Dr. Ayden Adler serves as Professor of Music and History at DePauw University where she teaches courses in arts patronage, audience engagement, and nonprofit management. With degrees from Princeton University (A.B.), the Juilliard School (M.M.), and the Eastman School of Music (M.A., D.M.A., Ph.D.), her professional background and experience encompasses music performance, scholarship, teaching, and administration. Highlights of her career include performing for ten years as a tenured member of the Rochester (NY) Philharmonic Orchestra while teaching at the Eastman School of Music, serving as Executive Director of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra after stints in senior management at the Atlanta and Philadelphia Orchestras, serving as Dean of Michael Tilson Thomas’ New World Symphony, and, most recently, as Dean of the DePauw University School of Music. Her academic research focuses on the history and current role of arts and culture in society, with emphasis on critical race theory and whiteness studies. Her current book project, “Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music”: Serge Koussevitzky, Arthur Fiedler, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is under contract with the University of Illinois Press.
At DePauw University, Dr. Adler lead the 21st Century Musician Initiative,Ô which realigned faculty and student approaches to 21st-century music education. Dr. Adler also secured $10M for scholarships beginning with the class of 2021; commissioned a new opera, The Last Dream of Frida and Diego, composed by Gabriela Lena Frank, with libretto by Nilo Cruz, in partnership with the Fort Worth Opera, San Diego Opera, and UT Austin; and secured Yo-Yo Ma for a fall 2017 performance with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago at DePauw.
In her previous role as dean of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy, Dr. Adler redesigned the academic program to address 21st-century needs of music students by providing high-level training in audience engagement, community engagement, and digital engagement, musician health and wellness, entrepreneurship, and leadership development. She also oversaw the creation of NWS’s multi-milliondollar digital arm, MUSAIC (www.musaic.nws.edu).
Dr. Adler is a frequent speaker and panelist and regularly gives presentations at national and international arts and culture forums that address issues of civic and economic relevance, diversity, entrepreneurship, leadership, and new technologies in the context of historic and current business practices at arts institutions. She is a Chief Executive Global Fellow of National Arts Strategies and currently serves as an accreditor for the National Association of Schools of Music and as a member of the Committee on Academic Leadership and Administration for the College Music Society.