Masthead header

Briefly on Senior Year

4th Year – BM Voice



Another year full of excitement is budding here at NEC. For me, this year is unlike any other…It’s my senior year! I honestly thought that this day would never come – that it would be forever before I would have to face the idea of moving on from NEC – my home, my musical family. But it hasn’t been forever – in fact, the years have flown by faster than I could ever imagine and now, reality is looking me right in the eyes. In these past three years, I have learned so much and not even just about music, but about myself.

Attending NEC has been such an overwhelmingly positive experience in my life and I know that I will always be so grateful for the teachers and students that I have had the honor of working with. I am disciplined in my craft, I am confident in my skills and I feel that even though I may be nervous about the future, I am ready for whatever life has in store for me, all thanks to NEC. For right now though, I am going to focus on beginning another great year at the best school on Earth! Whether you are just starting out at NEC or you’re looking to the future like me, let’s make it our goal to make this the best year at NEC possible. Live long and prosper, Penguins!

Back to top|Contact me

The NEC Team

2nd Year – MM French Horn




For those of you returning to Boston and NEC, welcome back! And for those who are starting their first year, welcome to the team!

Last year, I remember sitting in Jordan Hall with the pipe organ towering above and being surrounded by a sea of students before convocation. People were smiling and the laughter echoed all around making it so contagious my face started to hurt. The faculty and staff appear on stage one by one creating a tidal wave of cheering and hollering in the audience. I knew then this wasn’t any ordinary school.

A special part of NEC is the community. Faculty, staff, students and alumni come together creating what feels like a giant basketball team. The ball is generously passed around. Each time it’s touched brings a new perspective and opportunity to take the shot. Passion drives this operation and we perform freely from a supported belief in one another. You sink a three pointer, “Woohoo! Nice shot!” You miss an easy layup, “No worries. Keeping on going!”

We are hear for each other in pursuit of our dreams and that’s what makes us stronger. Wherever we go, we’re not alone. When we walk out on stage for an audition or into an office for a job interview, following are hundreds of people from the NEC community that have given us the support to grow into who we are as people and musicians.

This is our team, saying “Go for it! Take the risk!” Our branches reach out far and wide, connecting us to communities which are connected to other communities that connect us to society and so on which ultimately connects us to the world. The ability to have an impact is a lot greater than we usually believe.

But the NEC community has helped me realize this potential and it all starts right here and now. Thank you to the NEC community for opening up my eyes to what is possible and deepening my love for music.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer and here’s to a great school year!



Back to top|Contact me

Composers in the Kitchen

Sarah Atwod

2nd Year – MM Violin




Rumor has it that Niccolo Paganini was a virtuoso in the kitchen, as well as onstage. He has a famous ravioli recipe to prove it. Although Jean Sibelius did not compose during the latter part of his life, he did take the time to concoct a punch recipe. Gioachino Rossini was both a philosopher and connoisseur of food, who wrote recipes for the adventurous chef. Bartok was intrigued by halibut and avocado, and Beethoven (allegedly) loved the German version of macaroni-and-cheese. Were these composers maestros of taste, as well as sound? Here is just one recipe that was composed to whet your appetite (feel free to interpret the more exotic ingredients as needed).





Seeing as how Rossini and Paganini were friends, perhaps they had evenings of cooking together – an enticing notion to be sure, but alas, improbable. Paganini’s recipe is not for the faint of heart, however. Apologies to the vegetarians — it’s unproven as of yet whether tofu can adequately substitute for an entire calf’s brain. Don’t feel like searching for borage at Shaw’s? Intimidated by the idea of eating a calf’s brain? If you’re not prepared to head up to the eighth floor of the Residence Hall or go home to your apartment and try out that recipe, don’t despair! We’ve got our own masterful recipe for Ravioli. Ready to get started?






Back to top|Contact me

To The Students Of NEC

NEC President



As we approach Commencement and the end of the school year, I am saying farewell to NEC just as many of you graduating students will do on May 17.  Like you, I am moving into a new chapter of my life, which will provide I am sure as many adventures as the last nearly 20 years in the States. As the poet Hermann Hesse once wrote: “In all beginnings dwells a magic force/For guarding us and helping us to live.” To a considerable extent, we are all going to be engaging in a very similar journey. Good fortune to us all.

Looking back over my eight years at NEC, I am extraordinarily proud of the Conservatory’s accomplishments and its current eminence. And you students—and your teachers—are largely responsible for this distinction. It has given me great joy to observe your artistry, your collegiality, your entrepreneurial savvy, and the importance you place on being citizens of the world.

There have been so many performances and events that I recall as intensely pleasurable and profoundly moving: the two Symphony Hall concerts by the Philharmonia and Hugh Wolff; the celebrations of our Jazz and CI 40th Anniversaries, our “Evening in Valhalla” and opera productions such as Paul Bunyan, Turn of the Screw and our most recent Così fan tutte. I have also been thrilled to see the work of UGOS really develop in recent years and their production of Albert Herring in March was stellar. The work of the Chamber Choir and Chorus has also really burgeoned into something of great quality.

There have been other moments to cherish: the extraordinary intimacy and passion of chamber music performances by NEC musicians outside Brigham and Women’s hospital on the terrible days following the Boston Marathon bombing; the poetry readings and dramatic performances by students in our Liberal Arts classes and the very impressive creative writing from our students in the Hear Here! Programme. And I have looked with wonderment at the creation of professional opportunities that some of our recent alumni have pulled out of thin air like A Far Cry, AcousticaElectronica, and Dan Gabel’s Abeltones and High Society Orchestra.

In the last few months, I have had occasion to travel and listen to musicians from around the world, including the Guildhall School’s international Reflective Conservatoire Conference, which drew over 400 participants from every continent. From all corners, I have heard how the music world and the lives of musicians are undergoing great change. And you, students and graduates, are going to be right in the middle of it. It will be you who have the responsibility to lead the charge. You will be responsible for preserving the essential, soul-affirming core of music that is a foundation of our civilization. You will have to guide music back to its central place in society from what is currently, sadly, a position on the margins.

For this, you will need to open yourselves to new collaborations, new idioms, new cultures, new ways of presentation, new ways of teaching. You will need maximum flexibility of mind, versatility, willingness to dare, the ability to strip yourselves bare of preconceptions and old habits. (It’s like moving out of a house, divesting oneself of most material things we possess and stepping out unencumbered but nearly naked—a process with which I am all too familiar at the moment .)

For this, I wish you courage, a spirit of adventure, resilience in the face of failure, and endless resourcefulness. It is a battle worth fighting and about which I feel total confidence in your ability to prevail. My warmest good wishes and affection to all of you.

Back to top|Contact me