Published: June 23, 2021 By

Alumnus Luis GrandaEditor's update: Since interviewing Luis Granda for this story, we were pleased to learn that his career has carried him to Massachusetts where he currently serves as development manager at Williams College Museum of Art.


“I wouldn't have been able to get this job without the arts administration certificate from the University of Colorado Boulder,” says Luis Granda (MM ’20), recently named assistant director of donor and patron relations for the Boulder Philharmonic. In addition to a master’s degree in double bass performance from the College of Music, Granda earned a Certificate in Arts Administration here to position himself for a career building funding support for the arts.

“I believe strongly in the arts,” continues Granda, who’s originally from Massachusetts where he earned his undergraduate degree and a Professional Performance Certificate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Both of my parents were artists, and my wife is a professional ceramicist. This is our life, and it’s important for me to talk about the arts and why they deserve funding—either from donors or through grants.” 

He adds, “I’ve been a recording engineer, I’ve played in folk and rock bands, and I have a classical master’s degree and an undergraduate degree in jazz and African American music. Working in development is a way for me to take this combined knowledge and experience to talk to others about why it’s important to fund the arts.” 

Granda attributes Joan McLean Braun’s Introduction to Arts Administration class—part of the Certificate in Arts Administration curriculum—as pivotal preparation for his new career. Braun serves as entrepreneurial lecturer, as well as executive director of CU Presents and assistant dean for concerts and communications. 

“Joan’s class was a way for me to get an overview of the entire world of arts administration. She introduced me to development, donor relations, patron relations, working with venues, management, contracts and artists,” explains Granda. “Joan has also been a big influence for me in where my career is headed. She is my mentor, she’s so exciting to talk to, she’s got great energy...and she inspires me.” 

Granda further credits Dean John Davis’ Management and Leadership in the Arts class as a significant focal point during his academic experience, shaping who he aspires to be as a manager, a role he will assume in his new position with the Boulder Phil. Learning grantwriting during his development internship with Colorado Symphony was also critical in setting his career direction. 

Says Granda about joining the team at the Boulder Philharmonic, “This is a very interesting and community-driven orchestra. They’re committed to diversity and reaching new audiences to enrich lives and to serve as a positive voice in the community.

“Like all arts organizations, the Phil is re-emerging in the community post-COVID. A lot has changed culturally, and new conversations are happening around racial equity and the LGBTQ+ community. 

“The orchestra has a great opportunity to really represent the community. I’m excited to see so many interesting and diverse voices in our upcoming season, and for this opportunity to work with the Phil’s new executive director, Sarah Parkinson.”

For the college’s Entrepreneurship Center for Music, Granda also remains active as teaching artist facilitator for the Colorado Lullaby Project.