We are pleased to announce the start of the BCMS Teaching Artist Program at the Somerville High School, a cooperation with the Somerville Public Schools Music Department that will provide weekly sectional rehearsals led by five BCMS teaching artists for the high school’s string orchestra during the academic year. Additionally, BCMS will perform a free concert on Friday, October 20 at the high school’s auditorium for the Somerville community at large to generate additional interest in the cooperative program and the school’s music offerings; the five teaching artists will perform for the students at the end of each semester; and all string orchestra students will receive complimentary tickets to attend our regular concerts and open rehearsals at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre.
The five teaching artists—members of the Denovo Quartet (MaeLynn Arnold and Michael Hustedde, violins; Amberley Lamphere, viola; Daniel Dickson, cello) and double bassist Jury Kobayashi-Baxter—were chosen by a committee whose members included BCMS Artistic Director Marcus Thompson, Somerville Public Schools Music Director Richard Saunders, and the high school’s String Orchestra Director Andrew Blickenderfer, among others. The weekly TA-led sessions will start in September 2017.
The Somerville High School String Orchestra is made up of students who choose to participate in an offering that introduces them to the joys and challenges of making music as it introduces them to their peers. All orchestra members are Somerville residents. Nearly two-thirds of them come from homes in which English is the second language, and several are in their first year at an American public school. Few have had formal musical training; participation is open to anyone eager to spend 4 hours per week making music together. All stringed instruments are furnished by the school. In addition to being enjoyed and appreciated for its own sake, music becomes a means for building a supportive, inclusive, student community.
On learning of the musical and community building mission of the orchestra, members of the BCMS staff and board visited the school several times in late 2016 to meet with key members of the school’s music faculty. After both sides recognized the orchestra’s most urgent need was to have weekly sectional rehearsals led by qualified musicians, BCMS proposed creation of the Teaching Artist Program to help meet that need and to help realize several goals of our own mission: to foster the understanding and appreciation of the chamber music art form, making it more accessible to all.
The program allows BCMS an opportunity to promote a new residency program to engage an emerging local ensemble of quality, and a potential audience at an age when habits of civic and cultural engagement are formed.
Currently the program is funded in part by the BCMS Foundation, a separate, supporting organization of the Boston Chamber Music Society, and a grant from the Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation. We are seeking additional funders to fully support the program with the aim of growing it into a multi-year project.
About the Denovo Quartet
Since its debut at the Deer Valley Music Festival in 2015, the Denovo Quartet has quickly established a creative presence in the greater Boston area as performers, collaborators, and pedagogues. Mentored by the Muir Quartet at Boston University, the Denovo Quartet has been featured on numerous recital series performing both classic and contemporary repertoire. Recent engagements include performances at the Alcyon Chamber Music Series, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Brookline Library, Hopkinton Center for the Arts, Musical Chairs House Concert Series, Parish Center for the Arts, and upcoming concerts at Northeastern University and the New England Chamber Music Society. Members of the quartet are prize-winners in several national competitions and have performed in master classes for such renowned musicians including William Preucil, Stephen Clapp, Christian Tetzlaff, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Midori, as well as the Emerson, Tokyo, Arianna, JACK, and Atrium Quartets. They each hold graduate music performance degrees from Boston University and are experienced instructors in private lessons, chamber music and orchestra settings in the greater Boston area, including Sudbury, Concord, Arlington, and Concord, NH.
About double bassist Jury Kobayashi-Baxter
Mr. Kobayashi-Baxter obtained his undergraduate degree in music performance from the University of Toronto where he studied under both Tim Dawson and Paul Rogers and his graduate degree from the Longy School of Music where he studied with Pascale Delache-Feldman. While at Longy, Jury has continued his growth in many different avenues of music, which includes being involved with jazz ensembles, early music ensembles, as well as his new passion taking conducting lessons. During his first year at Longy School he won the Benjamin Franklyn Creativity Foundation Legacy Award. Jury has been able to continue his journey towards blending his love of acting, teaching and music through his involvement with the El Sistema Side by Side Program through the Longy School of Music and with the orchestra program at the Josiah Quincy Public School in Boston. He will continue his graduate study in early music at Longy School in Fall 2017.