As part of an ongoing partnership between the Kawai Piano Company and the Colburn School, 10 seasoned piano technicians seeking enhanced skill training will arrive on campus this week to begin an intensive seminar and training program to prepare them to service Shigeru Kawai pianos, the manufacturer's higher end instrument.
"Anytime a technician has the opportunity to do advanced technical training directly from the manufacturer, that's a huge benefit to them," said Neema Pazargad, Director of Piano Technology at the Colburn School. It's also a benefit to the manufacturer, whose investment in these technicians means they have a reliable and trusted workforce available to tune and repair instruments in concert halls, educational institutions, and even private homes.
Participants of Shigeru Kawai's Advanced Technical Seminar are selected by the manufacturer. Past attendees have traveled from across the United States, as well as Europe, Asia, and South America. Technicians attend a group class in the morning, led by Don Mannino of Kawai and a colleague from Kawai's headquarters in Japan, and then each technician is assigned to work with one of the 30 Kawai pianos in the Colburn School's fleet of 165 instruments.
On the last day of the seminar, instructors and technicians move into Zipper Hall to perform and discuss concert level service on one of two Shigeru Kawai Concert Grands the Colburn School owns. As part of the training, Mr. Mannino plays the piano for the technicians, then modifies the voice of the instrument by changing the height of the lid or moving it even just two feet on the stage to demonstrate how easily our perceptions of tone and sound can change.
During their time on campus, technicians stay in the Colburn School student residences. Mr. Pazargad wants this to be a meaningful time for the participants. "I hope they all can take their skills to the next level during their time at the Colburn School, and I also hope they get to experience every aspect of our facility, from the incredible access to instruments our students enjoy to the resources we have in the piano technology workshop," he said.
This is the fourth year of the Kawai Advanced Technical Seminar at the Colburn School.
A new series of collaborative concerts at downtown Los Angeles's Grand Performances will put the Colburn School's students and alumni alongside contemporary digital music makers. The back-to-back performances will be held Friday, August 14 and Saturday, August 15 at California Plaza.
"This is such a unique performance opportunity for our musicians," said Laura Liepins, Director of Career Development at the Colburn School. "It's exciting to see current students and alumni perform alongside musicians from other genres to unite classical and contemporary traditions."
The Colburn School's alumni performers include flutist Gina Luciani, violist Zach Dellinger, harpist Charissa Barger, and cellist Ben Lash. Current student Ray Ushikubo, recent winner of the Music Academy's Steinway Concerto Competition, will play piano and violin.
Both the Colburn School and Grand Performances hope the Classical Remix performances will help both sets of musicians to make connections with Los Angeles audiences who may not be familiar with their style of music. The performances will include a traditional performance of a classical piece, which will be sampled, looped, and re-worked by electronic music artists Alfredo Rodriguez, Daedelus, and Mark de Clive-Lowe.
Congratulations to these current students and alumna of the Colburn Conservatory of Music on their recent accomplishments.
Austin Huntington (current Bachelor of Music student) won the Principal Cello seat of the Indianapolis Symphony. He will complete his degree at the Colburn School this fall and join the symphony for performances beginning in January 2016.
Cristina Mateo Saez (current Bachelor of Music student) won second prize at the 2015 International Clarinet Association Young Artist Competition in Madrid, Spain.
Cellist Josué Valdepeñas (current Professional Studies Certificate student) won a position with the Calgary Philharmonic and will start with them this September.
Andrew Pattison (Professional Studies Certificate, '14) has been teaching at DePaul University since last year, and this fall he will join the Lake Forest Symphony as Principal Bassoonist.
Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan announced last week a full slate of concerts and major events for the 2015–2016 academic year. The season brings together Colburn's students, extraordinary faculty, and prominent international performing artists on the school's flagship Colburn Orchestra and Colburn Chamber Music Society series, as well as Gibson Dunn Rush Hour and special one-time engagements.
New partnerships with the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge will provide even more music lovers opportunities to hear performances by the Colburn Orchestra and Colburn Chamber Music Society.
Colburn Orchestra, under Music Director Yehuda Gilad, will perform concerts featuring Conservatory students in solo performances of beloved concerto repertoire, including works by Saint-Saens, Haydn, and Bruch. Guest conductors this season include Carlos Kalmar, Robert Spano, Thierry Fischer, David Zinman, and Stéphane Denève, who will lead this spring's Annual Gala Concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall on April 24.
The Colburn Chamber Music Society series includes performances by faculty members Ariana Ghez, Martin Beaver, Clive Greensmith, and Conservatory Dean Emeritus Richard Beene along with guests cellist Gary Hoffman, violinist Augustin Hadelich, the Principal Brass of the New York Philharmonic, and the OPUS ONE piano quartet.
The season includes a number of special engagements by students, faculty, and guests. The Colburn School welcomes back contemporary music ensemble wild Up for a joint performances with students from the Conservatory of Music, while a cadre of Colburn School faculty team up with inaugural holder of the Colburn Grigor Piano Chair Fabio Bidini for a campus concert of chamber music. Conservatory student William Hagen performs in celebration of his showing at the 2015 Queen Elisabeth Competition, and two principal dancers from the New York City Ballet dance George Balanchine's choreography to Stravinsky's Duo concertant, performed by Conservatory students.
The Colburn Adult Wind Symphony will make their third annual appearance in Grand Park on Saturday, August 8, at 6 pm, as part the International Horn Symposium's closing banquet. The concert's program will feature prominent horn soloists from around the world, including members of the Berlin Philharmonic and the United States Army Band.
"The opportunity for the Wind Symphony musicians to play with these international artists is really such a special moment for them," said Dr. Nathaniel Zeisler, who directs the Colburn School's community engagement programs. "I'm grateful for our collaboration with the International Horn Symposium and hope our symphony musicians have a wonderful time performing with these guests."
The program for Saturday's concert includes works by Strauss, Saint-Saëns, Graziani, and Grainger, along with world premieres of Wingspan by Gary Kuo and Blockbuster by Adrian Hallan. Horn soloists include Dale Clevenger, Yuta Igawa, Peter Luff, Jeffrey Nelson, Arkady Shilkloper, Denise Tyron, and the Colburn School's Andrew Bain. Classical KUSC's Brian Lauritzen will serve as the event's emcee.
Established in 2013, the Wind Symphony is a 50-piece ensemble of adult musicians from the Los Angeles community performing traditional and contemporary works in outdoor settings. Dennis Zeisler, Chair of the Music Department at Old Dominion University, serves as the group's music director and conductor.
The Adult Wind Symphony performance is free and open to the public. Visit ihsla2015.com for complete information on this event.
Nearly 800 hornists will converge in downtown Los Angeles when the 47th annual symposium of the International Horn Society takes up residence on the Colburn School campus and surrounding areas beginning August 2.
Hosted by Colburn School faculty members Andrew Bain and Annie Bosler, this year's symposium explores the theme of "Then and Now," bridging hundreds of years of horn repertoire and technique. More than 180 events will take place on the Colburn School campus, the Keck Amphitheater at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Grand Park, Grand Performances, and more venues around downtown Los Angeles. The symposium is the largest global horn event of the year.
"We are overjoyed the symposium came to Los Angeles this year, and more thrilled the Colburn School will serve as the event host," Mr. Bain said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime treat for our school's community of horn players and horn enthusiasts."
The symposium's schedule is full of events for registrants, including master classes, lectures, and intimate performances. Many larger performances are free and open to the public, creating opportunity for even more Angelinos to experience the beauty of horn performance and repertoire written especially for the instrument.
"It's such an exciting moment for us as musicians and as fans of the music," Ms. Bosler said. "Our campus will be bursting with the sound of horn playing, and I just can't wait for it to get started."
The final round of the first Steinway Concerto Competition was held on July 18, 2015 as the culminating event of the fifth annual Colburn School Music Academy Piano Festival. Ray Ushikubo, 14, won First Prize, which comes with the Steinway Prize, a cash award of $1,500, and a guest artist appearance with the Pasadena Symphony at Ambassador Auditorium with Music Director David Lockington during the 2016–2017 concert season. Second Prize of $750 went to Francis Fang, 17, and Third Prize of $300 went to Collin Jinks, 16.
"All the students performed brilliantly," said Music Academy Dean Ory Shihor, "and they should all feel tremendous pride in their achievements."
A panel of faculty members with Pasadena Symphony Music Director David Lockington judged the final round. First Prize of the Steinway Concerto Competition is presented in partnership with the Pasadena Symphony and with generous sponsorship by Steinway Gallery, Beverly Hills. Additional cash prizes for second and third place finalists are sponsored by Metropolitan Associates through the generosity of Colburn School Board Member Alice Colombe.
"Winning a competition feels great," Ray said of his award, "not just because of the prize, but because I get to have more opportunities to perform my music in front of more audience."
The Colburn School Music Academy Piano Festival was founded in 2011 with the purpose of providing young pianists with two weeks of conservatory-level instruction. Thirty students from around the world will have the opportunity to study with world-renowned artist faculty on the Colburn School campus. This year's artist faculty include Gwhyneth Chen, Angela Cheng, Alan Chow, Gila Goldstein, Myong-Joo Lee, Yoshi Nagai, Ory Shihor, and Steven Spooner.
Formed in 1928, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an ensemble of Hollywood's most talented, sought after musicians. With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the artists of Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard in the world.
Violinist Geneva Lewis, who studies with Aimée Kreston in the Community School of Performing Arts, recently won the Grand Prize in the Enkor International Music Competition. Greek composer Lina Tonia will write a violin concerto, and as part of her award, Geneva will perform its world premiere.
The Grand Prize also includes digital publishing and distribution of a recording by KNS Classical in Spain, a debut album release from Master Chord Records, two appearances with the Ploieşti Philharmonic Orchestra in Romania, a concert appearance in Cyprus, and scholarships to attend the LMP European Masterclass in London and the 2016 New Virtuosi Mastercourses and Festivals.
"This award is particularly exciting because of the many wonderful opportunities it will afford Geneva over the next year," said Ms. Kreston. "Geneva will have experiences that are both rare and valuable to a musician her age. Not only is it an honor to receive this award, but it will provide her with a wealth of new experiences from which to learn and grow."
The Enkor International Music Competition, now in its third year, bills itself as "the future of the music competition." A global competition leveraging the opportunities of the Internet to bring together both musicians and jurors from across the world, Enkor is one of the few competitions featuring a transparent adjudication and scoring system.
Geneva will reap the benefits of her prize for most of the next year, traveling, performing, and recording music as part of her win. "I am honored by the decision of the Enkor jury members and grateful for the opportunities I'll have in the next several months," she said. "And I look forward to sharing my experiences throughout the year with the Colburn community."
"Geneva is a dedicated and hardworking student, who is greatly deserving of this honor," said Assistant Dean Sara Hiner. "We are so excited for her and proud that she is representing our Colburn Community School."
Later this week, 60 students from 15 Los Angeles Unified School District partner schools will arrive on the Colburn School campus to begin a two-week odyssey of music, dance, and drama as part of the annual Summer Encounter day camp program.
Participating students, all of whom will begin fifth or sixth grade in the fall, have been nominated by their teachers for demonstrating an interest in the performing arts. Summer Encounter is an important experience for them at this moment as most of the students have limited access or no access to performing arts education during the school day. For some Summer Encounter participants, this will be their first opportunity to play an instrument, to dance, and to perform on stage for friends and family.
High school and college students serve as counselors each year, helping students feel more comfortable and to inspire them to keep working. Miranda Landfield, a Community School of Performing Arts alum, returned as a counselor for several years during her summer breaks from the University of California at Berkeley. She's found the experience continues to reward her. "I remember there was a boy named Sam who was always sort of unfocused in dance class. Every day we had to really model for him enthusiasm and energy and try to get him to be engaged," she said. "When we were in dress rehearsal for the final show, Sam came up to me and told me he didn't know the dance routine. There was a lull in rehearsal and I took him aside and taught him the entire routine, from start to finish. At first he wasn't getting it and he became very frustrated. But we worked at it and slowly but surely he eventually had it down. After the show, he ran backstage to give me a huge hug. 'I did it!' he said excitedly. 'I actually did it, and I saw my Mom and my brothers and sisters in the audience,' I will never forget that moment."
"We want this to be a rich, immersive experience for these students," said Dr. Nathaniel Zeisler, who directs community engagement programs at the Colburn School. "For some of them, this will be a really fun way to spend two weeks of their summer. For others, it will be the start of a lifelong relationship with the performing arts."
At the conclusion of the summer, 15 Summer Encounter students will have the opportunity to continue their study of music at the Colburn School through a scholarship lasting until they turn 18. The next step for most students will be to enter the Jumpstart Youth Music Program, a concert band ensemble, along with private lessons for their instrument.
"It's the highlight of our summer when Summer Encounter begins," Dr. Zeisler said. "The campus really comes alive with the joy and excitement of these students."
Founder Micah Yui said the idea to start the camp was inspired by her students. "I have so many young piano students who go to academic or sports camps, but nothing musical," she said. "I thought this would be a great opportunity for them to really dig into music at a time when they don't have strict demands from school and other activities."
The camp will include classes and workshops in choir, drama, percussion and rhythm, and duo piano, just to name a few. "I'm hoping the participants see there's more to the piano than just playing the notes," Ms. Yui said. "They need to be complete musicians with a great sense of rhythm, a strong imagination, and a connection with their feelings."
Students will also participate in master classes and recitals. Ms. Yui and her co-director Carmina Glicklitch have two field trips planned to enrich the student's experience at camp. A walking tour of the nearby Music Center complex and surrounding areas will end with a picnic, while students will also experience a docent-led tour of the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles.
The piano is a solitary instrument," Ms. Yui said. "A camp like this brings these young musicians together both artistically and socially so they can develop a strong peer group." While the camp is artistically rigorous and designed to give students a rich and in depth experience, "most importantly, I want them to have a good time," Ms. Yui added.
"This was a big surprise, and it was an honor to be singled out in a magazine dedicated to dance teachers so soon after our program started at the Colburn School," Ms. Ringer said. "The award encourages me to keep striving for excellence in the ballet field so that my students have the best possible foundation for their careers in dance."
Ms. Ringer was previously a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and spent two decades on stage before retiring from performance. In 2014, she moved to Los Angeles with her husband, fellow New York City Ballet principal James Fayette, to found the Colburn School's Dance Academy, a pre-professional program for advanced ballet students preparing for careers as professional dancers. The Academy opened last fall with a class of 12 dancers who engage in rigorous study of ballet technique and repertory, along with participation in all forms of dance and exposure to other visual and performing arts.
"I constantly remind myself each student is unique," Ms. Ringer said of her teaching philosophy. "They have different strengths and weaknesses and different ways of learning. Some students may click with a concept right away, while others may not get it until the last two weeks of the program." These variations means Ms. Ringer focuses on how each student responds best to instruction and to teach each student in the most meaningful way.
Ms. Ringer has high hopes for her students. "I want to do my best to give them the skills needed to dance professionally in major ballet companies," she said. "This means teaching them to thrive in highly competitive, emotionally and physically demanding environments without losing their sense of self." Her extensive experience in dance has helped her learn how to strike this balance. "I'm going to sound like a mom, but I also just want them to be happy," she added.
The Dance Academy will welcome three new students to its program this fall, filling spots left by dancers who have joined professional companies or moved to New York to pursue dance full time.
Founded in 1949, the Aspen Music Festival and School is regarded as one of the top classical music festivals in the United States, noted both for its concert programming and its musical training of mostly young-adult music students. The eight-week summer season includes more than 300 classical music events for 70,000 audience members.
"This is a really special opportunity for any musician, and for our students, it means the opportunity to network and practice with musicians who share their dedication and passion for classical music," said Dr. Adrian Daly, the Colburn School's Provost. "The Aspen Music Festival provides an exceptional environment to interact with world-class musicians, and enhances the training they receive here at the Colburn School."
Violinist William Hagen made his professional debut at this year's festival, fresh from winning third prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium, the highest showing for an American since 1980. Simone Porter, who received a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant earlier this year, will return to the festival as a soloist under the baton of conductor David Robertson. Violinist and Conservatory graduate Kevin Lin won this year's Aspen concerto competition and will be performing as soloist with the festival orchestra later this summer.
"Aspen is one of the oldest and most prestigious classical music festivals in the country," said President and CEO Sel Kardan. "Musicians have launched major careers there. I'm thrilled our students can participate and perform alongside peers and mentors from top conservatories like the Colburn School."
The Music Academy's fifth annual Piano Festival comes to the Colburn School campus starting July 5. The festival culminates with the Steinway Concerto Competition on July 18, which carries a top prize of $1,500 and solo performance with the Pasadena Symphony on their 2016–2017 season.
The two-week event features master classes, lectures, and faculty and student recitals for 30 participants. Music Academy Dean Ory Shihor feels strongly about the value of this opportunity. "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, is incredibly valuable to musicians on the cusp of professional careers."
Festival faculty represent some of the top conservatories and festivals in the world, including Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern Conservatory, Boston University, San Francisco Conservatory, the University of Kansas, and the Colburn School's own Conservatory of Music and Music Academy.
The Steinway Concerto Competition is an evolution of the festival's annual competition. Sponsored in part by the Steinway Gallery of Beverly Hills, Metropolitan Associates, and the Pasadena Symphony, this year's competition includes a generous cash prize and a prestigious performance opportunity for the winner.
Students were selected through a competitive audition process requiring an application, a performance video, and a letter of recommendation from a professional musician.
Recitals and the Steinway Concerto Competition events are free and open to the public.
Results of the Steinway Concerto Competition will be announced July 19.
Violist Rachyl Duffy (current Master of Music student) won first prize at the 2015 International Hugo Kauder Competition for Viola. The award included a $4,000 cash prize and a performance in at the Whitney Humanities Center in New Haven with other competition winners.
Violinist Eduardo Rios performed Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the Houston Symphony this month. In February, Eduardo won the Gold Medal in the Sphinx Competition, which includes a cash award of $50,000 and the opportunity to solo with major orchestras.
Harpist Ruriko Terada (Bachelor of Music '15, current Master of Music student) won third prize in the Young Professional Division of the 21st American Harp Society National Competition. The award carries a cash prize of $1,000.
Violinist Lucy Wang (Current Bachelor of Music student) gave a special performance with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to a sold-out audience of 2,600 attendees earlier this month. The performance was part of the recognition she received as the Grand Prize winner of the VSO School of Music's Concerto Competition in May 2014.
After an eight-year tenure, first as Associate Dean and then as Dean of the Conservatory, Richard Beene leaves his administrative role at the end of June. In recognition of Dean Beene's contributions to the Colburn School, he will hold the honorary title of Dean Emeritus.
Mr. Beene's accomplishments as Dean of the Conservatory have been considerable. He launched the Conservatory's chamber music program and the Master of Music degree program, created the Teaching Fellows Program, and developed a national model for a comprehensive conservatory curriculum through our Healthy, Teaching, and Working Musician courses. As dean, he also oversaw the successful search for, and appointment of, a number of faculty members.
"It has been an honor to serve the students and faculty of the Conservatory these past years," Mr. Beene said. "I'm proud of all we have accomplished together to elevate the school's profile to be among the best conservatories in the world. This is a great testament to the quality of our artistic community and the hard work happening throughout the Conservatory."
"I have greatly valued Richard's musical acumen and experience, which have been a driving force in his unflagging effort to create an extraordinary environment for gifted young artists preparing for professional careers," said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan.
Mr. Beene will continue to make significant contributions to our campus community as an applied bassoon faculty member, chamber music coach, and Chair of the Conservatory Wind and Percussion Department.
Please join us in thanking Dean Beene for his many contributions to the Conservatory.