Sunday, July 26, 2015

5 Questions with Steve Wenig

Steve Wenig (B.M. ‘95) studied Music Theory and Trumpet at Hartt from 1990 to 1995.  He is currently living in Houston, TX.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

After graduating from Hartt in 1995, I went to the University of Michigan to work on a master degree in trumpet performance.  Although I did my undergraduate work in Music Theory at Hartt, it was the opportunity to study with great teachers, like Chris Gekker, Roger Murtha and Jay Lichtmann which really got me excited about trumpet playing.  Those opportunities, combined with the opportunities to play a good deal of heavy duty repertoire with the Hartt Symphony Orchestra, really lit a fire in me for orchestral trumpet performance.

After finishing my masters, I freelanced, taught lessons and took a ton of orchestral auditions. Well, 37 to be exact but who’s counting.  My wife and I moved to Houston, Texas and in 2004 an opportunity to work as the assistant personnel manager of the Houston Symphony presented itself.  

Constant auditioning and no orchestral job to show for it was beginning to take its toll so I figured that I would try an administrative position and if it turns out that I really miss trumpet playing then I’d know for sure to keep auditioning.  As it turns out, I really enjoyed working closely with the orchestra, even in a non-playing capacity and I’ve been working in orchestral management ever since.  After being the Asst. PM, I became the Personnel Manager and worked in that capacity for about 7 years. Personnel Managers occupy a crucial link between orchestral musicians and their employer.  It is also really thrilling to be in this part of the business and seeing all the work behind the scenes that goes into how a full-time Symphony orchestra operates.  As you might imagine, having a background as a musician was invaluable in this role.

What are you involved with right now?

Currently I still work for the Houston Symphony but am now the Director of Community Partnerships.  In this role, I help develop community relevant concerts and programming and also maintain the relationships with a number of community organizations, social service agencies and other cultural institutions.  This summer, we just launched a new Community Embedded Musician program.  This is a new group of string musicians who focus primarily on teaching and community work while also appearing as substitute musicians with the orchestra.  I also help advance the Symphony’s diversity and inclusion initiatives as it pertains to the Symphony’s relevance within the community.

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?

What was most memorable about Hartt were the friendships and networks that were developed and are still valued and in use today.

What did you learn during while at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?

A few years ago we had an NEA grant to create a community engagement project on Berg’s opera, Wozzeck as the Symphony was performing an opera-in-concert version.  Gee wiz, nothing like introducing those not already connected to classical music by way of the 20th C. composer, Alban Berg.  I remembered studying the work with Dr. Schiano and would have never thought that I’d be using the same material in such a way to introduce people to classical music.

What is next for you?

Good question.  Hopefully, I will be able to continue working on the education and community engagement side of arts management.  I’ve also starting playing trumpet again and am enjoying it in a much different way.

If you want people to get in touch, how can they do so?
I can be reached at Also via Facebook, although, I’m not a frequent poster. If you are visiting Houston, drop me a line and we can catch a concert.

UPDATE:  Steve is now the VP/General Manager at the Oregon Symphony!

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