New World Symphony (NWS) revolutionized America’s performing arts scene in 1987, when the orchestral academy – the first of its kind in the U.S. – opened its doors to train highly-gifted young musicians for careers in classical music. With over 1,100 alumni going on to careers in orchestras, ensembles and educational institutions worldwide, NWS is helping to ensure a thriving future for classical music.
Marci Falvey, senior director of communications, helps tell NWS’s story to the public, donors and patrons. As the brand storyteller, Marci works hand-in-hand with Joe Monticello, the archivist on her team, to create both digital and print materials that showcase NWS’s illustrious history and exciting future.
“We work with everyone in the institution to tell their stories, whether it’s community engagement or the stories of our Fellows and alumni. There’s no part of NWS that isn’t touched by our team,” says Marci.
I want to make sure that we breathe new life into where we’ve been and who’s helped us get here. That means presenting our collection to the public as often as possible. It can be really compelling for multiple uses throughout the institution.
The communications team creates everything from digital materials, such as blog and social media posts, to print materials, such as ticket brochures, brochures about their community engagement programs and the annual report, which showcases what the institution has accomplished and how it’s evolved over the past year. The team often uses photos and documents from the institution’s past events and programs to help bring their stories to life.
Marci crafts the story and content direction while leaning on Joe to provide the best visuals from NWS’s archive. Because the team so often uses historical assets to enrich their storytelling, Marci and Joe made the accessibility of their decades-old archive a top priority.
“I want to make sure that we breathe new life into where we’ve been and who’s helped us get here. That means presenting our collection to the public as often as possible. It can be really compelling for multiple uses throughout the institution,” says Joe.
Previously, NWS was storing their photos and documents on shared drives, which made it difficult to find and access assets quickly – especially for Marci, the only remote employee at NWS. Marci and Joe created a wishlist of functionality they wanted for their DAM. For Joe, it was especially important to have a solution modern enough to support NWS’s future growth.
“A lot of similar organizations have taken more outdated DAMs with less functionality and retrofitted them to work, but I didn’t want that,” says Joe. “I knew that we should have a system in place that we could grow into, not the other way around.”
“When Joe brought Canto to me, we both immediately thought that this would check all the right boxes in terms of what we were looking for,” says Marci. “Then, it was just a matter of showing that Canto was going to benefit multiple teams and be worth the investment.”
New World Symphony has uploaded over 25,000 assets into Canto so far – and that’s just from their past three seasons.
“It was love at first upload,” says Joe, who is excited to upload even more of the organization’s historical assets so that they’re accessible for everyone on the team to use.
Both Marci and Joe are thrilled to have a centralized library where the team can easily pull any asset they need and collaborate in real-time. All of the content they create use assets stored in Canto.
In line with the team’s goals of making their archive super accessible, Joe set up NWS’s Canto library with a simple folder structure anyone on the team can easily navigate. This structure also keeps their extensive archive organized as Joe uploads more content.
“I set things up by season, which is how we run things internally, and divided the folders between our audiovisual collection, general photography collection, photography by season and printed materials by season. Within those folders, we have a variety of sub-folders for recurring projects,” says Joe.
Aligning a distributed team, enabling meaningful collaboration
Marci loves that Canto’s cloud-based platform helps her team stay in sync. She works remotely, so it’s invaluable to have full access to the entire content library at all times.
Canto has really been a game changer for us. It diminishes the cons of not being in the building and takes away the distance. We’re all looking at the same assets at the same time.
“Having to access a shared drive on a server that was half a country away – that lag time was really hard on my work. I would have to lean on team members who were onsite and ask them, ‘Hey, can you find me this photo? I think it’d be a good fit, but I just can’t quickly load these high-res assets from this far away,’” says Marci.
“Canto has really been a game changer for us. It diminishes the cons of not being in the building and takes away the distance. We’re all looking at the same assets at the same time.”
With the team on the same page and connected via their assets, it’s easy for Marci and Joe to collaborate. Canto’s workspace feature also helps them keep assets for different ongoing projects organized and on-hand.
“Joe and I use Canto workspaces a lot for various blog posts or stories that I’m writing. We’re able to easily access all the assets for a project in real time and go through them together,” says Marci. “It’s really helpful when we’re working on multiple projects, and I can just go to one place for a specific project and everything I need is there.”
“Canto has been really great for not only internally viewing what assets we have, but also for sharing those assets with people outside of our institution. Everyone can open the same link and view the same assets.”
Saving time with facial recognition
Facial recognition has saved the team precious hours, especially with fulfilling asset requests from the press.
“There have been a lot of projects that we didn’t necessarily see coming that required us to find specific assets for one person very quickly. For example, our co-founder Michael Tilson Thomas is being honored at the Kennedy Center this year and a lot of media outlets need photos of him from all points in NWS history. We’ve had to dig deep into our archives in a way that we haven’t really done before,” says Marci.
“With Canto’s facial recognition, finding the right assets is just a matter of running a search. We can get these projects done much more quickly.”
Customer success that cares
As the team eagerly explores all that Canto has to offer, their dedicated customer success team is on hand to help them troubleshoot any issues or dive deeper into the platform’s functionality.
“Anytime I had a question, it was answered. There’s something so refreshing about having a customer support team that’s obviously very passionate about their own product. It reflects the passion that we put into what we create here at NWS,” says Joe.
With the valuable assets in their archive now available on-demand, the communications team has achieved their goal of being able to tell the best stories with the best assets available.
“Since implementing Canto, our materials have really come alive because we’re able to use all of these assets that were previously sitting untouched in shared drives,” says Marci.
An added bonus? The team can also work at a faster tempo with the assets they need just a quick search away.
“Canto has been really helpful for unexpected projects that we might not otherwise have the resources or the time to complete. It’s almost been like an additional team member in helping us execute large projects very quickly,” says Marci.
But even beyond helping the team get more done in less time, Canto has been instrumental in aligning NWS’s distributed communications team by enabling real-time collaboration.
“The communications team is working hand-in-hand on lots of different things all at the same time, so it’s important that we’re all aligned and working towards the same goal even with team members outside my scope. Canto has certainly helped us with that,” says Marci.
A team working in harmony and hitting all the right notes, together – now that’s music to our ears!