These are a few of my favorite things

By Barry Kempton

This past weekend was a busy one for The Schubert Club.  But what a weekend!  If ever there was need for evidence that I’m fortunate to work in the arts and specifically for this wonderful organization, this is it. 

On Saturday, we had the final rounds of our Student Scholarship Competition followed that same evening by our Winners’ Recital.  It sounds glib, but these young musicians from the 5-state region competing for $2,000 and $1,500 scholarships are amazing.  Just over 100 finalists competed on Saturday (of an original pool of over 240) and of those finalists, 14 first place winners performed in the recital.  They are outstanding musicians without a doubt, but also outstanding young people with an extraordinary commitment and work ethic.  Congratulations to all.

We’re lucky to be an organization with the mission and resources to support these young musicians.  We’re also lucky to have the support of dedicated staff members and hard-working (and gracious) volunteers.  I’m told over and over by the extensive team of volunteers that serving at the competition is inspiring and a privilege, but nevertheless it’s important to note that we the staff couldn’t run the competition without them. 

Between the competition on Saturday and Sunday’s Music in the Park Series performance by the Miró Quartet, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with some of the most amiable professional musicians.  It reminded me of something my father pointed out to me when I was a teenage musician.  An enthusiastic amateur musician, my dad’s actual profession was electronic engineer at our local television station in England.  I benefitted from this as a young musician, as I was able to go to the studios regularly and sit in on live recording sessions.  Invariably the professional musicians would come and talk to me on their break, show interest in who I was and what I played.  My father observed that top level professional musicians always make time to offer support and encouragement to young musicians, no matter how busy they are.   Saturday’s judges Adam Golka, Scott Yoo, Lisa Saffer, John Paulson and John Holmquist are shining examples of busy musicians dedicating time and energy to young musicians for quite modest honoraria – and speaking of this as their privilege.

The Miró Quartet members, Daniel Ching, Will Fedkenheuer, John Largess and Joshua Gindele merit that same recognition.  Between yesterday’s wonderful performance in St Anthony Park and rehearsals with the SPCO (for this coming weekend’s performances on a new Kevin Puts work for solo quartet and chamber orchestra), they’re coaching string quartets today at the Artaria Chamber Music School.

View the 2014 Competition Results here

(photo above: College Piano winners Osip Nikiforov and Matthew Harikian posing by the results board during the final round of the competition)