Senior Spotlight: Sarah Segner

Where are you from?

Cherry Hill, NJ

What is your background in music?

I began studying the violin at seven and it pretty much took over my life by high school. I also studied piano, mandolin, and guitar, and was in Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and had my own string quartet before I came to college.

Why did you decide to come to NYU?

As a freshman in high school I realized that I wanted to earn a degree in Music Business. I had always wanted to move to New York City, and when I found out that NYU has one of the top Music Business programs in the country, it became my top choice. I wanted to be able to jump start my career while still an undergraduate, and center myself in one of the capitals of the music industry. I also knew I would have a ton of performance opportunities, and that’s proven true; I’m in a band and regularly perform in classical music concerts, usually in the contemporary classical world.



Who are some of your favorite musical artists?

I’ve got a pretty eclectic taste in music. In the rock realm Led Zeppelin, Alt-J, and Nine Inch Nails are favorites. If we get more pop-oriented, I’m very into Rufus Wainwright, Gabriel Kahane and Woodkid. I love folk music, both in the American sense (Dylan, Baez, etc) and the international sense (I’m very into Persian classical music and Eastern European folk music). In the classical world, some of my favorite composers are Igor Stravinsky, Morton Feldman, Jean Sibelius, Gustave Mahler, and Josquin des Prez.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

Oh yeah…most definitely. Does Lana Del Rey count? Also Coldplay. I’m not a superfan but I’m kind of embarrassed that Coldplay is in my iTunes library.

What have been some of your favorite music business classes/professors in your time here?

I really loved Entrepreneurship. I had been harboring a start-up idea for a few years, and that class really let me learn how to map it out and maybe, hopefully implement it. Larry Miller has so much experience, and he’s a great teacher and mentor. I also loved Sam Howard-Spink’s classes because his brand of philosophy on capitalism fascinates me.

Have you had any really cool music-related moments in New York?

There are too many to list. I’ll name two. The sheer energy at a Woodkid show at Webster Hall in 2013 was intoxicating. He hadn’t played in the US for a long time, or at that size of a venue, and it was amazing to see an artist who identifies mostly with a European audience get a huge reaction in the US. It was part of a CMJ showcase, so I had been selling it to people that whole week and I think I got some props from friends for introducing them to Woodkid.

The second moment was a pretty geeky classical music one. I was at the Bang on a Can marathon in 2014, and a friend of mine was clapping the rhythmic pattern from Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music.” David Lang, a co-founder of Bang on a Can and a rock star in the contemporary classical music world, walked by and started clapping the pattern back at our group. Geeky and pretty awesome for us.

What was your best Internship?

I really loved my internship at 21C Media Group. It’s a small publicity/marketing firm that works primarily in the classical music business. Because the company is so small, I got to work with everyone on the team and on some very high profile accounts. While I also enjoyed internships at larger organizations like Lincoln Center, I felt like I was really a part of the team at 21C.

Sarah with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. Sarah acts as an artistic consultant and coordinator for two of the members.

What is your dream job?

Thinking really, really big? I want to be the Artistic Director of my own festival presented by an organization like Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall.

Are you leaving the program with different career aspirations than you had when you entered the program?

Slightly, yes. I came into the program wanting to produce in the studio. Now, I’m finding that I’m much more interested in the live industry (which is also of course where the money is, so that’s a bonus). I’m still interested in producing, but in the live sense, and I’ve found that I love to curate concerts and festivals, so I’d love to get into the artistic planning end of the classical music industry.

What is your advice for any incoming freshmen or transfer students to the program?

Internships are absolutely key to your undergraduate experience. I’ve held six during my time at NYU, and because I’ve applied myself and worked in a ton of areas within the music industry, I have a very rich contact base already, before I’ve started working full time. Also in relation to internships, try working for a smaller company. Often you will have more involved responsibilities and fewer “intern” duties if you’re at a smaller company, and if you really shine in your position, it’s likely you’ll get asked to stay on as an intern or as a full-time employee. There’s more opportunity to promote yourself and really get to know your co-workers at a small company.