Dedicated administrator and professional violinist
Nicole Wendl to lead the premier summer training program for talented young musicians ages 14-20 in Lenox, Massachusetts
Boston University College of Fine Arts (CFA) is proud to announce the appointment of Nicole Wendl as Executive Director of Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) after conducting a national search for the open position.
BUTI is a premier summer training program for talented young musicians ages 14 to 20, located on a 64-acre campus in the Berkshire mountains of Lenox, Massachusetts near Tanglewood: the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Because of BUTI’s close ties with the BSO and the CFA School of Music, students experience a transformational summer of music-making and growth, learning from internationally recognized faculty and guest artists. Programs offered include composition, harp, percussion, piano, strings, voice, and winds and brass.
Wendl’s appointment brings a unique blend of leadership and artistry to the position of Executive Director for Boston University Tanglewood Institute. “Nicole Wendl has dedicated herself to uplifting, inspiring, and creating educational and career pathways for young musicians of exceptional talent. She has the vision and experience to chart the future of our world-leading institute,” says Harvey Young, Dean of Boston University College of Fine Arts.
Having served as BUTI’s Director of Education and Programming for three years, Wendl has worked directly with Boston Symphony Orchestra senior leadership on BUTI’s inclusion in Tanglewood and BSO events, expanded donor relations while managing the academic operations budget, and most notably proposed and implemented action plans for equity and inclusion program growth.
“I feel a tremendous amount of pride and responsibility,” says Wendl. “BUTI is such an incredibly special organization and can have so much impact on students and on the field as a whole—it must be shepherded both with courage and delicacy. I’m looking forward to gathering the different populations that BUTI touches and working together toward what comes next.”
Wendl’s goals for the next phase of BUTI’s existence are based in student, faculty, donor, and council engagement toward program notoriety and sustainability.
“There are some very tangible items that I’d like to get going in my first ‘100 days’ so to speak; some are new, and some are continuations of work that I’ve already started,” says Wendl. Wendl’s goals include installing a team that is poised to manage the organization through the next academic year, including roles that oversee recruiting, enrollment, education, communications, and more; build a strong relationship with the Advisory Council and work together to set a direction and define some short and long term goals; and bring together faculty leadership to plan for 2023 and beyond in a way that is “unified and moves us toward our goals together.”
Wendl’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by members of the BUTI community. “Nicole is exactly the executive director BUTI needs at this moment,” says Cynthia Curme, BUTI Advisory Council Chair. “She understands every operational detail and has the energy, passion, and stamina to perform it with care, generosity, and sensitivity. Her passion for the transformational power of a music education is always beautifully articulated and she will be a fantastic advocate for the program. I really look forward to working with her!”
BUTI alum and composer Nico Muhly (BUTI’96,’97) adds, “Nicole is enormously devoted to BUTI students, in a fierce and selfless way; watching her navigate the multi-faceted challenges of COVID in such a complicated and constantly changing program was a fantastic example of grace under fire. I know her dedication and wit will carry BUTI forward now and in the future.”
Joseph Conyers (BUTI’98), Director of the Young Artists Orchestra Program at BUTI and Assistant Principal Bass at The Philadelphia Orchestra, says, “I’m thrilled to learn of Nicole’s appointment to the executive director position of BUTI – a program that was life-changing for me and so many other professional musicians around the globe. Working alongside Nicole this summer in-person for the first time made it abundantly clear that she loves BUTI deeply, is incredibly passionate about the students, faculty, and staff that make BUTI such a magical destination every summer, and that she possesses the industry acumen to guide BUTI forward as one of the nation’s leading musical training institutions – cultivating some of the most talented young musicians in the world. We are fortunate to have her leading the way.”
Wendl has extensive festival experience outside of Tanglewood as well, both as program manager of Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont and as co-founder and -director of the Lumino Festival in Falls Village, Connecticut. Wendl built Lumino from the ground up, raising scholarship funds, negotiating vendor and venue contracts, overseeing marketing and enrollment, even designing the website.
Not to be overlooked is Wendl’s artistry as a professional violinist. She has served as concertmaster in the Portsmouth Symphony, associate concertmaster of the Opera Neo orchestra in San Diego, and various other chairs in orchestras up and down the east coast. Wendl holds an undergraduate degree in music education from Florida State University and two graduate degrees in violin performance from University of South Florida and North Carolina School of the Arts, where she was a member of the prestigious Giannini String Quartet. Wendl performs on a violin made by Andrew Ryan.
Penelope Bitzas, Associate Professor of Music, Voice at BU School of Music, and Director of the Young Artists Vocal Program at BUTI, appreciates Wendl being a multi-talented individual, especially for the BUTI Executive Director role. “Nicole, a classically trained violinist brings immediate artistic knowledge of all the many programs at BUTI and their intricacies, along with the administrative side,” Bitzas says. “Nicole built a terrific administrative team this past summer and has creative and business savvy ideas for moving forward this year. Her skills, musicality, and BUTI experience make her ready to jump in and start the next season!”
When asked what BUTI means to Wendl, she said, “What I love about BUTI is how deeply everyone else loves BUTI. It’s so meaningful to me to know how much this place impacts people’s lives. Not just the students, and not just musicians, but the alumni in different fields, the parents, the teachers, and the local community. It’s hard to quantify ‘the magic of Tanglewood,’ but a good place to start is in its people.”
Outside of the office and off the stage, Wendl is a voracious reader, and has been deeply influenced by the works of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Robert M. Pirsig. She is a salsa dancer, a fitness instructor, and a dedicated friend and family member, and revels in deep and meaningful conversation. She looks forward to having continuous conversations with the community about BUTI.
“If you’re reading this, especially if you are an alum, please reach out; please be involved. BUTI is an incredible place to gather and make music in the summer, but let’s also gather in the academic months to talk and dream and work collectively to bring those dreams to life. Tanglewood is full of possibility—let’s capture it.”
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 34,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission. In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. Learn more at bu.edu.
Established in 1954, Boston University College of Fine Arts (CFA) is a community of artist-scholars and scholar-artists who are passionate about the fine and performing arts, committed to diversity and inclusion, and determined to improve the lives of others through art. With programs in Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts, CFA prepares students for a meaningful creative life by developing their intellectual capacity to create art, shift perspective, think broadly, and master relevant skills. CFA offers a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, as well as a range of online degrees and certificates. Learn more at bu.edu/cfa.
Created in 1966 at the invitation of then-BSO music director Erich Leinsdorf, BUTI was developed by Boston University College of Fine Arts as a summer program to complement the existing offerings of the BSO’s Tanglewood Music Center (TMC). More than 50 years later, BUTI continues to build upon its legacy of excellence, offering a transformative experience to more than 400 young instrumentalists, composers, and singers who reside at its 64-acre campus in Lenox, Massachusetts. Its intensive programs, distinguished faculty, and the opportunities afforded through its unique affiliation with the BSO and TMC have combined to give BUTI a celebrated and distinctive reputation among summer music programs of its kind. BUTI alumni contribute to today’s musical world as prominent performers and conductors, composers and educators, and administrators and board members. Currently, eleven members of the BSO are BUTI alumni.
The program demonstrates great commitment to students from around the country and world, nearly half of whom are supported by the BUTI Scholarship Fund, made possible by contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations. BUTI’s season includes six performances at Seiji Ozawa Hall and more than seventy concerts and recitals in and around Lenox. For more information, visit bu.edu/tanglewood.