NCCMI News

1. A word from our Executive Director - Liz Beilman talks about NCCMI ...CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
2. Arioso Quartet wins competition prize in China! ... CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
3. Grant Llewellyn Orchestral Workshop and Concert - A true winner ...CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

 

A WORD FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

NCCMI is celebrating our 5th anniversary year; our yearly student number has grown from 13 to 80. We now have 20 small ensembles, working and performing throughout the year. These include string quartets, piano/string combinations and a woodwind quintet who meet weekly in sessions with professional teachers, including NC Symphony musicians. NCCMI organizes events at over 40 locations each year, including retirement communities, museums, libraries, Ovations at the Symphony and many more.

Over the last five years, NCCMI has grown in numbers and visibility as students and teachers see the quantifiable results of a great chamber music education. Our students are leaders in their individual schools and occupy prominent positions in All-Region and All-State Orchestras.

The process of rehearsing independently and receiving guidance from professional musicians builds transferable life skills: leadership through interaction with peers; independence as each player is responsible for their individual part; communication through public speaking and student-led rehearsals; and teamwork, where each player trusts other members of the ensemble to do his job. All this could sound very serious, but NCCMI would not be so popular if playing chamber music weren’t also a lot of fun!

Our partnerships have helped us along the way: North Carolina Symphony (Grant Llewellyn Workshop Concert, Ovations performances, Caroline Shaw master class and outreach opportunities), Chamber Music Raleigh (master classes with Jasper and Borromeo String Quartets and pianist Andrew Tyson). We are so grateful!

We also thank the many area churches that provide space for NCCMI sessions and performances: Edenton Street United Methodist Church, Highland United Methodist Church, Church of the Nativity and Apex United Methodist Church. Another facet of our partnership: our groups are honored to provide music for worship services at these churches.

Support for scholarships and programming has increased as well.

NCCMI is funded in part by the City of Raleigh based on recommendations of the Raleigh Arts Commission.  NCCMI is supported by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, as well as the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. For the 4th year, WCPE-The Classical Station is supporting NCCMI through an Education Fund grant.

Most of our county-wide events are open to the general public. Check us out through social media outlets and plan to drop in for a master class, workshop or concert. You will be glad you did!

Among our highlights for the fall/winter season: The Borromeo String Quartet Master Class (Nov. 17 at Highland United Methodist Church) and concerts at many area retirement communities (The Cardinal at North Hills, the Oaks at Whitaker Glen and Searstone).  To see our students at their very best, attend one of our Performance Reviews (1/6 or 1/12 2:30pm) or Spring Concerts (April 27 or May 4 at 2pm)

Chamber Music is a musical conversation among friends. Welcome to the party!

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Beilman

Executive Director, NCCMI




ARIOSO QUARTET PRIZE-WINNING PERFORMANCE

In the summer of 2018, members of the Arioso Quartet, Belinda Wang (violin), Demi Wang (violin), Richard Gao (viola) and Jonathan Thai (cello), competed in the semifinals of the Chinese National Television Talent Search Competition in Washington, DC. After winning that competition, they were off to Beijing, China to compete in the finals.

Arriving in China, they realized that their chosen work to play, Horse Race (a traditional Chinese piece, arranged for Classical String Quartet) was being performed by another competing group, which had more people, traditional Chinese instruments, in addition to Western instruments. Arioso plays strictly Western instruments. Right away they realized that they had to find a way to be more appealing; to show the audience more than just “look at what we can play”. They had to be more than just classical musician…they had to be a stand out.         

So in a single afternoon, despite jet lag they reworked their program to incorporate a medley of different styles, Pachelbel Canon, Despacito by Luis Fonsi, Beethoven String Quartet Op. 18, No. 4 and of course Horse Race, and performed their program as a skit. To quote cellist Jonathan Thai, “in a quartet there are four different instruments, four different parts and four different opinions. So personalities were attached to each instrument and we incorporated a conversation within the chamber music” selections”. The completely memorized performance won the attention of the judges and the show’s producer. As a result, they were awarded the Instrumental Prize and their videotaped performance will be presented on Chinese Television this year.  The creativity and beautiful performance made Arioso a “stand out for sure.”

 

 

THE GRANT LLEWELLYN ORCHESTRAL WORKSHOP AND CONCERT… A TRUE WINNER

On a beautiful October Saturday, the strains of the music of composers Edward Elgar and Antonin Dvorak moved beautifully throughout the sanctuary of St. Francis United Methodist Church in Cary. Inside the church, a 62-piece orchestra made up of young musicians from North Carolina Chamber Music Institute, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill and Greensboro campuses), and Greenville and Wake County high schools played together. Joining them in this Side-by-Side experience were other professionals including NCCMI faculty, freelance musicians and members of the North Carolina Symphony. Conducting them was the Music Director of the North Carolina Symphony, Music Director Grant Llewellyn. 

What!! Am I seeing this correctly? The music director of the North Carolina Symphony conducting these young people; How did this happen? According to Maestro Llewellyn, it was simply the thing of asking.  “I was approached by Liz Beilman, our associate Principal Cellist to see if I would like to work with the students from the NCCMI chamber groups. I had previously only heard them play chamber music and was impressed with their standard, so I jumped at the idea."

That idea produced an intensive workshop including sectionals with NCCMI Assistant Director Jimmy Gilmore and David Glover (former NCS Associate Conductor and NCCMI teacher). This was followed by a two-hour rehearsal for the young musicians with Grant Llewellyn in order to prepare a public performance of Serenade for Strings, Op. 20 by Edward Elgar and Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op 88 by Antonin Dvorak. 

What kind of expectations did Grant Llewellyn have for the day? “I arrived without any expectation and I was immediately impressed.”  The students were also impressed with this wonderful and generous conductor who gave them the chance of a lifetime.

Not only did this world class conductor teach and lead these young musicians, but he also gave one, Lauren Southwell, a crash course in conducting. Did she actually volunteer to stand in front of this 62 - piece orchestra and suddenly try her skill at conducting? According to Maestro Llewellyn “She didn’t exactly put her hand up, but she smiled and that is always fatal.” Extending this kind of opportunity is something that Grant says he enjoys doing.” If I can open the door for any young person to have an opportunity, then I will.”