March 8, 2022

BOSTON, MA |  TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2022 – Project STEP welcomes Dr. Ian Saunders as our new Artistic Director. Dr. Saunders comes to Project STEP having recently served as the Assistant Dean for Artistic and Social Change at The Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. 

“… I will employ the full extent of my experience as an educator, musician, and administrator to break down barriers and oversee the development of excellent musicians, confident students, and successful young adults.” – Dr. Ian Saunders 

A talented double bass player, Dr. Saunders earned both his bachelors and master’s degrees in double bass performance from The Pennsylvania State University (State College, PA). He continued his studies at the University of Maryland, where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He served as the Assistant Dean of Students for the Eastern Music Festival for four years; held the title of Classical Roots Coordinator for a year with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; and most recently, he worked at The Longy School of Music, in Cambridge, serving as the Assistant Dean for Artistic and Social Change (in which capacity he also worked with Longy’s El Sistema orchestra for students ages 8 to 18). A committed educator, Dr. Saunders has taught in youth programs in Virginia and Maryland and was associated with Cincinnati’s El Sistema program; additionally, he has taught at the collegiate level (including The University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University, and Penn State University). His orchestral experience is extensive, and includes performances with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the Virginia Symphony.  In addition to his music degrees, Dr. Saunders earned an Artist Diploma from The University of Cincinnati. 

“I’m so excited to welcome Dr. Ian Saunders as our new Artistic Director! He will fit right into our wonderful community of hard-working young musicians and dedicated families. His artistic expertise in the classical realm and beyond will bring a fresh approach to our curriculum and broaden our students’ outlook on what it means to be a 21st century musician.” – Josué Gonzalez 

“The Artistic Director role is a critically important one for Project STEP. Out of the many fine candidates we had, Dr. Ian Saunders clearly stood out as a person who can bring so much to our program. Dr. Saunders is an experienced and talented musician, with the soul of an educator, and a deep commitment to the mission of Project STEP. With Dr. Saunders working in partnership with Mr. Josue Gonzalez, our Executive Director, I know that the future is very bright for Project STEP.” – Diane M. Austin, President, Board of Directors 

“Dr. Saunders brings his passion for high-quality music education to Project STEP. From his work with El Sistema to his leadership at Longy, his commitment to equity and equality in the classical field is extensive and a true testament to his determination to create real systemic change in the classical community. Dr. Saunders is a highly respected musician and educator, and we look forward to working with him to ensure his vision and dedication to the Project STEP students is realized.” – Collective statement from the staff of Project STEP