The festival’s regional format is part of a new initiative by NAE to create engaging and ambitious learning in the performing arts by bringing students from schools in each region closer to the work being done through its collaboration with The Juilliard School, a world-leader in performing arts education. Similar, extraordinary opportunities are available in sports, debate and STEAM learning through its collaborations with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UNICEF.
Through the group’s collaboration with Juilliard, BISS Puxi hosted a three-day orchestral festival early last month conducted by Juilliard Pre-College Faculty conductor Dr Oliver Hagen. The event included several performance opportunities, as well as workshops and masterclasses to further engage and inspire students to deepen their knowledge, understanding, skills and passion for orchestral music.
Dr Hagen said the number of children who attended was “spectacular”.
“I love conducting and teaching students. Any opportunity where I get to do that is great,” Dr Hagen said. “At any level there is always room for improvement in understanding how music works: especially phrasing and orchestration. Getting balance right is also a universal issue, even for professional orchestras.”
However, the nature and scale of the regional orchestral event enabled students to cultivate far more than musicianship. While Bryant and Matthew’s issues with speed and synchronicity taught them how to build on their talent and technique, it also brought up the importance of preparing before an event and showing commitment to playing their part. Matthew said he understood the significance of developing these skills during rehearsals with Dr Hagen.
“He has the ability to spot mistakes, even really small ones! I improved a lot under his guidance. After this experience I will look at Mr Morris during orchestra rehearsals,” Matthew said.