Introducing “Asking for a Friend” — A New Music Advice Column

Hi! This is Rachel and Carol Ann, and welcome to our advice column, “Asking for a Friend”— a forum for talking about those awkward, bewildering career moments related to creating and performing new music. Ever wish you knew someone on the inside track who’d give you a straight answer about your music biz questions? That’s what this column’s for.

We’re two arts administrators with many years of experience working with composers and musicians in the new music field at venues and festivals, in music publishing, brand marketing, public relations, and artist management. Rachel is currently an artist manager at MKI Artists and previously Promotion Director at G. Schirmer, where she worked with many incredible living composers, and on the acquisition of the Florence Price catalog. Carol Ann is the Director of Marketing and PR at Boosey & Hawkes, previously an editor at Carnegie Hall, who also worked on projects like “Meet the Composer” at WQXR and other new music outfits around New York.

We decided to start an advice column because composers and performers are trying to find their footing in a rapidly changing industry, and we see a need to be available to each other to figure out solutions. I CARE IF YOU LISTEN and American Composers Forum gave us this space, in line with their mission to provide resources for music creators and the new music ecosystem, and we are grateful for the platform and opportunity to hear from you.

So, we want to know what’s on your mind: Burnt out from commissioners asking you to write music about your racial/cultural background? Trying to figure out how to get paid equitably for a digital premiere that you only had a few weeks to complete? Uncomfortable with recording selfie videos for a presenter’s marketing team, but feeling pressure to “be helpful”?

Submit your questions to “Asking for a Friend” here

Be specific, be honest, and be anonymous. We’re excited to hear from you.

About the columnists

Rachel SokolowRachel Sokolow

After receiving her degree in Violin Performance at The Hartt School, Rachel Sokolow was a freelance musician in Los Angeles (credits include “The Art of the Song” with Charlie Haden’s Quartet West), won a position in the Oregon Symphony, and then discovered that her creativity was fully animated offstage, as an advocate for music creators and performing artists. Rachel is currently an artist manager at MKI Artists while maintaining a small consulting practice. Before joining the MKI Artists team, Rachel was the Promotion Director at G. Schirmer, Inc. / Wise Music Classical, where she had the privilege of working with a distinguished roster of composers, oversaw the commissioning of more than fifty works, signed Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun and brought to publishing the previously unpublished works of composer Florence Price. She was the Artistic Administrator for David Finckel and Wu Han’s Music@Menlo and Chamber Music Today festivals along with the ArtistLed and Music@MenloLIVE recording labels, and spent a total of seven years at Carnegie Hall, honing her skills in the areas of program development and relationship management through her work on the national expansion of the LinkUp program and as part of the leadership team that launched the inaugural seasons of the program now known as Ensemble Connect.

Carol Ann CheungCarol Ann Cheung

Carol Ann Cheung is the Director of Publicity & Marketing at Boosey & Hawkes, where she works with some of the world’s most renowned composers, promoting the catalog through creative strategies in digital media, content marketing, and PR. Specializing in new music promotion, Cheung has previously worked as a communications / project management consultant for prominent new music ensembles, concert series, and composers, with clients including the International Contemporary Ensemble, MetLiveArts, a WQXR’s Peabody Award-winning podcast Meet the Composer with Nadia Sirota. She has also contributed as a writer to multiple music outlets, including I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, WQXR, and New Music Box. Prior to Boosey & Hawkes, Cheung worked at Carnegie Hall as an editor of publications and marketing communications. She trained as a classical pianist at Indiana University, where she studied with pianist-composer Emile Naoumoff.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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