|Nicole Jordan '12, performance librarian.|
Wanted: Someone who knows music history and music theory, how to play every instrument in an orchestra, and how to translate multiple languages. Found: UMD alumna Nicole Jordan.
Nicole Jordan is living her dream, working with a major U.S. symphony orchestra. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) in 2008 with her bachelor’s degree in music performance with an emphasis on the viola. Originally from Philadelphia, Penn., she now works as performance librarian for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. A performance librarian is a specialist in music, working in a library setting. They are professionals, in charge of the care and management of an orchestra’s music collection.
Jordan’s favorite part of her job is getting to work with "amazingly talented musicians, who are making wonderful music." Although she doesn’t perform, she feels as though she gets to perform through them. "It is an indescribable feeling,” she said.
While at UMD, Jordan said it was difficult to find her niche. The biggest lesson she learned from UMD, her professors, and the people she met, was to explore every opportunity given to her. She did just that. She worked in the dining center and helped at catering events. More important, she participated in every single ensemble that needed a viola. She said, “Without those experiences, and without my professors pushing me to never settle for anything but the best, I doubt I would be where I am.” Because she sought out new roles and new activities, she developed extensive skills. At the time, she wasn't sure which skills she would need in the future. Turns out, she needs a lot of them for all the tasks she handles at the symphony.
Jordan said her biggest surprise was the actual amount of music material she needs to know to be effective at her job. She needs to have a good grasp on multiple languages, such as Russian, Italian, German, and French. She needs a strong background in music history and music theory too. She is also allotted the task of having to know how to play every single instrument in the orchestra. Employers want a versatile employee, and Jordan is up to the task.
"Now, I don't spend up to eight hours practicing a day," Jordan said, when asked about the biggest differences between school and work. "And, I only work only one job instead of four." She has had many adventures in Atlanta, such as taking the wrong train and almost missing her interview for the orchestra altogether. One time she was busy playing Angry Birds, a game on her cell phone, and when she looked up she saw the actor, Alec Baldwin, walk right past her.
Because the music changes for each concert, Jordan gets to do new and engaging projects nearly every day. “Although I’m not on stage, my work supports the music being performed," she said. "I get to create a transformative experience for people in the audience. I am very fortunate to be living my dream. It is my wish that everyone can do the same.”
Written by Korin Olgaard, March 2013