DePaul University School of Music > About > Featured Profiles > Katarina Visnevska

Katarina Visnevska

Alumni, Coordinator Chapters & Guild Board Special Events, Lyric Opera of Chicago

A 2006 graduate of DePaul's Performing Arts Management program, Katarina is now applying her studies as a special events coordinator for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Background and Reflections on DePaul
At a young age, I was exposed to classical music because my grandparents were both professional musicians and my mom was an arts enthusiast. They are the ones responsible for my love and devotion to the arts. At age 6, I was submerged into the world of violin, piano and all the other necessary tricks of the trade that were prerequisites to study at the prestigious Emila Darzina Music School in Riga, Latvia. When my family immigrated to the United States in 2000, I attended Highland Park High School, and thanks to the Orchestra Director, Charles Emmons, I learned of DePaul's Professor Emeritus Mark Zinger and was under his spell from the moment I met him.

When I first considered attending DePaul, I planned to study violin performance with Mark Zinger and obtain a business degree from DePaul's College of Commerce. However, I learned that the heavy course load of both schools and often overlapping schedules was going to prevent me from completing the two separate curriculums in a reasonable time frame.

However, DePaul's Director of Admission, Ross Beacraft, advised me of the School of Music's program that incorporated both Music and Business, Performing Arts Management. He told me that upon completion, I would also have obtained a business minor, which would be a sufficient prerequisite for my future plans of obtaining an MBA. I was pleasantly surprised, as at the time I was not familiar with an undergraduate program in Arts Administration in Chicago. Staying in Chicago was a priority, so I decided to give it a shot. I still remember our first Performing Arts Management panel which included Zarin Mehta, video conferencing from New York, as well as Welz Kaufman, Elizabeth Hurley and other very big names in the industry. I could not believe my eyes and ears. I think it was at that moment that I realized how amazing this program was.

In one of the future panels I met my soon-to-be-boss, Jean Kellogg, who at the time was Director of Education at Lyric Opera of Chicago. I began working at Lyric Opera for Ms. Kellogg part-time during my senior year. After graduation, a ceremony that ironically took place at Lyric Opera of Chicago, I interviewed for a full-time job in the development department at the Lyric and have worked there ever since.

DePaul's Performing Arts Management (PAM) program prepared me for the arts world. I was not familiar with the not-for-profit business model because I had grown up in Eastern Europe where the arts are funded by the government and philanthropy exists on a much smaller scale than in the United States. PAM covered key topics of the arts business operations model, including development/fundraising, marketing, finance and others. I highly recommend the program to those who are ready to step behind-the-scenes in the arts. The best part is that you don't have to wait till graduate school to study arts administration!