Distinguished Speaker Series

Join us for the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music Distinguished Speaker Series, an exceptional lineup of engaging events featuring prominent individuals from academia, community organizations and the performing arts. This series offers a platform for thought-provoking discussions, insights, and inspiration, all aimed at fostering innovative ideas and strengthening our arts community.


Susan Elswick
Dr. Susan Elswick
November 8
Stress and Burnout Among Art Majors
and their Faculty: A Review of Terms, Research,
Influences, and Coping Mechanisms


Aubrey Bergauer
Aubrey Bergauer
February 21
Run It Like a Business: Strategies for Arts
Organizations to Increase Audiences, Remain Relevant, Multiply Money – Without
& Losing the Art


Awadagin Pratt
Awadagin Pratt
March 1
Equity in the Arts


Richard White
Richard White
March 20
"R.A.W. Tuba”: The Power of Overcoming,
Resilience & Determination



Stress and Burnout Among Art Majors and their Faculty: A Review of Terms, Research, Influences, and Coping Mechanisms

Although part of everyday life, too much stress in the educational or workplace setting can spill over into personal life, causing burnout. In addition to stress and burnout rates among artists, it is important to also understand the impact that previous life experiences have on an individual’s health and wellbeing.

According to Kuebel (2019), “higher levels of stress and symptoms of burnout have been found among music (art) performance and music (art) education undergraduate students when compared to both national averages and undergraduate students in other degree programs.”

Additionally, many of the faculty supporting these students must also navigate and manage stress's impact on personal and professional outcomes. True organizational wellness includes the needs of every system involved (administration, student, educator/ faculty, and community).

In this speaker series, we will discuss common terms and research on the topics of stress, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress. We will also review common influences for these responses, and discuss effective coping mechanisms and interventions, at the personal and organizational levels, that can support in mitigating the impact that stress and trauma have on an individual.

Susan Elswick obtained her Master of Social Work at the University of Tennessee in 2006 and her Doctor of Education in Instructional and Curriculum Leadership with a specialty in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of Memphis in 2011. Served as a clinical assistant professor at the University Of Memphis Department Of Social Work Memphis from 2012-2015. She was an assistant professor and BA Program Director from 2015-2019 at the University of Memphis Department of Social Work. She moved into an Assistant Professor role in 2019 and started her administrative journey through two faculty director positions at the University of Memphis. She also served as an Interim Department Chair for the School of Social Work in the 2022-2023 academic year. She is currently a Full Professor within the Social Work Department, focusing on leading the university in developing programs to support student workforce development and in growing partnerships and direct services for the community. She is also the Faculty Director for three programs on UofM campus: The Interprofessional Community Health Clinic (ICHC- provide research, training and treatment in mental health to the community) https://www.memphis.edu/ichc/ , The Institute for Interdisciplinary Memphis Partnerships to Advance Community Transformation (iIMPACT- an interdisciplinary group of researchers focusing on engaged scholarship) https://www.memphis.edu/iimpact/ , and The Supporting Mental Health Access to Resources through Telehealth (SMART- Research, Treatment and Training Center) https://www.memphis.edu/smartcenter/ .

Dr. Susan Elswick has over 16 years of clinical mental health experience, including community mental health, case management, residential programming, ABA-based programming, school-based programming, parent coaching, integrated behavioral health, infant mental health, and home-based services. Her research interests include the use of evidence-based behavioral interventions for addressing client’s needs, supporting schools in developing effective school-based mental health programs that are trauma-responsive, the use of expressive art therapies/ experiential therapies in the field of social work practice, and the use of informatics and technology in the field of social work.

Dr. Elswick is an LCSW in AR, MS, and TN, and she is a licensed school social worker in TN.  She is a nationally certified PCIT, CPP, CBITS, TFCBT, AutPlay, and EMDR clinician.  She is endorsed in Infant Mental Health in the state of TN, is Certified as an Animal Assisted Interventionist, and she is also a Registered Play Therapist- Supervisor (RPT-S).  She is also a national trainer and supervisor for several evidence-based modalities and trauma-based interventions.

Additionally, Dr. Elswick is a local/ regional trainer for the following evidence-based interventions: CBITS, EMDR, PCIT, and AutPlay (a play-based intervention for children with neurodiversity). This allows Dr. Elswick to bring these evidence-based interventions and training to the local community without the burden of traveling to other locations to access and obtain this training knowledge. Dr. Elswick is working to utilize the processes of curriculum infusion within the graduate level programs at the University of Memphis to ensure current students are trained and certified in evidence-based interventions prior to graduation.

Dr. Elswick is the author of over thirty-five peer reviewed journal publications, two monographed books, and served as the editor for one book publication. She also has over thirty referred conference presentations. She has received more than $3 million in internal and external grants to date.  She was also awarded the NASW-TN West Branch Social Worker of the Year in 2017 and was awarded the prestigious Gary Lee Shaffer Award for Academic Contributions to the Field of School Social Work by the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) in 2018.  Dr. Elswick has also served as the Co-chair for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Review Technology Track that focuses on harnessing technology for social good in behavioral health practice.  Dr. Elswick is a Faculty Affiliate on campus at U of M with the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS).  IIS is dedicated to advancing the state of knowledge and capabilities of intelligent systems, including psychological, biological, and artificial systems. She is also an identified a senior personnel on the U of M’s $2.58 million National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project, which will lay the foundation for a future Learner Data Institute (LDI). Dr. Elswick received funding in 2020 to develop a tele-behavioral health center for the region. Dr. Elswick is the Director of the newly established School Mental Health Access through Telehealth (SMART) Center on campus that provides evidence-based interventions and supports to the local community through treatment, training, and research. Additionally, Dr. Elswick has developed a relationship with South Central Telehealth Resource Center (SCTRC) at the University of Arkansas Medical Science Center (https://www.telehealthresourcecenter.org/sctrc-2/  ) where she will leverage her relationship to develop training programs and supports that will reach to areas in AR, MS, and TN. Dr. Elswick is currently a member of the SCTRC Advisory Board (Spring 2021) supporting and representing the West TN region.


"Run It Like A Business": For-Profit Ideas for a Post-Pandemic Nonprofit World

If you hate that phrase, you're not alone. But the arts are a business, a $763 billion sector whose 100,000+ organizations serve almost every county in the nation. Today, battered arts institutions are trying to reemerge from months of dark stages and galleries, rebound from one of the highest unemployment rates globally, and confront centuries of systemic discrimination. The solutions are right before our eyes, though. Volumes of data, research and case studies from the for-profit sector demonstrate how to achieve success across customer engagement, the user experience, company culture, the subscription economy, technology and media, new revenue streams, and brand relevance. Just because arts organizations are nonprofits doesn't mean we shouldn't make money; our revenue goes back to fund the mission. And it means a sustainable model is still necessary. Running arts organizations like a business isn't unwilling board speak; it's to revitalize this critical, massive economic engine and better serve the art and its consumers in the new normal ahead.

Hailed as "the Steve Jobs of classical music" (Observer) and "the Sheryl Sandberg of the symphony" (LA Review of Books), Aubrey Bergauer is known for her results-driven, customer-centric, data-obsessed pursuit of changing the narrative for the performing arts. A "dynamic administrator" with an "unquenchable drive for canny innovation" (San Francisco Chronicle), her leadership as Executive Director of the California Symphony propelled the organization to double the size of its audience and nearly quadruple the donor base.

In 2019, the side hustle became the main hustle as she moved her consulting practice full-time and has now served dozens of clients across artistic disciplines, geographies, and budgets up to $300M. Bergauer's ability to cast and communicate vision moves large teams forward. It brings stakeholders together across the institution, earning her "a reputation for coming up with great ideas and then realizing them" (San Francisco Classical Voice). Her drive to see opportunity in place of unsolvable challenges or irreversible trends produces different results than the norm, secures new revenue streams, and galvanizes audiences and donors. In addition, Bergauer builds strategic plans and organizations, leverages technology and new media to elevate and extend the brand, and prioritizes diversity and inclusion to create more robust products on stage and off.

A graduate of Rice University with degrees in Music Performance and Business, her work and leadership have been covered in national publications, including Entrepreneur, Thrive Global, Wall Street Journal, Southwest Airlines, and Symphony magazines, and she is a frequent public speaker, including TEDx, Adobe, and industry conferences inside and outside the arts.


Among his generation of concert artists, pianist Awadagin Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involving performances in recital and with symphony orchestras.

Born in Pittsburgh, Awadagin Pratt began studying piano at the age of six. Three years later, having moved to Normal, Illinois with his family, he also began studying violin. At the age of 16 he entered the University of Illinois where he studied piano, violin, and conducting. He subsequently enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he became the first student in the school’s history to receive diplomas in three performance areas – piano, violin and conducting. In recognition of this achievement and for his work in classical music, Mr. Pratt received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins and an honorary doctorate from Illinois Wesleyan University after delivering the commencement address in 2012.

In 1992, Mr. Pratt won the Naumburg International Piano Competition and was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant two years later. Since then, he has played numerous recitals throughout the US including performances at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and the NJ Performing Arts Center. His many orchestral performances include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, National, Detroit and New Jersey symphonies among many others. Summer festival engagements include appearances at Ravinia, Blossom, Wolftrap, Caramoor and Aspen and the Hollywood Bowl. Mr. Pratt has toured Japan four times internationally and performed in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, Columbia and South Africa.

Recent and upcoming appearances include recital engagements in Baltimore, La Jolla, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Ravinia, Lewes, Delaware, Duke University and at Carnegie Hall for the Naumburg Foundation; as well as appearances with the orchestras of Cincinnati, Indianapolis, North Carolina, Utah, Richmond, Grand Rapids, Memphis, Fresno, Winston-Salem, New Mexico, Rockford, IL and Springfield, OH. He also serves on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina where he coaches chamber music, teaches individual pianists and performs chamber music and concertos with the festival orchestra.

Also an experienced conductor, Mr. Pratt has conducted programs with the Toledo, New Mexico, Vancouver WA, Winston-Salem, Santa Fe and Prince George County symphonies, the Northwest Sinfonietta, the Concertante di Chicago and several orchestras in Japan.

A great favorite on college and university performing arts series and a strong advocate of music education, Awadagin Pratt participates in numerous residency and outreach activities wherever he appears; these activities may include master classes, children’s recitals, play/talk demonstrations and question/answer sessions for students of all ages. He is also frequently invited to participate on international competition juries, such as the Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Israel, the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Minnesota e-Competition, the Unisa International Piano Competition in International Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz in the Ukraine.

In November 2009, Mr. Pratt was one of four artists selected to perform at a classical music event at the White House that included student workshops hosted by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and performing in concert for guests including President Obama. He has performed two other times at the White House, both at the invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Pratt’s recordings for Angel/EMI include A Long Way From Normal, an all-Beethoven Sonata CD, Live From South AfricaTransformations and an all Bach disc with the St. Lawrence String Quartet. His most recent recordings are the Brahms Sonatas for Cello and Piano with Zuill Bailey for Telarc and a recording of the music of Judith Lang Zaimont with the Harlem Quartet for Navona Records.

Mr. Pratt is a Professor of Piano at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He also served as the Artistic Director of the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati and is currently the Artistic Director of the Art of the Piano Festival at CCM.

Dr. Richard Antoine White, A.K.A. RawTuba, is the bestselling author of the memoir I'm Possible: A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream; and an inspirational speaker who has traveled the world sharing his thoughts & experiences, and the philosophies that have shaped and motivated him. In 2022, Richard launched The RawTuba Foundation--a multi-disciplinary teaching and tutoring facility for all ages, in addition to his second book, an illustrated children's book explaining diversity through the orchestra's instruments. Dr. White is a Professor of Tuba/Euphonium at The University of New Mexico, Principal Tubist of the New Mexico Philharmonic and the Santa Fe Symphony. Dr. White is also certified in Diversity and Inclusion training from Cornell University.