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Looking back on the first Curtis Summerfest program of 2019

From May 16–19, Curtis welcomed the first Summerfest participants of 2019, as Chamber Music for Adults brought together musicians from around Philadelphia and further afield, Curtis alumni, and Curtis students who played side-by-side with participants. Enjoy their reflections below, along with photos of the 2019 program.

 

 


 

After attending, many participants were kind enough to share their thoughts and experiences with us.

Liz, a flutist, was encouraged by her friend Marta to participate this year, while Marta has been a returning participant for several years.

Liz: "I’m new to the flute, having taken it up in my 60s, and I never experienced anything like this.  The Summerfest experience ended up to be everything Marta promised and more! We had Mimi (Stillman) and Soo (Bae) for our coaching sessions and they were terrific. Their passion, enthusiasm and encouragement was contagious and brought out the best in us. I feel very enriched by their coaching. Thank you and my thanks to Curtis for creating this program and ensuring that it was accessible to so many levels of musicianship."

Marta: "2019 was my fourth time attending the Curtis Summerfest Chamber Music for Adults program. The first three times I registered as a clarinet player, on my own, and was assigned to a group. I had an amazing time each year and learned so much, both as a player and as a music teacher. Over the past year, two friends and I formed a trio with two flutes and a cello. I play flute, a second instrument for me, in this group. The other flute player started playing at age 60. And the cellist, whose main instrument is piano, with viola as a second instrument, began playing about a year ago after an accident left her unable to continue playing viola. Ever since the group got together, I've been talking to them about this program. They were reluctant because both felt that they weren't advanced enough to do it. After months, I finally talked them into it by saying that it would be 'the best musical experience that you've ever had.' I can happily report that after the first day they were both telling me I was right. It's a wonderful program! I think I have months of 'I told you so!' available now."

 


 

Violinist Gloria Hakkarainen had a unique experience this year, perfoming alongside her son, Curtis student Matthew Hakkarainen, who served as a Curtis Artist Teacher.

Gloria: "I had a wonderful time at Summerfest! The faculty was superb and so understanding. They knew how to bring out the best in all of us in such a positive way. My chamber group was well matched and our repertoire was just beautiful and the music was something  I would have never known existed! We also had the opportunity to play in a true chamber orchestra which is rare and amazing. I have been to many adult amateur groups through the years and this one was so special. I am definitely coming back. For anyone thinking about trying this out: I would just say, you have to experience it!"

Matthew: "I had a wonderful time working as a Curtis Artist Teacher! It was so inspiring to work alongside the participants. You can tell how passionate they are, and how much they truly love making music. Watching their progress over the course of a few days was so amazing, and I really feel that I learned just as much from them as they did from me. It was such a joy, and I hope to have the chance to be a part of this program again."

 


 

Jeffrey, another violin participant, had attended similar adult chamber music programs in the past, and we were honored to hear him say that his "experience at Curtis was the best, by far." He continues:

"The experience was so enriching, to share an experience making music and meeting people.  The faculty was kind and nurturing in coaching and encouraging to take their love of music to another level.  I could definitely see the joy in everyone just being able play music. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity."

Another returning participant, pianist Steven, describes his experience learning a completely new work with his ensemble-mates:

"I had a wonderful experience at Curtis Summerfest this year (my third time at Summerfest)!  It was the first time I participated in the piano workshop, and I'm glad I did.  The coaching from Amy Yang was terrific, and the opportunity to perform in a friendly, low-key setting maximized the reward and minimized the anxiety. The chamber music piece we were assigned was a perfect choice—I certainly did not know the piece and had never even heard of the composer, but the piece was beautiful and particularly enjoyable to work up.  It was wonderful having a Curtis student embedded in our group, as his musicianship was inspiring and his teaching was invaluable. As usual, the coaches were all great, and I particularly want to single out Amy Yang, Melissa White, and Soo Bae for the invaluable support, guidance, and teaching they provided."

 


 

For more information about Curtis Summerfest's full range of programs, visit Curtis.edu/Summerfest