classical music – Russ Johnson Music http://russjohnsonmusic.com/ Fri, 01 Apr 2022 11:11:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-7.png classical music – Russ Johnson Music http://russjohnsonmusic.com/ 32 32 Violinist Ezinma launches nonprofit to make music education accessible https://russjohnsonmusic.com/violinist-ezinma-launches-nonprofit-to-make-music-education-accessible/ Wed, 09 Mar 2022 20:34:26 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/violinist-ezinma-launches-nonprofit-to-make-music-education-accessible/ Ffrom the streets of New York to the Coachella stage alongside the singer Beyonceviolinist Ezinma used his artistry to change the narrative around representation in classical music. The Nebraska native introduces young people from underrepresented groups to the art form through the creation of her Strings by Heart Foundation, ABC7 reported. The classical music genre […]]]>

Ffrom the streets of New York to the Coachella stage alongside the singer Beyonceviolinist Ezinma used his artistry to change the narrative around representation in classical music. The Nebraska native introduces young people from underrepresented groups to the art form through the creation of her Strings by Heart Foundation, ABC7 reported.

The classical music genre has always been dominated by white men. Research shows that less than 2% of instrumentalists in American orchestras are black. For Ezinma, a classically trained musician who has collaborated with artists like Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar and SZA—his journey in the industry is deeper than the music. With every performance, viral video and chord, the artist – whose work sits at the intersection of classical and hip-hop – strives to inspire individuals who don’t often see themselves reflected in space to challenge the status quo and follow their dreams.

She recently launched Strings by Heart; an organization designed to make music education accessible to young people in underserved communities. Through the non-profit organization, young people will have the opportunity to participate in music lessons led by accomplished educators, attend cultural events that will broaden their perspectives, and have access to quality instruments and supplies. . The program was created to use music as a vehicle to teach young people lessons they can apply in other areas of their lives.

Ezinma says her own coming-of-age experiences inspired her to start the foundation. “I remember the isolation I felt as the only black person in the orchestra, sometimes discouraged by my teachers from pursuing my dreams,” she shared in a statement, according to the outlet. “Yet the statistics clearly show that music education plays a vital role in helping children and young adults get on the path to achieving their goals, improving self-esteem and more. children of all backgrounds and communities deserve the chance to experience the joy of classical music and feel like they belong in this world, and what better genre than hip-hop to introduce young minds to the vast potential classical music?” She recently stopped by local Harlem schools to encourage children to join the program.

Although studies have shown that music programs are linked to better academic results, arts education initiatives are often suppressed or non-existent in underfunded schools; illustrating the need for programs like Strings by Heart.

SEE ALSO:

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Alicia Keys publishes a graphic novel centered on a black superheroine from Brooklyn

10 photographs

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Bienen School of Music Music Education Program https://russjohnsonmusic.com/bienen-school-of-music-music-education-program/ Wed, 23 Feb 2022 06:36:28 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/bienen-school-of-music-music-education-program/ Podcast (nu-declassified): Listen in a new window | To download Subscribe: Spotify | Whether a student is in primary or secondary school, music teachers can transform children’s lives. This episode of NU Declassified takes a look at what the Bienen School of Music’s music education major is and the opportunities it presents for future music […]]]>

Whether a student is in primary or secondary school, music teachers can transform children’s lives. This episode of NU Declassified takes a look at what the Bienen School of Music’s music education major is and the opportunities it presents for future music teachers.

[music, Violin Concerto Vo. 2 in d minor by Henryk Wieniawski, performed by by Felix Garkisch on violin]

FELIX GARKISCH: People have this stereotype of a music major. It’s like, “Oh, they don’t have to do much. All they have to do is practice their instrument or they don’t have to do any real work,” which I think is right — totally, completely wrong.

ERICA SCHMITT: It was Felix Garkisch, a freshman in the music education program at the Bienen School of Music. Félix’s main instrument is the violin.

[music, Violin Concerto Vo. 2 in d minor by Henryk Wieniawski, performed by by Felix Garkisch on violin]

ERICA SCHMITT: While some Bienen students plan to play their instrument professionally, others, like Felix, strive to become teachers themselves.

ERICA SCHMITT: From the Daily Northwestern, I’m Erica Schmitt. This is NU Declassified, a look at how the Wildcats thrive and survive in Northwestern. I don’t know much about Bienen, but I always thought music was a really cool field to study at university. So, in this episode, I spoke to students and faculty in the music education program about the unique opportunities and challenges of the major. Felix said the music education major is slightly different from other Bienen majors.

FELIX GARKISCH: We have a lot of courses that we have to take by the time we graduate not only for our teaching students but also to get our teaching license. So it’s like all the other music majors. I would say that our courses are more academic, in general. There are certainly other practical or performance-based courses, like the various methods courses that I have to take.

ERICA SCHMITT: Risha Hussain is a freshman pursuing a dual degree in Music Education and Chemistry. One of the first classes she took in the music education program was Music Education 260-0, or Introduction to Music Education.

RISHA HUSSAIN: We will visit many middle schools, high schools and elementary schools in Chicago, and observe the teachers and their different styles. Teachers who are more active, teachers who let the children take the lead more, and we write a lot of observational reports and we discuss in class.

ERICA SCHMITT: Risha said she learned a lot about different teaching styles in her class.

RISHA HUSSAIN: In terms of teaching, we talk a lot about the types of teachers there are, so we’ll be playing with teachers who let the students do whatever they want. We call it a musical playground. So you don’t leave anything forbidden, like you sit on the floor with your children, if they are sitting on a carpet instead of standing on top of them. As body language is something we talked about a lot.

ERICA SCHMITT: Felix said he liked the small classes in the music education program.

FELIX GARKISCH: Most of my teachers are really, really, really approachable. And that also means that even during class, they can see what your progress looks like, so even if you’re late or something, they can really, really, really easily help you out.

ERICA SCHMITT: For Risha, the program’s small size creates a sense of community and cohesiveness.

RISHA HUSSAIN: I feel like my teachers actually know me, which I guess feels a bit more like high school, at least for the standard high school experience where you have these consistent teachers. Like, if I take theory for two years, and it’s like I have this little tight-knit group of people because you usually take the same amount of time. And it’s as if you were part of the same group. And so you get to make a friend, and you feel comfortable around everyone. And then you don’t feel weird asking questions and stuff like that. It’s really nice to sit in there.

ERICA SCHMITT: In these classes, students must learn many different instruments as well as vocal and musical composition in order to prepare for the teaching environment. But on top of that, students also specialize in a specific instrument – ​​or voice.

RISHA HUSSAIN: So we have to take classes like percussion and strings and woodwinds to get used to the music that might be taught in an elementary school. And then you come into your concentration later.

ERICA SCHMITT: The music education program also offers three different paths for students to choose from: General Music Education, Instrumental Music Education, and Choral Music Education. Felix said the general track prepares students to –

FELIX GARKISCH: Entering an elementary or middle school class (and) teaching a music class.

ERICA SCHMITT: Félix pursues the instrumental music track.

FELIX GARKISH: This usually involves a band or orchestra, but it can extend to other things as well. Like, I know, some music teachers who run guitar lessons or also like music production lessons. So it’s not like the traditional stuff. There are so many things, it’s so open. And it’s really like, I can shape it however I want, which I think is really cool.

ERICA SCHMITT: Risha is on the choir track.

RISHA HUSSAIN: The person who had the most impact on me was my choirmaster. And just kind of watching her watch all these kids grow up and teach and use music as a vehicle to not only talk about you know, music is pretty, but it can be a vehicle to inform a wider audience about things like social justice, and it can bring awareness to many things.

ERICA SCHMITT: Like Risha, Felix said he –

FELIX GARKISCH: Really, really admired my high school music teacher. And the experience I had in that class made me think, “Okay, I want to be able to give this to my own students one day.” So music education seems like the right choice for me.

[music]

ERICA SCHMITT: All music education majors must participate in a student teaching program, where they often work with certified Northwestern teachers. Each student works with two mentors during their teaching. To find out more about this, I spoke with Professor Stevi Marks, the student-teacher and assessment coordinator at Bienen.

STEVI BRANDS: So, to get a license in the state of Illinois, you must have completed all levels of prerequisite training. So that means let’s say, Erica, you came to me and said, “Man, I’m really interested, I want a high school experience.” But I love elementary kids, I’d like to be, you know, run an elementary program where I first introduce the kids to the instruments and then maybe rehearse them in middle school and then have an experience in high school. So I would be looking for something like that.

ERICA SCHMITT: Teacher mentors guide education majors through the teaching process in a hands-on environment. Marks said she matches students with mentors based on a variety of factors, asking questions like –

STEVI BRANDS: Who can we match you with that will work well for you? And do you have a car or do you rely on public transport? What kind of experiences do you want? Do you want a marching band? Do you want a mariachi? Do you want to work with a show choir or do you want to help direct the musical? We try to match our students with a position that will benefit them and really, really take them to another level as a teacher.

ERICA SCHMITT: Felix said he had a student teacher for his high school music program.

FELIX GARKISCH: I remember she was a music education student in the North West and she was a phenomenal teacher.

ERICA SCHMITT: Although the music education program is full of opportunities, it can be a heavy workload. For some dual degree students, the program can last five years.

RISHA HUSSAIN: I think mine is a bit heavier, because I have a four-year plan instead of a five-year plan but I’m, I was at 5.8 units right now. And the rest of my plan is around 6.3 to 6.8 units per quarter. And most of it is Bienen.

ERICA SCHMITT: Marks said the program has made some changes to its curriculum over the past few years to ease the workload for students.

STEVI BRANDS: We know that music education students have to take more credits than I think almost anyone across the University. So we were looking for ways to consolidate some of these courses. And so I incorporated some of the technical things about singing into my choral methods course, which all students have to take.

ERICA SCHMITT: I asked Félix about his experience with the workload in music education classes.

FELIX GARKISCH: I mean, I love them. But they are designed to be difficult. And I appreciate that. It’s not like you can browse them all, you have to put in the effort to get a quality product out of it.

ERICA SCHMITT: Marks said that ultimately her goal is to motivate students to remain passionate about teaching students as she always has been.

STEVI BRANDS: Music education offers every child the opportunity to express themselves in a way that they will not find in any other discipline. And so that’s the most valid pursuit. And we need great music teachers and I’m proud to serve in that capacity. It scares me, Erica, it’s a big responsibility. These fabulous young adults are going to come out and they’re going to have their own classroom. And God willing, they’re going to make a difference like someone did in their life, a positive difference. And that’s what I think about every time I go to class.

[music]

ERICA SCHMITT: From the Daily Northwestern, I’m Erica Schmitt. Thanks for listening to another episode of NU: Declassified. This episode was reported and produced by me. The Daily Northwestern’s Audio Editor is Will Clark, Digital Editor is Jordan Mangi, and Managing Editor is Isabelle Sarraf. Be sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.

[music]

E-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: @eschmitt318

Related stories:
– Captured: Bienen’s fall concert series marks the return to in-person performances
— In Focus: Diversifying classical music through education
— NU Declassified: A Day at the Opera

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The origin and mechanics of the Indian classical musical instrument Mridangam https://russjohnsonmusic.com/the-origin-and-mechanics-of-the-indian-classical-musical-instrument-mridangam/ Mon, 14 Feb 2022 07:38:44 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/the-origin-and-mechanics-of-the-indian-classical-musical-instrument-mridangam/ India was the hub of different types of art, especially music in ancient times. One of the oldest and most important musical instruments is Mridangam Mridangam is a classical musical instrument used mainly in South Indian music. It is a popular percussion instrument, which is a double-headed drum and made of different types of wood. […]]]>

India was the hub of different types of art, especially music in ancient times. One of the oldest and most important musical instruments is Mridangam

Mridangam is a classical musical instrument used mainly in South Indian music. It is a popular percussion instrument, which is a double-headed drum and made of different types of wood. It is widely used in vocal and instrumental music presentations in South India. The instrument is also known as maddal or maddalam in some places.

Etymology

The name of the instrument is formed from the union of two Sanskrit words ‘Mrit’ and ‘Anga’. In Sanskrit, “Mrit” means clay or earth and “Anga” means member. In the early days when the instrument came into existence, the instrument was made of hardened clay. Over the years, people have started using different types of wood to increase their durability.

Story

Mridangam is known as Tannumai in Tamil culture. In ancient Tamil literature, Sangam literature, there is the first mention of Mridangam. There is a detailed reference of the instrument in the Natyasastra. It was the most widely used and important percussion instrument of the Sangam period. It was also used at the start of a war as people believed its sound was sacred and powerful enough to ward off enemy arrows and protect the king. After the Sangam period, it is mentioned in the epic ‘Silappatikaram’. In the epic, Mridangam was part of the Antarakottu, which is a musical collection played at the start of any dramatic performance. This was later developed into the iconic Bharatnatyam. The Miridangam player holds the title Tannumai aruntozhil mutalvan.

The instruments have also been mentioned in Hindu religious scriptures. It is said to have been one of the favorite instruments of the bahana of Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva, Nandi. According to mythology, Nandi performed Mridangam during Lord Shiva’s Taandav dance. Hence, the instrument is known as Deva Vaadyam, the instrument of the gods. Another story shows that the sound of Mridangam is a recreation of the sound that was made when Lord Indra rode across the sky on his elephant. Many believe that the Tabla instrument was created by splitting a Mridangam into two.

Construction

The body of the Mridangam is carved from a single block of wood. The inside of the wooden block is hollowed out to make it hollow. Most Mridangam makers prefer Jackwood or Redwood to make it. But sometimes the kernel of a coconut and palm tree and the wood of the Morogosa tree are also used to make Mridangam nowadays. The instrument has the shape of a barrel and its left head is a little bigger than the right head. The length of the instrument is usually a foot and a half or two feet and it has a diameter of twenty-five to thirty centimeters. Preaching requires great skill to achieve perfection. On the right head of the drum there are three concentric layers of skin. The innermost layer which is the full skin is hidden from view. The concealed layer is cowhide, and sheepskin is used for the inner ring, and calfskin is used for the outer ring. Goatskin is also used in some Mridangams.

The left head has two rings: the outer ring is buffalo skin and the inner ring is sheepskin or goatskin. The two parchments are stretched and held together by a braid made of twisted leather straps. The leather straps connected to the braids can be loosened or tightened to tune the instrument. Mridangam is very closely related to another classical Pakhavaj percussion instrument which is mainly used in Hindustani traditional music of northern India.

Mridangam Schools

The first school to teach the game of Mridangam was established in the 20th century. The most famous and prominent schools of Mridangam past and present are Thanjavur school and Puddukottai school. Both schools have their distinct styles of play. Mridangam game has become very popular over the years and there are Mridangam players all over the world. It has also been adopted by various styles of music other than Indian classical music.

Notable Mridangam Players

There are great Mridangam players in the past and in the present. Some of the most notable Mridangam players across the world are Guruvayur Dorai, Anoor Anantha Krishna Sharma, Karaikudi Mani, Bombay CN Balaji, Kovai Venugopal, Mannargudi Easwaran, Prapancham Ravindran, Srimushnam Raja Rao, N. Lakshmi Ganesh, Rohan Krishnamurthy, Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, Vasudevan Govindarajan, K. Murthy, Palghat R. Raghu, Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam, etc. Palghat Mani Iyer, Palani Subramanuam Pillai and CS Murugabhupathy are known as the Trinity of Midangam for their incredible contribution to art.

In modern times, Mridangam is used in Carnatic music performances. Although they are most popular in South India, they are played all over the world. It is a very popular instrument which is used in the Yakshagana orchestra as an accompaniment instrument and there it is called Maddale.

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Working on ‘Rocket Boys’ Was Tougher Than ‘Scam 1992’ Music Composer Achint Thakkar https://russjohnsonmusic.com/working-on-rocket-boys-was-tougher-than-scam-1992-music-composer-achint-thakkar/ Thu, 10 Feb 2022 07:03:48 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/working-on-rocket-boys-was-tougher-than-scam-1992-music-composer-achint-thakkar/ By Radhika Sharma New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Music composer Achint Thakkar, whose name is synonymous with the viral theme of ‘Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story’, is now aiming for a mark beyond the sky with his work in ‘Rocket Boys “. The first season of “Rocket Boys,” a SonyLIV original web series, follows […]]]>

By Radhika Sharma
New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Music composer Achint Thakkar, whose name is synonymous with the viral theme of ‘Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story’, is now aiming for a mark beyond the sky with his work in ‘Rocket Boys “.
The first season of “Rocket Boys,” a SonyLIV original web series, follows the life and endeavors of Indian nuclear physicists Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai between 1940 and 1960.
Directed by debut director Abhay Pannu, the show begins with a catchy yet haunting score by Thakkar that sets the tone for his exploration of politics, nation-building, and the destruction wrought by war and nuclear energy in a newly independent India.
The 31-year-old composer said it took him a while to decipher the music for ‘Rocket Boys’ because of the ‘epic’ quality of the series and the timing in which it took place.
“It was harder than ‘Scam’ because I was in my comfort zone at the time. It was more modern than ‘Rocket Boys’ musically. I could use a lot of stuff in ‘Scam’, that I usually use, but ‘Rocket Boys was a show where I couldn’t do that,” added.
Mumbai-born Thakkar said he had to go “old school”, which meant arranging a lot of actual compositions rather than relying on electronic music, his comfort zone.
“We had musicians playing live in the studio. There were a lot of instruments recorded here. A lot of ‘Scam’ was electronic music, which is more in my comfort zone. So ‘Rocket Boys’ was a challenge but a great learning experience too.”
Asked if the popularity of “Scam 1992” helped him land “Rocket Boys,” the guitarist-producer isn’t sure. “I think so,” he replied after a moment.
The theme for “Scam 1992”, directed by Hansal Mehta and performed by Pratik Gandhi, has over 26 million views on YouTube alone.
Harshvir Oberai, who filmed “Rocket Boys” and has been good friends with Thakkar since his Mithibai College days, suggested his name to Pannu.
“It was a lot of fun working with Abhay. He was quite open to any ideas that I would throw at him. We were jamming most of the time. There wasn’t really a brief so to speak. He just asked me to make it my As soon as I read the script he wrote, I was in love with it. It’s just a matter of reacting to the script. Big credit also goes to Abhay for taking charge of this. He’s a really gifted storyteller and a great collaborator.”
The recording artist said he boarded ‘Rocket Boys’ in December 2020, but focused on the final cut last week, just in time for the show to begin airing at from February 4.
“My work towards the end was pretty quick…in the last 40-45 days (before the show aired). I had December and January to work on the final cut. We made sure to be satisfied with the music before we sent the show.”
“Rocket Boys” stars Jim Sarbh as Bhabha, Ishwak Singh as Sarabhai, Regina Cassandra as Bharatanatyam icon and Dr. Sarabhai’s wife Mrinalini Sarabhai, and Rajit Kapur as the role of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Saba Azad, KC Shankar and Namit Das also play key roles.
The series uses a mix of Indian and Western classical music, including Tchaikovsky, Bach and Mozart, to give a sound to India at the time.
“Abhay was also very keen on us keeping the score, especially Vikram and Mrinalini, like that because she was a Bharatanatyam dancer and he was much more grounded.
“We actually don’t use that (music) for Homi. Homi was way more flamboyant and he had more of that colonial hangover. That’s why it was important to juxtapose that they were fresh out of British rule at that time.”
Before breaking into the “mainstream” music scene with “Scam 1992”, Thakkar released his album “Shalimar” in 2015 and the 2018 collaboration “Achint & The Khan Brothers”.
Also the founder of the psychedelic rock band Rosemary, he previously assisted famed commercials composer Michael McCleary on two seasons of the Prime Video series “Four More Shots Please!”
Thakkar, who cut his musical teeth around the age of 12, said he did his own study for “Rocket Boys,” which involved listening to veteran violinist L Shankar and music composer AR Rahman.
“I’ve heard L Shankar and AR Rahman a lot. I’ve listened to his ‘Swades’, ‘Dil Se..’ or some of his amazing scores. Every time I watch one of his (Rahman’s) movies, it’s like going to school for me. I also listen to Tchaikovsky and Beethoven to get in the zone. Listening to these guys I feel how they did it, it’s riyaaz (training).
Next up for the composer is the second season of Vasan Bala’s “Rocket Boys” and “Monica, O My Darling,” a Netflix movie. PTI RDS BK
BK

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Alumnus receives $500,000 for music education program https://russjohnsonmusic.com/alumnus-receives-500000-for-music-education-program/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 05:31:38 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/alumnus-receives-500000-for-music-education-program/ The Heartbeat Music Project, which provides music education to Navajo students, is the recipient of the Lewis Prize for Music Accelerator Award Adam McPhail 00h27, February 03, 2022 Six years ago, Ariel Horowitz MUS ’19 ’20 was a junior at Julliard studying violin performance when she learned she had the opportunity to lead a short […]]]>

The Heartbeat Music Project, which provides music education to Navajo students, is the recipient of the Lewis Prize for Music Accelerator Award

Adam McPhail

00h27, February 03, 2022


Six years ago, Ariel Horowitz MUS ’19 ’20 was a junior at Julliard studying violin performance when she learned she had the opportunity to lead a short music education summer camp for Navajo students. In January, she received a $500,000 Accelerator Award from the Lewis Prize for Music for advancing the musical and educational ambitions of the project.

Founded in 2016 by Horowitz and based in Crownpoint, New Mexico, the Heartbeat Music Project, or HMP, provides free music education to students from nearby Navajo communities. Accomplished musicians teach students aged 5 to 19 to play the instruments of their choice. Instructors teach students music theory and encourage them to play traditional Diné, or Navajo melodies and songs.

“The gift we just received from the Lewis Prize is so amazing,” Horowitz said. “There are so many barriers to accessing a music education in a very rural Indigenous community that has historically been oppressed, marginalized and unfunded.”

HMP offers a two-week summer camp and a one-week winter camp. Students receive free transportation to and from home, two meals, and snack breaks.

Music teachers come from a variety of backgrounds. Some come from classical music or jazz departments of schools and conservatories across the country. The other instructors are local and native musicians from the Navajo community.

Although students only participate in the program during the summer and winter, they can keep an instrument at home year-round to practice, thanks to a private donation in early 2021 that enabled HMP to provide students almost all the instruments typically found in a classical orchestra. or jazz band.

“We would like to expand our instrument library even further if we can,” Horowitz said. “Specifically, we’d like to find more non-classical, non-jazz instruments – native instruments too.”

Additionally, the HMP coordinates free virtual lessons when camps are not in session. However, many budding Navajo musicians lack access to a stable internet connection. Some students drive for hours to get free, stable Wi-Fi for virtual music lessons. With the new award, Horowitz and the rest of HMP want to change that and overcome some of the barriers preventing students from pursuing music.

Additionally, the HMP hopes to expand the overall reach of the program. Currently, the HMP can only serve the eastern portion of the Navajo Reservation, located in New Mexico. They would also like to provide students who live further afield in Arizona with access to a music education.

“We want a lot of the money to be spent on student learning,” said Sharon Nelson, HMP executive director and Diné assistant professor of culture, language and leadership at Navajo Technical University. . “We hope to be able to reach other areas of the reservation, including other tribes.”

Along with music lessons, rehearsals and workshops, Nelson, who is Diné herself, teaches students about Diné culture as part of the program. She noticed that many students were disconnected from their grandparents due to language and cultural barriers and wanted to bridge the intergenerational gap and help students connect with their community and culture. Nelson hopes students can combine the skills learned in music lessons with lessons about Diné culture and traditions to crystallize their identity.

“One of the things we want our kids to be is to become holistic,” Nelson said. “We want them to be self-centered and at peace with themselves, so we’re giving them the tools to do that using Navajo cultural teaching.”

The program operates in a tricky intersection. According to HMP Deputy Director Gregory Lewis MUS ’27, Western music has been reserved for wealthy whites for most of its history. Horowitz further noted that Western music was widely disseminated by imperialism – the same structures that have continually oppressed the Navajo people as well as other Indigenous communities in the United States and around the world.

“Early on, Sharon told us that it was really essential that we teach the children to play Diné songs on the instruments and not just Western music,” Lewis said. “She didn’t want them to learn music if it didn’t mean learning their own music and preserving their own culture.”

HMP hopes to recontextualize classical music and help students approach music with new techniques and perspectives. Music, they believe, should not have a hierarchical power structure. Instead, the program tries to give students resources and let them express themselves however they want.

The Lewis Prize for Music seeks to bring about positive social change by funding non-profit organizations to provide high quality music education to students. The Accelerator Award given to HMP is the Lewis Prize for Music’s highest monetary award.

Adam McPhail | adam.mcphail@yale.edu

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Music Education and Community Organizations Receive $2 Million in Prizes https://russjohnsonmusic.com/music-education-and-community-organizations-receive-2-million-in-prizes/ Thu, 13 Jan 2022 08:00:00 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/music-education-and-community-organizations-receive-2-million-in-prizes/ the Lewis Prize for Music focuses on organizations that give young people access to music education, strengthen the well-being of their communities, and put music at the center of efforts to establish equity. This year’s winners help young people learn, create and perform in a way that reflects their culture and identity. “By helping music […]]]>

the Lewis Prize for Music focuses on organizations that give young people access to music education, strengthen the well-being of their communities, and put music at the center of efforts to establish equity.

This year’s winners help young people learn, create and perform in a way that reflects their culture and identity.

“By helping music leaders across the country continue their great work, we hope to inspire other partners to work together to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to access learning, performance and transformative musical creation,” a statement read.

The rewards are as follows:

the Accelerator Prize, valued at $500,000, provides multi-year support for sustained progress on ambitious community change initiatives. The recipients are:

  • INTEMPO, in Stamford, CT, is an after-school program and summer music camp that provides opportunities for children to express themselves through classical music. Almost all of the students are of immigrant background, and their new music program at three Stamford public schools is specifically aimed at children who are newcomers/English learners.
  • RYSE Youth Center built the RYSE Commons, a 45,000 square foot youth-designed campus for music, arts, culture and healing in Richmond, CA. It is a place where the integral parts of a wounded and glorious city come to rid themselves of conflicts so that they can seek and create solutions.
  • The Heartbeat Music Project (HMP), in Crownpoint, NM, Navajo Nation, provides free music education and Diné cultural education to Navajo youth. In addition to expanding economic access, HMP is dedicated to disrupting colonial systems that tell young Diné that Western music and instruments are only for the “elites” and not for them.
  • We are culture makers provides high-quality arts/entrepreneurship education to young people of color in Detroit with an emphasis on professional development, strategic goal setting, and artistic integrity.

the Brew Rewardsvalued at $50,000, provides year-long support to leaders and programs creating new musical platforms and pathways in their communities.

  • roots of music creates the next generation of New Orleans musicians, providing year-round music education, academic enrichment and support, healthy meals, and free transportation and instruments.
  • The White Hall Academy of Arts (WHAA) is a South Los Angeles performing arts organization that offers a blend of classical and contemporary conservatory-level training for children and adults.

the Catalyst Prizevalued at $25,000, provides year-long support for leaders and programs with impressive impact and reach.

  • the Media Rhythm Institute (“MRI”) in Baltimore, MD, is a collective of youth media arts programs that inspire young people to explore their passions and build their music and media skills.
  • totemic star in Seattle, WA championed the voice of talented young artists in the studio and on stage through music production, performance and mentorship.

For more information about each organization, click here.

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8 facts about the classical music composer Mozart https://russjohnsonmusic.com/8-facts-about-the-classical-music-composer-mozart/ Mon, 10 Jan 2022 22:52:30 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/8-facts-about-the-classical-music-composer-mozart/ Barbara Krafft, Posthumous Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1819 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, public domain) Few composers are as renowned as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). Alongside Beethoven, he was one of the most influential musicians of the classical period, which dominated Europe between 1730 and 1820. His prodigious talent, which began in early adolescence, quickly blossomed […]]]>

Barbara Krafft, Posthumous Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1819 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

Few composers are as renowned as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). Alongside Beethoven, he was one of the most influential musicians of the classical period, which dominated Europe between 1730 and 1820. His prodigious talent, which began in early adolescence, quickly blossomed thanks to his musical family, and he embarked on a prolific career. creative career, creating more than 600 works in his brief 35 years.

Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756, then part of the Holy Roman Empire. He spent most of his childhood composing and playing music for many members of the royal family, including Prince Elector Maximilian III of Bavaria and Archduke Ferdinand. He continued to travel throughout adulthood, performing for the European aristocracy and continuing to create sonatas, symphonies and operas. After his death, his friend and fellow composer Joseph Haydn said: “Posterity will not see such talent in 100 years”.

Scroll down to find out 8 facts about Mozart.

Learn 8 facts about classical music composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Mozart’s father and sister were also musicians.

Painting of the Mozart family in performance

Louis Carrogis Carmontelle, “The Mozart Family on Tour: Leopold, Wolfgang and Nannerl”, 1793 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

Mozart and his older sister Maria Anna (nicknamed “Nannerl”) were the only surviving children of their parents, Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart. Leopold was a former musician and composer, who was appointed fourth violin to the ruling Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. He began teaching the music of Nannerl at age 7 and Mozart at age 3, both of which showed an affinity for different instruments.

Later, between 1763 and 1766, Leopold, Nannerl and Mozart on a tour across Europe, performing for members of the royal family like Empress Maria Theresa. During this time, Mozart’s reputation as a child prodigy grew tremendously.

He began to write his own compositions at the age of 5.

Portrait of Mozart at 7

Anonymous (sometimes attributed to Pietro Antonio Lorenzoni, “Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the Age of Seven”, 1763 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

When Mozart was about 5 years old, he began to create his own compositions which his father wrote and collected in the Nannerl Notenbuch. Andante in C, K. 1a was most likely his first piece, a short composition intended to be played on the harpsichord. He was quickly followed by Allegro in C, K. 1b and Allegro in F, K. 1c.

Mozart met Marie-Antoinette.

Portrait of Marie-Antoinette

Jean-Étienne Liotard, “Portrait of Archduchess Marie-Antoinette of Austria, future Queen of France, at the age of seven”, 1762 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

During the European tour of Mozart and his family, he was invited to play at the royal court of Marie-Thérèse, empress of the Holy Empire. There, the biographer Eric Blom describes a meeting between Mozart, 7, and the young Marie-Antoinette, two months his senior. Supposedly, Mozart slipped on waxed floor and Marie-Antoinette helped him up. Subsequently, Mozart would have proposed to the future queen of France.

Mozart wrote his first opera at age 11.

Mozart portrait

Attributed to Giambettino Cignaroli, “Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the Age of 13-14 Years”, c. 1770 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

In 1767, at the age of 11, Mozart completed his first real opera, Apollo and Hyacinthus. Divided into three acts, it is based on the myth of Hyacinth and Apollo, in which Apollo accidentally kills his lover by throwing a disc. It was commissioned by the Benedictine University of Salzburg and was only performed once during his lifetime.

He was very fashionable.

Mozart playing spruce paint

Stephan Sedlaczek, “The Young Mozart with the Spruce,” 1936 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

Mozart was known to have many indulgences, especially sartorial. His tenor Michael Kelly described his appearance: “[He] was on stage with his crimson pelisse and his bicornuate with gold braid, giving the time of the music to the orchestra.

Despite his great success and numerous commissions, Mozart’s purchasing vice caused considerable financial pressure throughout his life.

Mozart created more than 600 compositions during his life.

Pianoforte Mozart

Pianoforte played by Mozart in 1787, Czech Museum of Music, Prague (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Mozart was incredibly prolific during his lifetime and kept to a busy schedule. He often split his writing sessions into one block in the morning, afternoon, and then worked all evening. At the end of his life, he wrote more than 600 works, including symphonies, operas and concertos.

He has not finished his last composition.

Mozart Requiem

A one-page section of the manuscript of WA Mozart’s Requiem, K 626, 1791 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

At the age of 35, Mozart showed signs of serious illness but continued to work for months. During this time he completed one of his most acclaimed pieces as The magic flute, and started working on his Requiem.

He died on December 5, 1791, without having completed its final composition.

His death was probably not caused by poison.

Lithograph of Mozart's last days

Franz Schramm, “Moment of Mozart’s Last Days”, 1857 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Due to Mozart’s untimely death and his obscure symptoms, there are many theories as to what caused it. For a time it was believed that one of Mozart’s rivals, Antonio Salieri, may have poisoned him. Apparently Mozart himself claimed he was poisoned while on his deathbed.

Today, most historians agree that Mozart was probably not poisoned and instead died from some sort of illness, like strep, flu, or even mercury poisoning.

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Shillong Chamber Choir founder and music composer Neil Nongkynrih dies in Mumbai https://russjohnsonmusic.com/shillong-chamber-choir-founder-and-music-composer-neil-nongkynrih-dies-in-mumbai/ Wed, 05 Jan 2022 15:48:27 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/shillong-chamber-choir-founder-and-music-composer-neil-nongkynrih-dies-in-mumbai/ [ad_1] Shillong Chamber Choir founder and music composer Neil Nongkynrih died in Mumbai on Wednesday following a brief illness, choir officials said. The 52-year-old conductor and composer who brought CSC to national fame after a reality TV show a decade ago has died at Reliance Hospital in Mumbai after a brief illness, have they declared. […]]]>


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Shillong Chamber Choir founder and music composer Neil Nongkynrih died in Mumbai on Wednesday following a brief illness, choir officials said.

The 52-year-old conductor and composer who brought CSC to national fame after a reality TV show a decade ago has died at Reliance Hospital in Mumbai after a brief illness, have they declared.

Neil and the whole choir had been in Mumbai for the past three months for work. “He was admitted to the hospital yesterday and died the evening of today after an operation,” a spokesperson for the group told PTI.

He said the remains of Neil, who received the Padma Shri, in 2015 will be returned to his home here as soon as all formalities in Mumbai are completed.

A former student of the prestigious Trinity College of Music in London and the Guildhall School of Music, Neil returned in 2001 after years of playing and teaching music in England, to found the Shillong Chamber Choir.

In 2009, the Shillong Chamber Choir collaborated with the famous Vienna Orchestra for a series of concerts.

The following year, the choir also won gold medals at the World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China in three categories – Music Sacra, Gospel and Popular.

However, India woke up to this talented choir and its founding mentor after winning the reality show “India’s Got Talent” in 2010. Initially, the choir was reluctant to participate in the show because it was about ‘a western classical music choir and the members were unsure. whether their music would go well in a mainstream show. However, as they say, the “rest is history”. The choir conducted by Neil has also collaborated with the world-renowned Fitz William Quartet. He has also partnered with big names in the world of Indian music including Ustad Zakir Hussain, Usha Uthup and Shankar Ehsan Loy. Their Christmas album in 2011 became the best-selling non-cinematic music album in India.

In 2010, the choir performed for former US President Barack Obama and then-First Lady Michelle Obama during their visit to India.

Notably, the SCC’s version of “Vande Maataram” was played on the live television broadcast of the Indian space rocket Chandrayaan – 2 landing on the moon.

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Posted on: Wednesday January 05, 2022 9:18 PM IST

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Elgin Youth Symphony program aims to break down barriers to classical music education https://russjohnsonmusic.com/elgin-youth-symphony-program-aims-to-break-down-barriers-to-classical-music-education/ https://russjohnsonmusic.com/elgin-youth-symphony-program-aims-to-break-down-barriers-to-classical-music-education/#respond Mon, 25 Oct 2021 10:33:41 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/elgin-youth-symphony-program-aims-to-break-down-barriers-to-classical-music-education/ [ad_1] One by one, the fourth-graders gasped with excitement as they each opened their cases of newly acquired instruments and had their first glimpse of the prizes inside. Students at Oakhill Elementary School in Streamwood were the first participants in a pilot program launched by the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. Starter Strings is a free […]]]>


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One by one, the fourth-graders gasped with excitement as they each opened their cases of newly acquired instruments and had their first glimpse of the prizes inside.

Students at Oakhill Elementary School in Streamwood were the first participants in a pilot program launched by the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. Starter Strings is a free program that offers instruction in classical music, in this case – or these cases – the violin, to students who would not otherwise have the opportunity.

“We have long understood that there are barriers to participating in classical music,” said Eric Larson, executive director of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. “Traditionally, it was for, honestly, a privileged audience, white with means.”

Starter Strings is a first step in solving this problem locally.

Matthew Sheppard, artistic director of EYSO and conductor of a youth symphony orchestra, teaches the first session of a school year.

“We know there are barriers to teaching music, especially at EYSO where we don’t have a ground floor,” Sheppard said. “People come in with at least a year or two of experience with their instruments, if not seven, eight or nine years.

“We want to remove the barriers for students who otherwise would not be able to take off,” he said.

EYSO worked with Elgin Area School District U-46 to deliver the program, which meets once a week after school. It was open to all interested fourth graders. The students were given instruments that they could take home and use for free during the year.

With 49 fourth-graders in school, Sheppard thought they would be lucky to enroll seven. Principals were hoping for 10 to 15.

But 36 registered and attended the first three weeks of the course.

“We had an incredibly overwhelming response,” Sheppard said. “It kind of blew our socks off.”

Oakhill music teacher Kristine Cooper, who helps during the sessions with a few other teachers, said the children’s enthusiasm “warms my heart.”

“It just shows the kids want it. They want it,” she said. “But a lot of these families can’t afford it, so this free program is so great for them.”

Cooper said it was great for the kids as they learn “things they won’t have in my class.”

“Yes, we do a lot of instruments, and I can cram a huge amount of stuff in my limited time,” she said, “but it’s so beyond that.”

After two sessions of preparation and learning of some basics, the students received their instruments during the third week of lessons.

“The violin is not an instrument of immediate gratification,” Sheppard said. “Not that you need immediate gratification, but you want to feel like you’re growing and learning. So that’s what we focus on every week.”

Like just about every other kid in the class, 9-year-old Jorge Rodriguez had never held a violin before, let alone tried to play one.

“I thought it was going to be easy, and it turns out it’s just the opposite,” he said.

Yet he was not discouraged.

“It’s pretty cool, so I want to keep going,” he said, although he was in no rush to get home and practice. “My arms are tired.”

The pilot program is funded by a combination of individual donations and regular fundraising. Use of rental instruments was offered.

Larson said EYSO plans to expand the program by expanding it to other schools while keeping it free for families.

“That’s a big part of the program’s goal, to remove that obstacle,” he said.

For Cooper, she can’t wait to free the kids at their Spring Sing concert.

“We are going to let everyone know what these kids can do,” she said. “We’re going to show this.”

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Famous Western classical music composer Bernard Hatink has died at 92 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/famous-western-classical-music-composer-bernard-hatink-has-died-at-92/ https://russjohnsonmusic.com/famous-western-classical-music-composer-bernard-hatink-has-died-at-92/#respond Sat, 23 Oct 2021 01:18:49 +0000 https://russjohnsonmusic.com/famous-western-classical-music-composer-bernard-hatink-has-died-at-92/ [ad_1] Dutch conductor Bernard Hattink was widely regarded as the best of his generation (Photo credit: Tolga Ekmen / AFP) Dutch conductor Bernard Hattink was widely regarded as the best of his generation (Photo credit: Tolga Ekmen / AFP) London: Briton Askonas Holt said in a statement on Thursday evening that the Dutch maestro, honored […]]]>


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Dutch conductor Bernard Hattink was widely regarded as the best of his generation (Photo credit: Tolga Ekmen / AFP)

Dutch conductor Bernard Hattink was widely regarded as the best of his generation (Photo credit: Tolga Ekmen / AFP)

London: Briton Askonas Holt said in a statement on Thursday evening that the Dutch maestro, honored for his reading of Beethoven, Mahler and Brueckner during a career spanning more than 60 years, died at his home in the presence of his family.

Hattink was known for his complacency despite his fame and a light touch as a conductor who did not oversee the musical contributions of the orchestra he was conducting. Born in Amsterdam, Heitink played the violin before learning to conduct in the city, making his debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in 1954. In 1956 he first took the podium with the Royal Concertgebou Orchestra before to become its main leader. In a relationship that will last for more than two decades.

Hightink became Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic in 1967, a position he held for more than a decade. He also had a long relationship with Britain’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he was Music Director from 1987 to 2002.

As one of classical music’s most distinguished conductors, he has conducted some of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and Berlin Philharmonic.

Askonas Holt said Hatink had made over 450 recordings and was “a passionate mentor to future generations of conductors, giving generously of their time to teaching and masterclasses.” Among the many awards he has received during an illustrious career, he was a French knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and was appointed Commander of the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands.

He married four times and had five children from his first marriage.

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