Akropolis Mastermind

1 Week
Completely Online
Video Conferencing
5 Guest Speakers
Concrete Career Road Map

We're back! Join the Akropolis Mastermind
July 26 - 30, 2021

Back for our second year,  Akropolis Mastermind is a 1-week, completely online, artistic business intensive to help emerging musicians and ensembles turn their artistry into a thriving business and the career of their dreams!

Take the leap. You too can make a living out of your talent. We'll show you how we forged our career from scratch, built a six-figure revenue generating business ourselves, have continued to grow both financially and artistically during the pandemic, and how you can do the same. Akropolis Mastermind offers 1 on 1 mentorship sessions, entrepreneurial lectures on a variety of business topics, peer to peer networking, connections to a community of like-minded performers, and unprecedented access to experts within our field who've advised leading artists on how to create successful and sustainable careers.


We need to rethink everything we do! But that is a good change!”


“The Akropolis Mastermind was a complete evolutionary experience for Group 2 and myself. The concepts of what it takes to be a viable, relevant and vibrant musical ensemble were delicately and meticulously combed through by ARQ and their guests. The ensembles and soloists participating alongside us were thought provoking, forward, and truly admirable. The week was intense in the best way, and as we were packing up the car to leave the retreat, one of our members paused, thought and said: "Guys... we are leaving this week changed." Bravo to Akropolis and their guests for a wonderfully challenging experience.”

~ Tyler Young - Group 2 Saxophone Quartet

“I got more out of this workshop than I ever thought possible. Thank you so much for your amazing organization, thoughtful input and high level of energy!”


“The Mastermind was more valuable and inspiring than we ever could have imagined. Starting with the prep work before the workshop even started, we were sharing and learning things about ourselves as individuals and as a group that we hadn't ever discussed before, and the prompts and guidance in these discussions has really helped us to identify the "why" in what we do. The workshop week was incredibly well-organized and well-structured, creating space for learning, brainstorming, and discussion within both small and large groups. It was so great to focus on and dive a little deeper into each of the daily topics and we found ourselves coming up with countless ideas after each session. This experience gave us helpful information in areas that we usually find overwhelming, and we now feel energized, motivated, and inspired to take our ensemble to the next level, using new tools, techniques, and strategies to connect with and grow our community.”

~ Kleine Kammermusik

“This was an incredible workshop, and it has been the perfect reset for our group at this strange time where we cannot perform live concerts in front of live audiences for the foreseeable future. Thank you all for organizing and offering this. The discussion model will serve as our meeting structure from now on!”


“The Mastermind was an enriching experience for both soloists and ensembles. I felt extremely supported throughout the week by Akropolis and continue to feel supported by their mentorship. This program is a valuable opportunity for musicians and ensembles who are taking those next steps in their career and have unanswered questions about collaboration, marketing, brand, interpersonal relationships, finances, and more.”

~ Lara Mitofsky Neuss

“Please keep doing this!!! You were fantastic throughout the week and our group left with motivation and momentum that we are still riding weeks later. Bravo!!”

Aruna Quartet

“We had reached a point in our ensemble's journey where we had attained a degree of success, but we felt lost. We lacked the clarity in our vision and the tools necessary to take our craft to the next level. The Mastermind provided us with practical tools for our business, but, more importantly, it helped us hone our artistic message, providing us with the clear path forward that we were seeking.”

~ Will Pyle - Aruna Quartet

“Thank you for creating a space for everyone to come together - and for empowering us to keep creating, especially in these uncertain times.”


“The Akropolis Mastermind was the complete experience - offering clear and inspirational insight into building a successful organization that allows artists to do what we love AND make a living. Personally, I left the program invigorated and viewing the organization I serve in a completely different and positive way shifting from "how will we do this?" to "we CAN do this." The connections made through Mastermind are priceless and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in creating their own performing ensemble.”

~ Matthew Angelo - Maryland Chamber Winds

Here's What's Inside

✦ Personalized Workshops on Finance, Marketing, Fundraising, Grant Writing, and Artistic Operations

✦ Presentations and Conversations with 5 Guest Speakers

✦ Peer to Peer Problem-Solving Sessions

✦ Personalized Workbook
& Business Plan

✦ Multiple Individualized Artistic and Business Mentoring Sessions with Akropolis

✦ 2 Follow-Up Video Conference Sessions with Akropolis

Screen Shot 2021-02-16 at 4.55.09 PM
Dana Fonteneau<br> Consultant, Author, Speaker

Dana Fonteneau

Consultant, Author, Speaker

Dana Fonteneau draws on her diverse background in music, business, finance, and psychology to help her clients attain greater personal and career success. She is part performance coach, management consultant, financial advisor, and therapist. Equally comfortable in the board room and the concert hall, Dana helps individuals and small businesses succeed. Her international practice is centered in the arts where she works with top soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestral musicians, actors, dancers, and educators, as well as with leading administrators, board members, and managers throughout the music industry. 

Afa &amp; Aaron Dwarkin.Portrait Session

Afa Sadykhly Dworkin

President and Artistic Director, Sphinx Organization

Named one of Musical America’s Top 30 Influencers and Detroit Crain’s 40 Under 40,
Afa Sadykhly Dworkin is a musical thought leader and cross-sector strategist driving national programming that promotes diversity in classical music. She currently serves as President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization, the nation’s leading organization transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. During her tenure, Ms. Dworkin has expanded the organization’s international partner network to 50+ foundations and leading enterprises, resulting in the most successful fundraising campaign of its twenty-year history. 

Megan Ihnen<br>
New Music USA & Mezzo-Soprano

Megan Ihnen

New Music USA & Mezzo-Soprano

Communications Associate for New Music USA, Megan Ihnen is a “new music force of nature.” Her performances thrive on elaborate sound worlds and fully-developed dramatic interpretations. Passionate about performing contemporary chamber music and opera, Megan has worked with individuals and ensembles around the globe including: International Contemporary Ensemble, Fifth House Ensemble, Great Noise Ensemble, Rhymes With Opera, and Synchromy. She is deeply committed to the belief that new music should be accessible in cities and towns of all sizes. 

Emily Bookwalter<br>
Development Director, Roulette Intermedium

Emily Bookwalter

Development Director, Roulette Intermedium

Dedicated arts advocate with 9+ years experience in non-profit fundraising and a deep love for art of our time. Emily Bookwalter enjoys connecting people, causes, and resources around mission-driven work and live programming. In addition to her work at Roulette, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for Music at the Anthology, is a Founding Board Member and Secretary for the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and remains an active violist. She is the former Executive Director of New Amsterdam Presents and Records and is a violist and the Director of External Affairs for the String Orchestra of Brooklyn.

David Srebnik<br>
Advocate and Creative Advisor, All Art is Personal

David Srebnik

Advocate and Creative Advisor, All Art is Personal

David Srebnik is an advocate for classical music performers, composers, ensembles and institutions. He develops strategies for each to present their best story and their creative vision to audiences and all media platforms. “It’s crowded out there, so I find ways for artists to stand out and stand apart in our current, hyperactive media environment.” For more than 30 years, Srebnik was a Program Director at Public Radio Stations across the country and served as an Associate Producer at National Public Radio’s Performance Today. He recently left SiriusXM Satellite Radio after ten years, where he was the Classical Music Program Director, programming the music on the two classical channels. He also hosted and produced special programs with Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Gustavo Dudamel, Philip Glass, John Adams, Yo-Yo Ma, Alisa Weilerstein, the Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Imani Winds, Emanuel Ax, Simone Dinnerstein, Sir James Galway and many others. Musical America recently listed him on their annual report, The MA 30 Professionals of the Year: "The Influencers". 

The Investment

While many masterminds, conferences, and festivals charge thousands of dollars for an exclusive experience, we wanted to create access, community, and material progress for your career without requiring such a significant financial investment.

And without excluding those who could not afford the costs associated with flights, lodging, and meals.

We therefore designed this Mastermind to have unprecedented takeaway for its cost. No risk, pure reward.





per person)



($250 per person or less)

Application Timeline

The online application closes May 1, 2021 at 11:59 EST
Also, did we mention the application is 100% FREE!

May 2021: Initial Results
​Notification of initial adjudication results sent to applicants via email.

Download or view a PDF of all of the application questions and requirements here!

For University of Michigan Students
EXCEL is collaborating with the Akropolis Reed Quintet to sponsor the tuition for up to three SMTD student-led ensembles to participate thanks to the Eileen Weiser EXCEL Fund. These three individual soloists and/or ensembles will be selected to receive this scholarship by Akropolis based on the strength of their application. 


The 6 Core Elements to the Akropolis Mastermind

1. A One-Week Deep Dive

This will be an intense week where you will walk away with  individualized business solutions to grow your music business. This mastermind community is not only built to help you take immediate action, but also envision your future, and is committed to being part of your lifelong community of colleagues, advisors, and mentors. We want your artistic entity to succeed beyond your wildest dreams, and we want this Mastermind to be the most important action you take toward that future.

3. Accessibility & Access

Inspired by entrepreneurial businesses across the globe and an idea we generated in the summer of 2019 (before the pandemic!), our goal was to remove physical barriers from this Mastermind by holding it entirely online. All participation will occur online via Akropolis' Zoom Video Conferencing system. This includes group meetings, guest presentations, and all other contact and communication.

5. Community 

Akropolis has coached thousands of emerging artists on a variety of artistic and business topics over the last few years, and now we are connecting this greater entrepreneurial community together. This Mastermind connects like-minded artists across the country, exposing you to key creative individuals who will serve as valuable friends, mentors, and resources as you continue to further your career.

2. The Content 

After 1 week, we want you to walk away with an action plan for your music business. This includes your core values, mission and vision, programming and offerings, revenue streams, financial forecast and budget, and individualized action steps to achieve your artistic and business goals over the next year.

4. A Creative Culture 

We share your desire to create your own, self-made artistic career. With this goal comes embracing  a career path that's not for everyone, and we want to celebrate your hustle. The culture we hope to foster within your entity is one of sustainability, seeking wisdom not just in artistic excellence, but in leadership and operations, guiding you toward a healthy balance between your fast-paced career and your personal life.

6. Financial Freedom

We are passionate about your financial bottom line, and achieving financial independence and success through the art most personal to you. We want you to not only be fulfilled artistically, but fufilled financially. During this Mastermind we will help you understand how to manage and grow your bottom line. This includes individualized workshops helping you forecast your entity's financial growth.

elevate your artistry


What made Akropolis want to offer this 1-week Mastermind experience, and why now?

Akropolis has made a thriving arts business out of a an idea that had virtually no precedent in classical music. Since our founding we have fielded thousands of individuals' questions about how to succeed in classical and contemporary music. We have also delivered more than 300 master classes and entrepreneurship workshops over the past decade at colleges and universities of all stripe. This Mastermind collates all our teaching and coaching experience into the workshop we feel WE would have wanted as early career artists. We want to see you thrive! Simple as that.

Will I receive one-on-one coaching with Akropolis?

Yes! Throughout the 1-week mastermind you are guaranteed to multiple one-on-one sessions with members of Akropolis. You are also guaranteed to face-time and a live Q&A sessions with each guest speaker, but you will not receive any individual sessions with each guest speaker.

What is the typical schedule each day?

Here is the anticipated schedule for each of the 5 days of the Mastermind:

11 AM - 1 PM ~ Akropolis teaching on predetermined business topic (full group)
1 PM - 2 PM ~ Break
2 PM - 4 PM ~ Guest Speaker and Q&A (full group)
4 PM - 5 PM ~ Break
5 PM - 7 PM ~ Peer-to-Peer activities and/or personalized Akropolis business coaching session
*All times are EST

All participants will be provided with their confirmed schedule and itinerary 1 week prior to the Mastermind starting.

I have Zoom burnout. How much screen time will there be?

When we invented the Mastermind in 2019, there was MUCH less Zoom interaction! But now, this is a primary concern for us. The sessions contain significant individual reflection time away from the screen, which is important for generating ideas and sharing them. Additionally, much of the workshop is spent within your individual group on Zoom (or in person if your group chooses to get together in one place for the Mastermind, which we recommend!) rather than in the full Mastermind group. Full group sessions, meetings with Akropolis members, and presentations by guests are held on Zoom. It is also appropriate to sparingly rotate which members attend sessions if needed. We go to great lengths to vary the type of activities during the week. We also vary when they occur during the day. And, prior to the Mastermind, we take input and suggestions from all the Mastermind participants on activity formats.

What if I can't attend one of the days/sessions?

No big deal! This will be a packed week with a full schedule and any session you can attend you should attend, but all sessions will be video recorded and all Mastermind participants will have access to the full video archive of the full week of activities. If you are unable to attend a particular session, we are not able to offer any extra make-up activities and you will be directed to watch the video session from that day's activities.

What "level" is the mastermind? Is it for pre-formed ensembles only?

The mastermind is specifically designed for artists and ensembles who are serious about having a performing career. It is not a requirement that you already be a part of a pre-formed ensemble and we welcome individual artists. However, as a chamber music ensemble ourselves, we would LOVE nothing more than to work with your pre-existing ensemble and help elevate you to your next artistic and business level. You will walk away with a detailed strategy on how to grow your ensemble or solo artistic career, so it is recommended you highly want to pursue a career as this entity.

What if my ensemble doesn't have any recordings?

Not to worry,  if you do not yet have group recordings that you feel represent your ensemble, feel free to submit your best individual recordings of 2 of your members. Overall, we'll say the recording element is just one small part of the application process. We are really interested in learning more about your career goals and how being a part of this Mastermind will help you achieve them.

When is tuition due? 

Your tuition of either $500, $750, or $1,000 depending on your ensemble size must be submitted within 10 days of acceptance to confirm a position within the Mastermind.

What is your refund policy?

We do not have application fees. If a conflict arises and you are no longer able to attend the Mastermind itself, we are able to refund your tuition payment until July 1, 2020. All refund requests following July 1, 2020 will not be able to be accommodated.

What if my whole ensemble cannot attend?

Your whole ensemble is highly encouraged to attend the full mastermind, but it's not a problem if one or more of your members are unavailable to attend any or all Mastermind activities. We highly recommend that at least one member attends all Mastermind sessions, rather than rotating members in and out of the sessions. In other words, one member of the ensemble should be the point person attending all sessions and transferring information back to the group.

What are the technology requirements?

In order to attend and participate in the Akropolis Mastermind, you and all of your ensemble members will need access to a computer or phone with a high functioning microphone, built-in camera, and high-speed WiFi. There will be a series of technology FAQ's sent to each participant, but we expect anyone with access to a good-working laptop computer to have no need to make any technology purchases.

What if I have an additional question?

For all additional questions, please reach out to Akropolis at info@akropolisquintet.org. Thank you!