Eric Esparza

Director of Choral Studies, Vocal Area Coordinator, and Diversity Advocate at DePaul University

Dr. Eric Esparza is the Director of Choral Studies, Vocal Area Coordinator, and Diversity Advocate at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where he conducts the DePaul Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, and Symphonic Choir, and teaches courses in choral music. Dr. Esparza serves as the Repertoire & Resources Chair for Collegiate Choirs on the Board of the Illinois-American Choral Directors Association, for whom he also chairs the Diversity Initiatives Committee. Dr. Esparza has previously served as Artistic Director of Windy City Performing Arts, International Voices Houston, and the United Nations Association International Choir, and was the Director of Music Ministries at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Esparza holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance as well as a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he studied with Dr. Joyce Farwell and Maestro Thomas Jaber. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in Arts Administration from Florida State University where he was a University Fellow. Dr. Esparza earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from Boston University, where he studied with Dr. Ann Howard Jones. He remains active internationally as a singer, conductor, and music editor.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.