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Summer Of Free Music At Musical Arts Center

Last updated on Monday, June 11, 2012

(BLOOMINGTON) - IU students and Bloomington residents can revel in the sweet sounds of summer on the Musical Arts Center lawn.

As part of the second annual Summer Festival of the Arts at IU, the Jacobs School of Music has assembled a Summer Music series that features world-class conductors and performers.

Tom Wieligman, academic specialist in instrumental ensembles and director of the Summer Music series, said the series has been a large part of Bloomington summers for about 35 years.

"We don't like to think of this as a September to April job," Wieligman said. "It's our job to educate students on an international level and give them the best possible level of training that they can get."

From June 13 with the jazz component "Birth of the Cool," to July 27 the series will feature more than 40 events.

The series has remained similar in event numbers and diversity throughout the last eight to 10 years, Wieligman said.

Outdoor concerts allow a different feel from those during the school year because they occur in a much different environment from a concert hall, he added.

Wieligman used the two types of summer orchestras to illustrate the diversity.

The Festival Orchestra concerts will feature a variety of popular works, including Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5," Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances" and Brahms' "Symphony No. 2."

Participating musicians include distinguished faculty members, students from the Jacobs School and guests from symphony orchestras across the United States, according to a press release about the Summer Music series.

The performances will be led by conductors Matthias Pintscher, Roberto Abbado and Carlos Kalmar on June 15 and 29 and July 13.

"You'll get world-class leadership in every section surrounded by wonderfully talented students," Wieligman said. "This orchestra plays very well, very quickly."

Pursuing her doctorate degree in violin performance, Hye-Young Kim will perform in all three concerts.

She also participated in the series in summer 2010.

"It's a really great program," Kim said. "There's a wide range of repertoire, and it's great for the audience to hear all these different composers and their works. For us, it's great to perform and study them. It really broadens our knowledge and musical language."

Working with different conductors and faculty members with experience gives students new perspectives in music making, she said.

"Because they're professional orchestra musicians, they know the trouble spots and what we should watch out for," Kim said. "They're there to guide us. We get to ask questions and learn a lot from them."

Aside from learning new techniques, student musicians learn professionalism.

"During the year when you play in school orchestra the rehearsals are more scattered," Kim said. "The summer is more concentrated to prepare for the concert in one week, which is what most of the professional orchestras do. It's a really good opportunity to experience what it's like to be part of the intense preparation for a concert."

Cliff Colnot will conduct IU students in the Symphony Orchestra in concerts on June 20 and July 20. Colnot is the principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's contemporary MusicNOW series and of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

"He is unique," Wieligman said. "He has a very specific type of teaching and is an outstanding teacher at the world-class level."

IU junior Joey Miller, who is majoring in clarinet performance and composition at the Jacobs School, auditioned for and won a spot on the Colnot-conducted Symphony Orchestra.

"I love it," Miller said. "(Colnot is) an incredible musician and he's probably one of the best conductors I've worked with in getting the orchestra to play together as an ensemble. He has a really unifying approach to conducting."

The increased competition during the school year has made earning a spot in the wind section of the five orchestras more difficult, so the summer opportunity has been satisfying, he said.

Last summer, Miller attended and enjoyed many of the concerts. He said he expects this year's events to be just as good.

"It seems to be successful in always drawing a large crowd," Miller said. "It brings in a lot of guest artists who wouldn't normally come to a town as small as Bloomington."

The series will also feature the Shanghai, Penderecki, Afiara and Cecilia quartets in a six-concert performance of all the Beethoven string quartets.

On June 17 and 18, legendary pianist Distinguished Professor Menahem Pressler will perform with cellist Antonio Meneses and violinists Andrés Cárdenes and Paul Neubauer. A founding member and pianist of the former Beaux Arts Trio, Pressler has established himself among the world's most distinguished and honored musicians, with a career that spans more than six decades.

Opera performances include Summer Opera Workshops directed by faculty members
Patricia Stiles on June 20 and Carol Vaness on June 30 and July 25.

The July 1 performance will showcase Clara-Jumi Kang, the winner of the 2010 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.

"It points to how we don't just do what we do to provide entertainment," Wieligman said. "The first thing is to educate the students. It's like cooking school. Once you cook something then you ask, 'Who's going to eat it?' That's why a lot of the summer things are free of charge. We want to give them to the community."

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