“While music is at the epicenter of what I do, arts education, creating a stronger community, and embracing those that support the art form is how I thrive. I believe deeply in these areas of my life and take my work as seriously off the podium as I do when I am on it.
As artists we must not only do what we can to build our audiences, but strive to reach people beyond the score through education, connecting with our communities and recognizing our supporters to ensure that through these important partnerships, we grow as artists and strive to make the greatest impact possible on our world around us.” – Rei Hotoda
“The arts isn’t just a space where we can appreciate or experience beauty, it is a space where thoughts and ideas are born and nurtured. In today’s world, it is more important than ever to have access to the arts, not just for the ultimate goal of creating an audience for tomorrow, but for building and sustaining the creativity that is so vital to our survival. It is in this way that I embrace my work in music education, seek opportunities to broaden the reach of the arts through music, and actively encourage all to think and act creatively.” – Rei Hotoda
Rei’s work in arts education spans from concerts and workshops to lectures and clinics. She is as equally at home as an educator as she is a conductor. Rei looks for ways in which she can play a part in an institution’s goals of broadening their work in this area.
She was an active participant in Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program for students ages 3-5 that are given the opportunity to learn an instrument or sing in their classrooms and then perform with a professional orchestra at Carnegie Hall. She led Carnegie’s immensely successful presentations of The Orchestra Sings and The Orchestra Moves programs. She also conducted rehearsals and a concert in Atlanta with the students of the Mercer University’s McDuffie Center for Strings in a performance of works by Holst, Beethoven, and Haydn. In Chicago, she conducted the Civic Orchestra—one of the most highly regarded training orchestras in America—in a program that included selections by Beethoven and Britten.
Rei has given numerous lectures to audiences of all ages in Minnesota, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Illinois, and Canada. Most specifically, she has spoken to groups of music majors interested in pursuing a career in conducting at the University of Manitoba and Illinois State University, among others. She has shared her work with aspiring conductors and musicians and has hosted several workshops and discussions, including those for the Illinois Education Association, the Nevada Music Education Association, and the All-State Orchestra in Las Vegas. She has hosted clinics with the Kennett High School Orchestra in Westchester, PA; and for the Greater Dallas Youth Symphony.
Participation in pre-concert lectures and talk-backs on stage after concerts gives her great joy and insight. One such event that she remembers fondly was her time with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. As part of her Taki Concordia Fellowship, she took part in a lively talk-back with cello soloist Alicia Weilerstein and conductor Marin Alsop.
“I believe strongly that if the arts are the soul of creativity then community is at the heart of why we create. Being present in the world around us makes us better and stronger, gives us a sense of purpose, and provides an opportunity to belong to something greater than just ourselves. Through creating unique partnerships and lasting relationships we inspire dialogue, discussion and reflection, working toward a more agile and better community. Musicians should serve their communities; they should act as a powerful tool in helping build the future.” – Rei Hotoda
Rei’s work in this area goes beyond free concerts. While in Texas and Illinois she worked with the local Rotary Clubs, leading discussions and speaking to the groups about upcoming concerts and activities. In Pennsylvania, she attended and spoke at the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Women in Business breakfast. She has also given lectures to local Boys and Girls clubs in Springfield, Illinois and welcomes the opportunity to do so again in the future.
Being accessible to her audiences is something Rei takes very seriously. She is constantly looking for ways in which she can bring the arts to those who may not be able to come to it. In Minnesota, she performed in an assisted living center that had both senior citizen and childcare programs—an experience that she readily hopes to do again in hospitals and hospice centers.
She enjoys meeting the public after a concert and has as much respect for collaborating with the administrative and artistic staff at a venue as she does with its audiences, musicians and community. This is a very important part of her work, and she takes community building very seriously.
“No matter if you are the member of an active board providing invaluable guidance and encouragement, a foundation allowing an organization to expand and explore, or an individual who helps to further an institution’s ultimate goal of reaching the masses through the arts, you are all vital contributors to sustaining the future. My artistic philosophy recognizes that if the arts are the soul of humanity and community is its heart, then those that support what we do are its backbone.” – Rei Hotoda
Rei welcomes the opportunity to reach out to those that support the arts. She has participated in several events in private homes in Winnipeg, Canada; Fort Worth, Texas; and Columbus, Ohio as both a performer and conductor. In addition to these private events, she actively participated in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s board retreat as their assistant conductor and was an active discussion leader on their State of the Orchestra presentation. While in Winnipeg, she also worked closely with the orchestra’s executive committee and administrative staff, and was invited to many monthly lunches and dinners with individual board members and donors. Her time with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra encompassed a wide range of activities. She performed in several of their galas and was also a featured guest lecturer at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Innovators series. When she led the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, she formed a very close relationship with that institution’s executive board member committee and performed many times in the private home one of their members.