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Music Transports Exceptional Learners
Monday, October 23, 2017
A little bit of Manhattan came to Saratoga Springs on October 18th, when Ensemble Connect played a concert for Exception Learners at the F. Donald Myers Education Center.
Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect is a fellowship program for the finest young professional classical musicians in the United States that prepares them for careers that combine musical excellence with teaching, community engagement and advocacy.
They partner with a New York City public school throughout the fellowship. They also visit Skidmore College where they offer master classes, lessons, and demonstrations. While at Skidmore, they offer interactive demonstrations in area schools and other community venues in Saratoga Springs. That is how they came to the Myers center. The musicians are from Japan, Korea, Uzbekistan, Virginia, and New York City.
The concert started with a piece from Pictures at an Exhibition, a musical work in 10 movements by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky that was inspired by a visit to an art exhibition. Each of the movements represents one of the drawings or artworks on display. They also played Chopin’s Nocturne, Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet, Strauss’ Viennese Polka and an Argentine Dance.
After the first piece the musicians introduced their specific instrument, and asked students what they heard in the music. The group, comprised of violin, viola, piano, clarinet, and chello players talked about how instruments can represent images and animals.
“I loved talking about different themes music can play in a story,” said James Lee Fisher a 10th grader from Schuylerville CSD. “I liked it when the music became fast and vibrant. It reminded me of a horse.”
The musicians were pleased to get feed back from students, and were very impressed with one exceptional learner’s summary of Romeo and Juliet. While music was the main theme, the audience was surprised to learn how technology can play a role in chamber music. The musicians use IPADs to store most of their sheet music and turn pages either by tapping the screen or a pedal on the floor connected by Bluetooth.
It was a special treat to have Carnegie Hall in our school, especially considering the caliber of musicians in the program. Every two years, up to 20 of the world’s finest young professional musicians are chosen by application and audition as Ensemble Connect fellows. Last year 500 musicians applied for 18 spots.
To learn more visit Ensemble Connect.