Student Spotlight: Kristian Otten

kristian-ottenKristian Otten holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance (bassoon), and has worked in management and as a consultant for various off-Broadway and regional theater ventures in the greater NYC area in recent years. In addition to his arts administration work, he also sustains a position as Music and Worship Arts Director at the Covenant Church of Easton, CT, where he plans and leads services from the piano and guitar. On the side, Kristian enjoys collaborating on various projects as a keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist, including three studio albums with the Connecticut based progressive rock project entitled Digital Exile. He is pursuing a master’s degree in arts administration in order to further deepen his understanding of this dynamic field.

What attracted you to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia University?

I was initially attracted to the program at Teachers College by the caliber and experiences of the faculty as well as the diversity of experience and knowledge of the student cohorts. These two factors continue to impress and challenge me to grow in my understanding of arts administration as both a student and a practitioner.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

“Ambitious, agreeable, fun-loving.”

Who are your three favorite artists, in any medium?

Red Garland, Oscar Peterson, and Chick Corea – I’m a jazz fanatic!

Student Spotlight: Alexandra Tweedley

What attracted you to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia alexandra-tweedleyUniversity? 
I was attracted to the Arts Administration Program at Teachers College, Columbia University because of the incredible amount of resources available to students as well as the location in New York City, a culturally vibrant city with many opportunities in the arts. Additionally, being located within Teachers College allows students to explore the educational aspects of an arts organization, which I have gained a greater interest in through my time at TC.

Which courses have been the most eye-opening at Teachers College?

One of my favorite classes I have taken at Teachers College is Principles and Practices in the Performing Arts. In this class, we focused on many issues relating to the performing arts and discussed an array of different strategies and methods in which to work towards solutions to these issues, and we heard from various alumni about how they are currently working in the performing arts. This class was very eye-opening because it helped me gain a greater sense of issues which pertain specifically to my field of interest as well as hear alumni insights from the field.

Where have you interned while in the program?
During the program, I have interned at Juilliard Global Ventures, a department within The Juilliard School, as an operations assistant.

What was the most rewarding part of your internship experience?
During my internship experience, I was given several projects, including licensing digital assets for Juilliard Open Studios, an online arts educational app. However, one of the most rewarding experiences of my internship was my involvement in designing and implementing user testing of the Juilliard Open Studios app, which was integral to updates we made to the app a few weeks later and gave me a sense of how new technologies are facilitating performing arts education.

What have been some of your favorite cultural experiences in New York City?
Living near Lincoln Center has been a large bonus for me, because I often take advantage of student rush tickets to various performances there. Additionally, Juilliard has a very extensive performance calendar of great works for a very reasonable price.