New initiatives to grow “Next Generation” of artists and audiences for classics

New York, NY, February 27, 2014 — Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of Universal Music Classics, and Shelly Berg, Dean of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, announce a strategic business-academic partnership to launch Universal Music U @ Frost, a focused research initiative to identify and innovate new ways for aspiring young professional musicians to build and meaningfully engage with broad-based audiences for “classic” music genres.

The initiative, Universal Music U @ Frost, will center around four areas of innovation –the concert experience, the training of performers, the role of the record label, and the building of a worldwide network of young composers, practitioners and consumers who represent the future of classics.

Frost School of Music students and faculty will work with executives and artists from Universal Music Classics, who will be onsite for hands-on “externships,” to develop and test new live concert and recording models, create new marketing approaches, and innovate new audience and social media strategies in keeping with ever-changing technologies and societal developments.

Collaborative plans for Universal Music U @ Frost also include co-developing a new type of master’s degree in performance at the Frost School of Music with courses relevant to today’s professional world, such as concert programming, new recording paradigms, audience development, entrepreneurship, touring, stage presence, long-term career development, and business management. Some of these courses will be made available online, including an online certificate program

Ms. Sobol, recently appointed President & CEO of Universal Music Classics, is spearheading the division’s revitalized commitment to the best that “classics” stands for – music rooted in the classical tradition, while also encompassing a variety of genres including contemporary, jazz, and world music.  Universal Music Classics (UMC) aims to “re-imagine classics,” with a new focus on U.S. based A&R signings, while remaining the American home of the prestigious Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Mercury Classics and continuing its long-standing relationship with the esteemed ECM label.  Prior to joining Universal in April 2013, Sobol was Managing Director of IMG Artists (N/S America) and counted amongst her personal management clients artists such as Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, James Galway, Hilary Hahn, Evgeny Kissin and the Emerson String Quartet.

Shelly Berg is a three-time Grammy nominated arranger and producer, Steinway piano artist and internationally renowned recording artist and award-winning educator. He was identified in 2000 by Los Angeles Times as one of “three educators for the Millennium.” He became dean of the Frost School of Music in 2007 and quickly facilitated the revamping of its entire undergraduate curriculum to be more relevant for the 21st century and in the process recruited over 35 new performance and research faculty with top industry credentials.  The new Frost Experiential Music Curriculum incorporates performance, composition, improvisation, history and theory into small, hands-on “experiential” classes organized around chamber music and small group experiences, and require all undergraduates regardless of major to take classes in music technology, music business and entrepreneurship.

Shelly Berg commented: “ the future of great music hinges upon the futures of the performing musicians and composers who create it.  Our partnership focuses on them, and on giving tomorrow’s artists the tools to expand opportunity. We are optimistic about music’s future, knowing that the unifying and spiritually elevating role it plays is essential to all of humankind”.

Elizabeth Sobol said:  “For those of us who care deeply and passionately about classics, it is no longer possible to operate within the old paradigms.  We must be take responsibility as change agents in the field, re-imagining and transforming our business to ensure a creative and vibrant future. ”


About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is the global music leader, with wholly owned operations in 60 territories. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry’s premier music publishing operations worldwide.

Universal Music Group’s labels include A&M Records, Angel, Astralwerks, Blue Note Records, Capitol Christian Music Group, Capitol Records, Capitol Records Nashville, Caroline, Decca, Def Jam Recordings, Deutsche Grammophon, Disa, Emarcy, EMI Records Nashville, Fonovisa, Geffen Records, Harvest, Interscope Records, Island Records, Machete Music, Manhattan, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Polydor Records, Republic Records, Universal Music Latino, Verve Music Group, Virgin Records, Virgin EMI Records, as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalogue of music in the industry, which includes the last 100 years of the world’s most popular artists and their recordings. UMG’s catalogue is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes Global Digital Business, its new media and technologies division and Bravado, its merchandising company.

Universal Music Group is a fully owned subsidiary of Vivendi.

About Frost School of Music

The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music is one of two schools created in 1926 when the University of Miami was founded. With over 700 students and 100 faculty, it is one of the largest and best music schools located in a private university in the U.S., and one of the most comprehensive in all of higher education. The naming gift from Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost in 2003 was one of the historic highlights in the life of the School.

The mission of the Frost School of Music is to foster musical leadership by providing an innovative, relevant, and inspiring education; advance performance, creativity and scholarship; and enrich the world community with meaningful outreach and brilliant cultural offerings.

The Frost School has pioneered new curricula and was the first in the nation to offer professionally accredited bachelor and master’s degrees in Music Business and Music Engineering Technology, and was among the first to offer degrees in Music Therapy, as well as Studio Music and Jazz.

Frost is the exclusive home of the Frost Experiential Music Curriculum which fully integrates performance, music history, ear training, and composition through chamber music and skills ensembles; the Henry Mancini Institute which provides students with cross-genre performance opportunities in real-world professional settings; the Stamps Family Distinguished Ensemble Scholars Program which provides full tuition scholarships plus room and board to 19 of the most talented undergraduate music students in the nation. It also offers the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music Program that develops the creative skills of talented young artist/songwriters by immersing them in the diverse traditions of American songwriting.

Renowned for its Instrumental Performance programs, the Frost School of Music is the home of the Frost Symphony Orchestra, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, Frost Wind Ensemble, and Frost Concert Jazz Band and is a leader in vocal training with the Frost Opera Theater, Frost Chorale and other notable choirs.

A frequent collaborator with other performing arts institutions, the Frost School of Music is currently involved in partnership projects with the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade County, Jazz Roots: A Larry Rosen Series, the National YoungArts Foundation, and hosts an annual residency program with The Cleveland Orchestra. It also provides music outreach to over 450 young people through its Frost MusicReach program and produces community engagement programming through its Festival Miami concert series, now in its 31st season.