Kennedy Center Launches 22nd Annual Summer Music Institute

On June 29, 62 students from 27 states and two foreign countries will convene at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 22nd annual National Symphony Orchestra National Trustees Summer Music Institute 2015.Violins 450x280

Begun in 1993, the Summer Music Institute (SMI) has counted well over 1,500 participants, hailing from 49 of the 50 states, and from 11 countries on five continents, according to a news release from the Kennedy Center.

Violinists Claire Hebeisen, 17, from Boyds and Christopher Lu, 15 from Rockville are two participants from Montgomery County, according to release about the program.

During the course of the Institute’s four weeks, participants will perform seven Kennedy Center concerts that are free and open to the public between June 29 and July 26.

The Institute provides the students with training and experiences designed to aid aspiring musicians for futures in music. The Institute includes:

  • intensive coaching in sectionals by members of the National Symphony Orchestra
  • private lessons
  • rehearsals as an orchestra and in chamber ensembles (SMI participants will constitute over a dozen ensembles this summer)
  • two side-by-side rehearsals with members of the NSO
  • classes in conducting, ensemble skills, and Dalcroze Eurhythmics, a program using physical movement to develop musicianship
  • master classes with NSO musicians and NSO guest artist Sarah Chang
  • seminars on practicing, audition techniques, wellness, and creativity in community engagement
  • a concerto competition, with the winner featured as soloist in the concert on July 25
  • performance opportunities at the Kennedy Center on the Millennium Stage and in the Concert Hall

Additionally, students will perform in the United States Capitol on Tuesday, July 21, in the historic Mansfield Room. There they will perform and have an opportunity to meet with the Senators and Congressmen who represent their constituencies.

Elizabeth Schulze returns to the Kennedy Center for her 15th season as Summer Music Institute Conductor. Music Director and Conductor of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Flagstaff Symphony, earlier in her career Schulze was an Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra.

Included in the group are eight students identified through the Kennedy Center’s Young Artists of Color National Training Initiative, and four participants in or graduates of the Orchestra’s widely acclaimed Youth Fellowship Program.

The Young Artists of Color National Training Initiative is an effort to recruit talented young musicians of African-American, American Indian, and Hispanic descent to apply to participate in SMI.

The NSO’s Youth Fellowship Program is a full scholarship career development program for high school instrumentalists in the greater Washington area. Graduates have become members of the finest ensembles and orchestras around the country.

All candidates applied online through the Summer Music Institute page on the NSO website. The 62 students for this summer were selected from a pool of 225 applicants from 38 states as well as from Canada, China, England, France, Japan, Moldova, Romania, Russia, and Spain. The recorded auditions were reviewed and students selected by SMI Conductor Elizabeth Schulze and a panel of NSO musicians.

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Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media.


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