About Eric

eric booth

As an actor, Eric Booth performed in many plays on Broadway, Off-Broadway and around the country, playing over 23 Shakespearean roles (Hamlet three times), and winning “Best Actor” awards on both coasts. Throughout 1981, he performed the American tour of Alec McCowen’s one-man play St. Mark’s Gospel. He has performed many times on television, directed five productions, and produced two plays in New York.

As a businessman, he started a small company, Alert Publishing, that in seven years became the largest of its kind in the U.S. analyzing research on trends in American lifestyles and publishing newsletters, books, and reports. He became a major figure in trend analysis, frequently quoted by the major media with interviews often appearing in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. He appeared as an expert on NBC News, Sunday Today, and several times on CNN. He was given a syndicated radio program on the Business Radio Network, and was a frequent speaker to business groups. He sold his company in 1991 in order to work full time on passion projects in arts learning.

As an author, he has had five books published. The Everyday Work of Art won three awards and was a Book of the Month Club selection. He has written three dozen magazine articles, was the Founding Editor of the Teaching Artist Journal, his book The Music Teaching Artist’s Bible was published by Oxford University Press in 2009, and Playing for Their Lives (co-authored with Tricia Tunstall) will be published by W.W. Norton in September 2016. Recently, he has placed articles in the Harvard Education Review/Focus Issue on Arts Education (Spring 2013), in the special creativity focus issue of Educational Leadership (February 2013), in Symphony magazine, as well as the creativity chapter in the Routledge International Handbook on Arts Education (2015), and a chapter in Arts Integration in Education: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change edited by Gail Humphries Mardarosian and Yvonne Pelletier Lewis (2016).

In arts learning, he has taught at Juilliard (13 years), Stanford University, NYU, Tanglewood and Lincoln Center Institute (for 35 years), and The Kennedy Center (14 years). He was the Faculty Chair of the Empire State Partnership program for three years (the largest arts-in-education project in America), and held one of six chairs on The College Board’s Arts Advisory Committee for seven years. He serves as a consultant for many organizations, cities, states and businesses around the country, including six of the ten largest orchestras in America, and five national service organizations. He consults with arts organizations, businesses, boards of directors, state arts and education agencies, national arts organizations and occasionally with high tech and medical firms on their innovation work. He is widely referred to as one of the nation’s most creative teachers and as the father of the teaching artist profession, and this is one of many topics he consults on. Formerly the Founding Director of the Teacher Center of the Leonard Bernstein Center (and still on the Board of its school reform program Artful Learning), he is a frequent keynote speaker on the arts to groups of all kinds. He delivered the closing keynote speech to UNESCO’s first ever worldwide arts education conference (Lisbon 2006), and to UNESCO's 2014 World Culture Conference (Seoul), and he gave the keynote speech to the first world conference on orchestras' connections to communities (Glasgow 2007). He completed a six-week speaking tour of Scotland and Australia, speaking to over 40 organizations, government agencies, and universities about creativity and teaching artistry, and has subsequently been brought in to introduce or develop teaching artistry in six countries. He was the Senior Advisor to the Music National Service initiative (lead trainer and training designer for the launch of MusicianCorps), and now advises ArtistYear (a "Teach for America" type program for artists). He is a senior advisor to the movement developing El Sistema-inspired sites around the U.S. and world; and he is in the Advisory Group to Sistema Global, the virtual meeting place of Sistema worldwide; and he publishes The Ensemble (for the U.S./Canada) and The World Ensemble (for the global movement), the two newsletters that are the main communications vehicles of the Sistema movement. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Leader of the Community Engagement Lab in Vermont, a project that weaves bold community engagement projects with intensive school arts integration projects with a visiting musical celebrity who works with these projects.

He is the first person to receive an honorary doctoral degree (New England Conservatory, 2012) for teaching artistry. He received Americans for the Arts 2015 Arts Education Award, the most prestigious award in U.S. arts education -- the first teaching artist ever to receive this award. He was named in the "Top 50 Most Powerful and Influential Leaders in the Nonprofit Arts (USA) for 2015" in Barry's Blog, the only teaching artist, and only freelancer on the list.

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