This past summer I attended the Meadowmount School of Music for my third year in a row. Meadowmount is a 7-week-long rigorous summer training program for string players and pianists in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Founded in 1924 by the great violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian, Meadowmount has trained the likes of Itzhak Perlman, Pincas Zukerman, Joshua Bell, James Ehnes, Jamie Laredo, Michal Rabin, and Yo-Yo Ma among many others.
This being my third summer at Meadowomount, I was able to smoothly (and joyfully) adapt to the intensive lesson, coaching, and rehearsal schedule, and 5-plus hours of daily independent practice. Sadly, my teacher from my first two summers, Amy Barlowe, retired from Meadowmount at the conclusion of the summer of 2013, so I had to decide with whom to study this year. I chose and was accepted by Gerardo Ribeiro of Northwestern University. He proved to be an extremely demanding and exacting teacher. He immediately imposed upon me a daily practice routine which included Galamian scales and arpeggios, Shradieck, Flesch and Sevcik double-stops, Sevcik op. 8 shifting exercises, vibrato exercises, bowing and sounding point exercises, Kreutzer AND Rodé, in addition to the Bach G minor Fugue and getting started on the Mendelssohn Concerto. We worked on several major techniques. First, shifting my expressive focus from the left hand to the bow arm, and getting more core to my sound by utilizing gravity. We also worked on developing a more relaxed bow arm, and really explored the paradoxical fact that more sound is produced by less effort. In the left hand, we worked on developing a continuous vibrato and keeping the line going always. We also worked on the connection between each note and the inspiration behind the notes. In addition to two private lessons per week, I had lessons with Ivan Zenaty of the Cleveland Institute (CIM), and Richard Roberts and Marianne Dugal of the Montréal Symphony.
I was very excited to learn that I was first violin in my chamber group! This provided excellent grounds to work on leadership. We worked on the Shubert Cello Quintet. Our two cellists came from Juilliard Pre-College and Northwestern University, so we had a very good group.
The great thing about Meadowmount is that you are inspired by not only the amazing level of teaching and the history of the place, but also by the extraordinarily high level of playing by students. Most of the students are already in conservatory or pre-college. The person in the room next to me was a previous winner of the Cooper International Violin Competition, and a winner of the Menuhin Competition was in my dorm as well. I was astounded to meet a violinist who has been playing violin for only 3 years, and who has already been accepted to Meadowmount and is working on the Tchaikovsky Concerto!! One highlight of the summer was a performance of the Brahms B major Piano Trio with Mr. Ribeiro, Eric Larsen, and guest artist Lynn Harrell.
Many people ask what the schedule is like at Meadowmount. I have included a few excerpts from my Meadowmount journal if you would like to have some more insights as to life at Meadowmount (see here). I think I came out of this summer with a much stronger bow arm, more variety of vibrato, and a much more mature artistic sense. Thank you Meadowmount for another productive, meaningful, epic, and inspiring summer!
For the past several years I have been raising funds for my Meadowmount tuition, through a combination of busking at the Saturday Market and through various scholarship competitions. This last year I was a very grateful recipient of several generous scholarships, including the Mary Tooze Special Projects Award, the Monday Musical Club of Portland, Meadowmount, and OR-ASTA. Were it not for these awards, I would not have been able to attend Meadowmount this year, as the Spring weather did not cooperate with busking. Thank you all for making it possible, and for all you do to support young musicians!