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Ayden Adler

Professor of History and Music

About Ayden

Ayden Adler, Ph.D., D.M.A. is a professor at DePauw University, located in Greencastle, Indiana. She holds degrees from several institutions such as Princeton University (A.B.), the Juilliard School (M.M.), and the Eastman School of Music (M.A., D.M.A., PhD) and currently specializes in teaching music, history, and university studies, with an emphasis on the history of orchestral institutions and how society is impacted by the arts and culture. She has an extensive background in the world of music, both as a player and as a teacher, dating as far back as 1989, and her students have gone on to succeed in various roles, ranging from performers to educators.

During her many years on the orchestral circuit, Dr. Adler was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to perform all over the world under respected conductors such as Loren Maazel, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Alan Gilbert. For over a decade, she played for orchestras such as the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. During her time in Rochester, Ayden Adler simultaneously taught art and music at the Eastman School of Music. She also recorded with the Harmonia Mundi record label and is a proud member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Services, the organization responsible for determining Grammy award recipients.

In addition to teaching and playing music, Dr. Adler also has an extensive history of collaborative roles within her community, her industry as a whole, and her university. She is extremely proficient at cultivating gifts and grants for various organizations and passion projects, especially when it comes to identifying and training talented minority students who are looking to pursue careers as classical musicians. She helped DePauw acquire $10M worth of scholarship funding and partnered with the Fort Worth Opera, San Diego Opera, and the University of Texas to commission The Last Dream of Frida and Diego. She led the 21st Century Musician Initiative, which changed how faculty and students now view 21st-century music education. She succeeded in this initiative by providing training in topics such as audience, community, and digital engagement; health and wellness; entrepreneurship; and leadership development. Ayden Adler also helped to create the collaborative digital online enterprise, MUSAIC which provides students and performers with a way to access classical music through a video library and communicate through an online community.

Ayden Adler also served as the Executive Director of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York City and fought for the artistic community’s right to make collaborative decisions. Over the years, she worked laboriously with a variety of donors to eventually succeed in raising funds that exceeded $9M. She went on to develop the Orpheus Institute even further, helping up and coming musicians gain mentorship through a joint effort with local entrepreneurs and musicians. In addition to these roles, Dr. Adler also served as Director of Education and Community Partnerships for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Director for Learning Development for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Her fundraising endeavours are an impressive reflection of her dedication to helping others. She is a fellow of the Chief Executive Program within the National Arts Strategies (NAS) organization, as well as being an accreditor for the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). She is also a member of the Committee on Academic Leadership and Administration for the College Music Society (CMS). She secured $2K from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music for guest artistic programming, $250K from Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for a theatre renovation, $10K from the National Endowment for the Arts, $5K from the Indiana Arts Commission for Programming, $3K Arts Midwest Touring Grant for Seraphic Fire concert, and $12K from the Kurt Weill Institute for Production of Street Scene.

In her limited spare time, Dr Adler also makes appearances as a frequent speaker at both national and international arts and culture forums, addressing topics such as civic and economic relevance, diversity, entrepreneurship, leadership, and new technologies for art institutions. She has many political passions and loves to educate others about a variety of topics relating to the modern-day world, such as racism. She is working on a book entitled “Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music” which is under contract with the University of Illinois Press.