A day-long series of concerts at the Eastman School of Music will highlight the opportunities and advantages for musicians of all ages and skill levels to perform or play together.
The recitals, which start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22, mark the International Day of Collaborative Music, part of a year-long project by the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) to promote collaborative music making around the world.
Locally, audiences will have opportunities to see and hear Eastman School faculty and students as well as Eastman musicians who usually don’t appear on stage, such as staff, administrators, and academic faculty members. Held throughout the day in several venues at Eastman, including the newly-opened Hatch Recital Hall, the performances are free and open to the public.
Coordinating the Eastman events is Jean Barr, professor and director of the School’s piano accompanying and chamber music degree program. Barr also serves on the MTNA’s steering committee for the organization’s Year of Collaborative Music project. Barr’s own collaborative musical experience, starting as an accompanist in kindergarten and including chamber music evenings at home, have made her a passionate advocate for musical collaborations.
“Everyone can be involved in and enjoy making music together,” said Barr. “It can be done by all ages and all levels of accomplishment, and in different locations, including at home. That kind of collaborative experience can be with us from the time we start studying instruments until we retire; it can provide joy for a lifetime.”
Barr has written about the benefits of music collaborations, noting that students “find themselves excited about making music with others, sharing ideas, and working out interpretations together.” The collaborative experience also sharpens listening skills and exposes participants to a breadth of repertoire, she said.
Barr is considered by many to be a pioneer in her field. The first keyboard artist in the United States to receive a doctoral degree in accompanying, she has performed with many distinguished artists, including cellists Pierre Fournier and Mstislav Rostropovich, as well as with such ensembles as the Ying Quartet and the Cleveland Quartet. At the outset of her career, she was accompanist for the master classes of violinist Jascha Heifetz, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, violist William Primrose, and singer Martial Singher. She is the recipient of the MTNA’s Achievement Award, the Eastman School’s Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the University of Rochester’s Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award.
Collaborative Music Celebrations and Local Concerts
Numerous organizations and schools around the world have signed on to celebrate the Year of Collaborative Music, including the Eastman School of Music, the Accompanists’ Guild of South Australia, the American Guild of Organists, the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations, the College Music Society, the International Society of Bassists, the National Association of Music Merchants, the Piano Manufacturers Association International, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and many more.
The International Day of Collaborative Music on Jan. 22 is being celebrated with simultaneous events ranging from a youth concerto competition sponsored by the Music Teachers Association in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and chamber music programs at the University of Texas at Brownsville, to a piano ensembles concert at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, and a showcase by elementary and high school students who study with Wayne County Music Teachers in Wooster, Ohio.
At the Eastman School of Music, the schedule of performances is:
- 10 a.m. to Noon: Eastman staff and administration, Hatch Recital Hall
- 11 a.m.: Morning Chamber Music, Kilbourn Hall
- Noon to 1 p.m.: Organ department, Schmitt Organ Hall
- 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.: Musicology department, Hatch Recital Hall
- 1 to 3 p.m.: Woodwinds/Brass/Percussion department, Hatch Recital Hall
- 1 to 3 p.m.: Eastman Community Music School, Kilbourn Hall
- 3 to 5 p.m.: Voice and opera department, Hatch Recital Hall
- 4 p.m.: Jazz Studies department, Kilbourn Hall
- 7 to 9 p.m.: Piano department, Hatch Recital Hall
- 8 to 10 p.m.: Strings/harp/guitar department, Kilbourn Hall
- 9:15 p.m.: Voice and opera department, “The TRUE Story of Cinderella” (12 singers with narration and piano), Hatch Recital Hall. A 50-minute comedy-opera incorporating the traditional story of Cinderella with added characters and plot twists.
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