Introducing David Scott Sloan

November 12, 2014

In May 2014, Boston Conservatory Board of Trustees elected David Scott Sloan to succeed Alfred D. Houston as chair. For nearly 150 years, strong and venturesome leadership has been at the heart of the Boston Conservatory’s tremendous institutional progress. David’s commitment as chair brings a new generation of talent and energy to the charge of governance. I am so pleased and grateful that David has taken the helm during this exciting period of transformation at the Conservatory, and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead us through the challenges of the coming years.
—Richard Ortner, president

What Most impressed you about the Boston Conservatory?

I was immediately taken by Richard Ortner’s passion and enthusiasm for the school. At the time, my two young daughters were taking dance classes, so I brought them to a dance performance at the Conservatory—they were mesmerized! One of my daughters said to me afterwards, “If they’re just students, how are they so good?” It was an enlightening experience for me. I saw something special on that stage, and from there, I was hooked.

Why is the Conservatory important for the City of Boston?

The arts ensure that our society’s stories live on for generations to come. With Boston as an educational mecca on so many levels, it’s crucial that the Conservatory continue its role in attracting and training the future leaders in the performing arts.

You have children in college. How does that change your perspective on the Conservatory’s governance?

Being a parent of three college students, I understand the considerable demands today’s students face. My children also provide me with valuable insight into the high-tech manner in which their generation access and enjoy the arts. Additionally, my personal experiences have shaped my commitment to education; I grew up in a single-parent home where the importance of education was emphasized. My mother was a middle school teacher’s aide who worked until the age of 75, and my three sisters have graduate degrees in education and extensive professional experience. My sisters and I worked our way through college and graduate school and were only able to do so through financial assistance and student loans. As a result, I appreciate the balance of keeping education affordable while also providing the best quality possible.

Why is 132 Ipswich an important addition to the institution?

It is critical that we provide our students with a space where they can both come together as a community and train to become the next great artists. To attract the best students, we need to offer the best instructors, peers, facilities and opportunities. That’s what 132 Ipswich is all about—giving our students the best! Additionally, the visibility and distinct design of 132 Ipswich reminds more than 105,000 commuters daily that the Boston Conservatory is here, filled with vibrant, non-stop activity and hard-working, talented students.

As board chair, what are your big-picture goals?

My vision is to enhance our brand as the gold standard in performing arts education. We need to be thought of as leaders, promoting dialogue about what it means to train and educate our students as 21st-century performers and embracing the role of technology in the arts and in the way we do business. We need to continue to develop new ways to engage and support our students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and the community.

What do you hope the Boston Conservatory will look like 50 years from now?

Where to begin! I want us to be internationally recognized as a powerhouse training ground for all types of performing arts. I want us to be pioneers and explorers—to chart the unknown territory and explore new art forms. We have an ideal multidisciplinary environment that fosters creativity and collaboration—the possibilities are limitless. I want the Conservatory to be the unique, cutting-edge school that students dream of attending.

Do you have any artistic chops?

I love music; it has always been a part of my life. In second grade, I was assigned to play the trumpet. After a year of lessons, I switched to piano, but unfortunately found that experience to be less riveting. At the time, my true ambition was to play football and baseball. Eventually I took up the drums, which I played for several years (although not very well). Nowadays, I take in as many live performances as possible and have an extensive and diverse music collection of about 30,000 songs.

Sloan is a partner at Holland & Knight and is chairman of its national estate planning practice. He provides counsel to high net worth individuals and their families in all facets of succession planning, wealth transfer, business planning and taxation.