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50 Years of Alumni: Lisa Dixon French

College(s)/University attended:
Eastman School of Music (Clarinet Performance and Music Education); Vanderbilt University (MBA)

What years were you in GTCYS?
1996-1999. I graduated HS in 1999.

What skills or lessons did you learn in GTCYS that you still use today?
I learned the importance of working hard and staying focused on what really matters. Also, the value and importance of building a strong network is vital! GTCYS helped build so many great relationships that were incredibly helpful as I started in my career.

Why do you think GTCYS is important for students now?
GTCYS creates a community of students who are talented and passionate and helps them grow and shine. This sense of community and ability to connect with others through music is so important – especially right now as we all wrestle with the impact of this pandemic.

How does music still play a part in your life?
Music plays a part of my life every day! I discovered the world of arts administration while at Eastman and have worked in leadership roles in orchestras and now at a ballet company (Nashville Ballet). Being able to work closely with musicians and artists every day is incredibly rewarding. I love helping arts organizations find ways to connect deeply with the community through music and dance.

What is your favorite composer or piece of music?
The Mozart Clarinet Quintet has always been one of my favorites. I also remember performing Dvorak New World Symphony while in GYCYS – such a powerful memory and still love that piece to this day!

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I love to run – bucket list item to run a marathon in all 50 states. 20 states down, only 30 to go!

What do you hope to see from GTCYS in the next 50 years?
I would love to see GTCYS continue to grow and enrich a diverse community of students for the next 50 years. I would also love to see GTCYS emerge as a leader in the movement to create a more equitable and inclusive arts ecosystem in the United States.

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