More NEC alumni news!
"I’ve been a big fan of Ethan Iverson for many years, not only because of his incredible playing with..."
- Ken Schaphorst, chair of NEC’s Jazz Studies department,
Monday morning after Daylight Savings
Congratulations are in order!
So pleased and excited to welcome pianist and The Bad Plus cofounder Ethan Iverson to NEC’s jazz studio faculty, beginning fall 2016!
Watch the trailer for the new documentary ‘Talent Has Hunger” which was filmed at NEC and features Paul Katz and NEC cello students.
This year we will feature four outstanding CPP individuals and ensembles, from our fellowship program! We are thrilled to share the reflections and stories of students that are so passionate about their work in the Boston Community. Our second group is “Petite Feet”, a Jazz Quartet in our Holiday Fellowship Program. Shane and Simón are in their 4th year with the program, Travis is in his 3rd, and Jonathan just joined this year! These students are fantastic musicians who were incredibly interesting to chat with.
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What do you like about the Holiday Fellowship?
Simón - Christmas is such a common language…because everyone knows what it is. The music is ingrained in American culture, it makes it easy to communicate with the audience.
Shane - Bringing the music out into the community, as opposed to just playing recitals here, is very important. The…audiences are really special… We’ve played at homeless shelters, we’ve played at senior centers, we’ve played for people with Alzheimer’s, every year we go to the Vinfen Center for Adults with Developmental Disabilities and that’s one of the most rewarding audiences that I’ve ever played for…it’s just pure acceptance of the music.
Why did you decide to get involved with CPP?
Travis - I think there are so many things…that I do for myself, or for my own enrichment and this is something I [do] to make other people happy…I think that’s a really beautiful thing.
What have you learned from the program, and what have you taken away from it?
Travis - Being at a conservatory and there’s a lot of music that we do that…is separate…maybe the public won’t like it. There is an overlap where I can feel like I’m doing something artistically fulfilling and making something I think is beautiful, and also see people making a connection.
Shane - If you compromise what you do, they know! The audience knows, even if they don’t know anything about [the music]… Whether they know anything about what you are doing are not is irrelevant. The spirit of what you do is communicated.
Do you have any favorite stories about a CPP experience?
Shane - [Last year] we played at the Scandinavian Living Center… The next day someone in the audience passed away… There ended up being this deep connection, because the last song we played was a composition called Nostalgia in Time Square by Charles Mingus and the daughter of this man, who passed away, told us…when she was born, he was in Times Square hearing the news that she was born… They invited us to play at his memorial service…that was one of the deepest things that I felt. Playing the music that we loved for this very serious occasion but also knowing how powerful [it was and] what it meant to them. That was special.
As a first time CPP Fellow, what’re you looking forward to getting out of the program?
Jonathan - Everything mentioned so far…it’s not always artist and the audience. It has a purpose rather than just existing as art! I’m looking forward to experiencing that.
Any thoughts or reflections you’d like to share?
Shane - CPP is an important part of a conservatory education, …everyone should make an effort to at least do one community [performance] and see what happens!
Simón - I think for me, CPP has helped me develop in different realms of music. On one hand there’s performing on the other hand [teaching]…sometimes you say something and a student comes up to you afterwards and you can tell they are truly inspired by something you might have said and that’s something that I think is very important…to inspire the next generation.
Shane - I think it’s important that what we do here isn’t just for us…we have to do this for other people, otherwise what’s the point?
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Thank you so much Jonathan, Shane, Simón, and Travis—check back in to see who will be featured next!
NEC Alums bringing contemporary music to Sarasota!
Everything is all right.
NEC CPP Program Fellows “petite Feet” were recently featured in an article for Psychology Today..
Congratulations to Hee-Young Lim ‘10, who has been appointed Principal Cellist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic! Bravo!
Today’s Blog is devoted to some thumb position exercises by Diran Alexanian that my teacher in Freiburg, Spanish cellist Marcal Cervera, gave to me in 1972. These exercises are not in included in Alexanian’s seminal book on cello technique, Traite Theorique et Pratique du Violoncelle (Theoretical and practical treatise of the violoncello).Alexanian’s book includes several pages of other thumb position exercises (pages 125 ff.) which are well worth practicing, but I believe that these 13 exercises have never actually been published. I do not know how Cervera got these exercises, but I copied them from his notebook, and studied them with him. I find them to be very useful.
Alexanian was born in Armenia in 1881. He became Casals’ assistant at the École Normale de Musique in Paris. His treatise was endorsed by Casals (on the cover it says “compiled in complete accord with Pablo Casals”), and in the preface Casals writes:
“When Alexanian submitted to me a well elaborated plan for the analysis of the theory of violoncello playing, based on principals that I myself accept, I recognized that I had before me a serious effort towards the casting off of the shackles of the superannuated prejudices with which the above mentioned works were replete…I would therefore recommend to all those who play or who wish to play the violoncello to imbue themselves thoroughly with the contents of this treatise”.
Alexanian’s students included Bernard Greenhouse, David Soyer, George Ricci, Raya Garbousova, David Wells, and Mischa Schneider in the US, and Gabriel Cusson, Maurice Eisenberg, Antonio Janigro, Gregor Piatigorsky, Hidayat Inayat Khan, Pierre Fournier, and Emmanuel Feuermann in Paris.
For more information about Alexanian, you can go to these websites:
These following 13 exercises all deal with opening up the hand in thumb position, and as such, they would be useful only after the basic thumb position formation (discussed in Blogs #19 and #20) is secure.
We are proud of Hugh Wolff, NEC’s Calderwood Director of Orchestras, to be appointed as the new chief conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra. He has had a long and distinguished professional career with orchestras around the globe, so this latest news adds yet another success to his many achievements. Hugh will continue to serve in his capacity of Director of Orchestras at NEC, conducting 4-5 concerts per year, which is consistent with his assignments at the Conservatory to date. We are grateful that his commitment to NEC remains solid, providing such a rich experience for our students in the orchestra program.