PRODUCER | ARTS ADMINISTRATOR | MUSICIAN | EDUCATOR | CONSULTANT
Eric Oberstein is a GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY-winning producer, arts administrator, musician, educator, and consultant. Oberstein currently serves as Associate Director of Duke Performances, the professional performing arts presenting organization at his alma mater, Duke University. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member in Duke’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, where he teaches a course, Introduction to Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship, for Duke undergraduates. Oberstein is currently collaborating with Cuban drummer, composer, educator, and MacArthur Fellow Dafnis Prieto on the Dafnis Prieto Big Band, serving as Producer on a debut album, Back to the Sunset, released in April 2018 on Prieto’s label, Dafnison Music, and nominated for a GRAMMY Award and Latin GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.
At Duke Performances, Oberstein works with a team committed to presenting willfully eclectic, forward-thinking performing arts of the highest quality. He manages large scale commissions and visiting artist residencies that engage both Duke’s campus and the broader Durham community by artists that have included Gerald Clayton, Simone Dinnerstein & Pam Tanowitz Dance, Alsarah & The Nubatones, Malpaso Dance Company, Hiss Golden Messenger, Jenny Scheinman, Fisk Jubilee Singers, Ana Tijoux, Blitz the Ambassador, and many others. Oberstein also collaborated on producing MONK@100, a ten-day festival in October 2017 celebrating the centenary of jazz icon and North Carolina native Thelonious Monk.
Oberstein has conducted research and written on the Creative Campus movement and the role of the arts in higher education, authoring a chapter which appears in the critically acclaimed anthology 20UNDER40: Re-Inventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century, a collection of twenty essays about the future of the arts and arts education, each written by an emerging leader under the age of forty.
A New York-born and raised saxophonist and drummer of Cuban American heritage, Oberstein is an accomplished music producer. His albums have been named to “Best of” lists by NPR Music, iTunes, DownBeat, JazzTimes, and The Village Voice, among others. Oberstein previously produced six albums with pianist, composer, and educator Arturo O’Farrill, ranging from solo piano to big bands. Oberstein has won one GRAMMY Award and two Latin GRAMMY Awards, and his productions have earned nine nominations and four wins. Credits include: Cuba: The Conversation Continues, The Offense of the Drum, Final Night at Birdland, The Noguchi Sessions, 40 Acres and a Burro, and Risa Negra. He also recently served as Project Manager on Fences, the 2017 record by Durham, NC-based folk-pop trio, Bombadil.
Prior to returning to Duke, Oberstein served as Executive Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, the New York-based non-profit that supports the work of the GRAMMY-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, directed by O’Farrill. In 2010 Oberstein produced the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra’s tour to Cuba, returning legendary Cuban composer and arranger Chico O’Farrill’s musicians to his homeland for headlining performances at the 26th edition of the Havana International Jazz Plaza Festival.
Oberstein has previously worked at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Office for the Arts at Harvard, and the Research Center for Arts and Culture.
Oberstein has been invited as a guest speaker at colleges and universities, including Duke, Columbia, Harvard, Pratt Institute, and UNC Pembroke. He speaks and consults on a variety of topics, including arts non-profits, project management, organizational strategy, fundraising, community engagement, arts education, and Cuban-American cultural exchange. He was recently an invited member of the 2018 cohort of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals' (APAP) Emerging Leadership Institute.
Oberstein holds Master’s degrees in Arts Administration and Arts in Education from Columbia University and Harvard University, respectively. He earned his undergraduate degree with distinction from Duke University.
Photo by Alex Boerner.