• College of Performing Arts Faculty

  • Jennifer Kessler


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    Jennifer Kessler


    Jennifer Kessler is a distinguished leader in the arts and education sectors. Serving as the Executive Director of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) since 2020, she has steered growth and innovation marked by equity and inclusion initiatives. Notable achievements include the appointment of Artistic Director George Lewis, significant board expansion, childcare reimbursement policies for musicians, and knowledge-sharing initiatives like New Music Town Halls. Jennifer's multi-angled strategies are detailed in the esteemed publication “On Curating.” Fundraising surged by 67% under her guidance, and she secured support from major institutions including the Mellon Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Fromm Foundation. Her leadership also catalyzed artistic partnerships with Carnegie Hall, Chelsea Factory, Berlin’s MaerzMusik festival, and the Dutch National Opera.  

    In her previous role as Executive Director at Willie Mae Rock Camp, Jennifer amplified revenue by 45% and forged a pivotal partnership with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. At Orchestra of St. Luke’s, she revolutionized the education department, producing free concerts in collaboration with local arts organizations for 10,000 NYC students, and launching the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s in Hell's Kitchen. Jennifer has supported hundreds of artists in transformative arts, education, and professional development programming through her roles at Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, and the League of American Orchestras.   

    Jennifer designs and leads courses on arts entrepreneurship and nonprofit management at The New School and SUNY New Paltz. A former French horn player with degrees from Northwestern University and the Hanns Eisler Musikhochschule, she holds a post-graduate certificate in nonprofit management as an El Sistema Fellow at the New England Conservatory of Music. In addition to supporting a thriving and diverse arts ecosystem, Jennifer is also a certified yoga instructor, a devoted mother, a jazz enthusiast, and an occasional electropop musician.

    Photo by Dina Kantor.

    Past Courses

    Performing Arts Strategies
    CENT 5650, Spring 2024

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