UMSL alumnus Steve Schankman

St. Louis event promoter Steve Schankman plays trumpet during a visit with students at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Schankman is a UMSL alumnus who will be teaching Introduction to the Music Business through the School of Professional and Continuing Studies. (Photo by August Jennewein)

From U2 to Maroon 5 to Pope John Paul II, if you’ve been to a major event in St. Louis in the past 40 years, Steve Schankman was probably involved. Now, the highly successful concert promoter is going to share his expertise.

This July, Schankman will teach Introduction to the Music Business through the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. This is one of seven courses required for those seeking a Chancellor’s Certificate in Audio Recording from UMSL.

Many people look to Los Angeles, New York or Nashville for work in the music business, but St. Louis offers opportunities as well, Schankman said. The course will help to introduce students to local employers in the field.

“We’re looking for more people that live in St. Louis who want to work in St. Louis,” Schankman said. “Hopefully, this will inspire them and gives them some guidance whether they decide to become an audio engineer, concert promoter or booking agent.”

The course will cover elements of the music business including concert production, artist management and booking, career development, marketing and more. Guest speakers from the industry will also give presentations and network with students. Many people interested in music are skilled musicians, but will be more successful if they understand the business aspect of their field.

“Even if you are an excellent musician, you still have to prepare and execute contracts and deal with clients. Either you deal with the leader of the band, or you are the leader of the band,” Schankman said.

Schankman began producing and promoting special events in St. Louis in 1970, when he brought the Grateful Dead to the Fox Theatre. Since then, he has produced a wide range of events including the Rolling Stones, U2, Bill Cosby and the 1999 visit of Pope John Paul II. He has developed major St. Louis-area venues including Verizon Wireless Amphitheater and the Pageant.

He’s also an alumnus of UMSL and received an honorary doctorate from the university in December.

His company, Contemporary Productions, provides booking services for local and regional entertainers and books shows with national headliners for both public concerts and private events. In addition to talent, Contemporary provides staging, lighting, sound and other event-related services.

Introduction to the Music Business will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays July 17 to July 31 at Contemporary Productions headquarters, 190 Carondelet Plaza, Suite 1111, Clayton, Mo. 63105. For more information, or to register, call Amy Dooley at 314-516-5045, or visit

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Rachel Webb

Rachel Webb