B.A., Denison University - 1983
Citation awarded May, 2008
Jennifer’s arts-administration career began in Boston as manager for a rowdy band of young men known as the Bourbon Street Jazz Band. Eager to expand her horizons, she joined the development staff of the Wang Center for the Performing Arts, then ventured briefly into advertising sales. That led her back to her love for music and to New England Conservatory (NEC) where she launched the school’s first annual fund drive and went on to lead development operations and special projects. While in search of summer programming for NEC’s newly restored Jordan Hall, Jennifer shared with Conservatory board member, Gerald Slavet, an idea about producing an old-fashioned radio show. With a mutual desire to break the mold for classical music and to celebrate pre-collegiate musicians in the same light Americans routinely reserve for accomplished athletes, a partnership was formed and From the Top was born.
Now in its tenth year, From the Top, a non-profit organization of 30 people, celebrates the passion, dedication and personal stories of the nation’s outstanding young classical musicians. Through entertaining NPR radio broadcasts, a 13-part PBS television series, online media, and a national tour of live events and outreach programs, From the Top connects weekly with millions of people of all ages. By bringing the music, heart and humor of young performers to multiple national platforms, From the Top inspires the pursuit of excellence and encourages participation in the arts as an integral part of a vibrant and civil society. Its training and mentorship programs prepare young musicians to interact with audiences, serve as positive peer role models, and give back to their communities in many ways.
Live recordings of From the Top’s popular NPR radio program take place in concert halls from Boston to Honolulu to Granville, where Jennifer’s mother, Lorraine Wales, directs the successful Denison Vail Series.
In her spare time, Jennifer is a board member of The Jericho Road Project, an organization that “bridges communities by matching the professional talents of volunteers with the needs of community-based non-profit organizations and businesses to promote community development, strengthen social services, and enrich the lives of the volunteers.”
Jennifer lives in Concord, Mass. with her husband Ed and daughter Maya.
We honor Jennifer Hurley-Wales ’83 for reminding us of all that beautiful music can bring into our lives, for engaging the next generation of musicians and audiences, and for making classical music Really Cool!