Program Note: Chen “It Ripples”

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In the beginning, I tried to capture the sound I have become most familiar with in the first two years of living in the United States, the “music” of the New York City subway. This “music” started a journey for me every day that I have studied in the States since September 2010. This “music” rumbles all through Manhattan and my daily life, yet at the same time my thoughts run along with it, both quietly and loudly, in ripples of the sound. This piece was rescored in 2015.    – Yi Yiing Chen

旅帆漣漪此曲開頭試以管絃樂器模仿紐約地鐵進站聲響。2010秋天至2012年,居住在紐約是我離家在異地生活的第一站,此地鐵生響是這段期間每天在隔音不佳的公寓都能聽見的。日夜轉動的地鐵不懈的叨擾我,宛若水的漣漪,波來又去,直到我與此聲響共存,念茲在茲。整曲以固定的橫向線條為軸,代表我乘著我的初衷,一路駛向未知的未來。此曲已重新修改於2015年。 

For our snowy morning.

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For our snowy morning.

Rabbit Rabbit.

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Rabbit Rabbit.

Just Hugh Wolff and John Heiss talking about Stravinsky’s...

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Just Hugh Wolff and John Heiss talking about Stravinsky’s Firebird. No big deal.

Dave Conner

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Dave Conner:

It is with sadness that we share the news that Dave Conner ‘71 M.M. passed away in late December. Dave was a key member of the Sesame Street music staff from the sixth season in 1974 through 2007, doing everything from writing songs (“The Dentist of Seville”) to conducting symphony concerts with Big Bird. OUr thoughts are with his loved ones, and we give thanks for the joy his music brought to thousands of kids.

All the joy.

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All the joy.

Across the Americas

Jose-Luis Estrada - Wed, 2016-03-30 13:05







My recent guest column for The Ensemble, a monthly newsletter reporting on the U.S. and Canada Sistema-inspired movement. 

April 1, 2016 

"Across the Americas" 

What began as a simple spaghetti dinner with Maestro Abreu in New York quickly turned into a continental mission – as things tend to do, with the Maestro. “We are going to generate a continental project with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela,” he told me. I had just heard him give a lecture about unifying the Americas through music, and we talked about the mentoring relationship between two Mexican musical giants, composer Carlos Chavez and conductor Eduardo Mata, and the Simon Bolivar in its early days. It’s imperative, Abreu told me, that the spirit of this once-thriving alliance be rekindled. 

In short order, I was in Caracas with two of Mexico’s top young musicians, bringing a new piano concerto to the Bolivars. The piano soloist was Abdiel Vazquez; the piece we premiered was Piramide del Sol, by Juan Pablo Contreras. 

Working with the orchestra, I experienced firsthand the total commitment to music and the generosity of spirit that contribute to their distinctive greatness. I got used to hearing the brass section continue to fine-tune intricate passages long after our rehearsal ended. (The power of the string sound was a treasure to behold!) It was common for me to receive words of encouragement from orchestra members. Right before the performance, many wished me well. 

What can we learn from the Bolivars, we who work with young U.S./Canadian Sistema programs? First, we need to do everything we can to nurture the feeling of interdependence in our orchestras—you are responsible for others and they are responsible for you. We need to think in terms of inspiring motivation in our ensembles so that they can take ownership of their own learning and outcomes. 

The second lesson is about the “continental project.” We need to keep generating links with programs beyond our own geographical domains. The Bolivars’ path to becoming one of the world’s leading orchestras involved a diligent exchange and confluence of artistic cultures from the Americas to Europe and back. By actively listening to the sound of others, the orchestra was able to find its voice. If we listen closely across continents, we too will begin to find our voices.

Video

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The Jaeyu Quartet is this year’s Wildcard group. Jaeyu...

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The Jaeyu Quartet is this year’s Wildcard group. Jaeyu means freedom and the members—Wonmi Jung, voice; DoYeon Kim, gayageum; Chris McCarthy, piano; and Eli Cohen, percussion—formed the quartet with the intention of exploring freedom collaboratively and purposefully. They explore concepts such as “What does freedom mean in music? How can we free ourselves from the boundaries of genre so often needlessly imposed? How can we create a space in which every member feels free to express themselves and their respective cultures? How can we use our music and our freedom to bring awareness and action to the myriad ‘unfreedoms,’ as economist Amartya Sen puts it, that exist in today’s world?”

Good morning!

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Good morning!

Three kinds of arts learning experiences

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2016-03-28 16:13
The group that convened at the Arts Learning Exchange in San Diego came from diverse backgrounds and organizations--from school districts, to city arts councils, to El Sistema-inspired programs, to a variety of arts education nonprofits. It was refreshing to broaden our perspectives of the larger world of education and arts... Sistema Fellows Program

Jazz Departments: Ran Blake Remembers Gunther Schuller - By Ran Blake — Jazz Articles

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Jazz Departments: Ran Blake Remembers Gunther Schuller - By Ran Blake — Jazz Articles:

On June 21, 2015, the world lost a great artist and visionary leader, one who will be sorely missed. Gunther Schuller was my lifelong mentor and teacher, and one of my best friends. He was a performer, composer, conductor, writer, publisher, improviser, educator, administrator and avid listener and concertgoer. Gunther Schuller was truly the compleat musician.

Nexus -- Part II

Huffington College - Mon, 2016-03-28 13:55
In Pt. I, I described what I believe is the new paradigm for the teaching of music in Higher Education represented by... Tony Woodcock http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-woodcock/

AMP's guest conductor

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2016-03-28 10:44
On March 12, Jose Luis Hernandez-Estrada, Sistema Tulsa director and Sistema Fellow '12, was the guest conductor for the Atlanta Music Project's winter concert. (Photos by Anthony Alston, Jr.) Sistema Fellows Program

Harmony Project Phoenix in action

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2016-03-28 10:34
Photos courtesy of Diogo Pereira, Harmony Project Phoenix Program Director and Sistema Fellow '13 Sistema Fellows Program

The Ensemble, March edition

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2016-03-28 10:27
The March edition of Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth's publication chronicling the emerging field of El Sistema-inspired activity in the US and beyond is found here. Sistema Fellows Program

YAMA featured on PBS Newshour

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2016-03-28 10:18
The curtain almost fell for YAMA in 2015 when the grant that provided much of its funding ran out. The Yakima Symphony Orchestra stepped in and saved it temporarily. [Founder Stephanie Hsu, Sistema Fellow '12] said she wants to keep YAMA going as a freestanding nonprofit — not because she... Sistema Fellows Program

IF YOU HAVE TO ASK WHAT JAZZ IS, YOU'LL NEVER KNOW. LOUIS ARMSTRONG