Blog Post: August 22, 2022
Meet Our Team: Chantal Incandela, Press & Communications Manager
Do you ever wonder what exactly OTSL staff members do? Here’s your chance to find that out, and more! In this series you’ll learn about what it takes to bring a season to life, across our organization. The latest installment of this series features Chantal Incandela, our Press & Communications Manager!
Please tell us about your career journey, and what led you to OTSL!
I majored in double bass performance in college, and when I finished, I was a busy musician, playing gigs, teaching lessons/sectionals, and taking auditions. I’d attend my hometown orchestra’s concerts whenever I could and sent my bass teachers (who were in the orchestra) my thoughts on the concert. They passed my writings onto a colleague in their communications department, who then passed it on to a local alt-newsweekly, and soon I was covering classical music for this paper. Then a friend asked me to do various marketing and writing duties for his small music reprinting/publishing company. All that experience led me to another state for a marketing/communications job at a small regional orchestra, and after a year and a half there, I saw the listing for my current job. I read the description and said out loud, “I’m gonna get that job!” Lo and behold, I did.
What exactly does a Press & Communications Manager do?
A little bit of everything! I draft and send out press releases, and work to get OTSL as much media coverage as possible. Anything press related is my responsibility, essentially. I catalog and archive stories about us, and in general, stay on top of industry news. I also write a lot of copy for our print mail, like season brochures and various postcards. I’m the editor of our program book, and that keeps me really busy from December to April! I run our Twitter account and contribute to other social media channels whenever needed. I also prep staff members and artists for interviews with the media and sit through them as well, to be supportive and make sure everything goes smoothly. I try to meet up with members of the press when I can, to strengthen and maintain relationships. It’s a lot of communicating in various different ways!
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
This will sound cheesy, but honestly, it’s difficult to choose what I enjoy the most, because so much of my job is right up my alley. I’m a classically trained musician who loves writing, and I’m very much a people person. It’s like this job was meant for me! But if I had to choose, it would be all my press-related duties; I love everything about that aspect of my job.
What is your favorite thing to do after each festival season?
Sleep! Just kidding, sort of. During the season, I’m usually too busy to read for my own pleasure, so it’s nice to pick up a book when things finally calm down. Simple things like that are what I really enjoy. I like getting out on my kayak and doing all sorts of fun outdoors stuff. I also head out to LA for a couple weeks each summer to be one of two double bass coaches for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s YOLA National Festival. Students from around the country audition to be a part of this music festival, and this summer was my fourth year with them. It’s a blast working with such great faculty and students.
When you aren’t working, where are you most likely to be?
You can usually find me reading books and snuggling with my cats on the couch or reading books in the bathtub (but definitely not snuggling cats there.) You’re also likely to catch me in a maker’s space of some sort, carving wooden spoons or learning about leather working. I also like spending time at the beautiful parks in town, especially my neighborhood Tower Grove Park.
What’s your favorite production since you’ve been at OTSL?
The new performing edition of Harvey Milk by Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie, hands down. It’s such a powerful work, and so very engaging. Everything about it is incredible — the music, the libretto, just everything. I fell in love with it at the first orchestral dress rehearsal and saw almost every performance of it this past season!
Do you have a favorite composer?
I do — John Adams! I’m pretty sure that anyone who’s walked past my office has heard me blasting his brilliant opera, Nixon in China, at one time or another. I’m a huge fan of Gustav Mahler as well, especially his 9th and 10thsymphonies. I think everything Prokofiev wrote is perfect, and I would give anything to hear ensembles play more Lili Boulanger. Her choral/orchestral work Vieille prière bouddhique is achingly beautiful.
Which opera would you most want to play in the pit for?
Nixon in China, for sure. Partly because of how much I love it and how I’d be singing/humming along while playing, but also because I love how challenging John Adams’ music is, especially when it comes to rhythm. A close second would be Philip Glass’ Akhnaten, another one of my favorite operas.
What’s one of your favorite OTSL press stories to date?
That’s a tough one, because there’s so many! Probably the New York Times preview of William Grant Still’s Highway 1, U.S.A. from 2021. It was an exciting time, as we were producing our very first outdoor season, and our first season since 2019. Plus it’s such a great opera, that’s sadly been neglected for a long time. It was a joy to have The Times shine a light on a work that deserves more attention.