Mimi Stillman holding flute and talking to a group of students

Flutist Mimi Stillman compares her role of managing the chamber music group Dolce Suono (“Sweet Sounds”) to running a small country.

Although she quickly gives credit to a strong team and dedicated board, Stillman’s roles as founder, artistic director and executive director mean she dives into “everything, from the minutia of scheduling rehearsals to grant writing, grant reporting, publicity, music licensing, development and donor relations.”

The actual programming is often done as a team. Because chamber music is a sort of conversation, having a literal conversation about the pieces the group plays makes sense, Stillman says.

Many of the performers are fellow Curtis alumni. Even if they didn’t overlap at the school, the shared experience creates a close-knit group.

Stillman loves planning new performances. “There’s a part of it that is conceptual, … coming up with a deep question or theme about the music and carrying it out in a project,” she says.

Bringing a new concept to life can be slow; one project took seven years from idea to performance. One reason is that Dolce Suono often commissions new pieces.

Stillman embraces the work. “Combining the two hats that I wear, as a musician and historian, and having our projects have that intellectual component reflecting those two areas is very, very rewarding,” she says.

Photo by Jolesch Photography


SupportED 2020v5n3 cover with Mimi StillmanThis article originally appeared in the 2020N3 issue of Yamaha SupportED. To see more back issues, find out about Yamaha resources for music educators, or sign up to be notified when the next issue is available, click here