Monday, January 30, 2012

Midwest Young Artists: Special Sunday

Couldn't leave work today without telling you what a great day I had yesterday.  Many of you remember Peter Kupfer ('97 MYA Alum, bassoon) who taught our theory classes for six years while he was a student at the University of Chicago.  He and his wife, Shannon (also '97 MYA Alum, viola) are expecting a baby girl in March.  His parents invited us to a brunch yesterday.  Jara Kern Burney (another '97 MYA Alum, flute) was there with her daughter and expecting another in May. Won't be long before we have children of Alums enrolled in our programs!  See photo below of Naomi Bensdorf Frisch  ('95 MYA Alum, MYA coach and oboe teacher) and Carrie Dennis Sullivan ('95 Alum, viola) who met up in LA last week with their children.

The afternoon was even better.  Voices Rising performed on the Voices of the Future concert at Harris Theater presented by Artists & Brands and Jira Productions to benefit for Ronald McDonald House Charities Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.  Ben Gray and the students represented MYA so well with their selections including Hear Comes The Sun as part of the special tribute to the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles.  They were followed by six other choirs from around Chicago, including the energetic and wonderful youth gospel choir, The Soul Children of Chicago who had the house on their feet with their rendition of Come Together by The Beatles.  The audience was larger than last year, and those who attended definitely walked away inspired and uplifted.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Midwest Young Artists Staff Has Fun at IMEA!

Matt and Carl went down to Peoria on Thursday morning.  You saw the new banners on my last post, and here they are set up at the MYA booth.
It's always a great time to be there for the students who participate in the All State ensembles!  Carl and Matt got out the popcorn popper Sarah Barnes and I bought years ago, and had a lot of fun!  Next year, it will be the karaoke machine which they brought, but couldn't hook up to the computer monitor.  

This year, Allan was honored at the ASTA (American String Teachers Association) luncheon with a Distinguished Service Award.  It meant a lot to him to be recognized by his colleagues.  Those of you who might remember his speeches to the graduating seniors before he started pre-recording them, will know how his acceptance remarks went. 
Thank you to New Trier Orchestra Director, Peter Rosheger, who nominated him, and Robert Bassill who was assigned the job of making some introductory remarks.  Know Robert struggled with what to say, but appropriately, he pointed out just two incidents within the past week that showed what Allan (and so many others) have created at MYA and how encompassing his service is.  Robert said that to his amazement, when Symphony Orchestra was rehearsing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto for the first time last Saturday, he heard the solo line coming from the middle of the violin section.  Given that the winner of the Open Division wasn't at the rehearsal, it demonstrated just how strong a program MYA has.  The second story illustrates that there is nothing Allan won't do to help.  Robert said that when he stopped in the office on Tuesday night Allan was in his suit (a rare occasion) getting ready to go to a funeral when a mom came in whose son was taking bass lessons in the building.  They were having trouble getting the end pin out of his bass.  Allan, with his suit on, got on the floor and quickly figured out and fixed the problem.  While Allan said the award was for MYA, not him personally, we all know that he is the leader who demonstrates daily what it takes to carry out MYA's mission, to build a home with the power of music to enrich the lives of our students and communities. Kudos to him and thanks to those who made this recognition possible!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Midwest Young Artists Gets Ready to go to IMEA!

All the staff just left the lobby where new banners were set up in anticipation of getting MYA's booth ready for the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference in Peoria tomorrow.  Thank you to Kristi Licocci (MYA Alum Parent of Kyle '10/trumpet/Big Band) of American Outfitters, Ltd. and Carl Jasieniecki for working together to create beautiful, portable banners for each of our programs!  What a team effort to get these designed, printed and delivered within such a short time frame!  Watch for more photos from Peoria this weekend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Midwest Young Artists Voices Collaborates to help fund Ronald McDonald House

Thank you to Jessica Jordan, our Choral Program Administrator, Ben Gray, VR Director, and the students and parents who let them take a bit of time off from school today to publicize the Voices of the Future concert this Sunday, January 29 @ 2:00 p.m. at Harris Theater at Millenium Park. Go to WGNtv.com to hear their performance in the WGN studio this noon!

This is a 2nd Annual Event.  Choirs from all over Chicago participate so it is a wonderful opportunity for our students to hear a wide range of vocal ensembles.  I attended last year and enjoyed the experience immensely.  Our students heard so many diverse choirs and repertoire from the exciting and energizing Soul Children of Chicago to the Loyola Academy Honors Chamber Singers, who sang selections they were preparing to perform at The Vatican.   

This year, each choir will perform a Beatles song to commemorate the Beatles 50th anniversary!  All funds go to support Ronald McDonald House Charities. . .in the midst of a campaign to build the largest Ronald McDonald house in the world right here in Chicago!  Tickets are $25 each and available at: the Artists Brands Website. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Midwest Young Artists Directors Take Break in LA

Someone said the other day that the events we do in a week, other organizations would spend half a year planning, advertising and promoting.  We do have so much going on that it's a monumental job for Carl and the staff to communicate everything. In just the past month - Big Band at Midwest Band & Orchestra Conference, Symphony Orchestra Mall Concerts, Welcome Yule Concerts, Alumni Concert, Walgreens Concerto Competition, Conductors' Guild Workshop, reception for donors to our endowment, and a Music at the Fort Recital with Alums Gabe Medd, trumpet, and Adam Kromelow, piano.

Our first chance to go visit our grandsons was this week, so I'm going to be a typical grandmother (yes, I feel like one now) and post a photo.  Do you see any resemblance?  And there's another one that looks just like this!

Dr. D was also super excited to be able to listen to double LA Phil rehearsals yesterday.  Their music director, Gustavo Dudamel, was in town rehearsing for The Mahler Project.  From January 13 - February 18, the LA Phil and Simone Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela will perform all of Mahler's symphonies.   The performances will be repeated by both orchestras in Caracas, Venezuela, completing a collaboration to honor the 100th anniversary of Mahler's death.  And guess who's going along?  (Dr. D's grandsons!)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Midwest Young Artists Hosts Conductors Guild Workshop

Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and Bach's Toccata and Fugue are ringing through the halls today as ten young conductors, chosen from over 60 audition tapes, are taking turns conducting MYA's Symphony Orchestra and receiving instruction and feedback from the Conductors Guild Workshop clinicians: David Effron (Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music), Gordon Johnson (Great Falls Symphony Orchestra), and our own Dr. D and Mr. Pearson.  In addition to being a valuable training opportunity for these young conductors, it must be an interesting perspective for our students to see so many different approaches and styles of conducting music they have already performed this year.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Walgreens National Concerto Competition Results

We will be hearing some outstanding musicians on our February 25, 2012, concerts at Pick Staiger.  At 7:30 p.m., Symphony Orchestra will perform Hindemith's Der Schwanendrewer, with Senior MYA Division winner, Ariel Chapman, a 12th grader, who studies with Lewis Rosove and Sally Chisholm, and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D, op. 35, with Open Senior Division winner, Gallia Kastner, a 9th grader who attends John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights and studies with Almita Vamos.  Masha Lakisova, a 4th grader, who studies with Drew Lecher will perform Haydn's Violin Concerto in G Major with Philharmonia Orchestra, and Aidan Perrault, an 8th grader who attends Old Orchard Junior High in Skokie and studies with David Yonan, will be performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with Concert Orchestra on the 1:30 afternoon concert on February 25.

It is fun to watch the students perform from year to year and make huge leaps in development.  Gallia was the Open Junior winner last year!  I'm looking forward to hearing this year's Junior Open winner, Hannah White, again!.  In 6th grade, homeschooled from Germantown, Wisconsin, and a student of Hye-Sun Lee, she performed a mature and exciting Sarasate Zigeunerweisen!

This week, we will be working on getting judges feedback and DVDs of the performances out to all the contestants.  Today at MYA is a Chamber Music Boot Camp as many students are preparing for the next competition, The Discover National Chamber Music Competition held on February 19.

A complete list of winners the judging panels chose is below, but agree with Allan that the value of any competition is to use it as a goal to play a great piece better than you have ever played it before and to learn something from the experience.

MYA Junior Division:
Other instruments winner: Torin Bakke
Piano winner: Daniel Rong
Early Music winner: Masha Lakisova
Strings honorable Mentions: Rowena Bakke, Anastasia Dalianis, Haddon Kay, Masha Lakisova, Janani Sivakumar
Strings winner: Aidan Perreault, violin

Open Junior Division Winners:
Piano Division Winner: Nadia Azzi
Honorable Mentions: Eric Lin , Jason Lu
Early Music Winner: Lucie Ticho
Early Music Hon. Mentions: Eriko Darcy, Christian D. Kim, Jonathan Wolf
Strings Winner: Hannah White
Hon. Mentions: Karisa Chiu, Serena Harnack, Nathan Mo, Lucie Ticho, Jonathan Wolf
Overall Winner: Hannah White 

Open Senior Division Winners:
Piano Division Winner: Kyle Jannak-Huang
Hon. Mentions: Hannah Kay, Austin Shin
Strings Division Winner: Gallia Kastner
Hon Mentions: Claire Bourg, Joshua Burca, Kiyoshi Hayashi, Hannah Moses, Tabitha Oh, Michaela Wellems, Ye Young Yoo
Early Music Division Winner: Hansuh Rhee
Hon. Mentions: Mitchell Green, Adam Korber, Megan Lee
Voice Winner: Elisa Germond
Honorable Mentions: Joo Young (Kate) Lee, China Gray
Other Instruments Winner: Christine Murphy
Hon. Mentions: Ryan Toher
Overall Senior Open Winner: Gallia Kastner
Overall Open Winner: Gallia Kastner

MYA Senior Division Winners:

Piano Division Winner: Allen Wang
Strings Division Winners (In alphabetical order): Emily Camras, Ariel Chapman
Hon Mentions: Elizabeth Chertok, Lara Madden, Genevieve Smelser, Ben Solomonow
Early Music Division Winner: Mary Sliva
Other Instruments Winner: Taylor Isberg
Hon. Mentions: Victoria Calderone, Scott Greene, Sarah Koike
Overall MYA Winner: Ariel Chapman