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THE SCOOP | Boston Names Torontonian Director Of New Tanglewood Learning Institute

By Anya Wassenberg on July 18, 2018

(L-R) Mark Volpe, Tony Fogg, Susan Paine, Sue Elliott, and Andris Nelsons at the TLI construction site (Photo: Hilary Scott)
(L-R) Mark Volpe, Tony Fogg, Susan Paine, Sue Elliott, and Andris Nelsons at the TLI construction site (Photo: Hilary Scott)

Toronto native Sue Elliott will be moving east to Boston to take on new responsibilities as the inaugural Judith and Stewart Colton Director of the Tanglewood Learning Institute, as well as the $64 million Tanglewood Forever campaign. The Boston Symphony Orchestra made the announcement on July 18.

She leaves her position at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto as Director of the RCM Teacher Certification program since 2015. Elliott left her mark at the RCM by pioneering a comprehensive online program for music teachers that enrolled more than 2,500 in the first two years. Prior to her tenure at the RCM, she was Director of Education & Community Engagement with the Seattle Opera from 2010. Under Elliott’s directorship, net profits quadrupled, and designated contributions rose fivefold.

The Tanglewood Learning Institute is a new educational initiative that will launch in the summer of 2019 as an addition to the Tanglewood campus, summer home of the BSO since 1937. The innovative concept brings artists, academics, and audiences together both in person and online via distance learning technology to enrich the audience and artist experience at Tanglewood. The four-building complex will be Tanglewood’s first year-round concert and event venue. The first season’s plans including talks, lectures, film screenings, panel discussions, master classes, rehearsals, workshops, and musical demonstrations.

Tanglewood Forever is a $64 million fundraising campaign designed to cover the construction of the complex where the Tanglewood Learning Institute will find its home. More than $54 million has been raised to date.

Elliott’s experience in the world of opera and classical music comes from the ground up. After studying clarinet at the University of Toronto and McGill University in Montreal, she obtained a Master of Music in clarinet performance from the University of Southern California. After short stints as Production and Stage Management Fellow at OPERA America and Production Stage Manager at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Elliott landed at the Houston Grand Opera in 2000, taking on the role of Stage Manager. From there, she worked her way through the ranks to Assistant to the Producing Director in 2003, and HGOco Manager in 2007.

Public outreach has been a strong suit through all of her previous posts, combined with an emphasis on innovative programming. In Houston, she helped bring together 100 organizations through the Song of Houston initiative, a collaborative music and storytelling project. She initiated a redevelopment of public programs at the Seattle Opera, tripling revenues, and producing the company’s most successful Ring Festival to date while she was at it.  Her public profile in Seattle was boosted by co-hosting a weekly radio opera broadcast and serving on several public boards. She has frequently hosted pre-performance talks on opera all over the world.

In a press release, Elliott called the appointment, “an honor and a privilege”.

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