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Amy Aldrich Hopes to Build Career Developing Chicago’s Classical Music Scene

By Jacob Nelson

Amy Aldrich has a unique interest in classical music. First, she performed it. Now, she wants to develop it.

The MSLCE student and San Diego native started as a clarinetist, before deciding she was more interesting in nonprofit development, specifically within classical music or theatre. While studying performing arts management and business administration at DePaul, she worked as a development intern for Chicago’s recently-shuttered Redmoon Theater, and for Studio 773. She’s also worked for the Newberry Consort, a classical music organization in downtown Chicago.

“Development is mostly fundraising,” Aldrich explained, “the ‘development’ is developing relationships with stakeholders and foundations, so basically you’re in charge of the donor and board relations, just making sure everyone is happy and giving lots of money.”

Aldrich pointed out that Chicago is a great place for classical music and theatre, which is one reason she’s excited to be here.

“Chicago has such a huge and diverse classical music scene, with diverse ages and backgrounds,” she said. “I came to Chicago for DePaul and clarinet and stayed for all the other art opportunities that are here.”

Aldrich hopes that the MSLCE program will open up networking opportunities as well as provide “a better understanding of creative industries and how they overlap.” Her dream job is working for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

“Ideally… I’d want to be a development expert at an orchestra,” Aldrich said.

One aspect of development Aldrich especially enjoys is grant writing, the process by which organizations apply for funds. Aldrich enjoys the opportunity grant writing provides to learn as much as she can about the organization she’s representing.

“I like being able to know exactly the detailed things that make the organization important and why it deserves money and attention,” she said. “I think a lot of people know obvious things about organizations and why they would deserve money but you’d really need to have a nuanced idea of what the organization has to offer.”

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