Left to right: Igor Stravinsky, Adolph Bolm and Nana Gollner. | Otto Rothschild Collection/The Music Center Archives.
The Colburn School recently established a partnership with public media outlet KCET to contribute content to their publication Artbound, a daily compendium of arts and culture journalism focused on Southern California. The first installment of the partnership appeared last Wednesday and shed light on the role of The Firebird in drawing Igor Stravinsky to make a home in Los Angeles for nearly 30 years. Visit Artbound to read it.
"The role of Artbound is not just to record, report, and broadcast the cultural stories of our time and our region; our aim is to create mechanisms—be it partnerships, projects or online tools—through which audiences can take direct action in the creation of a common narrative," the site's mission declares. As a partner to Artbound, the Colburn School will curate and create a series of long-form articles relating to music, music education, and community engagement as it relates to our work in the Los Angeles area.
With over fifty columnists and cultural critics in 11 counties of Southern California, Artbound scans the region, providing seeds of engagement through articles, videos, projects, and partners, who are narrating the cultural stories of our region.
The online publication has a companion television broadcast of the same name and features televised versions of the reporting on the site. Each week, Artbound selects two articles for a public vote. One article is supported by the magazine's editorial staff, while the other represents the article most liked and shared by Artbound readers. The vote then determines which of the two articles will be transformed into a televised Artbound segment.
Artbound has received many awards for its print and broadcast journalism, including a Los Angeles area Emmy for a story about The Industry's opera Invisible Cities, presented at Union Station via headphones. "By selecting articles that will be turned into short-format documentaries and TV episodes," the editors explain, "Artbound audiences become programmers, curators, and critics, helping us determine what is current and viable in the cultural landscape of our time."
Community School of Performing Arts cello instructor Joseph Mendoes will give a free public recital on May 1 in Thayer Hall on the Colburn School campus. The program will include cello sonatas by Beethoven and Raff, and a trio by Martinů for flute, cello, and piano. "I absolutely love the Beethoven cello sonatas," Mr. Mendoes said. "I performed all of them in a concert in 2010. I feel a special connection to Beethoven's music. He was so effective at creating contrast, going from moments of tremendous violence to moments of rapt beauty, which is on full display in the sonata I will be performing."
Mr. Mendoes will be joined in his performance by pianists Esther Lee and Tae Yeon Lim, as well as his wife, flutist Jaimie Lee Mendoes. "Making music with friends is a joy, and I always love playing chamber music with my wife. Musically, we agree on so many things. It is just too bad there is not much music for cello and flute," he said.
Mr. Mendoes has been playing cello since fourth grade. His school district was one of only a few in Southern California to offer music education, but he had to choose between choir and strings. "I took home a cello and after just plucking the strings, I was hooked. There haven't been many days since when I haven't played the cello," he said. "I simply love the sound a cello can make."
As a member of the Colburn School community for many years, he studied cello and chamber music at the Community School with Dr. Richard Naill during his high school years. He was also a member of the Colburn Chamber Orchestra. In 2000, he received a scholarship to study cello at the University of Southern California with Ronald Leonard, and Mr. Mendoes graduated with honors in 2004. During his time at USC, he performed frequently as a member of the Camden String Quartet, which received the Chamber Music Award from USC in 2004. "When I first heard there was an opening at the Colburn School," he said, "I first thought I shouldn't even apply. I had dreamed of teaching here, but it was hard for me to imagine getting the chance." Mr. Mendoes was thrilled to get the position at the Colburn School. "I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach at a world-class music school," he added.
In addition to his teaching, Mr. Mendoes serves as the Cello Expert for Virtual Sheet Music, an online resource for students, where he has published many educational videos about cello technique and musicianship.
Colburn Conservatory of Music violinist Simone Porter and students from the Colburn Music Academy and Colburn Community School of Performing Arts will perform together in a concert to benefit Center Stage Strings, a summer camp for young musicians, on May 1. The program will feature works for violin, cello, and chamber ensembles.
Simone, who recently received a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, is an alumna of the camp, which was started by Conservatory of Music alumna Danielle Belen. Ms. Belen has taught violin in the Colburn Music Academy and Community School since 2009.
Ms. Belen founded the camp to develop the talents of young classical music students in the areas of solo and chamber music performance. Set in Three Rivers, California, at the foot of the sequoias, the natural beauty of the surroundings and the music intertwine to create a unique summer experience. During the camp, students take daily private lessons, participate in master classes, and attend guest artist recitals, which are open to the public. All students perform together on the last day of camp.
"The students who participate in the camp have an opportunity to focus purely on developing their talents without the distractions of everyday life," Ms. Belen said. "But along with the intensive practice and class schedule, we make sure to create time for socializing and recreation so that these young artists have a chance to get to know one another better."
The May 1 event will be held in Zipper Hall on the Colburn School campus and will be hosted by KUSC's Brian Lauritzen, who teaches courses in the adult studies program at the Colburn School. Tickets can only be purchased at CenterStageStrings.com, but current Colburn School students can purchase at a special student price of $20.
Community School of Performing Arts Drama Chair Debbie Devine is thrilled the play she directed, Walking the Tightrope, will be featured at Center Theatre Group as part of the show's eight-city national tour.
"I'm honored to see this show produced by the largest regional theater in the United States," Ms. Devine said. Walking the Tightrope will take the stage at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City on May 2 and May 3 for two performances each day.
Walking the Tightrope, written by playwright Mike Kenny, follows the story of a grandfather who goes about building a beautiful new relationship with his five-year-old granddaughter while trying to explain that her grandmother has passed away.
In addition to the week of performances, Center Theatre Group and 24th Street Theatre, where Ms. Devine is artistic director, will host a roundtable with stakeholders and thought leaders following a student matinee. The roundtable will focus on the importance of quality, sophisticated theater for young audiences to contribute to healthy children and healthy communities.
"Theater has the power to broaden the horizons of young minds almost indelibly," Ms. Devine said. "When we introduce children to the magic of live theater, they engage personally with the stories presented to them and can develop essential emotional skills like empathy, compassion, and cross-cultural understanding."
Schools in the Los Angeles area have been invited to attend student-only matinees from April 28 to May 1, preceding the public performances that weekend.
The soloists were selected in the first annual Music Academy Concerto Competition, held in December. Current students auditioned for a committee of Music Academy faculty members in order to clinch the soloist spot for the spring semester Academy Virtuosi concert. The Academy Virtuosi is the Music Academy's conductorless chamber orchestra.
"We all felt this was an enriching opportunity for the students to experience what it is like to lead and perform a concerto without a conductor," said faculty member Margaret Batjer, who coaches the Academy Virtuosi. "We originally intended to have only one soloist, but at the audition there were clearly two students, Oliver and Wonchan, who were exceptional and deserved that opportunity."
Oliver will perform a Vivaldi concerto at Tuesday's performance, while Wonchan will perform the Stamitz clarinet concerto. "The chamber orchestra is also performing a wonderful Mendelssohn string symphony and Mozart's Adagio and Fugue, which they are playing so beautifully," Ms. Batjer added.
The concert will be Oliver and Wonchan's last performance as students of the Colburn Music Academy. In the fall, Wonchan will begin studies at the Juilliard School in New York City. Oliver will attend the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. "They are both highly gifted musicians at this young age," Ms. Batjer said, "and having the opportunity to solo with the Academy Virtuosi will be a celebratory captstone to their Music Academy experience."
Music Academy Dean Ory Shihor agreed. "It has been a pleasure to work with Oliver and Wonchan. I expect great things from them in the future, and wish them all the very best in the next stage of their education."
On April 25, the adult singers of the Colburn Community Chorale will appear with student vocalists from the Colburn Concert Choir, the Colburn Chamber Singers, and the Colburn Young Men's Chorus. The concert is led by Choir Director Dr. Mikhail Shtangrud and features pianist Pepron Pilibossian.
Each ensemble has a unique focus and fosters musical and artistic development through rehearsals and the study of vocal works. The Community Chorale attracts adult singers committed to learning and performing sophisticated repertoire, meeting weekly to rehearse for 13 weeks each semester. "I hope the chorale members find a community of singers who share their love for fine choral music," Dr. Shtangrud said, "and enjoy their pursuit of artistic excellence in the beautiful environment of the Colburn School."
Saturday's concert is an opportunity for all the vocalists to perform in the Colburn School's famed Zipper Hall, recently included on a list of the 50 most beautiful conservatories and schools of music, considered to be acoustically one of the best performance spaces in Los Angeles.
This is Dr. Shtangrud's first year directing the Community Chorale, though he's worked with the Colburn School's other ensembles for ten years. The central work in the Community Chorale's performance will be Mass of the Children by John Rutter. "The Community Chorale members have a great passion for music and make every choir rehearsal a true joy," Dr. Shtangrud said. "I love working with them." The Colburn School's Community Chorale program, now in its third year, has performed an array of major works by Haydn, Fauré, and Whitacre, and has performed with the Colburn Youth Orchestra and Colburn Chamber Orchestra as well. Auditions for the Community Chorale's 2015–2016 season will be held by appointment in May and early September.
Of the other ensembles on the program, the Concert Choir is the largest, made up of high school and junior high school vocalists. The Chamber Choir is the smallest, with only a few vocalists performing each part. The Young Men's Chorus gives teen boys an opportunity to explore the existing repertoire for their voices.
Music Academy Students Yi Chen Feng and Andrew Zhao received first and second place in the solo competition, respectively, in the recent Virginia Waring International Piano Festival. Both Yi Chen and Andrew study with Myong-joo Lee at the Colburn School; Yi Chen also studies with Dean Ory Shihor.
"This is a major achievement for these students, taking the top prizes in this respective international competition," Mr. Shihor said. "I'm very proud of our young pianists and congratulate them on their recognition."
Yi Chen and Andrew competed against 22 teen musicians from Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, Honolulu, Melbourne, Beijing, and Taiwan. Six pianists advanced to the semifinals and only three to the final round. Considered one of the major competitions for young pianists in the United States, the judges evaluate each contestant on elegance, quality, and style.
Started in 1978 as a segment of a piano conference at the College of the Desert, the competition draws talented pianists from across the world to compete in solo and concerto rounds for juniors, age 12 and younger; intermediates, ages 13–17; and seniors, ages 18–35. It has been known as the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition since 2001, honoring the successful professional pianist who has supported the competition for many years.
The competition's goal is to provide young pianists through age 32 with performance opportunities. Contestants participate in both solo and concerto rounds as well as master classes in each age category. Winners have earned performance opportunities in Vienna, London, Rome, San Francisco, and Carnegie Hall in New York.
The Community School of Performing Arts will add five new camps to its roster of summer offerings this year, bringing the number of summer camps to nine.
New dance camps will cover ballet choreography, tap for children, intensive modern dance, and tap for teens. Returning dance camps explore musical theater and tap.
"It may be summer vacation, but the Colburn School campus remains busy each year with a variety of summer camps, workshops, and intensives," said Community School Dean Robert McAllister. "There are programs for students as young as age 9 to try out something they may have never done before. And opportunities for our most advanced students to brush up on their skills and stay in top form over the summer. I encourage families to take a look at all Colburn has to offer during the summer months ahead."
The Community School has added a piano day camp this summer as well. Focusing on activities like choir, duo piano coaching, piano literature and drama, the camp will give intermediate and advanced pianists ages 9–13 lessons to enhance not only their artistry and technique, but their knowledge and skill set in a broad range of music and performing arts topics. The young pianist does not always have the frequent number of opportunities to collaborate in groups, as with many other art forms. This camp is the perfect opportunity for piano students to come together and learn with their peers.
Students interested in bringing their singing, dancing, and acting skills to the next level can sign up for one of two musical theater workshops. Musical Theater Camp for ages 9–13 provides an immersive experience that ends with performance of a song at the end of camp, while high schoolers with previous experience can audition for the High School Musical Theater Workshop with an end goal of helping participants perfect performance excerpts they can use to audition for academic year programs in high school and college. "This is a skill building week for the serous, advanced musical theatre artist," said Denise Scheerer, chair of jazz, tap, and musical theater.
Another special offering new this summer is the Ballet Choreographic Workshop, which is open to current Colburn students in Ballet Level IV and Advanced Studies Ballet. Outside students can attend by audition. Throughout the school year, students enrolled in the Advanced Studies ballet program work diligently to learn the choreography of their teachers and others in the field, perfecting and focusing on their technique and dance vocabulary. This workshop will place creative control into the hands of the students under the guidance of our exceptional dance faculty. Students will experience the process of choreographing a piece and learn the special role a dancer actively plays in the creation of a new work. The workshop will culminate with a performance of the new works created and performed by the students.
"Community School camps give students an opportunity to dedicate a period of time to focused study on their chosen art," said Community School Assistant Dean Sara Hiner. "This kind of intensive work can help students make great strides in their artistic development, and summer is a great time for them to focus on it without the pressures of schoolwork weighing on them."
Stravinsky is something of a specialty for Mr. Salonen, and the conductor-composer has strong feelings about The Firebird in particular. "I still prefer the very first version of it, a young man's excited, luxurious, wasteful orchestration, as he himself used to call it," he said. "If you have to choose the five most exciting minutes in all of music, this is certainly high up on the list."
Mr. Salonen, who served as music director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1992 to 2009 and is now its Conductor Laureate, was the first conductor to lead performances at the now-famous Los Angeles architectural landmark on Grand Avenue, leading a program that included another monumental work by Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring.
"For our students, working with the very conductor who inaugurated Walt Disney Concert Hall represents a pivotal moment for them as they develop into professional musicians," said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan. "It's a valuable experience I know they'll cherish."
The April 24 concert is part of the Colburn School's 2015 Colburn School gala, "Grand Avenue in Grand Style," which celebrates the evolution of the downtown cultural corridor into a vibrant center of artistic and creative innovation reminiscent of Paris in 1910, where Stravinsky debuted The Firebird. This year's gala honorees include Mr. Salonen, celebrated for his artistic contributions to Los Angeles, as well as philanthropists Edythe and Eli Broad, whose support of Grand Avenue arts institutions have ensured those organizations will thrive well into the next century and beyond. The Broad museum, opening in the fall of this year, will become a treasured addition to Grand Avenue and a welcome neighbor to both the Colburn School and Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Yehuda Gilad, the Colburn Orchestra has performed for Southern California audiences at venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Ambassador Auditorium, Royce Hall, Segerstrom Concert Hall, and the Valley Performing Arts Center. Mr. Gilad and the esteemed faculty of the Colburn Conservatory of Music invited Mr. Salonen to guest conduct the orchestra and are thrilled by the opportunity our students have to work with such a celebrated conductor.
A select group of pre-college students from the Colburn School's Music Academy will take the stage in Thayer Hall on Saturday, April 18 at 5:30 pm for the Spring Recital.
Performing in the Spring Recital is a high honor for Music Academy students, and the program showcases months of hard work by both individual students and chamber groups. Musicians are carefully chosen by Music Academy faculty members based on their level of preparation, as well as previous performance opportunities.
"Students in the Music Academy have dedicated themselves to mastering their craft here at Colburn, and the Spring Recital represents a joyous culmination of the Spring Semester's hard work," said Music Academy Dean Ory Shihor. "I'm incredibly proud of all of this year's group of Academy students, and the Spring Recital is a beautiful exemplification of their commitment to learning and the high level of instruction provided by our faculty."
The recital will include a variety of solo and chamber works, including pieces by Chopin, Brahms, Schubert, Barber, Beethoven, and more.
Visit our website for more information about the Music Academy's Spring Recital. This event is free and open to the public.
"The students at the Colburn School are so gifted, and because they're so gifted, they're receptive to ideas," said violin professor Arnold Steinhardt, who will give a recital on campus on Sunday. "My goal is to open the minds, hearts, and ears of my students so that they are able to broaden and expand their understanding of music."
Mr. Steinhardt was born in Los Angeles and made his solo debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at age 14. He went on to study with Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute of Music and with Joseph Szigeti in Switzerland before launching a successful recital and soloist career. In 1964, he co-founded the Guarneri String Quartet, of which he was a member for the next 45 years. Together, the group made innumerable tours across the globe and recorded dozens of performances for commercial albums.
Despite his success, Mr. Steinhardt has a refreshingly broadminded view of his career. "I've never had a ten-year, a five-year, or even a one-year plan," he said. "I love the unexpected twists and turns in life, and I always admire that in other people, when they've gone in one direction and swerved away toward something else."
To that end, Mr. Steinhardt turned to writing, publishing the first of his two books in 1998. He has contributed articles to publications like Chamber Music America, Musical America, and Keynote as well. "I never expected to write regularly about music," he said. "I just sort of fell into it. But writing is a great joy for me." As an ongoing writing project, he established a blog on his website and posts new content monthly. "My son is a web designer and suggested I start a blog when he created my website," Mr. Steinhardt recalled. "I thought I'd have two to three months of ideas for writing, but that was over six years ago."
Mr. Steinhardt's recital at the Colburn School will feature pieces by Bach, Beethoven, and Sir Edward Elgar. "I'm looking forward to sharing my experience with the audience," he said of the event. "I picked three masterpieces I love," he went on, "and I love working with Vivian Fan, the Colburn School staff pianist."
Colburn School Artist-in-Residence Jean-Yves Thibaudet will give a free public master class Monday, April 13 and will talk with Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan about his career as an international touring and recording artist at the next Sidley Austin Artspeaks, Wednesday, April 15. Now in the first of three years as the Colburn School's artist-in-residence, Mr. Thibaudet discussed the impact of his own education, and why he believes Los Angeles will continue to be an important place for musicians.
"The guidance of my teachers was everything to me growing up as an artist," Jean-Yves Thibaudet said, speaking over the phone from his home in Los Angeles between tour dates. "I was lucky to have really wonderful teachers."
Known for his elegant musicality, the French pianist has established himself as an iconic figure both on and off the stage. Mr. Thibaudet has traveled the globe as one of the world's most sought after concert pianists, one with a style distinctly his own.
For Mr. Thibaudet, teaching represents the continuation of a valuable tradition, passing down valuable lessons from generation to generation. "One of my teachers was a collaborator of Ravel, and he gave me amazing information about playing his music," he recalled. "If you do not continue to pass these practices along to the new generation of artists, they'll disappear."
At the same time, having a strong foundation and an understanding of the fundamentals is only half of the journey, according to Mr. Thibaudet. The second part—of equal importance—is helping students find their own voice. "A mentor of mine, a concert pianist himself, told me that the most important role of a teacher is to help students find their own personality and identity to reveal in the music," he said.
While he aims to enrich students by offering his musical insights, he has also found teaching serves his own playing as he continues to develop as an artist. "I've realized I must ask students questions I no longer ask myself. When a student asks, 'How are you doing that?' you learn more about your own playing."
Mr. Thibaudet's collaborative and good-spirited nature help him build and maintain relationships in the field. "As a soloist, the relationship with the conductor is of greatest importance, and people don't always understand that. Playing with an orchestra is very much like chamber music: you have to listen."
An inspiring setting is essential to Mr. Thibaudet. Enticed by the arts scene and the promise of blue skies between tours, he made Los Angeles his permanent home 15 years ago. He sees the city, rich in natural beauty and cultural vibrancy, as the perfect place to create. "Los Angeles is an amazing town that has grown and changed so much," he said. "It is one of the most important cities in the world, and has a lot to offer musically and culturally. I would choose to study here."
His affinity for Los Angeles greatly informed his decision to take his next steps as a mentor at the Colburn School. His enthusiasm for the school's mission contributed to his decision to become the artist-in-residence.
"Colburn is a fantastic school. I wanted to be a part of the beautiful environment and develop a lasting relationship."
Mr. Thibaudet sees his role with young musicians today as an investment that will pay dividends for classical music far into the future. While many worry about the future of the genre, Thibaudet steadfastly believes there is no need to fret.
"More and more young people are coming to classical music," he observes, "because they are genuinely interested in the experience. I think that is wonderful."
Violinist Aimée Kreston, who teaches in both the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts and the Colburn Music Academy, loves it when she sees her students working hard and having a great time. She's been happy to see them enjoying themselves a great deal lately through a partnership that brings her students together with students from the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Together, students from both institutions share lessons, performances, and social time with other young people passionate about classical music.
The exchange began after Ms. Kreston attended a pedagogy seminar organized by Rebecca Henry, the Scott Bendann Faculty Chair in Classical Music at the Peabody Institute and faculty in violin and viola. Ms. Kreston and Ms. Henry kept in touch via email after the seminar and, Ms. Kreston said, "the idea just sprouted from there." Despite the challenges bridging the two institutions, Ms. Kreston believes there is tremendous value in the opportunity. "It was eye opening for all of the kids to see a different kind of institution," she said.
Ten students from the Colburn School visited the Peabody Institute March 12 through March 15, participating in three days of intensive master classes, concerts, and even a trip to Baltimore's revitalized Inner Harbor for a fresh Atlantic seafood dinner. In addition to getting the chance to take lessons with Peabody Institute teachers, Colburn School students joined Peabody students in rehearsals for a combined conductorless string orchestra. "They quickly developed new friendships through the exchange," Ms. Kreston said, "and the exposure to new teachers has been really interesting for them. Some of them are considering applying to the Peabody Institute for their college-level studies."
Eight Peabody Institute students will come to the Colburn School on April 11 and 12 for the second half of the exchange, structured similarly to the first, with some Colburn School faculty like Martin Beaver providing additional lessons. Christian Tremblay, Chair of the Academy at the Peabody Institute, and Ms. Henry will give master classes during this visit as well. On Sunday, the exchange program will culminate in a concert featuring violin and piano sonatas, string quartets and other ensembles, and a performance by the combined conductorless string orchestra.
Sunday's performance is free and open to the public. Visit our website for more information.
To perform on the same stage as some of the twentieth century's most respected jazz performers is a great honor for any musician. This week, Community School of Performing Arts students will have that when they appear at the Catalina Bar and Grill, one of Los Angeles's most famous jazz landmarks, on April 14. The venue's history is as lively and unexpected as the music presented on its stage.
Owners Catalina Popescu and her late husband Bob started the business in 1986 on the advice of jazz great Buddy Collette, who told them jazz would help keep their booths full and their cash register ringing. When the Catalina Bar and Grill opened, that wasn't quite the case. "The jazz scene when we started was not much," Ms. Popescu recalled. "Los Angeles is a great big city [with] lots of culture, but it's very difficult to present jazz. The challenge made us stronger."
The fortuitous booking of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie in April 1987 not only put Catalina Bar and Grill on the map, it gave them the credibility needed to take off as a jazz destination. Just six months after the Popescus opened their doors, they welcomed Benny Carter, Miles Davis, Cedar Walton, and other illustrious jazz artists into the club for Gillespie's show.
Since then, the Catalina has hosted Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Ray Brown, Max Roach, Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker, and countless others. "Jazz comes in all forms and formats," Ms. Popescu said. "My motto was, 'Nothing but the best of jazz.'"
In 1996, Mr. and Ms. Popescu started the Young Artist Jazz Series to provide a forum for local young jazz musicians to showcase their talents in front of a live audience while giving the community the opportunity to support and enjoy these musicians. The Community School of Performing Arts has been a beneficiary of this initiative, sending students to perform in a special jazz band showcase as part of the Young Artist Jazz Series.
"The students performing in the Catalina concert are wonderfully gifted as players, improvisers, and composers," said Lee Secard, saxophone instructor and director of jazz studies for the Community School. "In addition, they are wonderful people—smart, good colleagues to each other, and very professional in their behavior and conduct. Playing at such a renowned venue is a privilege for all of them."
Ms. Popescu takes her success in stride. Her motivation for pressing on is simple. "It's the knowledge that for two or three hours of their life, you gave them a great time. That's what keeps me going."
"It affords me the privilege of experiencing works that are well-known to me through the very fresh eyes of our students, some of whom will be playing these pieces for the first time," said cellist Clive Greensmith, who will perform works by Mozart, Kodály, and Brahms alongside violin professor Martin Beaver, viola professor Paul Coletti and students from the Conservatory of Music.
Mr. Beaver and Mr. Greensmith spent many years playing together as members of the illustrious Tokyo String Quartet, performing as many as 125 concerts in a year. When the quartet's two original members elected to retire in 2013, the quartet disbanded. Mr. Beaver and Mr. Greensmith joined the Conservatory's faculty soon after and have enjoyed the opportunity to work with students while maintaining a calmer performing schedule. "To play with the same people every day gives you marvelous support, and a familiarity and bond, and that's a very precious thing," Mr. Greensmith said of the transition. "It's also nice to go to different festivals now, to meet new colleagues, and to play different kinds of music."
Sunday's concert gives the two musicians an opportunity to serve as chamber music mentors for Colburn School students. "For me, chamber music repertoire represents some of the finest works written by the finest composers," Mr. Beaver said. "The art of playing chamber music is challenging as one is faced with the task of playing with all the skill of a virtuoso soloist while at the same time being very sensitive to the texture of the moment." Mr. Greensmith sees the chamber concert as a unique opportunity to embed pedagogy in the performance. "It's the quickest way to get to the heart of the matter, musically speaking, to play alongside students rather than coaching from the front of the stage."
The performance's pieces will include a quartet, a quintet, and a sextet. Mr. Greensmith said he and Mr. Beaver took selection of the students very seriously and wanted to ensure they could include the greatest number of students. "Several of our players will be graduating, so this is their last chance to perform on the Zipper Hall stage," he said. "We considered carefully the strengths of each student, and were strategic in finding students we thought would be right for each role."
In addition to their faculty appointments at the Colburn School and their individual performing careers, Mr. Beaver and Mr. Greensmith have found another way to collaborate together by forming the Montrose Trio with lauded pianist Jon Kimura Parker. The group debuted at the Detroit Chamber Music Society last year and have gone on to perform in Montreal and Washington, DC. Mr. Greensmith is happy to report their touring schedule for the upcoming year will be more extensive, while Mr. Beaver noted the trio is active in commissioning new works for the piano trio genre.