Head of Financial Planning & Analysis
At Forte, we are creating access to education and instruments, breaking down technical and geographical barriers, and empowering a better learning experience. Or rather, doing whatever it takes to inspire more music. With the right teacher, you can reach your goals faster and have more fun getting there. And now, the right teacher doesn’t have to live near you.
Members of the team have studied at, held senior positions at, or led major strategic initiatives for institutions such as Juilliard, Berklee College of Music, the Royal College of Music, and The Grammys. Others have held key positions at some of the most innovative technology companies in the world, including Magic Leap and Rosetta Stone. Every member of the team is a musician: some are professionals, some are beginners, but all are passionate about bringing more music into the world.
Head of Financial Planning & Analysis
Artistic and Education Director
Head of Community
Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer
Marketing Strategy Consultant
Director of Operations and Partnerships
Marketing Project Coordinator
Co-founder and Chief Product Officer
In early 2020, Mark Murtagh received a phone call from Hunter McGranahan wanting to catch up on the current landscape of music education. An hour later, Forte was born. Mark was a strategic advisor helping top-tier music schools like Juilliard, Berklee, and the Royal College of Music expand their global reach. His goal was, and still is, to create more access to high-quality music education. Hunter was leading the development of a tech startup’s music education platform which aimed to create a more impactful learning experience. He dreamed of empowering more people to believe they could learn to play an instrument. Together, these two non-musicians leveraged their shared dreams, industry experience, and love of music to create a first-of-its-kind online music education platform.
While the need for better access has always been present, in 2020 it was acute. Forte shared its genesis with the rise of the Covid-19 virus. Around the globe, musicians were silenced. Performing income disappeared, and teaching income became reliant on video calling tools built for business meetings. Struggling to hear students’ instruments through these platforms left teachers grasping for a way to make teaching work online. In this time of need, Forte got to work: They went to the leadership at the world’s top music schools to discover what would help them sustain their educational mission.
To make online music lessons effective, Mark and Hunter first had to perfect Forte’s audio. Liam Day, a performer with the New York Philharmonic, Juilliard alumnus, and the now Artistic and Educational Director at Forte, was brought on to be the set of musician ears that the founders lacked. With Liam on board, they began the rigorous testing and fine-tuning that led to the development of Forte Pure Audio. They then began testing their new audio software in pilot programs with The Curtis Institute, Royal College of Music, and Berklee College of Music. If it worked for those demanding institutions, it could work for everyone. Six months later, with excellent feedback from their conservatory partners, Mark and Hunter began sharing Forte with teachers around the world.
Since video calling through a computer is a recent and rapidly-evolving phenomenon, the team needed a technical leader with deep experience growing a tech platform. Mike Fulkerson soon joined as Forte’s Chief Technology Officer. Formerly the CTO of Rosetta Stone, Mike helped build the world’s first trusted language education software. He now aims to do the same in music education.
Today, Forte is being used by thousands of music teachers and students across the globe and is committed to continuing to innovate in partnership with music teachers.