Monday, October 27, 2008

Makeovers and Marketing for Classical Musicians

Gone are the days when a good education, recording, resumé, and a few phone calls were enough to get one's foot in the door in the classical music world. We're living in times when it's not only how great a performer or teacher you are, but how you appear visually, what your website shows about you, how your name shows up on search engines, and how you brand yourself.

Here are some of the questions I hear on a regular basis from emerging classical artists:

-Should I get my friend to do my promo shots or should I hire a professional photographer?
-What clothes should I wear for my photo shoot?
-I haven't done that much. How do I get my bio looking as good as everyone else's?
-How do I get a website going if I know nothing about technology?
-What's a press release and how do I write one?
-Should I get an agent or a publicist?

If these issues scare the hell out of you, you have only to wait until October 31 for the launch of LIZPR, a PR company that specializes in dressing up and marketing classical musicians. Here's the full press release:
Monday, October 27, 2008

TORONTO, ONTARIO – Publicist Liz Parker has made a new mark in music world with the launch of her own business website: LIZPR creates great press kits and lessons in fashion for the classical musicians who need them.

Armed with a decade’s worth of experience in major orchestra publicity with the Toronto and Vancouver Symphonies, and serving for two years as Publicity Manager at the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, Liz has decided to take on private clients. launches on Halloween. “I chose to specialise in press kits and image consulting for performers,” explains Liz. “It’s an essential part of public relations that I love to do. Press releases and coordinating media interviews is my day job. LIZPR is my favourite part of what I do, which is creating press kits and helping clients pick the right outfits for photo shoots. Wearing the right thing for photos or to events is important. I’m really excited combining everything I’m crazy about: writing and styling musicians so they look as polished as possible. They are performers. They’ve GOT to look good!”

Liz admits to being obsessed with makeover shows. “People may consider me shallow, and they would be mistaken. It’s not just about your appearance. It’s how your image can influence your attitude about yourself and your career. Looking the part of a musician isn’t exclusive to being onstage. Offstage you need to look put-together too. Musicians get to indulge in more flair because of their creative fields. I love it!”

She firmly believes that most musicians sell themselves short and need to raise their game. “Invest in a good bio and professional photography. I’ve seen way too many amateur press kits over the years. The pay-off will be worth the professional investment. Don’t turn off the very people who can help you advance your career,” Liz warns.

Liz Parker grew up in Vancouver in a family stuffed with pianos. The house was a rotating door of piano and theory students. After achieving the gold medal for the highest mark in Canada at age 15 from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto for piano performance, Liz received her Bachelor of Music from the University of British Columbia and literally talked her way through a Broadcast Radio diploma at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. After a radio career that included producing a talk show, interviewing musicians, cueing CBC’s Jurgen Gothe (who even looked up to be polite), everything clicked into place when she became a publicist.

Based in the Fashion District (natch) in Toronto, Liz loves everything about music, food, fashion, shopping, and egging people on to follow their bliss.

For more information, please visit as of October 31st, 2008!
Best of luck to Liz, who is also a dedicated CPB reader and commenter. For those outside the Toronto area, there is a lot of work that Liz can do for you via email (press releases, bios), but for the full fashion and image makeover, you'll probably need to come out to Toronto for a visit...


  1. Liz Parker3:14 PM

    Hey Chris - loved your blog. Thank you. And imaging shouldn't "scare the hell out of you" - LOL - it should be fun! I know some students scoff at the idea - or those who don't have a tight budget. I do keep that in mind, and offer student rates as well as accepted post-dated cheques. Just FYI!

    Thanks again.

    Liz Parker, Foundress as of Halloween

  2. What a great service - will take a look and report back!

  3. This may be of interest, but a recent episode (S02E02) of Tim Gunn's Guide to Style (yes, one of those makeover shows, and yes, I watch them, too), featured (ex-)pianist Angela Kim. Beneath the designer dresses and handbag fawning, there is something about it...

  4. Liz Parker is a FORCE!!! I'm sure that in her capable hands and under her scrutinizing and discerning eye, performers' images will be shipshape-and-Bristol-fashion in no time.

    It's assumed that talent and dedication are intrinsic in a performer's package. HOWEVER, great photographs and a website to prove that you exist are extremely helpful at getting you in the door.

  5. Liz Parker, www.lizpr.com3:52 PM

    Chris, I'd love it if you took a poll asking what your students really think about the importance of image. Of course, as students, they're not thinking that far ahead, yet - but I recall scoffing at opera singers when I was at school, for dressing up all the time. Now I TOTALLY get why they do. A fair good thing to ask yourself at any given time is, "WHAT WOULD MEASHA DO?" LOL

  6. Great idea, Liz. I need to think of a question that doesn't appear begged. For example, the question "Do you think that image is important in developing a career in classical music?" would probably yield a Yes vote near 100%. Perhaps a question about personal experience or their own preference in artists might be more enlightening. I'll think about it overnight and perhaps post one tomorrow.


  7. Yes, what WOULD Measha do? If you don't get that up on your blog I will!

  8. I am working on a site to help a collaborative pianist with marketing.
    Does anyone want to critique?