The Community School of Performing Arts revealed the roster of student performers and ensembles as well as the repertoire for the third annual event, which celebrates student achievement and raises money for financial aid and scholarships for Community School students. "Being selected to perform for the Community School's annual fundraiser is a true honor and a testament to the work each of these students have done with their faculty," said Community School Dean Robert McAllister. "I am proud of each of the young artists representing the Community School on this special evening."
Guests arriving at the event at 5 pm for the silent auction and refreshments on Colburn Plaza will enjoy a performance by students in the Colburn Jazz Workshop. The first half of the evening will feature original compositions by the Sunday Afternoon Band. The Monday Night and Thursday Night Bands will play their sets from the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival. "One of the things we enjoy in our jazz program is having such talented improvisers," Mr. McAllister said. "And many of our jazz students have won multiple national awards." These talented young jazz artists will end the evening performing in various combinations of students, formed by Lee Secard, director of the jazz program.
In addition to the plaza performance, attendees can enjoy "tastings" in Mayman Hall and the Grand Building dance studios 6 pm – 7 pm. Students in our choir, tap, and modern dance programs will give brief demonstrations and performances to show Taste of Colburn guests the kind of work they do in their classes. Choir Director Dr. Mikhail Shtangrud, Modern Dance Chair Tamsin Carlson, and Tap Chair Denise Scheerer will talk with guests to give insight into the educational and artistic process within their programs.
At 7:30 pm, everyone will move to Zipper Hall for the showcase performance, which will open with some of our younger string players, mostly between the ages of 8 and 12, enrolled in the Suzuki program. These young violinists and cellists will perform arrangements of von Weber's Hunters' Chorus, Brahms's Hungarian Dance No. 5, and Taste of Cellodrum Colburn by the Community School's cello instructor Carey Beth Hockett. The program will also include a performance of the first movement from Schubert's Trio in B-flat Major, as well as a ballet performance from Chopin's non-narrative ballet blanc, Les Sylphides.
This year the Community School honors pianist Dr. Grace Fong with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Fong, who is Director of Keyboard Studies at Chapman University, will play a pivotal role in Taste of Colburn's showcase performance by collaborating in two pieces with our students. First, she will take the stage for a performance of the first movement from the Dohnányi Piano Quintet No. 1. She will close the program with the triumphant first movement from Grieg's Piano Concerto accompanied by the Colburn Youth Orchestra, conducted by her fellow University of Southern California alum and classmate Maxim Eshkenazy.
The evening will conclude with more jazz under the night sky as guests move back to the plaza to pick up items they won in the silent auction. "It is always a fun evening for all who attend," said Community School Assistant Dean Sara Hiner, "but it's especially wonderful for the student performers, who take real pride in performing as part of the event."
As part of the Colburn School's Ziering-Conlon Initiative, the Conservatory of Music has convened its annual course "Recovered Voices: an Examination of Lesser-Known Composers and Works of the Early Twentieth Century." LA Opera Music Director James Conlon serves as the course's instructor, with Robert Elias assisting.
The class is particularly popular with Adult Studies students, with more than 80 registrants. The instructional approach is one of investigation. To prepare students for the kind of inquiry placed at the heart of the class, Mr. Conlon provides a series of questions in his course description, from "Who were these composers and why do we know so little of their music?" to "What happens when art collides with its society?"
"I want the students not only to be able to identify the suppressed composers," Mr. Conlon said, "but also to become familiar with their music. It is also important to understand how artistic suppression happens and what are its long-term effects on a society and its artists."
Reviving these underappreciated works and learning about the lives of the composers fills gaps in our understanding of twentieth century music. Mr. Conlon hopes the course will also encourage students to do more than just read about and hear some of these works—he hopes to inspire Colburn students to perform these composers and add them to their repertories as professional musicians.
Along with Mr. Conlon and Mr. Elias, the course includes guest lectures by respected scholars and performers in the field, including New Yorker music critic Alex Ross; Dr. Bret Werb, Curator of Music Collections of the United States Holocaust Museum; Jeffrey Kahane, Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; University of California at Santa Barbara professor Derek Katz; and Simon Wynberg, Artistic Director of The ARC Ensemble of Toronto.
The Colburn Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director and Conductor Yehuda Gilad, will play a special concert on campus at Zipper Hall this Sunday, March 8. Soprano Summer Hassan of the LA Opera's Colburn-Domingo-Stein Young Artist Program joins them for a performance of Barber's wistful Knoxville: Summer of 1915.
The intimate setting of Zipper Hall will highlight works for smaller orchestrations, including pieces by Ginastera and Beethoven. "This is an exciting program of music," Mr. Gilad said. "Performing this lovely piece by Barber is such a treat for all of us, and Ginastera's Variaciones concertantes, with its series of solo passages for nearly every instrument, will showcase the virtuosic playing of our conservatory students. The evening's performance will culminate in the unparalleled second symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven."
Variaciones concertantes was commissioned by the Asociación Amigos de la Música in Buenos Aires in 1953, during a professionally difficult period of time after conflicts with the Perón government forced Ginastera to resign as the director of the music conservatory at the National University of La Plata. Commissions like Variaciones, along with scoring films, allowed him to continue to make a living by writing music.
Soprano Summer Hassan will sing Barber's setting of an excerpt from James Agee's Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Death in the Family. The text captures the dreamlike reminiscences of Agee, just five years old in 1915, prior to his father's sudden death the following year. Barber, also five years old in 1915, composed the piece during a period in which his own father's health was in swift decline. The composer dedicated the final piece with the inscription, "In memory of my Father."
"This is one of the most beautiful, warm, shimmering works in the repertoire for voice and orchestra," Mr. Gilad said. "It's an absolutely gorgeous piece."
The Colburn School remembers Sylvia Kunin, a professional pianist and tireless supporter of classical music and performing arts education in Los Angeles, who passed away at her home in Seattle on February 12 at the age of 101.
In 1955, Ms. Kunin founded the Young Musicians Foundation, a Los Angeles—based organization dedicated to fostering the development of classical musicians between the ages of four and 25. The foundation has helped to develop an impressive roster of burgeoning talents over the years, including current and former Colburn School students.
"Sylvia Kunin is indelible in my memory, and I am proud to have known her," says Colburn School Chairman Carol Colburn Grigor. "When I first visited Los Angeles in 1963 she was, to me, the reigning goddess of the Young Musicians Foundation. I remember her as a dynamic, willful, charming lady. She was passionate about the Young Musicians Foundation, her 'baby,' and about all the young musicians who passed through the foundation's orchestra under her strong maternal reign. We must remember her, and all those like her, whose dynamic personality and singleness of purpose have shaped musical life for several generations in Los Angeles."
Ms. Kunin produced the Emmy Award—winning Musical Encounters television series, which began in 1972 and ran for over two decades on a number or public-television stations around the country. The show paired young professional and highly talented musicians with young audiences, and became the inspiration for Colburn's own community-engagement program of the same name.
In a 1993 Los Angeles Times article about Musical Encounters, Ms. Kunin exhibited the spirited energy that drove her throughout her life and career to champion the cause of classical music. "I'll never retire," said Ms. Kunin, "I keep finding more things that have to be done."
Viola students from across Southern California will have an opportunity to celebrate the unique sound of their instrument as part of the ninth annual ViolaFest, which takes place on the Colburn School campus on Sunday, March 1.
Coordinated by the Southern California Violist Society, ViolaFest brings together more than 100 young musicians aged 9–18 for a day of workshops and performances. Faculty for ViolaFest represent some of the region's most lauded music organizations, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pasadena Conservatory, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, University of Southern California, and the Colburn School. This year's special guest artist is Che-Yen Chen, former principal violist of the San Diego Symphony and current USC faculty member, who will give a master class and signature recital with Colburn School staff accompanist Vivian Fan.
Organizer Gina Coletti, viola instructor and chair of the Colburn School's Ed and Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute, hopes the young musicians get a lot out of the day. "Violinists and cellists have plenty of role models for inspiration, and solo repertoire for those instruments abound," she said. "I want our students to go away feeling violas are a beautiful instrument worthy of great love and great effort."
Each year, ViolaFest commissions an original work for viola. This year, the group ran a commission contest in collaboration with the American Composer's Forumfor a mass viola piece for all the participants. The contest winner is George N. Gianopoulos.
Though registration for the event is nearly full, there are a few slots for students and adults who want to audit a workshop or session, including the day's final performance.
Ms. Coletti always looks forward to the joyful feeling the day brings students. "I love the camaraderie of violists realizing there's more than just one of them out there. I love seeing them all play together," she said. "This is a chance for them to hear what the viola can be."
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu will cap off her inaugural visit to Los Angeles on Wednesday, February 25, with a stop at the Colburn School, where she will talk with President and CEO Sel Kardan as part of the Sidley Austin Artspeaks lecture series.
The conversation will explore the new chairman's platform and priorities, arts advocacy, and the role of government funding in today's cultural climate. "Each guest lecturer brings a unique perspective on the state of the arts, and I'm delighted to have the nation's top arts official join us at the end of her Southern California tour," said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan. "I look forward to discussing with her the issues that shape the landscape in which our students live, learn, and perform."
The National Endowment for the Arts awards grants of public funds to arts and culture organizations across the United States. Last year, the agency gave 2,300 grants totaling about $116 million dollars. The NEA's total budget of $146 million for 2015 represents an allocation of 45 cents per person, or .012% of the total federal discretionary budget. Jane Chu was confirmed as Chairman of the NEA in June 2014 and has spent the months since then visiting various cities, learning how arts and culture support communities across the United States.
Chairman Chu views arts education as an essential resource for young people. "Arts education fosters bright, creative, and socially engaged students who will grow up to be our next leaders, parents, teachers, artists, and engineers," she has sad. "Their creative thinking will find out-of-the-box solutions for a global society, and will provide students with a sense of belonging."
In addition to her public lecture, Chairman Chu will also visit the Jumpstart program on the Colburn School campus. Jumpstart is a scholarship-supported program that provides pathways for personal and artistic excellence to approximately 70 low-income students who demonstrate a commitment to learning music. The NEA awarded a grant to Colburn this year in support of Jumpstart.
Chairman Chu's Artspeaks event is sold out, but the Colburn School has created a waitlist for people interested in attending should seats become available.
Violinist Scott St. John spent seven years as a member of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, a lauded ensemble playing up to 100 concerts each year. He recently stepped away from the group to spend more time with his wife and daughter in their native Canada, but he's back on the concert scene on his own; this Sunday, St. John appears with the Colburn Chamber Music Society's performance of works by Mozart, Ives, and Dvořák.
"Mr. St. John has been a prominent figure in chamber music for many years and many of our faculty know him personally," said Conservatory of Music Dean Richard Beene. "We're thrilled he can join us on campus to share his expertise with conservatory students."
Mr. St. John is fond of sharing his experience taking a yearlong sabbatical from his instrument in the 1990s. He spent his days working in a New York office and his nights working retail in Times Square. The experience, he said, helped him go back to playing with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication.
The recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Mr. St. John has taught at the University of Toronto and at the Marlboro Music Festival, and enjoyed a residency at Stanford University during his time with the St. Lawrence String Quartet. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with David Cerone, Felix Galimir, and current Colburn Conservatory of Music faculty member Arnold Steinhardt.
Visit our website for more information on the Colburn Chamber Music Society's March 1 concert with Mr. St. John.
One of the world's most respected ballet choreographers will video chat with Dance Academy students this week as part of a study of his work. Christopher Wheeldon will be the 9th guest artist to visit with the class of pre-professional dancers this year.
Mr. Wheeldon was a member of the New York City Ballet for seven years before retiring from dance to become the company's resident choreographer and first resident artist. His choreography quickly drew acclaim and other eminent companies like the San Francisco Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, and the Royal Ballet, London have commissioned dances from him.
"James and I both danced alongside Chris during his years performing with the New York City Ballet, and later were featured in his choreographic works for the company," said Jenifer Ringer, director of the dance academy, referencing the period she spent dancing with Mr. Wheeldon and James Fayette, who now serves as associate director of the dance academy. "We are excited to have him share with our students not only his artistic vision but also his experiences working with the greatest ballet companies in the world."
Credited for his role in reinvigorating the full-length ballet form, Mr. Wheeldon has recently premiered works based on Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Shakespeare's The Winter Tale. The latter, which premiered last year at the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, was called "a ballet to keep" by The Daily Telegraph. His most recent work, a ballet adaptation of the film An American in Paris, will premiere on Broadway in 2015 after a successful preview in Paris. The film version was itself an original an adaptation of a suite by George Gershwin and featured 16-minute ballet sequence set to this work, so Wheeldon's stage version will put the film version back in touch with its roots in dance and orchestral music.
Students in dance classes from the Colburn School will view the Royal Ballet's film of The Winter Tale this week in order to witness Mr. Wheeldon's work. After the screening, Dance Academy students will have a chance to ask Mr. Wheeldon questions about his process, his vision, and his career, through online video chat. "We'll definitely want to discuss is his new Broadway show, so there is a lot to talk about," Ms. Ringer added.
Over 300 students will visit the Colburn School campus this week to audition for the Conservatory of Music. The conservatory, which extends full scholarships for tuition, room, and board to every student, anticipates inviting 30 applicants to study here.
"We're looking at them to see if they're a good fit for the studio and the school, and they're looking at us to see if we'll be a good fit for them," said Richard Beene, dean of the conservatory.
Making potential students feel comfortable and at home on the campus is a top priority during the audition process. "We're open and welcoming to all the auditioning students," he added. "We want them to have a great experience visiting the school and to get a sense of what their day-to-day education will be like here." To that end, the conservatory enlists current student volunteers to serve as tour guides and helpers during the flurry of audition appointments.
Emily Lair, a current student studying French horn, is one of those students. "I try my best to make each applicant feel comfortable here," she said. "Helping applicants become acquainted with the environment at the Colburn School reminds of how fortunate I am to be part of this excellent institution."
Current student Elyse Lauzon has gone through the audition process twice at the Colburn School in pursuit of admission for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. "Both auditions were positive experiences," she said. "As a high school student, being able to play for David Krehbiel, a legendary horn player I had only heard in my favorite recordings, was the most memorable part of the audition."
This year, 650 potential students submitted applications to the conservatory, with fewer than half of them advancing to the audition stage, making the conservatory's acceptance rate more competitive than Harvard University, Stanford University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students seeking admission to the conservatory will likely be applying to other top music schools like The Juilliard School, Rice University, and the Curtis Institute of Music.
When asked why she chose the Colburn School for her education, Ms. Lair said, "I'm surrounded by talented peers and learn under the guidance of world-class musicians like my teacher Andrew Bain." Ms. Lauzon agreed, adding, "And we get to play in one of the most superb student orchestras in the country."
Music Academy Dean Ory Shihor is thrilled about the new opportunities for students at the annual Piano Festival competition, which will now offer a unique professional performance opportunity along with a sponsored cash prize. "This is tremendous exposure for a young musician," Mr. Shihor said. "The chance to be featured in a performance with a lauded symphony, along with the monetary prize, are incredibly valuable to musicians on the cusp of professional careers."
The inaugural Steinway Concerto Competition will be open to all participants of the music academy's annual Piano Festival, held each summer in July. This year's festival will highlight piano concerto literature as its centerpiece, allowing students to explore the defining characteristics of concertos through private lessons, master classes, lectures, performances, and theoretical studies.
Six finalists from among the entrants will advance to the Steinway Concerto Competition's final round. The first prize winner, selected from these finalists, will receive the $1,500 Steinway Prize and be presented in the Pasadena Symphony's 2016–2017 Classics Series at the Ambassador Auditorium with Music Director David Lockington. The first prize is presented in partnership with the Pasadena Symphony and generously sponsored by Steinway Gallery, Beverly Hills. Additional cash prizes for second and third place finalists will be sponsored by Metropolitan Associates through the generosity of Colburn School Board Member Alice Colombe. The awards will be $750 and $300, respectively.
The Piano Festival will be held July 5–19 on the Colburn School campus, and the event is open to all pre-college pianists aged 10–19, including graduating high school seniors who have not yet entered college. The festival gives young pianists access to two weeks of conservatory-level instruction for up to 30 students. Faculty for the festival will include Mr. Shihor as well as respected teachers from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Boston University, the San Francisco Conservatory, and others.
"I remember competing myself when I was young," Mr. Shihor said. "When you take a step back and see it from the other side, as the organizer, it's so exciting to watch these young musicians fully embrace the spirit of doing their personal best. In that sense, everyone comes out ahead through this experience."
Visit this link for more information on the Steinway Piano Concerto Competition or the Music Academy Piano Festival.
Italian pianist Fabio Bidini will join the Colburn Conservatory of Music faculty as professor of piano and will hold the Carol Grigor Piano Chair. Mr. Bidini, an internationally celebrated concert pianist, is currently professor of piano at the prestigious Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.
The newly named chair was established through a $5 million gift from Carol Grigor. Mrs. Grigor is Chairman of the Board at the Colburn School, as well as a board member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She is a longtime supporter of the Colburn School and generous patron of the arts in Los Angeles and in Scotland where she resides. She is a pianist, holding a Bachelor of Music in performance from Indiana University, and a Master of Music degree from Yale University.
"Mr. Bidini is one of the world's foremost pianists and pedagogues, and I am thrilled that he will be joining the revered faculty of the Colburn Conservatory of Music," said Grigor. "Our piano students demonstrate a superb level of talent and commitment, and it is my honor to contribute to the artistic development of future generations through this gift."
A prolific performing and recording artist, Mr. Bidini has toured worldwide as both a soloist and collaborative musician and has over thirteen albums in his discography. He is recognized for his technical prowess and poetic lyricism, and has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, and many others.
Mr. Bidini credits the Colburn School's level of musicianship, supportive academic atmosphere, and strong leadership for his decision to join the faculty. "In its short history, the Colburn Conservatory of Music has established itself as one of the world's preeminent training grounds for outstanding young musicians," he said. "I am honored to contribute my experience and knowledge to the school and its next generation of artists."
"Carol Grigor's leadership gift has allowed the school to attract an artist and pedagogue of the highest international stature to fill this position, and the appointment of Mr. Bidini to our esteemed faculty represents a great moment of pride for the Colburn School," said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan. "We look forward to welcoming him as the first piano professor to hold the Carol Grigor Piano Chair in the fall."
On February 3, the Colburn School released the debut album from the Calidore String Quartet, recent alumni of the Colburn Conservatory of Music and current artists-in-residence at Stony Brook University. The recording features Mendelssohn's String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13, and Haydn's String Quartet in C Major, Op. 76, No. 3, "Emperor." It is now available for purchase from iTunes and Amazon.
"The Calidore String Quartet is now one of the foremost young professional ensembles, and continues to show exceptional promise," stated Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan. "I am thrilled that the Colburn School was the place of inception for such an extraordinary group, and proud the Colburn School chose them to perform on our first album release."
The Mendelssohn string quartet holds particular meaning for Calidore. "When performing the Mendelssohn quartet, we feel the energy and spirit of his writing come to life," the quartet wrote in the album's liner notes. "None of us will ever forget the moment we read through it in one of our very first rehearsals, and we are delighted to feature it on our first album."
The Colburn School hosted a pre-release party for the album on January 17. The Calidore Quartet performed the Mendelssohn piece from the recording, along with Caroline Shaw's Entr'acte. Surprise guest Jean-Yves Thibaudet joined the quartet for a performance of the third movement of Dvořák's Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81, a reprise of the quartet's Colburn Chamber Music Society performance last year. Laurence Vittes blogged about the event here.
While studying at the Colburn Conservatory of Music, the Calidore String Quartet became part of the first group of artists to be housed within Colburn Artists, a program founded to provide professional management services to accomplished students on the cusp of professional performing careers. As part of the guidance provided by this program, the Calidore String Quartet joined the roster of major classical artist management company Opus 3 Artists, ushering the group into the next phase of their career.
Robert deMaine, principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, joins the Colburn Chamber Music Society for their performance on this Sunday, February 15. The program includes Villa-Lobos's Bachianas brasilierasNo. 1, and joining deMaine for this octet is the entire conservatory cello class.
"Mr. deMaine's extensive chamber music experience coupled with his new position at the Los Angeles Philharmonic made him a natural choice for our Colburn Chamber Music Society series," said Richard Beene, dean of the conservatory. "We are delighted he will lead our conservatory cello class in Villa-Lobos's cello octet Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1."
The New York Times has described Mr. deMaine as "an artist who makes one hang on every note." He has distinguished himself as one of the finest and most versatile instrumentalists of his generation, performing to critical acclaim as soloist, recitalist, orchestral principal, recording artist, and chamber musician. In addition to his leadership role at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mr. deMaine is a member of two prominent chamber music ensembles, the Ehnes Quartet and the Dicterow-deMaine-Biegel Trio.
Mr. deMaine began playing cello at age four at the encouragement of his mother and sister, both accomplished cellists. In 1990, he became the first cellist in the history of the competition to win first prize at the Irving M. Klein International Competition for Strings in San Francisco. Prior to joining the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mr. deMaine was principal cellist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and core principal cellist of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
The majestic body of a dancer, stretched and manipulated almost to the point of abstraction, hangs near the Colburn School's dance studios while a floor below, a traffic jam of squished cars sits unmoving on a highway.
This is the imaginative and somewhat surreal work of visual artist Jay Mark Johnson, the featured artist on campus at the Colburn School. Prints from Mr. Johnson's series SPACETIME hang in many public areas of the campus, including the Grand Building lobby, the Olive Building lobby, and the Colburn Café. Collectively, the 20 pieces form a gallery show the artist calls TIMELINES. A special public opening event for the show and the artist will be held at 1 pm on February 15 at the Colburn School.
Mr. Johnson's creative career includes a very diverse set of experiences, including conceptual architecture, performance art, television broadcasting, film direction, and years of study in linguistic anthropology. His first experiments with timeline imagery, photographs that seem to both condense and expand a moment in time, date back to the early 1990s. Photographs from the current SPACETIME series had their start in 2003 and are featured in the permanent collections of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, the Phoenix Art Museum, and many more in America and abroad.
The Colburn School has a significant permanent collection of visual art ranging from framed pieces to the large mobile in the Grand Building and the Colburn Plaza pavement lighting. The tradition of hosting a single artist show has its roots in the leadership of former Executive Director Toby Mayman, who believed the visual art would provide inspiration and stimulation for the school's performing art students. Today, a small committee, including Ms. Mayman, reviews art submitted to the school and selects the artist for the annual show.
Together with the opening, The Colburn School will also host a transdiscipline discussion in Mayman Hall at 2 pm. Organized by and including Mr. Johnson, the guests will speak on the topic of "Out Takes on Time." Other panelists include Barry Barish, experimental physicist; Shana Nys Dambrot, art critic, curator, and author; Carlo Siliotto, composer; and Jeffrey Skoller, writer and filmmaker.
The public is invited to attend Sunday's opening event. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Manager of Administrative Services Laurie Klempner at email@example.com or 213-621-4532.
Mr. Johnson's exhibition will run through August 15.
What happens when a standoffish world musician and a string quartet find themselves double booked on the same stage?
That's what 1,500 Los Angeles Unified School District students will learn after watching the special Musical Encounter performances on February 13. As part of the Colburn School's community engagement program, 15 partner schools in the district will send kids on a field trip to the Colburn School's downtown campus to watch "We're in the World," an interactive educational performance, play out.
The Musical Encounter performance is directed by Debbie Devine, chair of the theater department in the Community School of Performing Arts, and stars choir instructor Leeav Sofer and the members of the Calla Quartet in the acting roles. In the story, Mr. Sofer and the quartet musicians find out the hard way—by showing up to their own concerts—that they have been double-booked by the theater. Though they appear to come from radically different worlds, the musicians all learn to collaborate on a single performance, after some initial confusion, conflict, and comedy. "And then suddenly the music itself, as if a sixth character in the show, brings them 'harmoniously together,'" Ms. Devine said.
"The Calla Quartet have been working with the community engagement office for the past few months, honing their skills as teaching artists," said Dr. Nathaniel Zeisler, director of community engagement at the Colburn School. "Not only do they play beautifully, they are open to developing valuable presentation skills and learning some of the additional tools they need to continue on this path."
Ms. Devine was thrilled with how Mr. Sofer and the quartet worked together, especially as they were all new to acting. "There was such an amazing trust between Leeav and the Calla Quartet," she said. "All five of them experienced how creating a character is both a tool for teaching and another means of artistic self-expression."
This is the first time Musical Encounter has offered students the chance to see a performance on the Colburn School's campus. Typically, the Colburn School sends community school musicians out to give performances at individual school sites twice each year to give students an opportunity to watch musicians up close right near their classrooms. The centralized performance allows the Colburn School to do something bigger, requiring more preparation and planning. It will also introduce these young people to the Colburn School's state-of-the-art campus and live music venue while deepening their engagement with the arts.
"I've watched each musician involved in this program evolve from being shy and soft-spoken to confident and collaborative, both on stage and off," said Susannah Ramshaw, manager of community engagement programs. "Their music still remains the focal point of the performance, but they have developed the vocabulary to speak about their music in a meaningful way."
Friday's performances are the second round of visits by students from LAUSD schools. A round of performances were held Friday, February 6 as well.
Visit this link for more information on Musical Encounter and the Colburn School's community engagement programs.