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Music, the saying goes, is a universal language. At Stevenson, it’s also an exuberant social and emotional outlet. Stevenson’s Rock Band is, and has been, heralded for its thrill, warmth, fun, and musicianship.
Now, another innovative musical program comes to our campus through the year. “Musical Interludes,” launched in the fall, is taking Stevenson forward as a musical campus. “Musical Interludes” is a series of Friday performance events from September through June by visiting professional ensembles that return throughout the school year. “The idea is to excite our campus with top musicians from various musical genres, whom students get to know personally over time,” said Jerry Pavlon-Blum, Director of Program Innovation at Stevenson. “Stevenson is alive with musical students and faculty, so having a set of esteemed, friendly musicians playing regularly and interacting with us feels great.”
This year, four ensembles will visit, each nationally renowned and award-winning: the Cassatt String Quartet brings classical and new string music; Mark Wade Trio brings various forms of Jazz; Kyo Shin An Arts’ James Nyoraku Schlefer and friends bring western music played on Japanese instruments; and, NYC’s premiere high school ensemble, Face The Music, brings fellow high school students to play known and original compositions.
“Questions from Stevenson students were on the same level of musical sophistication as any that professional students might ask about musical process, rehearsing and investigating very hard new music,” said Director of Face The Music, Vasudevan Panicker. “They’re the same questions FTM musicians ask themselves and each other, so the conversation was rich and meaningful.”
In addition to this year’s slate of ensembles, on December 5 Stevenson presented a very special appearance by a Julliard trio, playing Dvorák’s Terzetto in C Major, Opus 74, for two violins and viola.
Later in the year “Musical Interludes” will also offer students who want to spend more time and form closer bonds with the musicians an opportunity to sign up for “Lunch with The Artists.” As Pavlon-Blum sees it, “It’s a total thrill having top artistic talent returning to Stevenson all year long. It’s a collegiate experience to have Master Teachers hanging out, playing, and talking with students, which is exactly what we’re readying students to enjoy next.”