To be an artist is one thing. To be a successful artist is quite another. What separates the two? Often it is simply entrepreneurship-the drive and know-how to turn your artistry into an art career.
Claudia Stevens, pianist, singer, musicologist, and composer, whose work has been performed on national stages, lectures on the topic of entrepreneurship and reveals key strategies for artists to undertake. Her presentations address topics such as self-management, marketing, and crossover careers.
As a scholar and performer she encourages listeners to consider both thoughtfully and creatively the importance of developing entrepreneurial skills. Stevens’ interdisciplinary presentation will benefit students and community members interested in pursuing the arts or a business career. She has created some 15 solo plays for her own performance as a musician and monologue artist, many of which were published or presented by leading universities and arts centers. Among her honors as a creative artist are a dozen touring grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and numerous residencies at cultural institutions.
Recent projects include a solo play cycle about animal rights and the librettos for a short chamber opera, A Very Large Mole, and for a new chamber opera, Riddle Me, created in collaboration with Allen Shearer.
Stevens holds degrees in music from Vassar College and University of California, Berkeley, as well as a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano from Boston University, under Leonard Shure. She has held academic, conducting and performance positions at Brandeis University, Williams College, the College of William and Mary.
- Lecture: “Breaking Some Eggs: Strategies in Career Advancement for the Entrepreneurial Artist”.
- Lecture: “Revelation: an artist talks about her discovery of Jewish identity and Holocaust past.”
- An Evening with Madame F was created by Claudia Stevens for her solo performance as a musician and actor, with additional original music by Fred Cohen. The work has been presented at the national and international levels for two decades. It is widely praised by critics, audiences, and the Holocaust survivor community as a uniquely authentic and profound artistic expression of the Holocaust. Drawing on first-hand accounts – those of her own family members and of several concentration camp musicians, Stevens depicts and mirrors the struggle of women who survived Auschwitz as entertainers. In an enthralling virtuoso performance, she incorporates music that was played and sung by concentration camp inmates. And, as the daughter of victims of the Holocaust, she also meditates on the complex ethical and artistic dilemma of expressing unspeakable horror through art. An Evening with Madame F was produced for television by PBS affiliates WCVE and WHTJ.
“An Evening with Madame F” has been programmed in New York, Toronto, Houston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Palm Beach, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, St. Paul, Louisville, Baltimore, Boston, and many other cities. Presenters have included Holocaust centers, Jewish Federations and Foundations, JCC cultural arts series and lectureships in Jewish Studies. Additionally, the piece is being presented by many leading educational institutions. Recently these include: Dartmouth, Stanford, Brandeis, UCLA, Lehigh, Southern Methodist, the Univ. of Calif. at Santa Barbara, Cornell, Swarthmore and many others. A major article about Claudia Stevens, her unique personal story and artistic contributions, appeared in a recent issue of Reform Judaism magazine.
Claudia Stevens creates and performs her unique and complex solo plays throughout the United States. A number of her solo plays and musical compositions for piano are published in leading music and poetry journals. She also has become a recognized thinker and sought-after speaker about the Holocaust, great women of science, and entrepreneurship in the arts.
Classically trained as a pianist, singer, conductor and composer, Claudia studied piano with the master teachers Leon Fleisher, Leonard Shure and Arie Vardi. She holds degrees in music from Vassar College (summa cum laude), the University of California at Berkeley and the DMA from Boston University. Her academic positions have included Williams College and the College of William and Mary as an Assoc. Professor of Piano, where she now is a Visiting Scholar. As a pianist she was the featured artist on a number of “Performance Today” on National Public Radio and PBS television broadcasts.
When Claudia Stevens developed a new career as an innovative performance artist and playwright, her creative work came to national attention. She is the recipient of grants from the International Theater Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts, and twelve consecutive grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and has been an artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Baltimore Theater Project, and RS9 Studio Theater in Budapest. She also was in residence at the Gitameit Art Center in Rangoon, Burma at the invitation of the American diplomatic and arts community to address the suppression of artists in Burma. Most recently, Claudia has become a librettist, collaborating with San Francisco composer Allen Shearer in several works of chamber opera: “The Dawn Makers,” which premiered at Herbst Theater, San Francisco in 2009 to national and international acclaim, and a new opera, “Middlemarch, a Love Story,” currently in progress. Claudia lives in the Bay Area in California.