This last summer I attended the Meadowmount School of Music in Westport, New York. Known as the musical “boot camp” of America, Meadowmount is a rigorous 7-week long intensive for top-quality string players and pianists from around the world. Meadowmount was founded in 1944 by the famous violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian. Alumni from Meadowmount include Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Joshua Bell, James Ehnes, and Yo-Yo Ma among many others.
At Meadowmount, I had the wonderful opportunity to study with Amy Barlowe, (BM, MM Juilliard) who studied with Ivan Galamian and Margaret Pardee and has taught at Meadowmount since she was 17 years old. I learned so much and improved immensely. I came home with a much more relaxed bow arm, much better sound, and a hugely improved bow hand.
Every day (Monday through Saturday) there was a 4-hour practice period from 8:30-12:30, and the afternoons were filled with quartet rehearsals, private lessons, masterclasses, studio classes, seminars, and another hour of private practice from 5-6p. On Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday evenings, there were always recitals performed by the chosen top students. It seemed as if every single student in my dorm attended Juilliard pre-college, and the person in the room next to me is studying with Itzhak Perlman! There also seemed to be many students from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. I also became more familiar with works that I didn’t know very well before, including the Glazunov and Conus Concerti.
I met a 9-year old violinist who attends the Curtis Institute of Music. He asked me if I had learned any of the Paganini Caprices yet. I said, “Not yet, have you?” “Oh, I’ve done 1, 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, and 24!” Kind of discouraging and inspiring all at the same time! I also had the opportunity to talk to Joseph Silverstein, James Ehnes, and Lynn Harrell, who were guest artists at Meadowmount.
Sunday mornings were free time when we could choose hiking, church or other activities. I attended church a few times, and hikes at other times. One time I went on a sunrise hike, waking up at 3:30am and leaving at 4pm. It was beautiful to see the sun rising over the Adirondack Mountains. Sometimes on Sunday afternoons, guest artists gave master classes or seminars. It was also a great time to fit in another quartet rehearsal.
Meadowmount was so inspiring because I was continually being pushed to do my best by many outstanding young musicians. I am looking forward to returning to Meadowmount this summer, and am working very hard to raise the money to get there! The following are 2 links to outstanding performances given at Meadowmount last year:
Ysaye Ballade performed by violinist Tianjie Lu:
Popper Elfentanz, op. 39 (for cello), performed by Zhihao Wu: