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  • College of Performing Arts Faculty

  • David Williams


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    David Williams


    Before deciding upon law school, David Williams worked simultaneously as an underwriter in Manhattan’s financial district and as an assistant to an artist manager. After law school, he assumed various roles of increasing responsibility specializing in the drafting and interpretation of professional liability contracts.

    In 2002 he launched a part-time consultancy practice, now known as Enterprising Artist Consulting (, helping musicians, actors, and other creative people with contract-related matters. Soon, he was invited to speak on topics relating to performers’ contracts at Tanglewood, Yale, the American Singers Opera Project, the Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Seagle Music Colony, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, among others. He has been interviewed by Classical Singer Magazine and Modern Singer Magazine.

    A fierce advocate for artists’ rights, he left the corporate setting in 2015 to dedicate himself to this work full time focusing on completing his first book, The Enterprising Musician’s Guide to Performer Contracts (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). Geared to emerging artists without regard to genre, the book explains music industry contracts in plain language.

    David Williams holds a JD from New York Law School, and degrees in vocal performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (DMA), and the New England Conservatory of Music (MM), as well as a BM in Musical Studies from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.

    Dr. Williams is a faculty member at The New School in Manhattan where he teaches Entrepreneurial Musicianship (at The Mannes School of Music) and Music Industry Law/Management (within the new MA program in Arts Management Entrepreneurship) and former faculty member of the Crane Institute for Music Business at SUNY Potsdam.

    He is an active volunteer for New York City’s chapter of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts where he leads subject-matter workshops and participates in VLA’s dispute mediation clinic. Williams also serves as Executive Director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar ( and is currently at work on his second book which focuses on entrepreneurial-themed legal issues relevant to emerging artists working in the music and theatrical production space.

    Current Courses

    Entrepreneurial Mus + ESL

    Entrepreneurial Mus + ESL (Spring 2020)

    Entrepreneurial Musician

    Entrepreneurial Musician (Spring 2020)

    The Cultural & Creative Indust (Spring 2020)

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