Published: Oct. 11, 2023 By

Alumna Indigo Fischer. Photo credit Cristina Cutts @cuttsphoto.Alumna Indigo Fischer. Photo credit Cristina Cutts @cuttsphoto.

Indigo Fischer is a CU Boulder alumna, a flutist and now the artistic operations manager at the Music Academy of the West. She graduated from the College of Music in 2019 with a Bachelor of Music in flute performance and an Arts Administration micro-credential. The College of Music recently caught up with Fischer to ask about her current job and her time at CU Boulder!

Why did you choose the CU Boulder College of Music for your degree?

From the moment I listened to Professor of Flute Christina Jennings’ Rochberg album, I was enthralled (and still am!) with her sound. I had simply never heard a flute sound like that and knew immediately I had to study with her. Then it sealed the deal when I learned all of the holistic offerings that CU Boulder provides. I knew early on that I wanted to attend a school with a conservatory feel but still had the wealth of opportunities that a large institution can offer. I remember being so excited at the start of each semester picking out my classes—early music ensemble, Impressionism and Expressionism theory class, French, orchestral excerpts class with Brook Ferguson of the Colorado Symphony, Alexander Technique, fundamentals of audio recording—such a breadth of options!

When you think of your time at the CU Boulder College of Music, is there an experience that stands out?

As a total flute nerd, my weekly highlight was flute studio class where I refined my skills of critical listening, giving and receiving feedback, and performing under pressure. I learned so much from the graduate students in particular who were outstanding mentors. The close proximity to the Colorado Symphony was another major highlight, as was the access to the Colorado Flute Association. I was also very involved with chamber music throughout my entire degree and some of my favorite memories are late-night rehearsals preparing the Poulenc Sextet. We somehow convinced what felt like every instrumental faculty member to coach us and it was an incredible experience.

Fischer with Professor of Flue Christina Jennings at graduation.Fischer with Professor of Flute Christina Jennings at graduation.

Who were the faculty members that had an impact on you?

I was lucky to work with many of the stellar faculty at the College of Music. One of the most special parts of the college is the close-knit community and low student-to-faculty ratio that allows you to seek out opportunities for collaboration. Of course I credit so much of my development to Professor Jennings—she shaped the way I approach music and flute playing and also taught me the importance of developing a strong community, as evident in the “fludio” (flute studio) who are some of my closest friends.

Other faculty highlights were working with Joan Braun and SoYoung Lee in the arts administration certificate courses. It was so influential to work with and learn from women in leadership roles. My time with them helped motivate me to pursue my interests beyond just performance. And of course I have to mention studying with Margaret McDonald and working with the incredible collaborative piano department, chamber music coachings with Nicolò Spera, developing my ensemble skills in the Wind Symphony with Don McKinney, the weekly career workshops with Jeff Nytch at the Entrepreneurship Center for Music (ECM) … the list goes on.

Fischer with fellow alumni Brice Smith and Kaleb Chesnic after a CU Boulder Symphony Orchestra concert.Fischer with fellow alumni Brice Smith and Kaleb Chesnic after a CU Boulder Symphony Orchestra concert.

The current dean of the College of Music, John Davis, has a vision for the college that includes developing what he calls universal musicians. This means developing multiskilled, multifaceted musicians with a broader education to help them in their future careers. Why is this important in a musical career?

Developing a holistic skillset is a necessary requirement in the current musical landscape. Pursuing a broad education actually helps you specialize because it gives you opportunities to explore and discover what is best suited to you. A degree in music at a well-rounded institution such as CU Boulder gives you transferable skills for many different career paths. Your life will take many twists and turns—and when you’re first starting college it’s impossible to predict the trajectory of your career. The college’s ECM, Diverse Musicians’ Alliance, Arts Administration micro-credential and working in the box office at CU Presents opened up the world of arts administration for me. Through these offerings, I learned about internships at summer festivals and ultimately found a rewarding career path fitted to my unique skill sets and complimenting my training and background in performance.

What are you up to now?

I work in the artistic operations department at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. My role is focused on supporting our annual eight-week summer festival and year-round programming, and includes coordinating the logistics of our guest artists, creating the festival schedule and helping put on over 120 master classes, concerts and competitions each summer. It’s a very fulfilling job—I love getting to know so many different musicians and supporting their artistry. When you work “behind the scenes” of any organization, you realize just how many details go into everything.

I had such an amazing undergrad and am so grateful for my time in Boulder. I miss the Flatirons, the farmers market, but mostly the community at the College of Music—I can’t wait to visit! ‘Sko buffs!