Rebecca Vaccarelli has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in classical piano performance from New York University, where she also served as adjunct faculty and taught private piano lessons and keyboard skills classes. But along the way, Rebecca decided she wanted to go into arts administration generally—and work at Lincoln Center specifically. So when an internship with an hourly wage and no benefits opened up with the Chamber Music Society, she nabbed it even though it meant turning down a full-time job with benefits. “Luckily, it all worked out as planned, and I ended up at Juilliard as contributions coordinator in the Development Office three months later,” in January 2008. Rebecca, who was born and raised in New Jersey and lives downtown with her husband, Michael, has been in her current position since January 2014.
What do you remember about your first day at Juilliard?
I took a wrong turn out of the elevator and ended up getting lost on the second floor. Fortunately, I also remember having cake, followed by lunch with co-workers and thinking this must be the friendliest office ever!
What job at Juilliard would you like to try out for a day and why?
I’m in awe of the scenic, costume, and prop shops—the sets, costumes, and props they design from scratch always amaze me. It would be a lot of fun to be a fly on the wall and observe their creativity.
What has surprised you most about working in Alumni Relations?
I constantly get to meet alumni and Juilliard supporters, and their desire to help and be involved with various activities and programming is humbling. What surprises me, though, is when they thank me for reconnecting them with the school when it really is a pleasure for me to form and maintain the kind of genuine relationships we enjoy with our alumni and Juilliard family.
What is the strangest or most memorable job you’ve had?
I interned at Billboard magazine for a year in their sales and marketing departments. It was interesting seeing the different components that went into running a magazine with an online presence. Every so often, artists would come in and sing in their cafe, which was also fun. I really enjoyed the arts administration work I encountered there, and it helped form the path for my postgraduate career.
What was your craziest day at work ever?
I’ve had too many of these to list just one, but I will say that at the end of the day, I always love my job.
If out of the blue your boss said to take the day off, what would you do?
I would go food shopping at a leisurely pace and head home to cook and bake recipes I’ve been wanting to try with my husband.
What other pursuits are you passionate about?
I am the president of the board of a dance company called Spark Movement Collective, a wonderful company that’s been around for six years. I’ve had the pleasure of being on the board for about three years and have gotten to see it really develop. I was introduced to this organization through my colleague and friend, Brent Radeke, Juilliard’s associate director for major gifts, who’s a dancer with the company. Since then, I’ve been able to apply the skills I’ve learned from my various roles at Juilliard to help the organization grow.
What was the best vacation you’ve had?
My honeymoon to Hawaii. Aside from the excitement of having just gotten married, my husband and I really went all out and tried all the foods and activities we could fit in. We snorkeled at nighttime with these massive manta rays while they ate (we ended up seeing dolphins on our way out to the feeding site!) and got up at 2 a.m. for the sunrise on Mount Haleakala followed by a beautifully scenic bike ride down the mountain into a local town for breakfast. It was also funny because I was so excited to do this sunrise bike tour that it wasn’t until I was in the shuttle on the way up the mountain that I realized I hadn’t ridden a bike in more than 10 years. I ended up being placed at the very front of our group, which only added to my anxiety, but fortunately the saying about never forgetting how to ride a bike proved to be true in my case. Phew!
Where would you most like to travel?
My husband and I can’t wait to travel to Italy one day. We really enjoy wine, especially Italian varietals, and would love to visit the vineyards of Piedmont and Tuscany. In addition, we would really like to get our fill of pasta, pizza, gelato, and of course go truffle hunting.
What’s your favorite thing about New York City?
There are countless options of things to do—there will always be a new restaurant to try, new attractions to check out, and just so many things to do in general. You really can’t get bored living in the city, and I love how there are so many opportunities and experiences waiting to be discovered.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I’ve been married for almost five years to my loving husband, Mike, and we are very excited for the arrival of our first baby in May!