By Miya Williams Fayne
Claudia Encinas grew up in a musical family. Both of her parents are classical musicians and she often attended their concerts and spent time backstage during rehearsals. “Music was and is my entire world since birth,” she said.
Encinas started playing violin at three years old but switched to viola in college when she realized she preferred the tone and repertoires of the larger instrument. She majored in viola performance at Valdosta State University in Georgia where she was able to teach strings to children through the South Georgia String Project. Encinas also worked in the orchestra office on campus during her sophomore year. These experiences allowed her to discover her interest in organizing, which she pursued further after graduation.
Prior to beginning the MSLCE program Encinas worked for the Heifetz International Music Institute as an operations manager. There she was involved in many different projects and learned about everything from admissions to concert planning to fundraising. This led to her current desire to become the executive director of an orchestra or the president of a music institution.
Encinas would like to modernize classical music by teaching more recently released music and incorporating technology. Although she acknowledges that some in the industry are resistant to using new systems, she believes it is necessary and would add more value to the genre.
“Classical music is an old art form but the students are younger and they should have the opportunity to experience it with current ways of doing it,” she explained.
Encinas loves that the concepts she learns in MSLCE classes can be directly applied to her career interests. She is especially enjoying her fellow classmates as their interests are varied yet they all have a mutual excitement for the creative industries. She said, “It really feels like we’re all supporting each other rather than in competition.”
Encinas hopes to take more advantage of the networking opportunities that the program provides and she is particularly looking forward to going on more site visits. “I’m just really glad this program exists,” she shared. “I know I’ll be able to accomplish my goals after this program.”