote and rewrote countless cover letters and resumes. I was not sure if I was on the right path, but in the end, NWS was a much better fit for me personally and professionally so after the stress came relief. Finally, over the last two years, I’ve been in graduate school part-time. Anyone in the performing arts world knows we do not operate in a Monday-Friday 9 to 5 kind of world, so creating discipline and structure to accomplish all that I needed to accomplish for both work and school was very difficult. I admire all of the parents that were in the program with me. If anyone is considering part-time graduate school while working, I can highly recommend it and simultaneously scare the crap out of you! That being said, I think for me it was very valuable to be able to immediately apply the concepts we were learning in class to my every day work life.
New World Symphony – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
New World Symphony is America’s Orchestral Academy. We are committed to training the next generation of orchestral leaders. NWS is a unique place, bridging the gap between school and the professional world. Our musicians are top of their class and among the best in the world, but the orchestra world is a highly competitive market and there are not many full-time jobs. We believe the skills they learn at NWS will help them excel in their careers. We are at the forefront of the educational field for orchestral musicians. We create models for other institutions of higher learning and orchestras through new technology and new audience initiatives. NWS is looking towards the future of classical music while preserving the traditions of artistic excellence and technique.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Miami is an exciting place to be as a person curious about culture and the arts. The interest in developing a real cultural scene is booming in this young city. Unlike older cities on the East coast, there is space to build new programs, experiences, and companies. Plus you get to live in a city where the weather is perfect every day from October through April! Miami is a diverse and beautiful city. I would encourage any young professional to give it a try.
- Address: 500 17th Street
- Website: www.NWS.edu
- Phone: 305-673-3331
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- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/new-world-symphony-miami-beach
New World Symphony