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Ensemble Connect Presents Audience Engagement Intensive

Ensemble Connect Presents Audience Engagement Intensive

After a successful launch of the pilot program in summer 2017, Ensemble Connect once again presents the week-long Audience Engagement Intensive (AEI) from June 4-11 in Carnegie Hall's Resnick Education Wing. Seven pre-formed chamber ensembles selected from across U.S. and Canada-ranging in styles from classical to contemporary to folk music-come together to learn from leaders in the fields of performance and audience engagement. The eight days of tuition-free workshops are modeled after the training that is provided to Ensemble Connect fellows and is aimed at strengthening their ability to connect with all kinds of audiences. The ensembles are The Raritan Trio (New Jersey), Sprig of That (Minnesota), Catharsis Winds (Ohio), Kahlo String Quartet (formed in Mississippi), Trio Gaia (Massachusetts), Front Porch (Michigan), and Genesis Trio (Vancouver, Canada).

With the goal of providing the tools to build a career as a 21st century musician, the AEI focuses on teaching Interactive Performance techniques that can be tailored to a variety of audiences. This year's guest speakers and workshop leaders include Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall; bassoonist Brad Balliett and members of Decoda; author and teaching artist Eric Booth; Rebekah Heller, Artistic Director and bassoonist in International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE); Dr. Noa Kageyama, performance psychologist at The Juilliard School; violinist Rebecca Fischer and visual artist Anthony Hawley of The Afield; physical therapist Howard Nelson; violinist Pamela Frank; Courtney Burton, Senior Managing Director of The Greatest Works Agency; and Damian Woetzel, President of The Juilliard School. The ensembles also have the opportunity to work closely with current fellows of Ensemble Connect throughout the week.

During the last two days of the AEI, participating ensembles perform in public schools and community venues across New York City, including homeless shelters, organizations that serve special needs populations, and senior centers.

"The Audience Engagement Intensive definitely helped me reset my own track," said Teagan Faran of the Heart and Sole Trio (AEI 2017). "With the values we talked about during the week, I was inspired to explore more community-based arts movements, and as a result was awarded two different fellowships centered around arts strengthening the community."

"For my quartet," said Lily Holgate of the Puck Quartet (AEI 2017), "creating an Interactive Performance presented a completely different way of working together and it challenged our understanding of what music making is - why we do it, how we share it, and even how we rehearse the music itself. It also gave us a chance to focus in on seemingly simple things: public speaking, body language, and group presentation. Since the workshop we have done a handful of outreach concerts and every skill that we gained from writing and performing an Interactive Performance has been used in those performances."

Overlapping the AEI, Ensemble Connect fellows perform their last concerts of the season. The ensemble will be featured in the 9th annual Rite of Summer Music Festival on Saturday, June 1 at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. (with a rain date of June 2) on Governors Island, with two free concerts of works by Lou Harrison, Gabriella Smith, Yie Eun Chun, and Charles Ives. Ensemble Connect gives its final performance of the season at The Juilliard School's Paul Hall on Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. with R. Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel einmal anders!, Prokofiev's Quintet in G Minor, Op. 39 and George Enescu's String Octet in C Major, Op. 7.

AEI 2019 Participating Ensembles

The Raritan Trio (New Jersey)
Alexander Bui, piano
Yu Ouyang, violinM
Jiun-Ru Wang, cello

Formed in 2019 at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, The Raritan Trio consists of three classical musicians from different countries who combine their individual cultures and personalities to create wonderful music together. The trio has won the Rutgers Chamber Music Competition and received a full fellowship to the Mimir Chamber Music Festival in Texas.

Sprig of That (Minnesota)

Isabel Dammann, violin
Ilan Blanck, guitar
Krissy Bergmark, tabla

Formed in 2018, Sprig of That is a folk-fusion trio that combines vibrant Americana and Western classical virtuosity with world rhythmic textures to form a surprisingly natural acoustic blend. Sprig of That's first self-titled album was released in February 2019 and the group currently performs in the Twin Cities area.

Catharsis Winds (Ohio)

Jessica Chancey, flute
M. Isaac Ripple, oboe
Shihao Hugh Zhu, clarinet
Corbin Krebs, bassoon
Willem Krone, horn

Recognized by audiences and colleagues alike for their passionate performances of both classic repertoire and modern masterworks, Catharsis Winds is a Cleveland-based woodwind quintet founded in 2016 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Along with giving performances, they are devoted to widening the appeal of chamber music among young musicians and teaching clinics at the middle and high school levels.

Kahlo String Quartet (formed in Mississippi)

Manuela Isabel Romero Gonzalez, violin
Rodrigo Zafani Quintana, violin
Ana Diaz, viola
Andrea Beltran Landers, cello

The repertoire covered by the Kahlo String Quartet spans the masterworks of Mozart and Beethoven as well as staple pieces by 21st-century composers like Shostakovich and Schulhoff, but its members are also eager to explore the chamber music repertoire from their own countries in Latin America. The quartet was one of two pre-formed quartets awarded a fellowship at the Dalí Quartet International Music Festival in the summer of 2018, an intensive program in chamber music training with components of performance and pedagogy.

Trio Gaia (Massachusetts)

Grant Houston, violin
Yi-Mei Templeman, cello
Andrew Barnwell, piano

Formed in 2018, Trio Gaia is dedicated to reaching all audiences with their distinctively vibrant and joyful playing. In recognition of their passion for sharing classical chamber music beyond the concert hall, the trio won the 2019 Ensemble Fellowship from New England Conservatory's Community Performances & Partnerships initiative. Trio Gaia presented a series of concerts at venues ranging from the historic Boston Public Library and Massachusetts Institute of Technology to local schools and senior homes.

Front Porch (Michigan)

Karalyn Schubring, piano
Benjamin Jackson, violin
Maddy Wildman, bassoon
Jacob Rogers, percussion

Formed by a group of friends at the University of Michigan in 2017, Front Porch's commitment to sharing the unique and powerful voices of today has led them to premiere 12 new works in their first two years together, with over a dozen more premieres planned for next season. Since all of their commissions are born out of close relationships with composers, they have a personal connection to every piece that they play, and their genuine and down-to-earth concert presentations allow their audiences to feel those same connections.

Genesis Trio (Vancouver, Canada)

Jonathan López, clarinet
Markus Masaites, piano
Nina Weber, viola

Established through a shared passion for performing and love for chamber music, the Genesis Trio has performed for a variety of audiences, garnering citywide acclaim. In 2018, the trio was invited to perform at the renowned Brevard Music Festival and the following year took first prize at the 65th annual Friends of Chamber Music competition. This summer, the three will be performing for over 700 students in El Paso, Texas, and will travel to Calgary to compete in the national finals of the Canadian Music Competition.

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