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Cal Poly to host guest presenters for ‘Entrepreneurship in Music’ webinar 


Mark Tonelli.

–The Cal Poly Music Department will present a webinar titled “Entrepreneurship in Music” with guest panelists sharing methods for beginning and sustaining a career in music at 11:10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 11.

The panelists will be David Cutler, professor and director of music entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina (UofSC), and Mark Tonelli, assistant professor of guitar and entrepreneurship at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois.

“The intent of the webinar is to inform and empower college-age musicians to think entrepreneurially about their career in music,” said Arthur White, Cal Poly’s director of jazz studies and moderator of the panel. “Due to the decline in traditional career opportunities, students need to adapt with foresight, ingenuity, diversity, and a well-laid-out plan of attack.”

Cutler has a varied career as a jazz and classical musician, composer, collaborative musician, author, speaker, and educator. Prior to his appointment at UofSC, he taught at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has presented at music schools in the U.S. and abroad, and collaborated with and composed ensemble commissions for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Classical Orchestra of Milan, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Korean Chamber Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Boston Brass, and Airmen of Note Air Force Big Band.


David Cutler.

He has worked with singer Nancy Wilson, trumpeter Sean Jones, clarinetist David Krakauer, the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo, and saxophonist Benny Golson. A leading voice on the topic of arts leadership and music entrepreneurship, he authored the book “The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living, and Making a Difference.”

Tonelli is a Coleman Foundation Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellow. Prior to his appointment at Millikin, he was the guitarist for the Army West Point Jazz Knights for 10 years. As a featured soloist with the band, he performed with a broad assortment of world-renowned musicians, including Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Adam Nussbaum, the Boston Pops and the New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet.

Tonelli conceived of and co-edited the book “Entrepreneurship in Action: the Power of Student-Run Ventures,” based on his experience supervising the Millikin Arts Café. He has presented at major national music conferences, including the Jazz Education Network, National Association for Music Education, and the College Music Society. Tonelli was a guest clinician at Cal Poly in 2019.

Information on White, who began serving as Cal Poly’s director of jazz studies in 2019, is on the music department faculty website.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. Access to the webinar will be available from the music department calendar website.

For more information, email or call (805) 756-2406.

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News staff of the A-Town Daily News wrote and edited this article from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog. He can be reached at

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