Murray: Reflections from a former Bravo! Vail intern, now artist liaison

Shannon Murray
Bravo! Vail

I absolutely love my job. As Artist Liaison with the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, I work with an incredible artistic team—including Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott and Director of Artistic Planning Jacqueline Taylor—to ensure more than 80 guest artists have the best possible experience leading up to and during our internationally renowned Festival.

As you might imagine, this requires a lot of coordination. Prior to the start of the Festival, I provide the first line of communication for artists and their managers and assist with distributing contracts, facilitating travel arrangements, creating itineraries, and more. Once guest artists are in Vail, I help manage their schedules, which includes taking them to and from rehearsals and performances, as well as providing other support as needed.  

I also assist with troubleshooting unexpected issues that come up during the artists’ time in Vail. For example, when our soprano Rosa Feola, a soloist for Mozart’s “Requiem,” lost her luggage in transit from Napoli, I found a selection of dresses for her to try on and helped her replace everything else she needed for the concert and her stay in Vail. Or, when an esteemed guest artist needed his precious instrument repaired, our team found a qualified repair shop in Denver and retrieved the instrument in time for the performance. 

The outstanding guest artists who are part of the Festival each summer are the beating heart of Bravo! Vail. It takes a high level of organization, attention to detail, and confidence to work with these musicians and ensure their experiences with Bravo! Vail are as seamless and memorable as possible.

I credit my excellent mentors, Anne-Marie and Jacqueline, for giving me the skills to navigate these important tasks, and I am also grateful for the opportunity to participate in Bravo! Vail’s Jane and Gary Bomba Internship Program last year. Through this valuable program, young arts administrators like me from around the country can get hands-on work experience during the Festival in a variety of Bravo! Vail departments—including Institutional Advancement, Operations, Audio and Technical Production, and Education and Engagement. These paid internships give students and budding arts professionals applicable job skills that resonate well into the future.

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As a former Operations intern, I value the level of trust Bravo! Vail’s staff placed in me during my internship. Instead of just shadowing someone for an entire summer, the Artistic and Operations teams allowed me to oversee our midday Community Concerts, held last year at the Beaver Creek Interfaith Chapel, which gave me the confidence to take a leadership role and make my own decisions. While the Festival staff members were always available to answer questions and help me navigate certain decisions, their supportive but hands-off approach has been key to my professional growth, setting me up for success in my current job and future career.

Now that my first Festival as Artist Liaison is coming to a close, I have to share that my favorite part of this job is listening to all of this astonishing music and knowing that I had a part in making it happen. This is something I take great pride in, and I am forever grateful to Bravo! Vail for giving me this opportunity.

And while many wonderful artists and ensembles have already come and gone this season, my most anticipated concerts of the Festival are yet to come. I am eager to hear Bravo! Vail’s Classically Uncorked Series August 1-3 with Sandbox Percussion, and in particular, their performance of Andy Akiho’s monumental work “Seven Pillars.”

Please join me and the rest of the Bravo! Vail team as we close this incredible Festival and reflect in awe on the amazing musicians that have graced our stages and the gorgeous music they have created in our community.

Shannon Murray is the artist liaison for Bravo! Vail.

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