TESTIMONIALS

“She is tireless, thorough, principled, and fearless. Cecelia is the person I want in the room.”

I have worked with Cecelia Hobbs Gardner in many different settings over the years, in various orchestras and on Broadway, while she has simultaneously worked in many settings and worlds that I have not. And, not surprisingly, in addition to being a fabulous violinist she is a lawyer. She has also worked at Juilliard as a lawyer, an administrator in the Jazz and Chamber Music departments, and a mentor.

Cecelia is that person you turn to if there is an issue, a meeting, a concern, a mix-up, and you have that nagging feeling that you're missing something -- that there is some implication or some consequence that you can't put your finger on. Cecelia sees right through to the core of it and grasps both the essence and the complexity. She is tireless, thorough, principled, and fearless. Cecelia is the person I want in the room.

Jessica Troy
Viola, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque

"Cecelia is one of the most skillful and knowledgeable nonprofit consultants I have ever worked with. Her creativity and wide array of talents make her an invaluable contributor in the nonprofit sector."

Cecelia Hobbs Gardner of Guiding Arts LLC helped our nonprofit organization prepare for a social media campaign at one of the busiest times of the year. The research she conducted for us was among the most thorough that we have seen from any consultant, and she stayed in communication with our organization for the duration of the project, which was crucial to our success. Cecelia is one of the most skillful and knowledgeable nonprofit consultants I have ever worked with. Her creativity and wide array of talents make her an invaluable contributor in the nonprofit sector.

Anja Wood
Cello, President - Lelt Foundation

“Cecelia is an excellent human being, who possesses not only needed expertise … but the energy, compassion, and attention to detail that is needed so desperately right now.”

I met Cecelia many years ago, when she took it upon herself to give me advice that allowed for me to make a lasting improvement in my musical career. Since then, I’ve witnessed her commitment to her fellow musicians, and to justice! Cecelia is an excellent human being, who possesses not only needed expertise (she is a lawyer, as well as a great musician) but the energy, compassion, and attention to detail that is needed so desperately right now.  I recommend her most highly.

Valerie Naranjo
Percussion, Saturday Night Live Band, Lion King on Broadway, NYU Steinhardt School, African studies, NYU Global Institute for Advanced Studies

“I think she has a brilliant and quick mind that can grasp issues with focus and depth.”

I have known Cecelia for many years as a fine violinist and colleague. I think she has a brilliant and quick mind that can grasp issues with focus and depth. Cecelia has a serious presence, not without humor, and is a strong, passionate and empathic voice for all Local 802 members.

Elizabeth Kleinman
Violin, American Ballet Theatre, and Psychoanalyst

"She devoted tremendous energy and intellectual vigor to the job and was able to look at a complex issue and quickly prioritize the elements that needed attention."

I’ve worked with Cecelia Hobbs Gardner in New York’s music scene for many years, including work in the Broadway pits, in recording studios, and international touring with Barbra Streisand. A fine violinist and a joy to work with, she is a dedicated professional who takes every job seriously. She is always valued for her excellent playing, attention to detail, and quick understanding of what each job requires. In the midst of her music career, Cecelia impressively added a law degree to her accomplishments

In addition, we worked together for many months on a small committee to address a crisis at the musicians' union pension fund.  She devoted tremendous energy and intellectual vigor to the job and was able to look at a complex issue and quickly prioritize the elements that needed attention. With incisive skill, she wrote reports to clarify these issues to the membership at large, and her understanding of both the legalities involved and the complexities of how musicians would be affected was invaluable.  Cecelia has not only been a valuable member of New York’s musician community but also a passionate advocate for it as well.

Bill Hayes

“Cecelia is proficient, wise, knowledgeable, experienced, strong and savvy in so many areas ... and is guided by a strong connection to what is right.”

I have known Cecelia Hobbs Gardner for 34 years. We met when I subbed on her show, the original version of Sunday in the Park with George. We have since worked closely on many Broadway shows, at Lincoln Center, New York City Ballet, American Composers Orchestra, recording projects, chamber music and pop/jazz concerts.

Cecelia is proficient, wise, knowledgeable, experienced, strong and savvy in so many areas. In Spring 2017, we worked together in a small group focused on improving our present pension situation. We collaborated on suggested guidelines that we sent to the Trustees of the AFM-EPF and Cecelia, subsequently, wrote an article for Allegro where she incorporated many of the ideas we had been working on. I was struck by her sharp attention to detail, ability to understand, analyze, think creatively and see all sides. She has a keen intellect and great organizational skills and is guided by a strong connection to what is right.

Laura Oatts
Violin, American Composers Orchestra, New York Pops, Westchester Philharmonic

"Her intellectual curiosity and emotional intelligence are extraordinary. She possesses superb writing skills, is fair minded and well reasoned, detail oriented, and has excellent communication skills."

I had the pleasure of meeting Cecelia Hobbs Gardner in 2009 when she sought me out and  struck up a conversation following a presentation of mine. Little did I know that it would be the start of a lasting relationship. Cecelia is a treasured client, colleague, and now also friend. I am beyond thrilled that she has launched her new business, Guiding Arts LLC. It is the embodiment of years of experience and education and serves as a platform for Cecelia to help artists, arts organizations, and nonprofits.

Cecelia has a unique background that enables her to serve her clients from so many different perspectives. She is an accomplished artist herself, having played the violin professionally throughout her lifetime. She has also served as an artist representative, arts consultant, mediator, grant writer, higher education administrator, and lawyer. To be able to find all of these talents and skills in one person may seem too good to be true;  but, thankfully, Cecelia lives up to her pedigree. She has the formal education and training one would want of an arts and nonprofit consultant, bolstered by innate talents and skills honed by years of experience in the arts world. Her intellectual curiosity and emotional intelligence are extraordinary. She possesses superb writing skills, is fair minded and well reasoned, detail oriented, and has excellent communication skills.

It has been an absolute privilege to watch the evolution of her career, as she has cleverly merged her background, talents, skills, interests, training and education to create a business that allows her to do what she does best and help a lot of people and organizations. If you are looking for an arts consultant, mediator, grant writer, or anything else that falls within Cecelia’s wheelhouse of expertise, I highly recommend you reach out to her. You will be in the best of hands.

Lisa Montanaro
Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Author and Speaker, Lisa Montanaro Global Enterprises LLC

“ … she has a keen analytical mind, the ability to grasp complex issues, and deep empathy for those whose rights have been diminished or ignored.”

I have known Cecelia Hobbs Gardner for decades, since our days as students at Juilliard. A fine violinist as well as a trained and experienced attorney, she has a keen analytical mind, the ability to grasp complex issues, and deep empathy for those whose rights have been diminished or ignored.

Roberta Cooper
Cello, American Symphony Orchestra, Berkshire Bach Society, American Composers Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic

“Her intelligence, work ethic and legal training, combined with her assertiveness and receptiveness to the ideas of others ..."

I have had the pleasure of working with Cecelia for more than thirty years, with three orchestras -- Brooklyn Philharmonic, Westchester Philharmonic, and the American Composers Orchestra -- where her excellent skills as a violinist, her high standards, and her professionalism made her a great asset. I discovered that she can also be very assertive, unafraid to stand up for her rights and those of her colleagues when she felt that the working conditions were unsafe or did not permit musicians to perform up to par. During those years, I can also remember having frank discussions with her about race and employment in orchestras, which is an important issue for the Union to address.

Recently, I had the opportunity to work closely with Cecelia and a few other musicians to discuss approaches to the problems with the pension plan, with a focus on the issue of the Retiree Representative who would be appointed in the likely event that the Trustees apply to cut our pensions under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA). Cecelia worked extremely hard, much harder than the rest of us, studying the MPRA and arranging meetings with the Union and representatives of the Pension Fund. Although she certainly had strong ideas, I found her extremely willing to listen to our ideas and to incorporate them into the terrific article she wrote for Allegro, which required persistence to get published.

Cecelia brings years of experience and a knowledge of all areas of the music business to her work. Her intelligence, work ethic and legal training, combined with her assertiveness and receptiveness to the ideas of others, would make her a great addition to the Executive Board.

 

Jon Taylor
Contractor, American Composers Orchestra and Research Analyst, Hunter College

“Cecelia is passionate about helping and empowering musicians so they can do what they love in a safe and healthy environment … “

Cecelia is passionate about helping and empowering musicians so they can do what they love in a safe and healthy environment, earn a good living, and enjoy the protection of reliable health and pension benefits. In Cecelia, 802 members benefit from the rare combination of a superlative musician with decades of professional experience playing under myriad 802 contracts who is also a seasoned attorney with the legal acumen and training to strengthen our contracts and 802’s institutional practices.

Jennifer Hoult
Harp, Attorney

“She demands excellence from herself and brings a high level of integrity to all that she does.”

I met Cecelia when we were 14. Since then we have worked together in numerous orchestras, festivals, Broadway pit orchestras, and chamber music groups. I have always been impressed by Cecelia’s commitment to any endeavor she has taken on –– from performing to law school to her work and mentorship at Juilliard. She demands excellence from herself and brings a high level of integrity to all that she does. Cecelia has a strongly analytical mind and stays informed on a wide array of issues, so I have often turned to her for advice when I had a difficult decision to make. Frequently, she is able to bring a new perspective to a challenging situation. Armed with a sense of fairness, she is never afraid to speak up for the underdog. I am pleased to endorse Cecelia because I know she would be a strong advocate for all of us.

Laura Bald
Violin, Stamford Symphony Orchestra

“Intelligence, honesty, integrity, a willingness to listen, and a mindset of never giving up until the problem is solved.”

I am so thrilled to endorse Cecelia Hobbs Gardner for Executive Board. Intelligence, honesty, integrity, a willingness to listen, and a mindset of never giving up until the problem is solved. Those are just a few of Cecelia’s attributes that make her such an exciting choice for Executive Board of 802. With her vast performing experience in the business and her knowledge of the law, she will be a tremendous advocate for all working musicians.

Daire FitzGerald
Cello, Orchestra of St. Luke’s

"I spoke with Cecelia Hobbs Gardner of Guiding Arts LLC today during an initial consult to discuss my project. Her straightforward approach and attention to detail were reassuring, her knowledge and skill evident."

I spoke with Cecelia Hobbs Gardner of Guiding Arts LLC today during an initial consult to discuss my project. She efficiently gathered important information and was able to make several meaningful suggestions for ways to achieve my goals. Her straightforward approach and attention to detail were reassuring, her knowledge and skill evident. She immediately identified potential pitfalls and offered concrete suggestions for ways to avoid them. I am confident that,  with Cecelia's guidance, my dream project will soon be reality.

Mimi Sinclair
Director, Music Therapy Services

“She asks the hard questions, can foresee pitfalls and delves behind the obvious to the root of problems.”

Cecelia Hobbs Gardner is an exceptional violinist, leader and lawyer. I met Cecelia at the Imperial Theatre during Michael Bennett’s Dreamgirls in 1982. After subbing at Dreamgirls, Cecelia was hired for many Broadway shows of her own. We have played TV & movie soundtracks, commercials, popular and jazz recordings, contemporary, classical, orchestral, ballet, chamber and every genre of music imaginable together. Cecelia is always organized, diligent, and imaginative in music preparation and execution. She applies that same work ethic and diligence when serving on orchestra committees and during negotiations.

Cecelia initiated some of the early attempts to formalize anti-harassment guidelines in the Broadway pits and all work environments during the 1990s. She persisted when told to drop it. She did not. She wanted to ensure there were protections and behavioral guidelines for every pit and orchestra musician. This was groundbreaking at the time and some of  those guidelines are still in place today.

Cecelia is honest and direct. Her integrity is unmatched. You always know where you stand with Cecelia. At Union meetings, Cecelia questions and challenges statements and bylaws, striving for clarity and full disclosure of proposed legislation or candidate platforms. She asks the hard questions, can foresee pitfalls and delves behind the obvious to the root of problems

Sandra Billingslea
Violin, Contractor, Faculty – York College, CUNY and Rutgers University

“Cecelia Hobbs Gardner is a passionate advocate for musicians and especially for the musicians of Local 802.”

Cecelia Hobbs Gardner is a passionate advocate for musicians and especially for the musicians of Local 802. She has many years of experience as an attorney, a violinist on Broadway and with many orchestras in NYC, and on committees. I have known Cecelia for over 35 years and have always been impressed by her work ethic, intellect and persistence when it comes to issues of concern for musicians. She has been at the forefront of the current pension crisis and has made it her mission to understand the laws and how they pertain to the AFM-EPF.

Nanci Severance
Viola, San Francisco Symphony

"She is steadfastly honest, hardworking, and reliable .... and will assess situations from a totally unbiased point of view.

I have known Cecelia since 2010 and I have always admired her greatly—she has a quick and perceptive mind and isn’t afraid to take action for what she believes in. Her empathetic nature makes her a passionate advocate of human rights, and she takes her role of making a positive impact on the world very seriously. She is steadfastly honest, hardworking, and reliable. Most importantly, she is a person of great integrity and will assess situations from a totally unbiased point of view. Her incredibly multi-faceted background provides an extra layer of depth of insight, making her an ideal colleague and mentor.

Christine Wu
Piano, Doctoral Candidate - Yale School of Music

"It is rare to find in one person such an extraordinary constellation of talents so perfectly suited to meet the comprehensive needs of artists and arts organizations."

It is rare to find in one person such an extraordinary constellation of talents so perfectly suited to meet the comprehensive needs of artists and arts organizations. Cecelia Hobbs Gardner is an attorney/ mediator and Juilliard-trained violinist. Her intelligence, compassion and incredible work ethic are a given. What sets her apart is her uncanny ability to so quickly grasp the complexities of any situation or dispute and articulate with clarity what’s needed to guide resolution. She does this with warmth and humor. Without hesitation, I recommend Cecelia and Guiding Arts LLC to arts organizations of all sizes.

Maryellen Shea
Senior Counsel – New York City Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel

"She is incredibly well-versed in all aspects of the music business ..."

I have had the opportunity and pleasure to work with Cecelia Hobbs Gardner of Guiding Arts LLC on a number of occasions and have always found her to be thorough and professional. She is incredibly well-versed in all aspects of the music business and, as a talented musician herself, she brings an intimate knowledge of the business to the table.

Matt Dine
Oboe, American Ballet Theatre and Arts Photographer

“She is not afraid to ask the tough questions. Cecelia listens, looks at each issue fairly and then makes a thoughtful decision.”

Cecelia Hobbs Gardner is is an accomplished and well-respected violinist, lawyer, arts consultant and advocate. I have also seen her work for more than 30 years as an advocate on behalf of Local 802 members. She is extremely honest, intelligent, tenacious, inquisitive, fearless, and compassionate. Cecelia faces issues head on and will explore every possible avenue to find a solution. If she is unfamiliar with an issue, she will do the necessary research to find an answer. Even before she became a lawyer, she had the uncanny ability to ask the questions that get to the heart of the issue and to secure the answers needed--she is not afraid to ask the tough questions. Cecelia listens, looks at each issue fairly and then makes a thoughtful decision. I wholeheartedly recommend Cecelia.

 

Earl Gardner
Trumpet, Saturday Night Live Band and Chicago on Broadway

“Cecelia's broad skill set, combined with a multifaceted background as a performer, as well as her integrity and human compassion ..."

I've known Cecelia Hobbs Gardner for many years and have the highest regard for her intelligence, hard work on behalf of other musicians, her energy in obtaining a law degree and developing an understanding of entertainment law and intellectual property rights (in an age when this is crucial), and years of experience as a violinist in a wide range of musical fields. She's worked extremely hard to understand and illuminate the pension fund crisis, taking time to explain law and jargon to interested colleagues.

We need a wider array of viewpoints to be represented on the board! In an age of massive change in the music business, when old paradigms are shattering and new ones are cropping up all the time, Cecelia's broad skill set, combined with a multifaceted background as a performer, as well as her integrity and human compassion will earn my vote.

Sato Moughalian
Flute, Contractor, Artistic Consultant

"Cecelia Hobbs Gardner is an exuberant artist of complete integrity with an unflagging work ethic and a sense of personal initiative ..."

Cecelia Hobbs Gardner is an exuberant artist of complete integrity with an unflagging work ethic and a sense of personal initiative that causes her to go far above and beyond the call of duty. Cecelia’s many gifts – her deeply collaborative working style, ability to clearly hear those around her and perceive solutions, genuine inquisitiveness and tremendous energy, willingness to think strategically and take calculated risks in seizing opportunities, and personal warmth – make her an extremely valued colleague. I have been her supervisor as well and I can say that she is a professional who has served the Juilliard community with distinction. I recommend her with every possible enthusiasm and not a single hesitation.

Bärli Nugent
Flute, Assistant Dean and Director of Chamber Music, The Juilliard School

“ … she knows the music business inside and out, bringing practical as well as astute business and law experience.”

I have known Cecelia for over 30 years. As an accomplished working violinist and attorney, she knows the music business inside and out, bringing practical as well as astute business and law experience. She has also worked behind the scenes as a dedicated advocate for musicians’ rights.

Greg Ruvolo
Trumpet/Leader, Greg Ruvolo Big Band Collective

“A partial list of those qualities would include her exceptional intelligence, combined with an inquisitive mind and a penchant for learning new skills and information ..."

It is my pleasure to have this opportunity to write in support of my friend, Cecelia Hobbs Gardner. I’ve known and worked with Cecelia for over 30 years and, like most, I was immediately impressed with her extraordinary musicianship. However, in the ensuing years I’ve come to appreciate, as well, her many other outstanding qualities, several of which, I believe, should prove helpful to our Union in the coming critical years. A partial list of those qualities would include her exceptional intelligence, combined with an inquisitive mind and a penchant for learning new skills and information, all of which enabled her to achieve a Law degree in mid-career. This speaks to another of her traits; a fierce determination to overcome all obstacles to reaching her goals.

Lastly, Cecelia is absolutely unafraid when it comes time to speak truth to power. It’s my belief that these traits are precisely what we should be looking for in our leadership at a point in time when the challenges faced by professional musicians are more daunting than ever.

Kamau Adilifu
Trumpet, Broadway Contractor (Retired)

“When I consider the attributes that are important to me, Cecelia checks off all the boxes.

Throughout my career, there have been a few colleagues that I wished would take a leadership role in our union. Cecelia Hobbs Gardner has, for many years, been one of those colleagues. When I consider the attributes that are important to me, Cecelia checks off all the boxes. Her experience in the music business in addition to her expertise and background in law make her uniquely positioned to be an important voice for all musicians.It is crucial to have the ability to listen to all perspectives. Taking these perspectives and recognizing how to proceed with respect for all musicians is a complicated task. It takes an understanding of what is happening now in addition to the historical precedents of our union’s relationships.

We have all been in situations where we feel unheard. It is frustrating to feel unheard by our employers, colleagues, and most of all (at times) by our own union. I am confident that Cecelia has the appropriate understanding of how to approach the challenges we currently face and how they fit into our history. Most importantly, Cecelia has the ability to put ideas together and express our collective position in a manner that benefits every member of our union.

Jay Hassler
Clarinet

“She has a true gift in uniting people while maintaining a high level of integrity.”

I have known Cecelia for over 35 years as a respected colleague, dear friend, and advocate for justice and understanding the issues on so many levels. She has a true gift in uniting people while maintaining a high level of integrity. Her understanding and comprehension of issues gives her a unique approach in finding quick and respectful solutions. She is extremely articulate and always patient when presenting her rationale. Cecelia got her law degree while working as an active musician in the NYC area.  Her type of passion and dedication is what inspired me to move to NYC and join Local 802 in 1977.

Dick Oatts
Jazz Saxophone/Educator/Composer, Professor of Music - Temple University, Boyer College of Music and Dance

"Whenever we work together, I am reminded of exactly why I want to make music .... She is smart, determined, tenacious, hard working and totally dedicated."

I have worked with Cecelia for 15 years as a stand partner and in the section of Broadway shows and various orchestras. Whenever we work together, I am reminded of exactly why I want to make music. I have rarely encountered someone with as much integrity for our job -- to collaborate, maintain a high standard, make music together, and create the best product for the audience. She is smart, determined, tenacious, hard working and totally dedicated. She does her research and pays close attention to the challenges currently facing musicians. She is a problem solver --  I don't know anyone else who can "get it done" the way Cecelia can.

Elizabeth Nielsen
Violin, American Symphony Orchestra, My Fair Lady, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

“Her additional law degree has expanded her ability to advocate for others .... She has also been a non-stop mentor for succeeding generations of younger musicians."

I've known Cecelia Hobbs Gardner for 40 years, since our days together at The Juilliard School. Today, she appears as accomplished, intelligent and vivacious as she did to me then! Her additional law degree has expanded her ability to advocate for others, showing no hesitation to speak up when important issues, like our pension plan, need addressing. She has also been a non-stop mentor for succeeding generations of younger musicians.

Peter Weitzner
Bass, Acting Principal and Chair, Musicians' Committee - Stamford Symphony/ Curator and Host of the Brooklyn Public Library Chamber Players