Primrose International Viola Competition 2021 Schedule

This December, the world’s most promising young violists perform for a panel of judges as they vie for cash prizes and awards of over $30,000. Enjoy an entire week of dazzling performances as well as the American Viola Society’s Mini-Fest, offering two days of viola-focused master classes, recitals, and educational sessions and exhibitions.

Please note: Proof of vaccination is required for all patrons, regardless of age. Children will only be admitted with proof of full vaccination (at least 2 weeks past their second dose). Children ineligible to receive a vaccination or who have only received one shot will be unable to attend. See the full list of safety protocols for more information.

Monday, December 13, 2021

9:30 am–12:15 pm
Primrose International Viola Competition Quarter-Final Round, Pool 1 (click here for tickets)
Zipper Hall

1:30–4:15 pm
Primrose International Viola Competition Quarter-Final Round, Pool 1 continued (click here for tickets)
Zipper Hall

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

9–11:45 am
Primrose International Viola Competition Quarter-Final Round, Pool 2 (click here for tickets)
Zipper Hall

1–3:45 pm
Primrose International Viola Competition Quarter-Final Round, Pool 2 continued (click here for tickets)
Zipper Hall

Thursday, December 16, 2021

9 am–12:30 pm
Primrose International Viola Competition Semi-Final Round (click here for tickets)
Zipper Hall

1:30–5 pm
Primrose International Viola Competition Semi-Final Round continued (click here for tickets)
Zipper Hall

Friday, December 17, 2021

9 am–5 pm
Mini-Fest: Exhibits open
Mayman Hall lobby
List of exhibitors

10–11 am
Mini-Fest: Panel discussion on efficient practicing (Victoria Chang, Paul Coletti, Ames Asbell)
Mayman Hall

11:15 am–12:15 pm
Mini-Fest: Combining a career as a university professor and professional conductor (Andrés Cárdenes)
Mayman Hall

11:15 am–12:15 pm
Mini-Fest: Four Step Spiccato (Hillary Herndon)
Thayer Hall

1:30–4:30 pm
Mini-Fest: Southern California Viola Society Youth Competition Final Round
Thayer Hall

1:45–2:45 pm
Mini-Fest: Emotional Projection in Performance (Daniel Heifetz)
Mayman Hall

3–4 pm
Mini-Fest: Pre-College Master Class (Minor Wetzel)
Mayman Hall

7:30–9 pm
Recital: Dimitri Murrath (featuring V’ictoria Chiang)
Thayer Hall

FRANK BRIDGE Lament for Two Violas
BACH Cello Suite No. 1
ADOLPHUS HAILSTORK Two Romances for Viola and Piano

Pause

SHOSTAKOVICH Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147

Saturday, December 18, 2021

9 am–5 pm
Mini-Fest: Exhibits open
Mayman Hall lobby
List of exhibitors

8:30–9:30 am       
Mini-Fest: Starting and Running a Successful ViolaFest in Your Community (Gina Coletti and Mary Kelly)
Mayman Hall

8:30–9:30 am  
Mini-Fest: Collegiate Master Class (Daphne Gerling)
Thayer Hall

10 am–12:30 pm
Primrose International Viola Competition Final Round (click here for tickets)
Zipper Hall

1:30–3 pm  
Mini-Fest: Southern California Viola Society Youth Competition Winners’ Recital
Thayer Hall

3–3:30 pm    
Primrose International Viola Competition Awards Ceremony (click here for tickets)
Zipper Hall

4–5 pm  
Mini-Fest: Developing a Career in a Professional String Quartet (Barry Shiffman)
Mayman Hall

5–6 pm   
Mini-Fest: Body Mapping (Christina Ebersohl)
Thayer Hall

*** Schedule subject to change

American Viola Society Mini-Fest Exhibitors

V. RICHELIEUThe V. RICHELIEU™ violins & violas are 100% built in Vermont for passionate string players. Each instrument is uniquely crafted by master luthiers to make the wood sing in full voice. With violas as small as 11”, V. RICHELIEU™ is perfect for advancing students and petite professionals. Sustainable Sonowood fingerboards support our environmental responsibility. Highly recommended by teachers for the powerful sound and incredible design, V. RICHELIEU™ instruments are available for either rent or purchase.

Carriage House ViolinsCarriage House Violins is the instrument sales division of Johnson String Instrument. Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Carriage House Violins maintains its unique brand as a full-service violin shop, offering a wide array of both fine antique instruments and modern instruments by today’s best makers. Carriage House Violins was founded in 2005 by Christopher Reuning, of Reuning & Son Violins. Johnson String Instrument purchased Carriage House Violins in November 2013 to better serve its growing customer base.

Metzler Violin ShopThe Metzler Violin Shop has been serving players of bowed string instruments since 1979. Metzler specializes in the sale of fine antique, professional and student violins, violas, cellos, and bows. Metzler sells strings, cases and accessories, as well as 14,000 titles of sheet music for bowed string instruments. Metzler also provides repair and rental services on the premises. Frequent events and a wide selection make the Metzler Violin Shop an ever popular destination for string players.

Los Angeles Violin ShopLos Angeles Violin Shop is committed to expanding awareness of and appreciation for stringed instrument practice and performance by serving the community of stringed musicians of all levels and backgrounds. We focus on making and preserving top quality instruments and bows, and have cultivated sound partnerships with other ateliers around the world. We are also committed to serving our community by setting up all of our instruments with high-quality fittings, hand carved bridges, and quality strings to ensure ease of playing, sound production, and satisfaction. Additionally, we offer a wide array of fine instruments and bows, authentication and certification, and educational resources for students and professionals.

Ballet Dancer Declan Wilding Cran Stars in American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker

This interview has been edited for style, length, and clarity.

How did you get into dancing?
When I was seven, me and my mom went to go see The Nutcracker in Glendale. And when I saw the Russian dolls dancing, I just knew that I had to dance. My mum signed me up for classes after that and I have loved it ever since.

Is there another experience that influenced you to want to dance?
Also when I was four, I watched my older cousin Finn dance, and I wanted to do it. I tried a lesson, but it was all little girls in tutus and tiaras. So that discouraged me, and then when I was seven, I knew that I could see beyond the tutus and focus on dancing.

When did you start attending classes at Colburn?
I only started coming here last year during the pandemic online. It was a rough start to a new school, but it went well once I got used to it, and now that we’re back to in person learning it’s great! I really love my teachers.

Which classes did you take when you started?
When I started, I think I just took Ballet III.

So you started attending Colburn last year. Is there anything different or unique that you’ve experienced at Colburn in comparison to your former dance studio?
My old studio was more focused on choreography, less technique, and at Colburn, it’s more about technique, which is, I’d say, better for my dancing.

And why do you say technique is better for your dancing?
I love choreography, but I feel like I wasn’t getting the full movement. I wasn’t getting the technique behind the movement.

You spoke a little about choreography versus technique. Are there other areas that maybe you weren’t aware of until you started dancing at Colburn?
I think I knew about all of ballet, but I just didn’t know that it was so in-depth, in different parts. I never knew that there are so many different things you had to learn for one move or step.

How is it balancing your dance classes and your academic classes?
I go to school in Burbank, and it can be a long drive, but it’s not [negatively] affecting things; I still get my homework done. They’re going well together.

In addition to your dance life, is there another thing that you enjoy doing?
I really like animals, and I like to ride horses. Also in school, I really like music.

Oh, that’s wonderful! What kind of music do you like?
I don’t know, like alternative rock, indie rock. Currently I’m really into Nirvana.

That’s awesome! Okay, let’s go back to dance. So you’ve discussed ballet quite a bit. Are there any other genres of dance that you are interested in?
I used to do tap, and I really want to pick it up again—hopefully in the new year. Also I want to try modern.

What do you enjoy about tap?
I just like being able to move; it’s almost like a nervous energy; with tap it’s a way to let it out.

What is it about ballet that you really enjoy?
It just makes me happy. And I feel like I can get out my emotions, and it just makes me feel happy. And I like moving around.

It’s great that dance is able to give that to you. Do you see yourself continuing in dance professionally when you’re older?
I don’t really know yet.

So you have been selected as part of the cast for The Nutcracker with American Ballet Theatre. How did that come about?
We got an email from Colburn, and it said that [American Ballet Theatre] was looking for a boy about my height and my age to dance in The Nutcracker. And I thought to myself, I’m probably not going to get it, but I said, yes, and I want to get it. And I want to do the audition.

Can you tell us a little bit about what the audition was like?
I was super nervous. I thought it was going to be me by myself on a stage with like 10 people watching. But no, it was just a class with the teachers. I think there were four other boys. One of them is my friend from Colburn, and it was actually really fun, and they just picked one of us.

What role were you cast as?
I was cast as the Nutcracker prince, the Nutcracker.

And how have the rehearsals been?
They’ve been going great. They’re really fun. It’s mainly been once or twice a week, so far. But I think it’s going to get more intense, like for the tech week, it’s going to be every day.

What are you looking forward to the most about being in The Nutcracker?
I think just the experience of being in it because it’s fun, and I’m really excited to meet the company from New York.

National Fortissima Program Inspires and Empowers Young Women of Color

Fortissima is an artistic and leadership development program for high school age young women from underrepresented minorities in classical music. Fortissima’s innovative leadership curriculum, paired with rigorous artistic development and one-on-one mentorship, is designed to inspire, equip, and empower young women of color to pursue careers in the field. As described by one of this year’s participants, “Fortissima offers the chance for underrepresented young musicians to grow and thrive in a healthy environment. The fact that Fortissima helped us to gain lifelong mentors and make long-lasting connections with esteemed musicians of color shows the value that Fortissima brings to the next generation of classical music.”

In 2021, Fortissima evolved from a local pilot to a national program to expand its reach and impact. Last fall, we announced the appointment of music director Jannina Norpoth, as well as five distinguished mentors (Jennifer Arnold, Monica Ellis, Karla Donehew Perez, Stephanie Matthews, and Angelica Hairston) who would work virtually with accepted students for six months leading up to a residential intensive on the Colburn campus. Earlier this summer, we announced the 10 young women who would make up the inaugural national cohort. They were chosen from a competitive pool of applicants recruited from programs all over the country and were selected based on their level of artistic excellence.

From May to October, students had monthly one-on-one virtual meetings with their mentors where they set their own agendas and goals based on their specific needs and aspirations. In an anonymous survey of students after the experience, one student said, “My mentor meetings were extremely helpful in getting me to realize what I want for the next few years of my life and what I need to do to prioritize my goals and values towards college and my career beyond that.” Another said, “I really connected with my mentor and learned a lot from her! I am glad to have our relationship continue beyond the program. We talked about a range of topics from community service, to career pathways, to financial advice, to real-life experiences.”

From October 30 through November 6, 2021, all 10 selected participants came to Los Angeles to participate in a residential intensive on the Colburn campus. During the intensive, students observed rehearsals and performances of the LA Philharmonic, the Sphinx Virtuosi, the LA Opera, and the Colburn Orchestra. They received training and workshops on conservatory admissions in which they met with Colburn’s Conservatory Dean Lee Cioppa and Manager of Admissions Lauren Woodward; career pathways in the arts where they heard from several of the program mentors as well as other accomplished women of color in the field; tools and personal branding for professional musicians in a workshop facilitated by Colburn alumna Gina Luciani; citizen artistry from a panel of women who have created and led groundbreaking community arts projects on stages, in kitchens, and concert halls throughout the nation; donor relations where they heard from our Vice President of Advancement Nina Zhou and got real-life practice in a donor dinner; yoga for musicians led by Leah Gallegos of Las Cafeteras and The People’s Yoga in East LA; and mindfulness and self-care in a workshop by Charlotte Nguyen of Get Free!; and so much more. Students received daily chamber music coaching from program music director, Jannina Norpoth, as well as visiting mentors and guest artists including composer Jessie Montgomery, who coached her piece “Peace,” which was a part of the final concert program.

Here is what one of the participants had to say about their time in the program and in the residential intensive: “Fortissima opened my eyes to the wonderful things I could take on with my craft of playing the violin. I was able to feel so welcome, as I was not the only person of color—which is usually the norm back at home where I perform. I was able to gain valuable advice from so many mentors on how to take on the world and its problems, on how to take care of myself as a musician, and what I can do in the future with my talent.”

Another said, “Fortissima has changed my life and my outlook on my career by helping me realize how much change I can make with my craft. Listening to the stories of all the amazing artists, and even the program’s core concept, has shown me the power I have to make a difference with music.”

We are very proud of this year’s cohort and are excited to open up applications for next year very soon! We will also be launching alumni initiatives early next year and look forward to remaining engaged with this year’s cohort of students and mentors in the years to come. As one of the young women beautifully stated during the final concert, “The Future is Fortissima!”

StudioEleven Reflects on Lockdown with New On-Campus Art Installation

As campus returns to life this season, students, parents, faculty, staff, and visitors can enjoy the newest on-campus art installation from StudioEleven, titled LOCKDOWN ART: Reflections of StudioEleven Practices, on exhibit in both Olive and Grand buildings. Featuring the work of nineteen visual artists, the exhibit showcases intimate work reflecting a more socially isolated period in the pandemic.

As the world around us was forced to slow down in 2020, so too did the artists: they had more time to observe their surroundings, discover found materials from their homes, and sit with emotions ranging from fear to panic to acceptance. The result was more personal, contemplative, and meditative works.

StudioEleven’s fourth exhibition at Colburn is an organic evolution of a tradition that began when the Grand Avenue building opened in 1998, helmed by Toby Mayman, former executive director and honorary life director of the board. “The concept of integrating visual art in a space built specifically for the performing arts seemed felicitous and natural to me, especially with MOCA next door,” she explained. It started with the revolving chandelier by LA based and internationally exhibited artist Peter Shire, still on display in the Olive building, and developed as numerous individual artists generously loaned their works on a yearly basis, including former LA County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, whose donated black and white photographs are also exhibited in the Grand Building.

When Wendy Kelman, former Board Chairman, joined the School, she introduced the Colburn community to StudioEleven artists, and thus formed the mutual partnership that has evolved to what is now an annual installation of remarkable drawings, paintings and mixed media works each fall.

As an artist collective, StudioEleven offers the kind of support to visual artists that the Colburn community experiences. Studio artists are able to see each other work, discuss their processes, and get feedback while working. StudioEleven artist Jennifer Diener, a longtime performing arts advocate and dedicated Colburn supporter describes, “All the artists show respect to the other artists, even though we are completely different in our visions and works of art.” Jennifer’s painting, Violations 2, is featured in the above photo gallery.

As with the performing arts practiced at the School, visual art requires an audience for it to be fully appreciated. As Jennifer Diener expressed, “All art is a form of individual expression which seeks to be experienced by another human being. Art is, after all, a form of communication, and having the Colburn community of faculty, students, parents, staff and even the public, viewing our work is like completing a circle. Art expresses the individual making it, but also hopefully affects the viewer.”

To have her works shown to other living artists grappling with the world is particularly significant to Jennifer and other StudioEleven artists: “The School is open and welcoming; the art enlivens the space and promotes art from people actively making art today.”

StudioEleven is a group of independent artists working and studying at Tom Wudl’s downtown LA studio. Learn more about the artists, view the exhibition map, and see LOCKDOWN ART: Reflections of StudioEleven Practices on display through June 2022.

StudioEleven: LOCKDOWN ART (2021–22)

Minisode 07: Kako Miura

So How's That Going logo next to photo of Kako Miura smiling and playing violin outside
 
As part of Colburn’s Next Up Series, which showcases alumni, we’re speaking with the alumni curators of each program and sharing these conversations as minisodes. In this minisode, we talk to Kako Miura (Conservatory ’19), who curated our first in-person program, To Be Bach or Not To Be Bach, which paints a picture of the musical world in which the composer lived.

The concert takes place in Thayer Hall on Thursday, December 9.

Register for the concert
 

Music in this Episode

BACH Suite in G Major, BVW 1007
Benjamin Chilton, Viola

Conservatory Spotlight: Adam Millstein

This interview has been edited for length, style, and clarity.

How did you start playing the violin?
When I started, I was actually living in Florida at the time. I was there for a couple years because of my dad’s work. One of my earliest memories is a music class when I was four years old. I was super drawn to the violin in particular; I don’t really know why. And I remember being seven, I was like, yeah, I would love to do this. My school offered it and it just developed from there.

As you started playing, what did you love about the violin?
I was so obsessed with the repertoire of the instrument in particular. From a very young age, I would listen to CDs on end of all the great violin masters. We became so obsessed with the different concerti and the sonatas in the repertoire. I always had this goal of being able to play the violin well enough to play some of the things that I loved listening to so much and loved seeing on stage. So falling in love with the repertoire in particular was something that kept fueling the fire, wanting to learn how to play better and better so I could actually conquer some of this music eventually or at least attempt to in my life.

When did you realize that you wanted to do it professionally?
When I was 12 years old, I went to Interlochen. That was a very formative experience for me, going there for three weeks, my first sleepaway camp, and then being exposed to all these other amazing young, talented musicians. I was just so inspired by that environment and playing with an orchestra for the first time. I think I played Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture. It was my first time playing with a full string section, full winds and brass, full percussion. I remember going home being like, “I really want to do this. I really want to go for it.” So that’s what started it, and I was very fortunate to have parents who to this day support my musical pursuits.

Is that around when you started studying at the Community School?
I started Colburn a year after that. My parents and I started looking into, okay, where could we go to foster a potential professional development? And we found the Community School.

What was your Community School experience like?
I had an amazing Community School experience. It was really inspiring—not only my lessons with my teacher Danielle Belen, who I ended up studying with in Michigan as well, but also my orchestral experience there. I still have friends today that I met when I was in ninth grade and that I hang out with to this day. It’s pretty cool because of the way classical music works too, especially if you stay in the field, you just keep running into people that you met years and years ago through all these different music festivals and schools and stuff like that.

I also worked with Maxim Eshkenazy a lot. He was my conductor back then. He made a very profound impression on me when I was younger and concertmaster of those orchestras. And then later in life, we went on tour in Bulgaria together multiple times.

Another big thing for me was working with Ida Levin when she was alive. She was just such an intelligent and sensitive and wonderful musician and teacher. I worked with her for three years as part of the Honors Quartet in the Community School.

So between private lessons and orchestra and chamber, it was a really cool experience to have in between my pretty rigorous, academic high school experience. So yeah, it was very formative actually, now that I look back on it with 20/20 hindsight.

What brought you back to Colburn after undergrad?
It was always a goal of mine to come to Colburn for graduate school. I always had the idea that I would do a university for my undergraduate and then go to a conservatory for graduate school, preferably Colburn. My teacher in high school and then at Michigan, Danielle Belen, was a former student of Mr. Lipsett and was his assistant. So there was always this idea I had in mind that it’d be really great to work with him in particular and go to Colburn with the environment which I had been exposed to at the Community School, and just the intensity and the high level of performance that exists uniquely at Colburn.

What are some of the things that led into your professional development as a Conservatory student?
Well first and foremost, my studies with Mr. Lipsett were really important, especially the studio class experience and the environment that he fosters amongst the studio. There’s this expectation of excellence which is just felt by everyone, not in a top-down enforced way, but everyone intrinsically wants to play their best and are palpably inspired by Mr. Lipsett’s incredible teaching. My studio mates are all amazing and it’s super inspiring to see how they perform and to observe their world-class technical and musical abilities. It inspires me a lot being there and then also playing for them. The high intensity of Studio Class in particular has been a really integral part of my development that supplements of course my one-on-one lessons with Mr. Lipsett.

And then, the chamber music at Colburn has been outstanding. I’ve had wonderful groups and wonderful coaches and the [Colburn Chamber Music Society] experience of playing with [Conservatory faculty] Martin Beaver doing a late Beethoven quartet. And then over the pandemic, I played the remarkable Weinberg piano trio with [Conservatory faculty] Clive Greensmith and Dominic Cheli, alumnus of Colburn.

Of course, orchestra has been incredible at Colburn too. Working with Yehuda Gilad, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and many other renowned conductors that are brought in—it’s just an amazing environment. Being exposed to all of these different elements of world-class performance prepares you for the professional world. Having all those performance elements in a place like Colburn definitely helps you propel to the next level.

Recently, you’ve been working on the Recovered Voices 2021: Schulhoff and More project. What has that been like?
The Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices is a fascinating program I want to bring attention to that I believe is integral in creating the whole Colburn environment. It’s been a really life-changing and career shifting thing for me actually. I was exposed to the Recovered Voices Initiative when I played on a concert with the former director of chamber music, Scott St. John, and another student at the Thomas Mann House. We played a concert there and I remember James Conlon spoke and he really unpacked what the mission of the Recovered Voices Initiative is, which is to perform and promote the music of composers who were suppressed as a result of Nazi policies from 1933 to 1945.

I was so inspired by that particular event that it just wedged into my mind. And when the pandemic hit, I found myself with more time to actually explore this body of work and this area of musical history. I got really deep into the Recovered Voices composers, and as a result I was connected with Bob Elias, who is a fountain of knowledge. He has become a profoundly important person in my life also and has assumed a wonderful role as a mentor in exploring these composers and helping me with different ideas that I have of performing this music. In this past year, we worked on a lot of the music of Erwin Schulhoff and recorded eight of his works, which is all coming out this year, and that’s been amazing.

It’s been wonderful too because not only have I been working so much with Bob Elias, but I’ve also been put into direct contact with James Conlon which has been truly life-changing for me. I’ve been learning so much from him about this body of work. We’ve been collaborating on repertoire and artistic choices for programming with Recovered Voices this upcoming year and we recorded multiple pieces together last year. It’s been a very important thing for me working with James Conlon who has inspired me so much, just being able to experience his tremendous artistry and intellect first hand.

What’s the personal significance of the project for you?
These composers deserve to be heard and they deserve to be known because I think there is so much amazing music that they wrote. It’s a lost treasure trove of music from the 20th century. It feels like you are uncovering works by your favorite composers that you never found before. So it’s like playing new music but it’s in the style of the greatest composers of the 20th century. They act as this missing link and this conduit between all these different aesthetic styles in Western art music.

It’s so unbelievable to me that we don’t know who they are, but this is because of the actions of the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s. They tried to wipe these composers off the face of the earth and also their legacies, and they destroyed the cultural gardens in which they flourished in Europe at the time. And so we now don’t know who a lot of them are, like Schulhoff or Weinberg or Schreker or Zemlinsky, and they aren’t part of the canon. That’s something that I feel very strongly about undoing because I think it’s necessary when there’s injustice for it to be corrected, of course.

And then also fundamentally, I aesthetically believe in this music very, very strongly after going through it and listening to it and playing it so much. I really believe in these composers and I want to get them onto the concert stage and accepted as part of the canon as much as possible. So it’s held that kind of significance for me as an artist and also as someone who’s so passionate about music.

You mentioned that the project has been career shifting. What has that shift been?
Recovered Voices has shown me how much I want to pursue a deeper study of these composers and to become truly an expert as much as I can in this area. And potentially in my dream of dreams, I’m thinking about maybe pursuing a DMA or a doctorate with a performance focus in these composers.

I could see myself hopefully in the future incorporating a multifaceted career, not only with the traditional kind of performance avenues which I need to have in my life, but also doing more things like I’m doing right now with Recovered Voices, which is more curatorial. I would also love to get into academic research and potentially even teaching in this field of the Recovered Voices composers.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve felt a lot of support at Colburn from all levels of the School which I think is really unique. So I love all my colleagues at the School, my teacher, all the other teachers at the School too. There’s a very nurturing environment too, of musicianship.

I’ve also found, especially with my passion for Recovered Voices, it’s been amazing to see how much the teachers and my colleagues at the School have been so receptive to it. Working with Bob Elias and James Conlon has just been amazing, and Annie Wickert, [Vice President of Advancement], has been an incredible person to get to know and to work with as well. It’s been a really exciting thing to experience this kind of support as I continue to develop as a professional.
 


 
Special appreciation goes to the Colburn Society members whose support makes the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices possible. To learn more, contact advancement@colburnschool.edu.

Grand Conversations

Hear in-depth perspectives directly from Colburn School guest artists, faculty, students, and alumni.

Latest Episode

  • Grand Conversations: Episode 02

    Grand Conversations

    This month, we’ll hear from Community School and Conservatory alumnus Hao Zhou on his preparation for Shostakovich’s Violin Concert No. 1 with the Colburn Orchestra on November 13. Colburn cello faculty Clive Greensmith will speak about his Chamber Music Society performance on November 21. And finally, we’ll hear from Salonen Conducting Fellow Ross Jamie Collins on the lessons and challenges of Concerto Forum on December 5, which will feature multiple soloists alongside members of the Colburn Orchestra.
     

    Further Listening from Hao Zhou

    Shostakovich Violin Concert No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 77

    David Oistrakh, Violin

    Hilary Hahn, Violin

    Further Viewing from Ross Jamie Collins

    Concerto Forum 2020


 

All Episodes

Grand Conversations: Episode 02

Grand Conversations

This month, we’ll hear from Community School and Conservatory alumnus Hao Zhou on his preparation for Shostakovich’s Violin Concert No. 1 with the Colburn Orchestra on November 13. Colburn cello faculty Clive Greensmith will speak about his Chamber Music Society performance on November 21. And finally, we’ll hear from Salonen Conducting Fellow Ross Jamie Collins on the lessons and challenges of Concerto Forum on December 5, which will feature multiple soloists alongside members of the Colburn Orchestra.
 

Further Listening from Hao Zhou

Shostakovich Violin Concert No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 77

David Oistrakh, Violin

Hilary Hahn, Violin

Further Viewing from Ross Jamie Collins

Concerto Forum 2020

Meet the New Director of Bands: Elizabeth Stoyanovich

The Community School is excited to welcome Elizabeth Stoyanovich to the Colburn community. With ensembles rehearsing and performing in-person once again, we recently spoke with Ms. Stoyanovich to discuss her musical family, her teaching philosophy, and her plans for the coming year.

This interview has been edited for style, content, and clarity.

What attracted you to Colburn?
As a musician, I knew of the reputation of the Colburn School for many years and admired it from afar. I have known many high school students who studied at the Community School and thought highly of their experiences performing and the teachers they had worked with. When I saw the advertisement for the Director of Bands position, I jumped at the opportunity to become “part of the team.”

Outside of the Community School you work with high school and college students as well as professional orchestras. How does your approach change as you work with ensembles at different levels?
My job as a “Maestra” (the Italian word for “female teacher”) is literally to teach, so my approach always begins by building a deep understanding of the repertoire so that I can interpret and then convey the composer’s wishes to the ensemble. With young students especially, I like to meet them where they are—be it technically or musically—and inspire them to go further.

Our bands are made up of students from all over southern California—how do you connect with students from so many backgrounds and experiences?
The draw of performing live music together solidifies our collective goal to work together. In my experience, the variety of cultural experiences that students bring to the ensemble only enhances our relationships. This semester, the bands are performing music from the Western repertoire—some standard, others newly composed. While the language of Western music may differ from that of other parts of the world, all music shares the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, structure, and instrumentation. Ultimately, it is the energy and passion that music excites in us that allows music to communicate with everyone.

Our students have been learning remotely for over a year now. How does it feel to be able to rehearse in-person again?
We are so excited to be back in person and making music together. The ability to listen to someone sitting in the same room as you—to check balance, intonation, phrasing, dynamics, articulation, notes, rhythm—these are all things that can’t be done over Zoom or spliced together in a video. We currently rehearse in a large tent that is set up on the plaza. This gives us the space to socially distance “outdoors” while still having the luxury of good acoustics, lighting, shielding from the wind and cold, and a standard band set-up. The Community School staff have been fantastic with keeping everything set up correctly, taking attendance, and helping out with coaching the students.

What are you most excited for in the coming school year? Any upcoming concerts that you’re looking forward to?
I am very grateful to be rehearsing and performing in person! Having spent the entirety of my life in music, spending the last 18 months in virtual rehearsals has been difficult. There really is no substitute for in-person music-making. We are currently rehearsing outside in a tent, but I am looking forward to using more of Colburn’s outstanding facilities for rehearsals and performances. Our Concert Band and Wind Ensemble are currently preparing for their first concert of the year, which will take place on Saturday, December 4, in Grand Park! We are covering a range of band repertoire, from standards like Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture to sea shanties and folk songs.

I am also looking forward to promoting the ensembles and watching them grow and develop musically. I have worked with so many young people in the past who have gone on to join world-renowned ensemble, become professors and teachers, and start families of their own. It’s always fun to meet and work with new musicians because I see it as expanding my “musical family” who I will cherish for a lifetime!

Your career has taken you around the world and put you in touch with incredible artists and teachers! What lessons from them do you carry with you in your work today?
I remember the first time I played under Leonard Bernstein as an oboist—we were playing Sibelius’s Second Symphony at Tanglewood. It was an incredible orchestra, and in those days, Tanglewood rehearsals took place in an old wooden shed. Bernstein walked in, and he was wearing a baby blue hoodie and sweatpants. He went on to conduct us using really unusual hand gestures that I hadn’t seen before, but when I watched his eyes and his expressions, I understood exactly what he was conveying musically and emotionally. Later, when I studied conducting under him at Fontainebleau in France, he said “…when you perform, if you’re not feeling nervous or excited, you won’t be able to focus that energy into the music.” I’ve always liked that because it shows that even at the highest levels of performing, you need passion and excitement. We are lucky because performing music is never a boring job; it takes emotional commitment and energy!

Anything else you would like to share with our community?
When I was a kid, I played in my local youth orchestra, the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony, and by the time I was a senior I had been playing first oboe for a couple of years. All of a sudden, the conductor randomly promoted a new member to first chair without an audition, just because he was a friend of the student’s father! I was furious, but I stayed in the group playing second, still loving the music. My friends saw how upset I was and told me that on Sundays they would drive to Ann Arbor to play in the Wind Ensemble there under Carl St. Clair (who later hired me as an Assistant Conductor of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra) and encouraged me to try out for that high school group. I took their advice, and not only was it a great time, it also helped me get a full scholarship to Interlochen Summer Arts Camp. This paved the way for my studies at the University of Michigan, where I received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Oboe Performance and Conducting. Now I can look back and appreciate how being demoted to second oboe really set my musical life in motion. Some of the repertoire that the Bands are playing this semester brings back memories from my time in those youth orchestras and in the U of M Wind Ensemble. Like I said before, music is family to me!

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