On Jan. 18, Eastman School of Music chamber music students observed school-aged children actively listening to an excerpt from Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.” The Antares Quartet performed this and other contemporary selections, engaging both their young audience and older observers. The Antares Quartet includes violinist Vesselin Gellev, cellist Rebekka Patterson, clarinetist Garrick Zoeter and pianist Eric Huebner. Together they have garnered awards such as first prize in the Concert Artists Guild Competition and grand prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music competition. They currently present educational programs across the country. The quartet specializes in using modern music to teach kids. “A lot of times, kids are so much more receptive to this type of music,” Gellev said. “They haven’t been jaded by years of listening to classical music.”The Antares’ presentation, hosted by the Eastman Chamber Music Department and required for all students enrolled in chamber music this spring, marked the opening of events related to Music for All Spring 2005, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Music for All brings Eastman student chamber groups into the community to perform. The Antares’ presentation demonstrated how Eastman students could interact with their young audiences. Throughout the concert, different members of the quartet asked their audience to listen for something specific before they began playing a piece. In the case of the Messiaen, the children needed to identify which instrument represented a blackbird, a nightingale, the sound of chimes and the wind. When Antares played a piece written for them by their friend, composer Carter Pann, in which each movement featured one of the members as a soloist, the children had to decide who soloed in which movement. The children did not always give answers that were expected. One older child observed that the featured soloist in Pann’s piece had the freedom to, and in fact did, slow down when the music became difficult. In the Music for All program, Eastman students have the opportunity to play for both young and adult audiences. Students are encouraged to develop age-specific programs that are both interesting and educational, using the music they study in the Fall 2004 and Spring 2005 semesters. On Jan. 20, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Brass Quintet gave a presentation on performing community concerts and speaking to adult audiences. In addition, the quartet also gave a masterclass on Jan. 17 for Eastman string and clarinet chamber groups.For those student groups who particularly enjoy their Music for All experience, the Arts Leadership Program offers a unique program on educational performing, in conjunction with Young Audiences of Rochester. Through audition, a maximum of two Eastman chamber music ensembles can participate in a four-credit course aimed at educational performing. This course offers guided workshops by YAR, a minimum of six required interactive performances by the student groups, a $100 paycheck for each performance and a total of four ALP course credits for Fall 2005 and Spring 2006.Aresty can be reached at email@example.com.
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