Nov. 28, 2012/For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu


Kannapolis native Elisabeth Roberts Sobol is UNCSA alumna and managing director for IMG Artists

WINSTON-SALEM – Some 30 years ago, Elizabeth Roberts Sobol was a pianist about to graduate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. A disastrous performance and a career planning seminar propelled her into a successful career for one of the world’s top artist management agencies. When she returns to UNCSA’s School of Music for a presentation this weekend, she has the opportunity to impact young artists in a similar fashion.

Sobol, senior vice president and managing director for IMG Artists, will speak during “Intensive Arts” – a two-week period between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, when classes are suspended in favor of specialized workshops and individualized study. She will speak from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, in Watson Hall at the School of Music Complex.

A native of Kannapolis and graduate of UNCSA School of Music in both high school and college, Sobol has managed the careers of Joshua Bell, James Galway, Itzhak Perlman, and Renee Fleming, and was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “Top Women in the Arts.” She served on the UNCSA Board of Visitors from 1998-2002, and was the keynote speaker for Family Weekend in 1999.

In her remarks to parents in 1999, Sobol recounted the experiences that led to her successful career at IMG Artists: “I was playing the Schumann Piano Concerto with the NCSA Orchestra. In the last movement, in a rhythmically tricky section, soloist, conductor and orchestra had a train wreck – we ground to a complete halt. It was a terrifying moment – and yet, it was full of great clarity. If there had been any question in my mind up until that point, I no longer had any doubt: I was not cut out for a life of public performing.”

Sobol’s “epiphany” came some time later. “A career symposium had been organized for college music students,” she said in her Family Weekend address. “Specialists in artist management and PR had been brought in from New York to advise soon-to-be graduate students in the steps required to ‘make it’ in the real world. Listening to a day’s worth of sessions on auditions, press kits and agencies, a light went off: There was a career to be had here.”

 She soon landed an internship in Manhattan with a small company that eventually became IMG Artists, a global leader in arts management with 10 offices in seven countries.

In her “Life After UNCSA” presentation, Sobol will discuss when it is time for a musician to secure an agent, what an agent looks for in signing new talent, and what are some habits of highly successful musicians.

School of Music Dean Wade Weast said Sobol is a wonderful role model for today’s students. “Her insights and vast knowledge are invaluable for those who aspire to become professional musicians,” he said. “And her career illustrates how musicians can impact and enhance the profession, even when they choose not to perform professionally.”

In her 1999 address, Sobol said there are many ways to grow and thrive in the arts. “A New York debut and a great New York Times review are not the only hallmarks of a successful and satisfying career,” she said. “The real success stories are those of people who, in whatever context, are able to carry creative energy and inspiration into their individual lives and areas of endeavor.”


As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.