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Ian Carleton Schaefer

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Ian Carleton Schaefer has spent decades living his life in the arts as a passionate artistic citizen, performer and advocate.  A professional attorney in New York, he is also a life-long musician and champion for arts education, particularly in underserved and underrepresented communities, serving concurrently on the Boards of Jazz at Lincoln Center (Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director) and the Grammy Award winning New York Youth Symphony.


Immediately before, and in the midst of the Pandemic, Ian began formal Conducting Studies at the Juilliard School’s Extension Division with Maestro Mark Shapiro both in person and for several years over Zoom. Since then, he has continued his studies both live and remotely with such master teachers as Maestros Donald Schleicher (Northwestern) and Farkhad Khudyev (University of Texas, Austin) who remain key musical influences and mentors in his music education.


Born and raised in upstate New York, and encouraged by his parents, Ian was exposed at an early age to music through his public school education, choosing to play the Trumpet at age 8 (the drums had already been spoken for).  After years of performing in various public school ensembles, his focus and trajectory was honed when, at age 16, he won an audition that allowed him to participate in the prestigious New York Youth Symphony; an experience which would transform his musical and professional journey and would ultimately see him regularly perform at Carnegie Hall under the batons of Maestros Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Mischa Santora, Paul Haas and Ryan McAdams.


Following his experience with the New York Youth Symphony, Ian enrolled and attended Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations in Ithaca, NY.  During his Freshman Year at Cornell, Ian auditioned for and won the Co-Principal Trumpet position with the New York Youth Symphony, resulting in his regular, and now folklorelike Sunday morning commutes from Ithaca at 5AM on a Shortline Bus to attend 4-hour rehearsals in New York City, only to return to Ithaca that same night and arriving back to campus the next morning at 1AM.  He also continued his music performance and studies at Cornell, serving in leadership roles with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, Cornell Chamber Orchestra and Cornell Wind Ensemble where he performed, studied and was mentored by Maestro Mark Davis Scatterday (now at the Eastman School of Music).


While music is his first love (New York City being his second), Ian’s studies in Industrial and Labor Relations inspired him to stay close to the arts and attend law school in the hopes of becoming a Labor & Employment lawyer who might one day represent performing arts organizations.  After graduating from Fordham Law School and over the last two decades of practice, Ian now serves as Partner in the Labor & Employment group of Sheppard Mullin, an AmLaw Top 50 firm.  In addition to sports, media and professional services, his diverse client roster has seen him representing some of the leading performing arts and entertainment organizations in the world. 


He lives and works in New York City.

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