Berklee Announces Cathy Young as Executive Director of Boston Conservatory at Berklee

By 
Tori Donahue
June 6, 2017
Cathy Young will start her new position as Executive Director of Boston Conservatory at Berklee in August.
Young is nationally recognized as a master teacher, with over 34 years of career experience in higher education and the performing arts.
Image courtesy of the artist
Image by Eric Salitis

Today, Berklee announced Cathy Young as executive director for Boston Conservatory at Berklee, making her the first appointed female leader for the 150-year-old institution. Young currently serves as the Conservatory’s dean of dance, a position she has held since joining the institution in 2011. She will assume her new post on August 1, and will oversee the Conservatory’s Dance, Music, and Theater divisions, as well as all operations for the institution. The role of executive director is a new position for the Conservatory, which merged with Berklee College of Music in 2016.

“I am deeply honored to serve as executive director for Boston Conservatory at Berklee,” said Young. “We are a unique, inspiring, and transformative school, with a rich history of excellence, and a legacy of unparalleled creativity. As executive director, I will honor our history, culture, and values, while focusing on innovation and forward-thinking strategy, to lead us into a sustainable and ever more brilliant future.”

“Cathy Young’s leadership has propelled Boston Conservatory’s dance program to the no. 1 ranking in contemporary dance in the United States.”—Berklee President Roger H. Brown

Under Young’s leadership, the Dance division at the Conservatory has grown from 60 students in 2011 to 150 students today. During her six years at the Conservatory, she has overseen the implementation of a comprehensive new curriculum designed to prepare dance artists for 21st-century entrepreneurial dance careers. She developed partnerships with leading international dance organizations, including the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) in London and the Central Academy of Drama (CAD) in Beijing, China. Young also focused her efforts on building and supporting diversity within the curriculum, artistic programming, and student and faculty populations. The division has built partnerships with local organizations, such as Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Boston Arts Academy, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, in order to support the growth and vitality of the greater Boston arts community.

“Cathy Young’s leadership has propelled Boston Conservatory’s dance program to the no. 1 ranking in contemporary dance in the United States, and has attracted a cohort of wonderfully gifted faculty and students, determined to lead and innovate in the dance world and beyond," said Berklee President Roger H. Brown. "I am enthusiastic about her vision for Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and her ability to roll up her sleeves and make it happen.”

Young earned her B.A. in sociology and women’s studies from Harvard University, and her M.F.A. in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With more than 34 years of career experience in the performing arts and higher education, Young is nationally recognized as a master teacher. She has taught and conducted residencies at more than 30 colleges and universities around the country, as well as at national dance festivals, most prominently at the Bates Dance Festival, where she has served as faculty for 20 years. Prior to her appointment at Boston Conservatory, she was chair of the Theater and Dance Department at Ursinus College, where she cocreated the dance program, including a dance major and minor.

As a performer, Young has danced with a number of esteemed companies, including Zenon Dance Company and Danny Buraczeski’s Jazzdance, touring extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Between 1993 and 2011, she was the artistic director of Cathy Young Dance. Her choreography has been commissioned by more than 40 presenters, professional companies, and colleges and universities around the world, and supported by grants from the McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Target Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board, among others.

Berklee trustee and search committee cochair Marillyn Zacharias said, “Cathy Young’s enthusiasm for meeting challenges of this newly-created position, and her clear understanding of Boston Conservatory traditions will make her an excellent executive director.” Added trustee and search committee cochair Jane Mendillo, “Cathy impressed us with her tremendous creative energy, her demonstrated commitment to diversity, and her exciting vision for the future of the Conservatory.”