The Trumpeting Teacher | by Julia Friedman

Recently Julia Friedman, a journalism student at NYU, wrote a very nice profile piece about my career - focused especially on the work I do as a teaching artist at the New York Philharmonic.  

Paul with his students at Mount Carmel Holy Rosary in East Harlem

At Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School in East Harlem, uniform-clad third graders are pounding on their desks. Some do it quickly, others softly. Some are clapping their hands while others are snapping their fingers or stamping their feet on the floor. A few crinkle sheets of paper. The room sounds like a thunderstorm and the children have big, mischievous grins on their faces. But their teacher, Paul Murphy, does not care. He asked them to be loud. He wantsthem to be loud.

Paul Murphy, 31, is a teaching artist with the New York Philharmonic and his lesson today…

Read the full article

Lessons Learned From Crowdfunding | Musical America Blogs

I was really honored when Edna Landau called me up to chat over the phone about Decoda’s successful launch campaign in one of her Dear Edina columns.  She gives some great advice on crowdfunding in the article - check out the excerpt below and follow the link to read her full column.  

*Note that prior to June 2013 Decoda was known as “The Declassified”  

I spoke to Paul Murphy, who is a member of the Artists’ Committee of The Declassified and who was integrally involved in their successful Indiegogo campaign to launch the music collective. They sought to raise $20,000 and raised $25,115 in six weeks. The monies were used to cover basic expenses such as a professional website, marketing materials, office space and accounting and legal fees, as well as costs related to events that took place in the launch week. The campaign led directly up to the launch week and was significantly helped by an article about The Declassified that appeared in The New York Times. The size of The Declassified (over 40 members) gave them a built-in network of family and friends that got them one-third of the way. They put a lot of thought into their video and making sure they had a point person to keep their written and video messages consistent and compelling. They focused on clearly and concisely expressing who they are, what they do, why they are excited about it and on inviting people to be a part of it. You might find their rewards interesting, inasmuch as it can be a challenge to offer benefits to donors when you don’t yet exist! When the campaign ended, and following their launch week, they sent out a newsletter to their network and Indiegogo campaign donors to thank them and share the exciting news that they were singled out by Indiegogo as a model campaign. - Read Edna’s full blog post. 

Case Studies of 4 Yale Music Entrepreneurs: Achieving The Impossible

I was honored to be invited back to my alma mater recently by the always inspiring Astrid Baumgardner to speak as part of a panel discussion on entrepreneurship and musical careers.  Professor Baumgardner documented our discussion that day and posted it to her blog. 

The Soul of a New Ensemble: Musicians as Entrepreneurs -

My colleagues and I have been working hard for several months to prepare for our big public launch campaign - its exciting to have the NY Times cover it!  Read the excerpt below or follow the link for the full article.  

* Prior to June 2013 Decoda was known as “The Declassified”

New York is awash in self-governing groups that focus on new music and often play in once unexpected places, like bars, clubs and galleries. They include the International Contemporary Ensemble, So Percussion, the American Modern Ensemble, the Knights and Sonyc. Such groups have come in waves in recent decades.

But the Declassified has a special pedigree. It consists of alumni of the Academy, a two-year fellowship program sponsored by Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.

The 15 to 20 fellows — accomplished musicians who have finished conservatory or college and are just beginning careers — are trained to interact with audiences, teach and develop a sense of entrepreneurship. Carnegie pays them a stipend, gives them performances at the hall and elsewhere and sends graduates out for residencies at home and abroad.

The alumni decided they wanted to stay together and claim independence from Carnegie. Carnegie agreed to keep funneling them residency work as long as they functioned as a democracy and included future alumni, according to Clive Gillinson, Carnegie’s executive and artistic director. (Twenty fellows are finishing in June, and the next crop is about to be chosen.)

“Our approach will be to engage them as an ensemble, and they decide who are the players,” Mr. Gillinson said. Carnegie provides no direct financing, but Mr. Gillinson, whose first big project after he arrived at Carnegie in 2005 was to push for the Academy, said he had made a personal donation of $1,000. The group has raised about $12,500 toward a goal of $20,000 to pay for its opening week.

Help Launch Decoda!

I’m really proud of our launch campaign!

Some incredible musicians ask for your help in launching a revolution in classical music. Join us!

*Note that prior to June 2013 Decoda was known as “The Declassified”

Our Story

Decoda is an exciting new collective of some of the world’s best and brightest young classical musicians. The members of Decoda all have a shared history together as alumni of The Academy: A Program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and The Weill Music Institute.  Having garnered worldwide acclaim performing as “Ensemble ACJW” during their time together as Academy Fellows, they are excited to continue building upon their experiences together, with the shared goal of creating a new professional organization which fundamentally redefines how a performing arts ensemble can meaningfully combine exhilarating performances with a genuine passion for audience engagement.  

Why We Need Your Help

By supporting Decoda’s Launch Campaign, you are helping us to build a strong organization for the future.  We share a collective ambition to reinvigorate the cultural conversation around classical music, and we greatly appreciate your help in making that vision become a reality! Join us!

Scott Joplin: Treemonisha by Rick Benjamin & Paragon Ragtime Orchestra and Singers

Scott Joplin: Treemonisha

PRO’s recording of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha is here!  

It’s truly an amazing 2-disc set that I’m proud to have played on.  You can buy it on iTunes but I highly recommend  buying the physical CD set instead which comes with an AMAZING 116-page booklet written with great care by Rick Benjamin and beautifully illustrated by Chris Ware.  

But don’t take my word for it.  Here is what the critics have to say about our recording of Treemonisha: 

“Treemonisha as It Was Intended to Be”
- the Wall Street Journal

(Read the Wall Street Journal‘s feature story on this new recording and its creation by clicking here: “Treemonisha as It Was Intended to Be” by Barrymore Laurence Scherer.)

“This is the most important document about the history of American
composed music to have appeared in a long, long time.”

Gramophone (“Editor’s Choice” album)

(Read the Gramophone‘s full review by clicking here: “PRO’s Treemonisha” by Philip Clark.)

“…sweetly foursquare arias (Joplin’s libretto is touching and earnest) 
alternate with choruses that could make you weep with joy. 
There is nothing else like it, and Benjamin, aided by his 
excellent orchestra and singers, has finally made it whole.”

- the New Yorker

(Read the New Yorker‘s full review by clicking here: “Eleven for 2011″ by Russell Platt.)

Paul soloing with the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra while playing on an authentic 1917 Conn “New Wonder” cornet on loan from Rick Benjamin.  These old horns have such a special sound that’s difficult to find on modern instruments!  

The music of Louis Hirsch is truly beautiful and fun to play - consider buying the full album on iTunes.

Yale School of Music Seminar offers career advice to musicians

I was honored to participate in a panel discussion at the invitation of Associate Dean Michael Yaffe about what it’s like building a career today. The Yale Daily News covered our seminar.  Read the excerpt below, or read the full article.  

Saturday’s discussion featured guest speakers Alecia Lawyer and Paul Murphy MUS ’06, both professional musicians who have made their careers by combining artistic passions with community leadership experience. Lawyer, for example, is an oboistwho founded the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, and Murphy is a trumpeter who has worked for outreach programs at Carnegie Hall and The New York Philharmonic. Both said they believe community engagement is necessary for any ensemble that wants to attract audiences today.

“It’s funny because I do this community engagement work because I love to do it first of all,” Murphy said. “But second of all, I do this work because I can pay my rent.”

Murphy noted a “paradigm shift” that has taken place in the art music field over the past five years in which major intuitions have begun creating jobs for trained musicians that focus on reaching out to the community. Murphy, himself, works as a “teaching artist” for the New York Philharmonic, a job that allowed him to both perform and work in the orchestra’s education programs.

The Saturday seminar is one of four to be held this year as part of the Saturday Seminar series, which got its start last year when the school offered a series of four panel discussions all focused on community engagement. This year, the program has evolved to feature four distinct workshops,Yaffe said. The first one, held on Sept. 25 explored financial management and musical entrepreneurship and was led by New York-based life coach Astrid Baumgardner and local accountant James Remis.

Over the past five years, Yaffe said the Yale School of Music and other music schools around the country have been reexamining the way they prepare musicians for careers in the music world. He cited aging audiences and reduced funding for music education programs as two factors that have made it more difficult for professional musicians to find jobs.

“I think one of the strengths of the Yale program is that they recognize that it is not enough any more to be a great musician,” Jordan Kuspa MUS ’12, a student at Saturday’s talk, said. “You have to understand how to build a career.”