News

February 11, 2009

Cracking a Hard Nut

Alumni-hosted internship in NYC helped get career started for Alison Ahart ’03, who travels internationally with soprano Kathleen Battle

As associate manager/production assistant for Columbia Artists Management, Alison Ahart ’03 is direct liaison with world-renowned soprano Kathleen Battle. She has traveled the world with her, attending events and fundraisers with the likes of Sting, Alicia Keys, Billy Joel, James Taylor, and Chris Botti. She also attended the Pope’s visit to the White House.“Working with Kathleen has taken me to many exciting events and places around the world,” Ahart says. “She is one of the most famous sopranos in the world and has taught me a lot about the music business. We work very closely, and she has a number of great projects coming up and some that have recently passed, including performing with Alicia Keys and Queen Latifah at the American Music Awards.”

When not working with Battle, Ahart books worldwide performances for other Columbia artists, coordinates tour logistics for groups ranging from individual artists to international orchestras, and travels to various performances.

The music industry is a notoriously hard business to break into, but as a Lafayette student, Ahart got a peek at its inner workings – and a foot in the door – thanks to an internship with the New York City operation that oversees the Grammys.

She credits Lafayette’s location with helping her take advantage of professional and cultural activities. Jon Marcus ’70, then executive director of the New York chapter of the Recording Academy, was her internship mentor.

“Being relatively close to New York City, Lafayette students get a wide variety of internships, externships, and job opportunities that other college students may not have,” says Ahart, an English and music graduate. “Of course, that is in addition to all of the wonderful cultural experiences to be had in the city. One of my first glimpses into the music world was an internship at the Grammy office, which I would not have been able to participate in without the Lafayette connection or the proximity to the city.”

Being highly involved in campus life helped Ahart learn to juggle a hectic schedule.

“Lafayette always had so many exciting things to offer; I was constantly on the go balancing a crazy schedule because I wanted to be involved in everything,” she says. “It set me up to work in the environment that I am in, always running from one thing to the next. The College does a good job of encouraging students to be part of a vast assortment of activities and not just stick to the things you know best.”

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