Music students earn accolades in prestigious competitions

  • The Eleven Quartet performs at the quarterfinals of the Fischoff Competition.

  • Megan McCafferty during her Carnegie Hall debut on May 20.

  • Ipek Karataylioglu rehearses with the Interlochen Arts Academy Band. Karataylioglu will compete in the finals of the National Flute Association High School Artist Competition in August.

  • Lauren Whitaker rehearses with the Arts Academy Band. Whitaker performed as guest soloist with Encore Winds on May 20.

  • Anders Peterson rehearses with the Interlochen Arts Academy Band. Peterson is a finalist in the International Clarinet Association's High School Solo Competition.

June 1, 2018

Several Interlochen Arts Academy music students were recognized in local, national and international competitions.

Senior David Schonberger won first prize in the National Bass Trombone Solo Competition at the American Trombone Workshop. Schonberger was the only high school age musician selected to compete in the final round of the competition.

Junior Megan McCafferty won the high school division of the Alexander and Buono International Flute Competition. As the competition’s winner, McCafferty performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on May 20.

Junior flutist Lauren Whitaker won the Encore Winds Young Artist Competition. As the winner of the competition, Whitaker will perform as soloist with Encore Winds in Traverse City on May 20, 2018. Whitaker also performed in Interlochen Public Radio’s Studio A.

Senior Ipek Karataylioglu was selected as a finalist in the National Flute Association High School Artist Competition. Karataylioglu will compete in the final round of competition at the National Flute Convention in Orlando, Florida in August.

Senior Anders Peterson has been selected as a finalist in the International Clarinet Association’s High School Solo Competition. Peterson will compete in the final round of competition at the International Clarinet Association Festival in Ostend, Belgium in July.

The Eleven Quintet, an Interlochen Arts Academy woodwind quintet coached by Nancy Stagnitta, reached the quarterfinal round of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. The quintet consists of: Ipek Karataylioglu, flute; Angela Scates, oboe; Daniel Solowey, clarinet; Harrison Short, bassoon; and Charles Ball Fuller, horn.

Ciao from Italy

  • Filippo Salemmi conducts the Arts Academy Band during a rehearsal.

May 29, 2018

In late April, music students hosted seven students from conservatories in Italy.

The seven students hailed from conservatories including the Conservatories of Cesena, Pesaro, Fermo and Perugia, the Institutes Frezzi, Carducci Foligno and other Italian music schools. During the weeklong visit, the guests presented a recital, observed music classes, sat in on ensemble rehearsals and performed with the Arts Academy Band during the April 28 concert.

Capstone concerts and minimalist music

  • Percussionists rehearse "Drumming" in Corson Auditorium. Photo by Keith Aleo.

  • Keith Aleo, the percussion studio and their guest vocalists pose after their performance of "Drumming." Photo courtesy of Keith Aleo.

  • Eighth Blackbird and Third Coast Percussion perform the works of Steve Reich. Photo by Keith Aleo.

April 19, 2018

Spring is recital season for music students. During the first several weeks of April, more than a dozen musicians presented senior recitals featuring songs they studied or wrote during their time at Interlochen Arts Academy.

During the first week of April, percussionists welcomed two guest ensembles—Eighth Blackbird and Third Coast Percussion—to campus for a festival celebrating minimalist composer Steve Reich. On April 5, the Arts Academy Percussion Ensemble presented Reich’s “Drumming,” which they have been rehearsing since the beginning of the academic year. The following day, contemporary music ensemble Eighth Blackbird and percussion ensemble Third Coast Percussion performed Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” and “Sextet.” All Arts Academy students attended the performance. During the visit, Interlochen Arts Academy alumnus and Eighth Blackbird percussionist Matthew Duvall visited Interlochen Public Radio to chat with Kate Botello about the work of Steve Reich and other minimalist composers.

All ensembles are also preparing for May’s Festival performances. Friends and family who are unable to attend Festival in person will be can tune in to many of the performances via live webcast.

An octet of guests in music

March 15, 2018

On March 14, the Interlochen Arts Academy Music Division hosted eight guest artists.

Seven of the guests are members of the jazz faculty at Michigan State University, who were visiting Interlochen Arts Academy to perform with Instructor of Jazz Studies Bill Sears: Etienne Charles, trumpet; Xavier Davis, piano; Michael Dease, trombone; Randle Gelispie, percussion; Randell Napoleon, guitar; Diego Rivera, saxophone; and Rodney Whitaker, double bass. The seven guests taught master classes in each of their instrumental specialties before returning to the Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall for their performance.

The eighth guest artist, Elizabeth DeLamater, taught a world percussion class to Keith Aleo’s studio.

Masterpieces and mini maestros

February 21, 2018

On Feb. 3, the Arts Academy Band collaborated with dance and theatre students to celebrate the centennial of Stravinsky’s theatrical work L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale). The piece, which premiered in 1918, tells the tale of a soldier who trades his violin to the devil for wealth. Interlochen Public Radio’s Dan Wanschura interviewed Interlochen Arts Academy Band Director Dr. Matthew Schlomer about the piece and its significance to both audiences and young artists.

"There's no promise, no guarantee of a career, of safety, of income when you're a young artist,” Schlomer told Wanschura. “You really don't know how you're going to use your art to actually live. They could take an easier path and trade their art in, so to speak."

On Feb. 17, Arts Academy Orchestra students participated in Winterlochen festivities. In partnership with Interlochen Public Radio’s popular program “Kids Commute,” the orchestra presented “Kids Conduct” at Interlochen’s annual winter festival. During the session, young children from the Grand Traverse community were invited to take the podium and try their hand at conducting the orchestra—with adorable and hilarious results.

Music students also had the opportunity to work with several guest artists in February. On Feb. 1, string students participated in master classes with the members of the visiting Calidore String Quartet. Flute students attended a recital and master class with Charleston Symphony Orchestra flutist Regina Helcher-Yost on Feb. 15.

Vocal artists present Vaughan Williams opera

December 14, 2017

On Dec. 1-2, the Arts Academy Vocal Arts Studio presented Ralph Vaughan Williams’ one-act opera, Riders to the Sea.

Riders to the Sea is based on a play of the same name by John Millington Synge. Set in Ireland’s Aran Islands, Riders to the Sea is the tragic tale of a woman who loses her husband, brother and five sons to the sea.

The production starred Mae Ya Carter Ryan (Dec. 1) and Lillian Lansdell (Dec. 2) as Maurya, Rose Iannuzzi (Dec. 1) and Erin Mullen (Dec. 2) as Nora, and Jack Keller (Dec. 1) and Joshua Straub (Dec. 2) as Bartley. The production opened with selected songs about the sea by Roger Quilter and John Ireland.

Announcing the 2017 Concerto Competition winners

  • From left: Miyu Kubo, violin; David Schonberger, trombone; Luis Manuel Marquez Turuel, bassoon; and Yung-Yi Chen, piano.

November 15, 2017

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Concerto Competition: David Schonberger, bass trombone; Yung-Yi Chen, piano; Luis Manuel Marquez Turuel, bassoon; and Miyu Kubo, violin.

The four winners will perform their selected pieces with the Arts Academy Orchestra during the March 15 concert. David Schonberger will perform the Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra by Thom Ritter George; Yung-Yi Chen will perform Franz Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, S. 124; Luis Manuel Marquez Teruel will perform Andante e rondo ongarese, Op. 35 by Carl Maria von Veber; and Miyu Kubo will perform Henri Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Minor, Op. 37.

The event was judged by three professional musicians: flutist Jim Walker of Colburn Conservatory; violinist Charles Castleman of Miami Frost School of Music; and pianist Benjamin Pasternack of the Peabody Conservatory.

Thank you to all of the students who participated, and congratulations to our winners!

A variety of guests in music

  • Matt Duvall watches percussion students perform the first movement of Steve Reich's "Drumming."

  • Duvall offers comments after the second movement of "Drumming."

  • Rob Dillon helps students set up for "Drumming." Photo from Third Coast Percussion.

  • Rob Dillon demonstrates a passage from "Drumming." Photo from Third Coast Percussion.

  • Concerto judge Jim Walker during his master class with flute students.

  • Walker congratulates flutist Ipek Karataylioglu after her performance in the final round of the Concerto Competition.

November 13, 2017

As October concluded and November began, music students welcomed guest artists of many specialties.

Percussion led the way, welcoming two different artists into their studio. On Oct. 25, alumnus Matthew Duvall of Eighth Blackbird arrived to spend three days with the students, helping them prepare Steve Reich’s piece, “Drumming,” for their Steve Reich festival this spring. Rob Dillon of Third Coast Percussion joined them a week later, and also coached their performance of “Drumming.” Both Third Coast and eighth blackbird will perform with the Arts Academy percussion students during the Steve Reich festival.

Cello students hosted Wei Yu, the principal cellist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Alumna Ann Marie Hudson Brink of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra visited the viola studio. Arizona State University trombone instructor Brad Edwards taught a master class for low brass students.

Music students also participated in master classes with the three judges of the annual concerto competition: flutist Jim Walker of Colburn Conservatory; violinist Charles Castleman of Miami Frost School of Music; and pianist Benjamin Pasternack of the Peabody Conservatory.

Alatrash teaches improvisation and culture

  • Naseem Alatrash (left) performs, accompanied by Instructor of Cello Crispin Campbell (right).

  • The cello studio improvises with Alatrash.

October 17, 2017

On Oct. 2, cello students participated in a performance and master class by Palestinian cellist Naseem Alatrash.

During the first half of the session, Alatrash performed for students, accompanied by Instructor of Cello Crispin Campbell. Afterwards, Alatrash invited the students to join him for an improvised jam session.

Alatrash is a classically trained cellist who is dedicated to representing Arabic culture through his performances, which feature traditional melodies and improvisation. A globally acclaimed performer, he has received numerous awards for his efforts to broaden the horizons of the cello.

During his visit, Alatrash also visited Interlochen Public Radio’s Studio A for a performance and interview.

Band learns the art of acting

October 16, 2017

On Sept. 29, several theatre students met with members of the Interlochen Arts Academy Band in the Dennison Center for Recreation and Wellness to teach them the basics of acting.

During the session, the musicians set aside their instruments and participated in a variety of acting exercises led by their acting peers and Instructor of Theatre Arts Gulshirin Dubash.

“Musicians spend so much time taking care of their instrument's needs and technique that we often forget that we are ultimately hoping to be on stage committing to a performance for people,” said Band Conductor Dr. Matthew Schlomer. “By giving musicians this experience, we hope that they can become more engaging performers.”

Several theatre students will also perform with the band during their Oct. 21 concert.

Musicians prepare for their year-end festival

May 22, 2017

The end of the academic year marks the start of the Interlochen Arts Academy Festival. For over four decades our students have participated in this annual tradition of shining one final spotlight on each of the arts areas.

Starting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 and running straight through commencement on Saturday, May 27, guests will have the opportunity to sample an array of musical stylings, instrumentations and genres.

Many of the performances will be webcast or available via webcam. You can find a full list of live broadcasts here. Please note that seating will be made available to parents first, and webcasts are subject to change without notice.

Arts Academy Band premieres new music this month

April 17, 2017

The Interlochen Arts Academy Band featured a world-premiere composition on their April 22 concert.

The piece, titled “Love Among the Ruins,” is a concerto for viola and orchestra written by James Syler. “Love Among the Ruins” deals with the contemporary issues of war and animosity pervading society today and featured Instructor of Viola Renee Skerik as the guest soloist. Syler visited campus on April 22 for the piece’s premiere.

Alongside Sylver’s composition, the Interlochen Arts Academy Band also performed the Michigan premiere of a chamber work by Larry Harper and Karel Husa’s monumental composition, “Music for Prague.”

Arts Academy band celebrates Kimpton’s career

March 14, 2017

The Interlochen Arts Academy Band performed a tribute to the musical career of Interlochen Center for the Arts President Jeffrey Kimpton.

Kimpton, who is retiring at the end of May, took the podium for the last time as the president Interlochen Center for the Arts to conduct the March 10 concert. The performance honored Kimpton’s early career as a band director in Minnesota, and included works from his first convention performance, a solo by one of his former students, one of his favorite selections for band and the Apple Valley Fight Song, which he helped write.

“For our students, it has been an opportunity to share with a man who has dedicated his life to the arts, who followed his passion for arts education and who remains profoundly motivated by the power that the arts have to stir something inside each of us," said Band Director Matthew Schlomer.

Accolades for musical artists

March 13, 2017

Several music students received artistic and academic recognition in late February and early March.

Three instrumental music majors traveled to Washington, D.C., on Feb. 11 to compete in the annual Marine Band Concerto Competition. Horn student Shawn Zheng won the prestigious competition and will return to Washington in April to perform as a soloist with the band. Clarinetist Anders Peterson and flutist Jarrett May also competed.

Harp student Naomi Sutherland was selected as one of four finalists in the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Bolz Young Artist Competition. Sutherland will perform in the final round of competition later this month.

Voice student Lorenzo Pipino has advanced to the final round of competition in the National Merit Scholarship program. Pipino is one of only 15,000 students selected from across the nation to compete in the final round; he will find out if he is among the 7,500 recipients in April. Pipino has also been selected as the senior speaker for commencement.

First time at the podium

February 14, 2017

The Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra is not only a training ensemble for young musicians; it also provides opportunities for aspiring composers and conductors.

While 19 of their peers were in New York City, the orchestra helped composing and conducting students hone their craft. The first half-hour of the rehearsal was dedicated to rehearsing original student compositions. While Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra Conductor Ara Sarkissian and the orchestra played the piece, the composer took video on their cell phone and made notes on the score. An enthusiastic round of applause from the orchestra followed the completion of the piece.

Dr. Matthew Schlomer brought the students in his conducting class to the stage for their first experience directing a large ensemble. “Play what you see,” Schlomer advised the orchestra before the first student assumed the baton. “It’s the best feedback you can give them.”

One at a time, each student took the podium to conduct the orchestra through an excerpt of their choice, ranging from Elgar’s Enigma Variations to Gershwin’s An American in Paris. For the next hour and a half, student conductors cycled between positions on the podium, in the wings and seated within the orchestra. Some of the students asked their classmates to record their performance so they could critique themselves later.

The orchestra enthusiastically responded to each composer, playing skillfully and applauding as each composer finished their selection.

Vocal students in Detroit

Melissa Luby
February 14, 2017

Late last month Interlochen Arts Academy vocal students participated in a collaboration with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Instructor of Voice Laura Osgood Brown, collaborative pianist Susan Snyder and eight voice students travelled to Detroit on Jan. 21 to participate in the orchestra’s Mozart Festival. The students, accompanied by Snyder, performed Opera After Hours, a program of arias, art songs and opera scenes by Mozart.

After the Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert, patrons were invited to enjoy the performance by the Arts Academy vocalists in “The Cube,” a venue attached to Orchestra Hall. Over 300 patrons attended the performance by the Interlochen artists, and gave the musicians positive feedback at the program’s conclusion.

Before returning to campus, the students spent Sunday exploring the Detroit Institute of Art.

S.D. concerto winner helps spread some holiday cheer

December 14, 2016

Junior saxophone major Alyssa Peterson has been selected to perform with the South Dakota Symphony during its Holiday Collage concerts on Dec. 10.

Peterson was the winner in the South Dakota Symphony Young Musician Concerto Competition last March, which was open to musicians from the states of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. Her performance of Aleksandr Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto with the South Dakota Symphony was part of her prize for winning the competition. Peterson was a member of the Symphony’s youth orchestra program for the past three years.

The South Dakota Symphony was originally founded in 1922 in conjunction with Augustana University and is under the direction of Maestro Delta David Gier.

Singer-songwriters at Samaritas

December 14, 2016

This holiday season, many Interlochen Arts Academy students used their talents to spread holiday cheer both on and off campus. On Dec. 9, singer-songwriter instructor Courtney Kaiser-Sandler took several students to perform at Samaritas Senior Living. While many of their peers performed holiday classics, singer-songwriter students celebrated the season by sharing their original compositions.

One singer-songwriter student received an early holiday gift: learning that she had been selected to be part of the media team for the upcoming Grammy Awards. Tess Considine will join the stars on the red carpet on Feb. 12 and will have the chance to interview musical icons. Congratulations, Tess!

Band goes on a "Pilgrimage"

November 16, 2016

Matthew Schlomer and the Arts Academy Band are joining the rest of the school in exploring the 2016-17 theme, “Pilgrimage.”

The band’s November 17 performance is titled “Pilgrimage” and features a set of songs that Schlomer has picked to emphasize both the modern and classical ideal of a pilgrimage.

“I really wanted to participate in the theme, but it seems very esoteric and removed from American culture,” Schlomer said. “I started to think about how students could relate to the theme of “Pilgrimage,” and I realized that we do have these types of things in our society.”

Schlomer chose John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine to explain the modern idea of “Pilgrimage.” “Adrenaline is one way we experience pilgrimage,” said Schlomer. “We’re willing to wait in line at Great America for three hours for that one new ride.”

Other pieces reflect the more classical ideas of “Pilgrimage,” such as Chorale and Alleluia by Howard Hanson, which Schlomer said represents an experience with the divine. Shostakovitch’s Prelude represents the idea of homeland, while ...and the mountains rising nowhere explores the concept of a pilgrimage to nature. Mountain Roads, performed by the Arts Academy saxophone quartet, honors the historical nature of “Pilgrimage.”

Tom Bara aids Band's "Reformation"

October 12, 2016

On Oct. 21 the Interlochen Arts Academy Band explores the 500th anniversary of the Reformation through the medium of music. You can learn more about the event here.

To help students prepare Interlochen Arts Academy Organist and Faculty Member Tom Bara led Dr. Schlomer and students through an intimate demonstration of the Dendrinos Chapel Organ. Students were invited to gather around the organ and to explore the various knobs and buttons and how they affect the sound produced.

Student cheered for Mr. Bara following an impressive rendition of J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Following the lesson the group made their way to Corson Auditorium to continue their Reformation rehearsal with Dr. Schlomer and Tom Bara.

More awards for music students

  • Gabe Costache (left) and Euijin Jung (right) pose with their New York International Percussion Competition awards.

October 9, 2016

Two Interlochen Arts Academy percussion students won awards at the annual New York International Percussion Competition.

Euijin Jung and Gabe Costache won second and third prize respectively in the under-18 division of the three-day competition that ran Oct. 7-9. First prize was won by Leo Simon, who attended Interlochen Arts Camp this summer.

Gabe and Euijin are not the only music students to receive awards and accolades. Many other students spend their summer competing in regional, national and international competitions. Other recent award-winners include:

  • Organist Martin Jones, who won the Audience Award and Hymn Playing Prize at the 2016 Albert Sweitzer International Festival Competition in Hartford, Connecticut

  • Pianist Minyi Zhang, who won first prize in the Shenzhen Open Piano Competition in July. The next five finishers in the competition were college students at China’s top music college.

  • Pianist Ailun Zheng, who won a Finalist Prize at the New York Piano Competition (Stecher and Horowitz) this June.

Several other students were selected to perform in master classes and recitals at prestigious festivals and venues

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Composer Hannah Lash works with students ahead of NY Phil Biennial

May 16, 2016

On June 5, 2016, our Academy Orchestra will be performing a piece by composer Hannah Lash as part of their NY Phil Biennial repertoire. During a recent visit to campus to work with the Academy Orchestra, Lash sat down with Interlochen Public Radio's Meg Gruits to discuss her work and what it's like having high school students perform her piece. Listen below.

For more information or to get tickets to the NY Phil Biennial performance in New York City, visit the New York Philharmonic's website.

Students perform in RENT band

May 16, 2016

Under the leadership of Interlochen Director of Music Dr. Kedrik Merwin a house band comprised of current Arts Academy students performed live during the Theatre Department’s production of RENT last weekend.

As fans of RENT will know, music plays in integral role in the show as it veers toward an operetta as opposed to a traditional musical theatre show as much of the script is sang with accompaniment instead of spoken. Needless to say, this challenge was faced head on dutifully by Dr. Merwin and his band.

Congratulations and thank you to Dr. Merwin and our student band on three successful performances!

Logan Boyle, drums
Reagan Casteel, keyboard
Chloe Geller, keyboard
Gregory Nicholas Gotham, percussion
Jade Hall, guitar
Ally Lubera, guitar
Tyler Wagner, bass

Guest artist Mike Truesdell visits percussion students

Keith Aleo
April 20, 2016

On April 6 and 7, guest artist Mike Truesdell visited with our Academy percussion students.

On April 6, Truesdell presented a master class for the percussion students in Frolich. Students were able to perform several pieces for Truesdell, including: Nico Muhly—Ta and Clap, Evan Chapman—Memory, Kopetzki—Canned Heat (Euijin Jung), Casey Cangelosi—Glamour (Miyu Morita) and Mark Applebaum’s Aphasia (Adriano Macciocchi). Double composer/percussionist major Dan McGee also played a recording of one of his recent compositions—Electrotatic 2.5.—for the class. Truesdell was elated by the composition and the skill of all of the percussion students.

On April 7,  Truesdell and guests John Driscoll, Angela Lickiss Aleo, Tom Childs, Keith Aleo and Zac Brunell performed a show in Dendrinos Chapel & Recital Hall. Their repertoire included: Grisey—Stèle, Sommerfeldt—An Action Within, Applebaum—Aphasia, Snowden—Long Distance and Stockhausen—Mikrophonie I.

Thank you to Mike Truesdell for his time and to all of the guest artists that made both days very special for our students.

Sarkissian reflects on Boulez

  • Ara Sarkissian (right) and Pierre Boulez during a Lucerne Festival Academy workshop. (Summer 2009)

    Credit: Priska Ketterer/Lucerne Festival

Ara Sarkissian
April 18, 2016

The Lucerne Festival Academy exists, in my mind, as an idyllic confluence of music, nature, purpose, and education. The program began in 2003 under the leadership of Pierre Boulez and Festival Executive and Artistic Director, Michael Haefliger. It was designed to become an annual contemporary music festival where students would gather from around the world to study, perform, and celebrate a genre of music which continues to be overlooked by most of the music world. During my first year in 2007, our main project was Stockhausen’s Gruppen - a formidable work calling for three separate chamber-sized orchestras conducted by three conductors, simultaneously. It was beyond anything for which I was prepared, but that experience turned out to be the spark that ignited my passion for contemporary music.

Lucerne, located southwest of Zurich, is, itself, paradisal. Its mountainous panorama and clean glacier lake provide more than ample restorative energy. As a native of Wyoming, Lucerne reminds me of the magnificence of nature. Aside from the breathtaking scenery, Lucerne has a rich history. In fact, Richard Wagner’s retreat, where he composed and premiered Siegfried Idyll, is a 15 minute walk from the city center. The Wagner House now serves as a museum with circulating material on exhibit. Indeed, Lucerne has been historically a retreat for many Europeans, so the creation of a music festival (of which the Academy is a part of now) was inevitably founded by Arturo Toscanini in 1938. The Lucerne Festival has ever since been a destination for musicians and music-lovers to see the world’s greatest orchestras and soloists perform. During the four summers I attended the Academy, I was privileged to hear, sometimes numerous times, performances by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, Ensemble Intercontemporain, English Baroque Soloists with John Eliot Gardner, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Claudio Abbado, and many others.

Working under Boulez’s direction was an unforgettable experience. He was grandfatherly in a way - calm, direct,insistent, yet humorous. Sounds, colors, and balances had to be exact, and correct rhythm was the lifeblood of rehearsals. His interpretations always stemmed from a deeper analysis of the score, and you always had a feeling that you were given special insights or secrets. Additionally, the fact that he personally knew and worked with so many composers during his lifetime meant that his understanding and knowledge of the 20th century canon were both intimidating and inspiring. From reading various accounts of the man, you might expect him to be hot-tempered and highly opinionated, but my experiences with him were of the contrary. Only once did I witness him express serious discontent, and it was deservingly dispensed at the first violins. English was the official language of the festival, Boulez insisted on this, and I was always humbled by his ability to naturally shift between French, German, and English- sometimes within the same sentence. His conducting technique was flawless and exact; someone remarked once that he was so precise a blind person could see his cue. His gesturing exemplified the acoustic reality of the music and was never over-emotional or to be considered grand-standing; he had too much respect for the music to do that.

Reuniting in Lucerne with my fellow alumni to honor Boulez one last time was a meaningful, emotional experience, to say the very least. Matthias Pintscher, now the conductor for the Academy, led us in the tribute comprised of works by Boulez, Berg, and Stravinsky. Artistically, Wolfgang Rihm will carry on Boulez’s vision to ensure more generations of musicians will have access to this elite experience. It was remarked by Dominik Deuber, the managing director of the Academy, that “this may feel like the end of something, but really, it is the beginning of something new.”

It occurred to me then in 2007, as it does now, that nationally we have been in a cultural rut which is exemplified by orchestras leading audiences over the decades to believe that compositions by Stravinsky, Bartok and Ives are “new music.” I am appreciative of Interlochen Arts Academy for commissioning new works to be premiered as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial Festival, and I am proud of our students for taking on this monumental task. Although the New York Philharmonic Biennial does not have the same agenda as the Lucerne Festival, there is a distinct idea that is shared- the education and expansion of new music for all ages, which is something Boulez tried to do in the 1970’s during his tenure with the New York Philharmonic. I would like to encourage the greater Interlochen community to rally behind our involvement in the New York Philharmonic Biennial celebration and to support our students who will brave the contemporary music scene this June in New York City. The exposure to new music and Boulez meant so much to me personally and framed who I became as a musician and educator; it is an honor for me to share those experiences with our students and community during this exciting time forInterlochen and the New York Philharmonic.

—Ara Sarkissian, Interlochen Center for the Arts

A week of jazz with very special guests

March 8, 2016

2016 has already been an amazing year for Interlochen alumnus Marshall Gilkes (IAA 96). Earlier this year, his album Koln (with the WDR Big Band) was nominated for the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and his composition Vesper was nominated for the Best Instrumental Composition in the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. This tremendous honor for the talented trombonist only underscores a career filled with prestige and excellence. Since graduating from The Juilliard School, Gilkes has gone on to release four albums and has performed and recorded with jazz greats such as Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Maria Schneider Orchestra and the Christian McBride Big Band.

Earlier this month, Gilkes took a break from his current gig as a faculty member at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA to return to Interlochen for a week of masterclasses and performances with Bill Sears and his jazz students.

Gilkes was joined during this jazz intensive by fellow acclaimed musicians: trumpeter Etienne Charles, jazz pianist Xavier Davis, guitar player Bobby Ferrazza, jazz drummer Sean Dobbins, and bassist Marion Hayden. Though these great artists were here to teach it was also an opportunity for them to see hear firsthand the future artists of the jazz world. It wasn’t that long ago that Gilkes himself was on the stage as an Interlochen student.

Fast forward to 2016, and Gilkes and his fellow accomplished guest musicians spent the week leading students through a series of exercises, techniques and tricks to improve their mastery of their instrument and further their understanding of jazz.

On the evening of Friday, March 4 the Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble took the stage with these very special guest artists for a high energy performance that included works by Andy Razaf & Leon “Chu” Berry, Wes Montgomery, Benny Carter, and the man himself—Marshall Gilkes.

The following nights, students packed the audience for a Jazz Faculty recital with saxophonist Bill Sears and the prolific guest artists. After a set of works by the artists on stage the night culminated with a performance of Tadd Dameron’s jazz standard On a Misty Night.

As the week drew to a close students and special guests parted ways, but the reciprocal benefit of each other's presence is sure to linger for many years to come.

Emotion, timing and backstory: A master class with pianist Richard Goode

February 16, 2016

Internationally acclaimed pianist Richard Goode shared some compelling advice with Interlochen Arts Academy piano students on Feb. 8 during a master class in Dendrinos Chapel.

Four students performed for Goode during the class: Yung-yi Chen, performing Beethoven's Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 81a ("Les Adieux"); Sua Lee, performing Beethoven’s Sonata in A-Flat major, Op. 26; Jiarui Yu, performing Beethoven’s Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 ("Appassionata"); and Minyi Zhang, performing Schumann’s Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26.

Goode was visiting Interlochen for a performance of Beethoven's last works on Feb. 9, and agreed to a master class with Academy piano students. "So if you get a chance to see (Interlochen Presents Executive Director) Christopher Gruits, you can thank him for us," said Michael Coonrod, instructor of piano at Interlochen, drawing laughter from the crowd.

Goode offered students insight into the nuances of playing the piano, particularly Beethoven's works—the emotions, the story behind the music, tips on interpretation, telling the story behind the composition, and more.

One of the key elements Goode stressed in playing Beethoven is to consider the man himself, and the weight he placed upon tempo. "It's very important to remember that Beethoven was deaf," he told students. "After a performance, he would ask people, 'How was the tempo?'

"Try to do exactly what he says—he was very careful," Goode added. "If he didn't say 'crescendo,' don’t."

Goode gave suggestions regarding the feel of some of the pieces as well, sharing the stories behind the works, and how that might inform how they be played. Les Adieux, for example, was written by Beethoven for his patron, the Archduke Rudolph, who was forced to leave Vienna in 1809 due to Napoleon’s attack on the city. Goode suggested that Chen think of the various emotions that come from a parting of friends—a measured goodbye, sadness and longing, the excitement and the anticipation of the possibility of meeting again—and reflect them in his performance.

"The clue ... is the emotion," Goode said. "The clue is the feel and the tone of the whole piece."

Noted for exceptional expressiveness, depth and power, Goode is recognized as one of today's premier performers of classical and romantic era music. He is a regular performer with orchestras around the world and a prolific recording artist, earning several Grammy nominations for his recordings. Currently serving as co-artistic director of Marlboro Music School in Marlboro, New York, Goode still finds time to tour extensively.

Academy flutist Mei Stone wins Marine Band Concerto Competition

  • Mei Stone, right, at the Marine Band Concerto Competition. (Photo Credit: Master Sgt. Kristin duBois)

  • The winners in the 2015-16 Interlochen Arts Academy Concerto Competition: Mei Stone, flute; Shihao Zhu, clarinet; Tianlu Jerry Xu, cello; Ailun Zheng, piano.

February 15, 2016

Congratulations to current Interlochen Arts Academy student Mei Stone on a number of recent wins and accolades. First, Stone won the Marine Band Concerto Competition in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Feb. 13. Her win garnered her a scholarship from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and an invitation to return to D.C. to perform as a soloist with "The President’s Own" U.S. Marine Band on April 10, 2016.

Next, Stone was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, and will appear on NPR's From The Top on Friday, March 4, 2016. Additionally, she was selected once again for the Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. After touring China with the NYO last summer, she will perform with them again at Carnegie Hall before leaving for a European tour this summer.

Stone was also named one of the winners in the 2015-16 Interlochen Arts Academy Concerto Competition. She and her fellow concerto winners took the stage at Corson Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. Visit our archives for a video of that performance.

Congratulations to Mei Stone on all of her recent successes.

Mitch Vogel at the MSU Music Conference

  • Mitch Vogel at the 11th Annual Michigan Music Conference.

February 10, 2016

Academy percussionist Mitch Vogel traveled to the DeVos Place and Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, Mich., for the 11th Annual Michigan Music Conference late last month. This area conference acts as a professional bridge between music educators and their aspiring students. During the conference, Mitch was given the opportunity to speak about his research into student-centered percussion instruction to crowds of interested and likeminded individuals.

Clarinet students get some words of wisdom—and humor—from John Bruce Yeh

December 18, 2015

John Bruce Yeh, acting principal clarinetist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, visited the Interlochen Center for the Arts campus in November 2015 to work with students and perform.

Yeh, who joined the CSO in 1977 at the age of 19, gave a recital on Nov. 18 with pianist Nozomi Khudyev, and then joined Academy Band onstage Nov. 19. In between, he shared some words of advice with Interlochen’s clarinet students in the Fine Arts building.

As each student stood up to play something for Yeh, he spoke with them about their performances, breaking down tone production, technical aspects like reed positioning, and even offering some fun analogies to help students understand how the music should sound.

“Any time I play anything, I like to think about how it would sound if we sang it,” he told the group, and then asked one student to sing a few bars of what she’d been playing.

He later suggested that students learn the stories behind pieces they are playing, to better understand how it should sound. One student’s piece of music, for example, featured two peasants—one plodding and stoical, and one more light and frivolous—and Yeh noted that the music as played should reflect those personalities.

Yeh told another student to think of tone production like air hockey—the air must always be there in order for you to play. “What you want is air coming out of all the holes, so there’s a cushion of air any time you squeeze down (the keys),” he told the group. “I want you to realize that the air comes first, and then you squeeze it back in.”

He also spoke of the art of making music, and encouraged students to remember that it’s serious and beautiful—but that it is also very fun. This rang particularly true for IAA senior Sara Han, who was the first student to stand up and play a piece for Yeh in the master class.

“I learned so much—not only from the master class but also from the recital,” she said. “He was so free on stage, enjoying everything—the atmosphere, the music. A lot of times students like me get really nervous and forget about the music-making. Seeing him (having fun while playing) was refreshing. That’s just going to be in my head forever.”

Master classes for music students

  • Laura Oltman and Michael Newman give a guitar master class.

  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra first clarinetist John Bruce Yeh with clarinet students after his master class.

December 11, 2015

A series of world-renowed guests gave master classes and performed with and for students: Laura Ohltman and Michael Newman, guitar; Julian Lage, guitar; John Bruce Yeh, clarinet; Jean-Baptiste Leclere and NanaFormosa, percussion; and more! See photos from some of the recent master classes in the link below.

Concerto Competition winners

November 9, 2015

Thank you to all who were involved with this year’s Concerto Competition. The judges were impressed with all of the finalists who performed on Saturday. Congratulations to the winners: Mei Stone, flute; Shihao Zhu, clarinet; Tianlu Jerry Xu, cello; Ailun Zheng, piano.

Winners will perform on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 7:30pm in Corson Auditorium.

Piano, trumpet and percussion guest artists

  • Adam Sliwinski (front) performs with So Percussion. Sliwinski will be at Interlochen Center for the Arts on Nov. 11.

November 9, 2015

More guest artists in Music Division

SHUAI WANG - PIANO : Pianist Shuai Wang will be performing a recital on Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 3-4:25 p.m. in the Dendrinos Chapel. Wang is currently a faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Cleveland State University. She joined Interlochen Arts Camp as the piano faculty in 2015. Dr. Shuai Sophia Wang is an accomplished soloist and chamber musician. She has given numerous solo and chamber concerts throughout the United States, China and Europe. Wang is a native of Tianjin, China. She came to the United States at age fourteen to study piano at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan.

ROY POPER - TRUMPET: Associate Professor of Trumpet at the Oberlin Conservatory, Roy Poper will be giving a master class on Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 4:10-6 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building. Roy Poper has for more than 30 years maintained an active performing career of a breadth rare among musicians. His engagements span every facet of trumpet performance including symphonic principal player (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and L.A. Opera), film studio work (over 500 major motion pictures), chamber music (founding member, The Modern Brass Quintet), and "popular" genres including jazz ensembles, Broadway shows, and even recordings with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

ADAM SLIWINSKI - PERCUSSION: Percussionist Adam Sliwinski will be giving a master class on Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 3-5 p.m. in the Frohlich Building room 2210. Adam is co-director of the So Percussion Summer Institute, an annual intensive course on the campus of Princeton University for college-age percussionists. He is also co-director of the percussion program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and has taught percussion both in masterclass and privately at more than 80 conservatories and universities in the USA and internationally. Along with his colleagues in So Percussion, Adam is Edward T. Cone performer-in-residence at Princeton University.

Guest artists in Music division

November 6, 2015

Music students were treated to some guests artists prior to the concerto competition

JAMES BUSWELL - VIOLIN: Violinist James Buswell will be holding a master class on Friday, Nov. 6 from 7-9 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building. Currently a faculty member at the New England Conservatory of Music. Active as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, conductor and educator, James Buswell is one of the most versatile musicians performing today. He has appeared with virtually all of the major orchestras in the United States and Canada, as well as with orchestras in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.

STEPHEN WILLIAMSON - CLARINET: Clarinetist Stephen Williamson will be holding a master class on Friday, Nov. 6 from 7-9 p.m. in the Frohlich Building room 2230. Mr. Williamson is currently on the faculty of DePaul University in Chicago, IL and is the principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. An avid soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Williamson has performed extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia. He has collaborated with such artists as: Yo-Yo Ma, Jeffrey Kahane, Anne Marie McDermott, Emanuel Ax, Meliora Winds, Aspen, Dorian and Sylvan Wind Quintets; Brentano, American, Jasper and Dover String Quartets.

JEROME LOWENTHAL - PIANO: Pianist Jerome Lowenthal will hold a master class on Friday, Nov. 6 from 7-9 p.m. in the Dendrinos Chapel. Jerome Lowenthal is a professor of piano at the Juilliard School in New York since 1991, where he was also chair of the piano department. Additionally, Lowenthal is on the faculty at Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California since 1970. He is recognized as a specialist of Franz Liszt, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Béla Bartók, and more generally of virtuoso and late romantic music. His recordings include piano concertos by F. Liszt with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the complete Tchaikovsky concerto cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra. 

Interlochen Percussion Ensemble

October 11, 2015

The Percussion ensemble will perform its first concert with newly appointed percussion director, Keith Aleo, on Thursday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m.

Repertoire includes a masterwork for percussion ensemble by Baljinder Sekhon titled Refuge. This piece incorporates a huge percussion setup as well as several extended techniques for percussion. (See Keith Aleo's Facebook to see the effects used in Refuge as well as a guessing game for all the pieces on the concert.)

The program also includes the rarely performed Sextet by Casey Cangelosi. An exciting and invigorating opener!

The students will take a "Coffee Break" between pieces to perform Mark and Ewelina Bernacka's Coffee Break. The piece uses coffee cups as instruments throughout! (Coffee Break was also featured in “Academy Collage.”)

Aleo says of his newly appointed role as director of percussion: “It is my distinct pleasure and honor to take over at Interlochen for my former teacher, Mr. John Alfieri. John has been an inspiration to me and SO MANY other percussionists around the world. His 30-plus years as the director of percussion at the Interlochen Arts Academy is a testament to his devotion to percussion education.”

Music students see a wave of special guests this fall

  • An Interlochen Arts Academy music student practices on the organ in Dendrinos Chapel.

  • Academy choir students rehearse at Interlochen Arts Academy.

  • Interlochen Arts Academy music student Adrian Binkley won first prize in the high school division at the Albert Schweitzer International Organ Competition and Festival on Sept. 12 in Wethersfield, Conn.

October 9, 2015

Music has been busy this fall at Interlochen Arts Academy. Check out some of the notable artists who have come to spend time with the students so far.

Master classes  



  • Adrian Binkley - First prize and hymn playing award - Albert Schweitzer International Organ Competition and Festival

Creativity Education

Kedrik Merwin
May 18, 2015

Ireland International Conference on Education

This month, I presented, along with Director of Comparative Arts Nicola Conraths Lange, at the Ireland International Conference on Education.  We spoke about creativity and collaboration. The workshop guided participants on how to develop a creative idea (Creative Output, Idea Fluency, Idea Flexibility, Idea Originality) and gradually moved towards collaborative philosophies such as those we use in our classrooms at Interlochen.  We believe that arts educators must embrace a broad and exciting vision for the development of twenty-first century learning through a process we call Creativity Education.  We focused on the importance of striving to be compelling, to be relevant to the world around us, and pushing the boundaries of our own sense of the possible.  It was enlightening to work with educators from around the world and to have the opportunity to share a bit of the amazing work that is happening at Interlochen every day.

Subbing in The Chicago Symphony

Emil Khudyev
May 18, 2015

On Friday, April 10, I received a call from the personal manager of Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) who asked me if I could sub for John Yeh, their assistant principal/E-flat clarinetist, for the concert on April 21. I was able to attend one rehearsal session before the performance at the Chicago Symphony Center. The concert consisted of Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1.

As soon as I sat in my seat for the rehearsal, I saw the original E-flat clarinet part of the Shostakovich from Georg Solti on my stand. This really inspired me because I grew up listening to him conduct the CSO. When we began playing, I was blown away by the wind and brass sections, especially the principal clarinetist Stephen Williamson. Performing with that group of musicians, every note, every phrase, everything had meaning.  Every single person cares about every single note to make beautiful music together. I think this is what makes musicians and audiences appreciate what we do.

At the performance, I was happy to see my wife in the audience. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see Tophir Kolby, one of our current trombone students at Interlochen Arts Academy, who congratulated me after the concert. He had a college audition and his flight back to Traverse City got canceled, so he came to the concert. You never know who is in the audience!

The Culmination of the eighth blackbird collaboration

Tom Bara
April 10, 2015

Our partnership with eighth blackbird culminated in a noteworthy final performance April 9. The eighth blackbird ensemble, along with the music, dance, theatre, creative writing, and motion picture arts departments, collaborated to create the interdisciplinary work, "Everywhere, There is Somewhere."  This concert was the result of a semester long collaborative and creative process generated by the students with ideas and input from eighth blackbird percussionist and Academy alumnus, Matthew Duvall, and faculty members Kedrik Merwin, Matthew Lindstrom, Gulshirin Dubash and Clyde Sheets.  A new class hour, dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration, allowed for this project to take root. Congratulations to all the students and faculty and the musicians of eighth blackbird for the an innovative and thought-provoking performance.  

Congrats to Frank Huang

Tom Bara
April 8, 2015

Frank Huang a member of our summer faculty for the last two years has been appointed concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic starting September 2015. Currently concertmaster of the Houston Symphony, Mr. Huang is also an accomplished chamber musician, and serves on the faculty at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the University of Houston. You can read the official announcement on the New York Philharmonic website. 

Welcoming our Musical Partners from Shanghai

Tom Bara
April 6, 2015

We just completed our latest exchange with the Shanghai Conservatory School. From March 29 through April 3rd, we hosted six brass students and four faculty members at Interlochen. This visit culminated in a concert featuring students from both schools playing together. A special thank you to Tom Riccobono and Ken Larson for their help pulling the concert together. Our Chinese ESL students helped with translation for the program so that all of the selections and performers were listed in English and Chinese. In preparation for this visit, teachers from our two schools gave long distance lessons through our Tandberg video conferencing system.  

Michael Thurber Master Class

March 12, 2015

Composer, performer and Interlochen alumnus Michael Thurber is here on campus for Friday's recording of "From the Top." An incredibly versatile musician, Thurber was the first undergraduate to be accepted into both the classical and jazz divisions of The Juilliard School. He composed a new piece that will be premiered during the "From the Top" recording in Corson Auditorium. His career path is far from traditional, but he is a great example of a new breed of professional musician who has thrived in the rapidly shifting music industry. 

He spoke with students on Wednesday, and was joined by his colleagues Charles Yang, Kris Bowers and Mark Dover, who will be featured in the premiere performance of his new piece, "The Three Musketeers." 

Master Class with Rene Marie

Kedrik Merwin
March 10, 2015

Critically acclaimed and Grammy-nominated jazz singer René Marie visited Interlochen this week to perform and work with students. Along with members of her band, she spoke with students about artistry and choosing a career in music. Her band included Elias Bailey on bass, Dawn Clemente on piano and Quentin Baxter on drums. They all shared their own advice and offered their own perspectives on performing.     



Sabbatical Faculty News for Low Brass

  • Matthew Lyon (Left) and Jonathan Lombardo (Right) will join the faculty during Tom Riccobono's sabbatical semester. 

Kedrik Merwin
March 1, 2015
As we announced previously, Interlochen’s instructor of low brass, Tom Riccobono will be taking a one-semester sabbatical in the spring of 2016 to study arts leadership and work on an Inter*mester course. I am very pleased to announce that we have found two outstanding musician and teachers who will “hold down the fort” while Tom is working on this great project: Jonathan Lombardo and Matthew Lyon. 
Jonathan Lombardo is the principal trombone with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he has held since 2004. He studied with Thomas Riccobono from 1996-1999 before earning his bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School in 2003, where he studied with Joseph Alessi and Per Brevig. As a soloist, Jonathan has performed recitals in Europe and throughout the United States. His performance of Nina Rota’s Concerto for Trombone with the Juilliard Orchestra was featured several times on NPR’s “Performance Today.”  
Matthew Lyon is the assistant professor of tuba and euphonium at Ball State University. Also an alumnus of Interlochen Arts Academy, Matthew earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his master’s from DePaul University. He was principal tubist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for two seasons and has substituted with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and several others. In 2012, he was chosen as a guest artist for the International Tuba/Euphonium Conference in Austria and the Army Band Tuba/Euphonium Conference in Washington D.C. He has studied with Floyd Cooley, Gene Pokorny, Warren Deck, Wesley Jacobs, and Fritz Kaenzig.
We’re excited to work with these two fine musicians next fall and looking forward to Tom’s Inter*mester course! 

Four Academy Musicians Headed to the National Youth Symphony

Kedrik Merwin
February 16, 2015

[Updated: February 18, 2015, 2:45 p.m.]

I am pleased to share some exciting news: two four Academy students have been selected to perform in the National Youth Orchestra. Aaron Albert will join this excellent orchestra on bass trombone;  Sara Han will perform on clarinet; Corbin Krebs will perform on bassoon; and Mei Stone will perform on flute. 

Now in its third year, the National Youth Orchestra has included a strong Interlochen contingent in each of its seasons. Dozens of camp alumni have also filled the ranks of this new ensemble. This summer, the group will give seven concerts across China.

Best wishes to for safe travels, exciting experiences, and amazing performances! 

Musical Guests in February

Kedrik Merwin
February 3, 2015
As I look at the calendar month of  February, I am reminded what a special place the Academy is. We've just had a chance to work closely with the Grammy-winning artists, eighth blackbird. And our month is full of exciting opportunties ahead.
  • Wednesday, Feb 4 - Nancy Dahn, violin, and Tim Steves on piano. Each will have a master class and give a recital
  • Friday, 6 - Holly Wren Spaulding will work with Singer-Songwriters
  • Wednesday, 11 - Jermey Kittel, violin, will lead string workshop
  • Wednesday, 11 - Michael Ouzounian, viola
  • Wednesday, 11 - Robyn Avalon, will lead an Alexander Technique class with oboe students
  • Wednesday, 18 - Ben Lulich, clarinet master class  
  • Saturday, 21 - Yana Reznik piano recital
  • Monday, 23 - Carl Broemel will have a skype session with Singer-Songwriter students
  • Wednesday, 25 - Yiangyu "Joe" Zhou will give a clarinet master class 
Perhaps the most amazing part of this schedule is that it is "business as usual" at the Academy. The students here have so many opportunities to ineract with the best and brightest musicans out there!

Welcoming eighth blackbird to campus

Kedrik Merwin
January 12, 2015

After several months of planning, the eighth blackbird collaboration is officially under way. The Grammy-winning group of musicians coached our students as they started rehearsing for their own performances. Tonight, we'll have a chance to hear the contemporary chamber music sextet perform in Corson Auditorium.

Their visit this January is just the beginning of a artistic partnership that will extend through most of the second semester. During this first visit, the musicians of eighth blackbird will start the collaborative and creative process, not just with music students, but with writers, filmmakers, dancers and visual artists. Even after they leave campus, our students will continue to develop new performances and art with the members of eighth blackbird. In April, the group will return to campus to make all those plans a reality, in a final performance on April 9.

There are many reasons to be excited by this collaboration but I am especially pleased to have such marvelous professional role models on our campus. Not only are they accomplished musicians, they have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to connecting to new audiences - and they've embraced the idea that they can be their own artistic directors, developing their own concepts and style. They have also been tireless champions of new music.

It is going to be an exciting spring semester.

P.S. I should also point out that Matthew Duvall, the group's percussionist is an Academy alumnus! 

YoungArts Awards

December 11, 2014
Congratulations to the 22 music students who received recognition from YoungArts this fall! Students who were recognized as finalists will be invited to attend National YoungArts Week in January. From all the finalists across the country, twenty will be selected as Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the nation’s highest honor for young artists.  
Sasha Bult-Ito, Finalist, Piano
Seong Hwan Lee, Finalist, Classical Music Composition
Ava Suppelsa, Finalist, Singer-Songwriter
Honorable Mention
Lucian Avalon, Honorable Mention, Oboe
Hannah Criswell, Honorable Mention, Flute
Morgan Davison, Honorable Mention, Bassoon
Madison Douglas, Honorable Mention, Singer-Songwriter
Kelly Haines, Honorable Mention, Bassoon
Sara Han, Honorable Mention, Clarinet
Leo Taylor, Honorable Mention, Percussion
Taiga Ultan, Honorable Mention, Flute
Aliya Ultan, Honorable Mention, Classical Music Composition
Carolyn Anderson, Merit, Soprano
Christopher Colby, Merit, Trombone
Julian Fueyo, Merit, Classical Music Composition
Jeremy Hassell, Merit, Piano
Alyssa Katahara, Merit, Harp
Olivia Lerwick, Merit, Soprano
Thomas Litchev, Merit, Bass
Elizabeth Moss, Merit, Soprano
Elisabeth Pesavento, Merit, French Horn
Mason Sangster, Merit, Clarinet


A Collaboration with Dance

  • Orchestra musicians rehearse in the pit of Corson Auditorium. 

  • Orchestra musicians rehearse in the pit of Corson Auditorium. 

Kedrik Merwin
December 10, 2014

The orchestra has been rehearsing diligently for its exciting collaboration with the Arts Academy Dance Company’s performance of “Sleeping Beauty.” This classic Russian ballet, sharing the tale of Princess Aurora and the curse bestowed on her by a wicked fairy, is a purely captivating performance. From beautiful choreography to the wonderful music of Tchaikovsky, this is a wonderful opportunity for music students to experience a collaborative performance with a different discipline. 

Learning a Great Instrument: Inside and Out

Kedrik Merwin
December 1, 2014

Students taking a class piano course this semester had a chance to enjoy a great demonstration by Interlochen's own master piano technician. By exploring the inner workings of the piano, they learned how the mechanics of its sound and construction come together. They also enjoyed learning and experimenting with its predecessor, the harpsichord. Yet another great example of an on-campus field trip. 

Tone to Table

Kedrik Merwin
November 17, 2014

A local chef has partnered with the Wind Ensemble to pair food with music selections. 

Pairing food with wine is a time-honored tradition. Great restaurants also pair atmosphere with food. But what about pairing music with food? Can food enhance a musical experience? Or vice versa? 

This week, our wind ensemble is taking part in a musical experiment with local chef, Jonathan Dayton, of Black Star Farms. The chef is pairing food to go with with Matthew Schlomer's musical choices. The sold-out performance / dinner takes place on Thursday, November 20th at Kirkride Hall, in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. 

If you'd like to learn more about this exciting event, check out this wonderful story by Interlochen Public Radio.  

Celli in the Woods

Kedrik Merwin
October 17, 2014

Flashback to just a few weeks ago when the trees here at Interlochen were still full of bright green leaves. These cello students took advantage of a beautiful, warm day and had their studio time outside.  This is just one of the great ways to take advantage of our beautiful surroundings. What better way practice and get some sunshine!

It's a Hoedown!

Kedrik Merwin
October 17, 2014

It was wonderful to have so many devoted parents and family members here for our annual Parents Weekend! All of our students did a fantastic job in their performance of “Collage.” It was fun to see the orchestra stepping out of their coats and tails and into some Western attire in honor of their performance from “Hoe Down” by Aaron Copland.

Orchestra Update

Kedrik Merwin
October 2, 2014
An Early Musical Halloween

The Orchestra is already hard at work preparing for the its October 25 concert, a Halloween-themed event featuring Saint-Saens Danse Macabre and Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique. 

Welcome to our New Faculty Members

Kedrik Merwin
September 10, 2014

As we start off the new school year, I’d like to extend another welcome to our new faculty members and share a little more information about their backgrounds. We are incredibly fortunate to attract such fine teachers - who are drawn here by the incredible students, the collaborative environment and performance opportunities. 

Dr. Laura Brown joins our voice faculty and the opera workshop at the Academy. She comes to Interlochen from the Eastman School of Music where she recently completed her D.M.A. in Voice Performance and Literature. 

Our new instructor of clarinet is Emil Khudyev, who has been serving as an acting Associate Principal Clarinet and second clarinet and Eb clarinet, with the Kansas City Symphony. Emil has an extensive orchestral background and is an active chamber musician. 

We are also pleased to welcome Ara Sarkissian as our new instructor of violin. Ara will be a familiar face to many, since he has taught at Interlochen Arts Camp for seven years and will be coming to us from the University of Memphis, Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, where he has served as instructor of violin and member of the Ceruti Quartet in an interim position for the past year. He is currently completing his D.M.A. in violin performance from SUNY Stony Brook and earned his graduate and undergraduate degrees front the New England Conservatory. 

Lastly, welcome to Corbin Wagner, our new instructor of horn who brings a wealth of experience and achievement to the position. He has performed for 34 years with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and was the Associate Professor of Horn at Michigan State University. 

I am looking forward to a great year ahead with many new musical projects and collaborations!