ArtPlace press conference

State house

Barnaby Evans [Waterfire founder] and I celebrated Providence together from the balcony of the State Room at the State House after the ArtPlace press conference on Tuesday, June 12. In the background is the tape art installation on the Masonic Temple (now the Renaissance Hotel). Read about CMW's ArtPlace-funded project here, and read about Waterfire's project here.

-Sebastian Ruth, Founder & Artistic Director

Staff summer plans

Sebastian: Minna and I are spending family time in Ithaca featuring Juna Maya, with the extra support of extended family. Perhaps some klezmer tunes while there?

Sara: I'm making my annual roadtrip out west, this time to check out Mom's new pool. Isa (and Sara) will learn how to swim.

Jori: I'm just back from a wedding in New Orleans, heading to Vermont to work with a group of 70 artists creating a DIY production of Less Miserable, resulting in a performance at The Steel Yard on Monday, July 2. Then on to documenting the Institute for Art Teachers at RISD for one week.

Jesse: I will be coaching at the RI Philharmonic Youth Orchestra camp followed by a trip to Ireland including some Ferdinand the Bull performances with Ealain. Back in the States, there will be a mixture of Apple Hill, golf, meditation, and time with the Lord Nelson and Count Chocula.

Adrienne: I'll be practicing a lot while spending two months at Indiana University, including weekly lessons with Janos Starker in his house. Meanwhile, I'm preparing for the start of the String Orchestra Project at CMW and moving to Providence.

Ariana: I am teaching at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and living in a rental house on a lake, as well as improving my marathon time by running all the hills in the Berkshires.

Robin: I'll be relaxing in Providence.

Liz: I'll be taking a few short trips amidst trying to keep rabbits and squirrels from digging up the things we're planting in our raised beds.

Ealain: I am attending the Saint Lawrence String Quartet chamber music seminar next week, celebrating July 4th by flying to Ireland to see my family, and returning to the States for a session at Apple Hill.

Emmy: I'll spend some time on the family farm, play some barn dances, teach some Swedish fiddling lessons, and visit Wisconsin to teach at the Birch Creek Music Performance Center. Then more time on the farm, a couple weeks in Brazil, and a trip to Maine for Grandma's 90th birthday party!

Chloe: Spackling, painting, siding, roofing, electrical work… getting our new house ready to host the CMW staff for a day during August planning week, including a barbecue.

Heath: Jesse and I will perform Honneger's Sonatine for violin and cello on Sunday, and then I'm looking forward to two weeks with my inlaws (Ithaca in July, Maine in August) and at least one day trip to Tanglewood.

Sebastian visits the SF Bay Area

CMW Founder & Artistic Director Sebastian Ruth will be in San Francisco and Palo Alto next weekend for two speaking engagements. If you live there, we hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to hear Sebastian speak about CMW and our 15-year experiment at the intersection of classical music and public service.

Saturday, June 23 at 7:30 pm
Lecture: Redefining Musicianship for the Public Good
Hosted by Kelly Close, San Francisco
Free with reservation, RSVP to

Sunday, June 24 at 2:30 pm
Keynote address, St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar
Stanford University, Palo Alto
Free admission

Experimental Music Concert 2012

The concert on June 2 was a success! Despite having only a few short rehearsals, CMW students, alumni, teachers, and visiting musicians in town for IMPS performed four pieces beautifully to a sizable crowd at the Knight Memorial Library. Listen/watch/read about all four pieces on the Media Lab website by clicking here.

-Jori Ketten, Media Lab Director

Scratch is my composition for string orchestra and field recordings. The strings section is in C major and based on a melody first exposed in the viola section. Underlying the strings part, there is texture of sounds recorded at a string restoration workshop. The piece is largely in sonata form with an interlude in the middle that could most accurately be described as a solo by the operator of the cassette tape players, which contain the recorded sounds from the field recordings.

-Liam Hopkins, Phase II

Third Year Fellowship Awards

One exciting aspect of CMW's ongoing Mellon Foundation-funded project to share our model is known as the Third Year Fellowship. This spring, former Fellows and graduating Fellows were invited to apply for small grants that would provide seed funding for their own new or expanded programming. Two grants recipients were selected by a committee of CMW board and staff: Rachel Panitch (class of '09) and Ariana Falk (class of '12).

Rachel's proposal (excerpt)

Michelle and Rachel have worked closely together at the RI Fiddle Project over the past two years, developing the group fiddle class culture, pedagogy, procedures and repertoire. It is work that requires both long-range and short-term planning, constant revisions and reflection. This class (incorporating group fiddle playing and dance) is one of the main areas where the “alternative” element of the alternative model [from CMW] is honed and tested. 

In some moments, this alternative model feels as if it’s becoming stronger – learning how to stand on its own. We see this when one of our students volunteers to lead the class in starting a tune, or helps to line the others up for a performance. At other times, the model can feel delicate and in danger of toppling over. As some of our students have entered middle school this year, they have tested the program with poor role modeling and a refusal to participate in certain activities – and yet, they choose to show up without fail each week. We’ve had remarkable attendance. We know that they are drawn to RI Fiddle Project, the people in it, and to making music. But we may need to try something new to give our students challenges that are particularly well matched to their own age and ability groups. 

Over the summer, the staff would develop a new group class structure to better serve the diverse of needs and learning methods of our students. Here is one possible answer: a new group class structure where we hold two smaller-group sessions each week. Students would be required to attend the group class on the opposite day of their lessons, so that each student would not only have two experiences each week, but those experiences would be on two separate days. The groups would be divided up according to age and experience, and at our monthly music and dance events, students would come together to play in a larger group setting.

Ariana's proposal (excerpt)

As I draw near to the end of my Fellowship, I have looked for the right circumstances to pursue my project. Many key pieces have begun to fall into place for an educational project in Worcester that would mirror CMW’s values. I have accepted a position as Education Director for the Worcester Chamber Music Society; the group is a robust performance ensemble who wish to deepen their educational programming. My vision is to make that work the seed of a bigger project that would enrich the lives of Worcester youth through free music lessons and meaningful mentorship.

Worcester’s poverty rate is nearly twice the state average, and approaches 50% in the downtown area. A music project could offer a wealth of opportunities to communities in need, including the downtown and Main South neighborhoods, whose youth have little access to creative arts. School shows from the Chamber Society already reach hundreds of children. I envision as the ideal complement a free program that offers lessons in a downtown space. Alongside the teaching artists are college musicians who commit to year-long relationships with youth, and often stay for multiple years. The college mentors are part of a class that offers support, training, and college credit. They deepen the connection between college and city and glimpse a bigger mission to guide their musical careers.

The budding project in Worcester is long-term and seeks to nurture many aspects of its students’ lives, and as such its intended outcomes are multifaceted. Youth will discover a creative outlet that hones life skills like discipline, cooperation, imagination, and leadership. Mentors will be encouraged to forge strong relationships with students that strengthen colleges’ ties to the community.

Congratulations to Rachel and Ariana, and we look forward to hearing back from them about their projects at this time next year!

-Heath Marlow, Managing Director