Faculty & Staff Profiles

Jonathan Kuuskoski

Chair, Department of Entrepreneurship & Leadership; Director, EXCEL Lab

Jonathan Kuuskoski currently serves as interim chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Leadership and director of the EXCEL Lab at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. In these roles, he is responsible for co-developing and implementing wide-ranging entrepreneurship and career development resources, including extensive career advising, workshops featuring diverse arts leaders, and the annual distribution of $100,000 in student project, venture, and internship funding. He also teaches a variety of courses focused on performing arts career development.

Prior to his tenure at Michigan, he served as director of Entrepreneurship and Community Programs at the University of Missouri School of Music (2012-15). While at Mizzou he designed and implemented all aspects of their new Music Entrepreneurship program, including Undergraduate and Graduate Music Entrepreneurship Certificates. Complemented by extensive career services resources, more than 100 Mizzou students participated annually in engaged learning opportunities. They realized hundreds of paid performance and teaching opportunities, several student ventures, collaborations with four local arts organizations, partnerships with the True/False Film Festival and Roots ‘n’ Blues ‘n’ BBQ Festival, and more than a dozen arts job placements and internships with such organizations as the Seattle Symphony, Aspen Music Festival, Kansas City Symphony, Odyssey Chamber Music Series, and Missouri Chamber Music Series. He also re-designed and directed Community Music @ Mizzou, where he oversaw multiple educational and performance programs that annually employ more than 60 music students while reaching 2,500 community members.

Kuuskoski has been featured on The Entrepreneurial Musician podcast, and his work has drawn attention from Crain’s Detroit Business, Symphony Magazine, ID8 Nation, Greg Sandow’s ArtsJournal blog, and the Carnegie Foundation, which cited Community Music @ Mizzou in its 2015 reclassification of the university as an “engaged campus.” He regularly presents entrepreneurship workshops at national conferences and other universities and serves on the faculty for the UMass-Amherst Arts Extension Service, where he designed and teaches their online arts entrepreneurship course for theatre, dance, music, and visual artists. He co-wrote one of the first national studies on arts entrepreneurship training, which was presented at the inaugural College Music Society Summit on Music Entrepreneurship. He has contributed chapters to Disciplining the Arts: Teaching Entrepreneurship in Context (Rowman and Littlefield Education Press, 2010), and The 21CM Introduction to Music Entrepreneurship (Rowman and Littlefield Education Press, 2017), the contributed article revisions to the Grove Dictionary of American Music (Second Edition).

As a pianist, he has been called “a terrific performer” (The Well-Tempered Ear) and has performed throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Norway, and New Zealand. A passionate supporter of new music, he is currently a member of the New Muse Piano Duo (with pianist Paola Savvidou), an ensemble dedicated to commissioning and performing works by living composers for piano four-hands and two pianos. Their first album Transhuman was release by Blue Griffin Recordings and has been called “creative” and “highly entertaining” (TheWholeNote).

Kuuskoski holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (MM piano performance and pedagogy) and UNC-Greensboro (MBA and BA music with Honors). He has pursued additional music study at the New Zealand School of Music and at numerous international music festivals.

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