Conservatory Students Receive Funding for Passion Projects

Conservatory students Ryan Davis and Jared Dickerson present their project to a panel of judges.

Last month, after nearly a full semester of workshops and one-on-one meetings, five innovating musicians arrived at the New Venture Competition’s Pitch Day, the pivotal moment that could make their passion projects possible. Each year, a group of Conservatory students and alumni present their creative business proposals to the panel of three judges in hopes of getting funding for their big ideas.

Now in its fourth year, the New Venture Competition allows students to exercise their creative talents in a different way than they are accustomed to applying them. Over the course of the academic year, students come up with ideas, develop a business model around it, work with the Community Engagement and Career Development office to refine their model, and finally pitch it to a panel of judges. For current students, the opportunity to workshop and develop ideas with the support of the Career Development office is crucial. Alumni are also invited to participate, with the same opportunities for mentoring that current students have.

This year, the judges chose all five ventures to receive further mentoring and funding.

Makiko Hirata (BM 10, Piano) will be working on the Musical Doctor, a webinar to help engage amateur adults in ongoing training in classical music. 
Ryan Davis (AD 19, Viola) and Jared Dickerson (MM 18, Trombone) will create a new podcast, Upnote, for classical musicians. “I am tremendously excited and grateful to the New Venture Competition, along with Nate Zeisler, for their encouragement, guidance, and support. This funding will empower us to think creatively about our vocations as musicians,” Ryan writes.
Gina Luciani (BM 11, Flute) received further funding to continue growing her brand. In addition to building her social media audience, she plans to open an online store with merchandise that she has designed.
Rachelle Jenkins (MM 18, Horn) wrote an audition training workbook titled The Audition Playbook that she will continue to sell.
Jena Vangjel (MM 16, Trumpet) will develop an online platform to guide classical musicians and chamber groups in their community engagement efforts.

Learn more about Colburn’s Career Development programs, including career advising, teaching artist fellowships, workshops, and more.