New England Conservatory raises more than $1.2M at gala

BOSTON — Some 200 guests attended the New England Conservatory’s “Happening” Annual Scholarship Gala, which was held on April 30, 2022 at the Four Seasons, One Dalton Street. NEC President Andrea Kalyn and Board of Trustees Chair Kennett F. Burnes announced that the event raised more than $1.2 million to support scholarships for NEC’s talented and committed musicians in both NEC’s Preparatory School and the College.

The NEC Happening Gala included a forward-thinking mix of live, in-person music-making, and a virtual-experience room, where guests were able to test a new music learning app, Nadia, developed by NEC faculty member, Andrew Schartmann, Ph.D. This new hybrid model for NEC showcased how students have embraced technology to share music with the world and inspire with their talent. 

Attendees at the live event were split among six rooms with exclusive live performances prepared for each – spanning centuries, styles, and genres. The evening featured more than 70 musicians from beginners studying in Prep’s Suzuki strings program to NEC’s most advanced college students, encompassing a variety of instruments and ensembles, from piano and percussion to trombone quartet, the NEC Jazz Orchestra, and the Mandé West African Ensemble.

Over 200 guests viewed live concert programming from the world-class Jordan Hall and dining rooms at the Four Seasons hotel. 

“Our annual scholarship gala has always been an opportunity to celebrate the creativity and achievement of the NEC community,” said President Kalyn. “This year, we were delighted to highlight that mastery in multiple dimensions – tradition paired with innovation and technology to ensure our students’ artistry has a continued and profound impact on our world.”

“The evening was a perfectly joyous celebration of NEC and the community,” said Annie Bartlett, NEC trustee and gala co-chair. “The student performances, live and hybrid, were outstanding and showcased the artistry, talent, and musicianship that are supported through the scholarship fund.” 

“There was such enthusiasm having the gala back in person,” said Joe Bower, NEC Life Trustee and gala co-chair. “The smaller rooms made dinner and the musical program more intimate and even more enjoyable.”

NEC is now preparing for their 151st Commencement ceremony on May 22, 2022. The ceremony will take place in historic Jordan Hall and will be streamed on NEC’s website ( NEC will give honorary Doctor of Music (hon. D.M.) degrees to: James Taylor, who will deliver his commencement address at Jordan Hall, as well as David Amram, noted conductor and composer, and Ella Jenkins, regarded as the “First Lady of Children’s Music.” Pianist Emanuel Ax, who received an honorary degree from NEC in 2021, will extend an online greeting at this year’s commencement. 

The ceremony also will include a special message from by Ukrainian cellist Denys Karachevtsev, who captured the world’s attention when he played Bach’s Cello Suite No. 5 outside the bombed out remains of the regional police headquarters in the city of Kharkiv in March 2022. For more on Karachevtsev, please visit Washington Post and Reuters.

To donate to the NEC scholarship fund, visit:  

All photos are by Bill Brett and Pierce Harman

You cannot copy content of this page