Music industry executive joins Rider's arts and entertainment industries management program

Linda Lorence Critelli creates dynamic, real-world curriculum for students
Rachel Stengel '14

With more than 25 years of experience in the music business, Linda Lorence Critelli understands that a musician's success doesn't depend on artistry alone.

As the former vice president of writer/publisher relations at SESAC, the second-oldest performing rights organization in the U.S., she developed a roster of songwriting and publishing talent that included Zac Brown, Neil Diamond and Charli XCX.

"I started out as a singer and took a day job at SESAC; I was signing songwriters," Lorence Critelli says. "Before that job, I didn't know much about the business side of things. I had an 'ah-ha' moment there and fell in love working with artists. I knew that's where I wanted to take my career."

At Rider, where Lorence Critelli became an assistant professor in the University's arts and entertainment industries management (AEIM) program this fall, she wants to foster similar "ah-ha" moments for students who have a passion for the arts.

"Students get really excited when they realize the depth of the opportunities within the arts and entertainment world beyond performing," she says. "There's a whole realm of careers out there within the arts industry that most people aren't aware of — music publishers, talent managers, casting agents, record label executives — the opportunities are endless."

Rider's arts and entertainment industries management program fuses students' love of the arts with the business savvy needed to excel in a career in the field. Students can pursue either a commercial or traditional/institutional emphasis and further specialize in their area of interest such as theater, dance, music, film and television, sports entertainment, art and more. The program was developed as an expansion of Rider's highly regarded arts administration program created by Associate Professor Todd Dellinger.

"It gives our students who love the arts a chance to explore both worlds and then choose a path they’d like to focus on," says Lorence Critelli, a longtime member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame board. "We will train and prepare them for a career they are going to love."

Lorence Critelli, who is currently serving for the second time as the president of the New York Chapter of The Recording Academy, which is known for celebrating music's finest with its Grammy Awards, has been instrumental in developing new curriculum that reflects the contemporary entertainment industry and allows students to develop the necessary skills to succeed. Classes range from acquiring and managing talent, where students learn how to manage artists and prepare a full business plan for a fictional client, to entertainment commerce and merchandising, where they study common principles behind blockbuster hits and how to apply them to their own endeavors.

As a vocal advocate for upholding songwriters' copyrights in the era of digital music streaming, one of Lorence Critelli's favorite classes is policy perspectives in arts and entertainment.

"I want students to learn how to advocate for what they believe in," she says. "They’ll learn how to create an advocacy campaign. They’ll study the current issues and decide on one to advocate for in a meeting with U.S. Rep Bonnie Watson Coleman later this semester.  Letting them select the issues makes the experience more authentic for them because it's something they're passionate about."

Lorence Critelli's career in academia began at Rider when she joined the faculty as an adjunct in the spring of 2018. A frequent lecturer, she previously taught at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

She currently owns her own consultancy business and co-founded New York City Creative Community (NYC3), an organization of publishing professionals who work to network and create opportunities for New York-based music creators.

Lorence Critelli, who has been recognized as one of the leading women in performing rights by Billboard magazine and holds a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music, is proud to see her students take advantage of all the opportunities a small campus like Rider has to offer.

"The students in our program are so driven and truly love the arts and want a career in the field," she says. "They're very involved in leadership positions in various arts organizations around campus, and they are getting great experience through internships. They're really using what they're learning both in and out of the classroom, maximizing their college experience."