Memoirs of Presidents Past
Compiled and prepared for the 30th anniversary of NAPAMA, May 1, 2009, annual general meeting, New York City, by Kerby Lovallo, Director, New World Classics and Robert Baird, President, BAM! Baird Artists Management.
Performing arts managers and agents are the glue that binds the performing arts. They ensure that communities across the nation have access to the very best avant-garde, classical, and modern performing artists in the world. Agents and managers find artists concert halls, theaters, and festivals in which to perform. They arrange regional, national, and international tours for choreographers, composers, dancers, directors, orchestras, theater companies, singers, and youth ensembles. They find artists the stages on which to perform so that audiences can hear, experience, and share in the work.
NAPAMA is the association of North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents, a not-for-profit service organization founded in 1979, and dedicated to promoting the professionalism of its members and the vitality of the performing arts.
Past Presidents 1979 - Present
2011-2013 (resigned Oct 1, 2013)
Ann Summers, Ann Summers International
Many members may not know that I’m a founding member of NAPAMA.
The New York Managers group (at that time on 57th St.) consisted of Hans Hoffman, the Colberts (Mr. Colbert was alive and responsible for many "Friends of Music" series all over the U.S.), Alex Williamson, who did mostly press but also managed, her husband Joe Lipman, salesman at Herbert Barrett Management, Ludwig Lustig, and Mildred Shagall.
I joined as the youngest member of this group. As you can see, many were the original agents or artist secretaries from Europe now in New York. Because the "agent" mentality was still with them, there were "personal representatives" as well as agents with the artists, such as Jenny Tourel, Moisevitch, Ingomar Novaes. The agent and personal representative each received 10% commission.
During the meetings I just listened as the new (upstart) on 57th St. and it was quite an education. They argued most of the time about performances and level of performances, and were curious about me and what I was doing. I became the secretary so we had minutes and they actually went together to host a breakfast of the International Association of Concert Managers - the former ISPA. Concert managers then were the presenters. (It was also then that ACUCAA split off from ISPA to become "Arts Presenters").
When I became a member, Pat Hayes, president of ISPA, asked me to join the membership committee and it was through that committee that I was able to change their minds about allowing artists’ managers and representatives to become members of ISPA. Until then, they had a sergeant of arms at the doors of their meetings to ensure the managers, agents or reps did not enter their meetings.
At that point, the New York group was disbanded and we all joined ISPA. I was program chair for the ISPA conference in 1968 and then left New York for Rome, transferring my mailing lists, etc., to Sara Tornay and several others who were just starting out. At that time, I became the first manager to be able to join ISPA since I was producing and presenting the Concert Party Series. ISPA then agreed to include the managers, so the NY Managers group was disassembled; Mrs. Colbert was the last President. We all joined ISPA, and I was made an honorary life member.
By the time I returned from Italy in the late '70's, we found that ISPA was not being as collegial as we had hoped and felt that our recognition at ISPA wasn’t very strong, and so we decided to reorganize a NY management group - hence NAPAMA because:
- We needed to network more closely together, but
- We wanted to improve the image of managers (by then the personal reps had literally disappeared) and to help newer managers start to be aware of and abide by the code of ethics, and
- We wanted to become a voice for our profession. By the late '60's the arts admin programs had begun in the schools, which we had lobbied for, since we felt it finally gave us a legitimate identity as a vocation. (This has since proven not to be the case, since most programs don’t include the representation of artists, but focus primarily on fundraising and presenting.)
Because of some less than ethical moves by NAPAMA Board members in the early years, Sara Tornay resigned and has since refused to rejoin NAPAMA, although I’ve talked to her about it on several occasions. I must ask Joanne Rile when she started - I’ve lost track of time. Sheldon Soffer also became an independent and has since retired.
I’m glad that some of this information can be recorded. I co-managed an artist with Hans Hoffman, worked freelance with Mildred Shagall, and was Herbert Barrett’s secretary for a few months. I will be writing a history of management shortly because, although some books written by artists have made references to their managers, the history hasn’t really been addressed; e.g., where did the original 10% commission come from? I found the answer in England in the 1960’s by interviewing some of the older British agents!
"National Organization of Managers Proposed"
Headline from precursor Newsletter of NAPAMA - 1979