Welcome Lisa!

We're excited to have Lisa Barksdale join CMW this fall, working alongside me to build CMW's new daily orchestra program (more details coming soon!). She has spent the past four years in Boston, where she earned her Master of Music and Performance Diploma from Boston University. At BU, Lisa studied violin principally with Lucia Lin. While there, she was also able to explore her passion for chamber music as a member of the Iris Quartet, studying with members of the Muir String Quartet, both in school and at the Muir Quartet's Emerging Quartets Program in Deer Valley, Utah.


Lisa has also recently discovered a new love of playing the Baroque violin, which she studied with Jane Starkman at BU and in total immersion this summer at Oberlin Conservatory's Baroque Performance Institute. She hopes to continue performing baroque music during the coming year.

On the other end of the musical spectrum, Lisa enjoys playing contemporary music. She was a member of Boston University’s Time’s Arrow new music ensemble and attended New England Conservatory’s Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice in 2011. In the Boston area, she frequently plays with the Atlantic Symphony and Neponset Valley Philharmonic Orchestras. Above all she remains committed to teaching, maintains a private studio in Boston, and she is looking forward to contributing to the success of CMW's daily orchestra program and growing as an educator.

-Adrienne Taylor, Program Director

Jesse interviewed in Strings

What are some of the qualities of a model music student? 

Jesse Holstein: I would say the student’s curiosity has to be piqued and the student has to be intrin­sically motivated. So if he or she is just learning music for the sake of the parents or for the sake of trying to reach some sort of standardized level, it’s not really going to work. If a student is really curious about the process and is motivated from within, then it starts to get really interesting as a teacher. Parental involvement is also really critical. Not when a parent is involved so much that the child doesn’t have any intrinsic motivation, but if intrinsic motivation is coupled with a parent who shows an interest in letting the child grow on his or her own, then amazing things can happen.

How do you try to foster rapport with your students?

Jesse Holstein: I think students really need to feel safe around the teacher. Meaning, if they make a mistake or they’re having trouble, it’s not really a bad thing, just another opportunity to explore why something isn’t working. It’s not a punitive sort of feeling, but it’s just that curiosity is sparked, they feel supported and safe, and that they can go at their own pace. I think that as a teacher, part of my responsibility is to be a chameleon and to be really flexible to all my students’ learning styles. Some kids pick up things very quickly where others struggle, so I have to be really flexible. I have to ask myself, “How can I access this student’s creativity?” And there are so many different avenues—I feel like I’m just getting started.

Read the rest of Jesse's interview here.

Heath’s upcoming transition to NEC

After a terrific career with CMW that dates back to teaching cello lessons at the West End Community Center in 1999, Heath Marlow will be leaving this fall to become Program Director of the Sistema Fellows Program at the New England Conservatory. As you may know, CMW has enjoyed a partnership with NEC as it has developed this fellowship program over the past three years, including a year of "cross-training" for CMW's and NEC's Fellows this past year. The important common theme in our respective work is creating careers for musicians that combine music and social action in the USA.

Pretending to listen intently during a recent Fellowship Seminar (June 2012)

We are thrilled for Heath that the next phase of his career will still find him working on the important question of how musicians can have significant social impact. Needless to say, we'll be sad to lose him as a daily colleague and indefatigable leader. During Heath's tenure at CMW, he has established many critical partnerships that have brought CMW press, funding opportunities, guest musicians, and public acclaim, to say nothing of his work producing and performing in inspired concerts during CMW's growth over the last decade.

Discussing logistics during the Borromeo String Quartet's residency (May 2003)

The work of preparing a new generation of musicians for entrepreneurial careers will be nothing new for Heath, since he has already been an important mentor to CMW's Fellows as they have planned new programs, to colleague organizations (such as Music Haven and musiConnects) in their early years of organization-building, and to participants in our Institutes for Musicianship and Public Service.

Presenting about CMW's development practices at an IMPS (November 2009)

In dreaming, planning, and executing all manner of innovations and projects at CMW, Heath has been an invaluable partner to me. I am glad that we will be able to continue to work together over the next three months as this transition unfolds.

-Sebastian Ruth, Founder & Artistic Director

[Editor: View the press release regarding Heath's new position at NEC's website.]




Here are two images of Julia pretending to busk outside the CMW storefront earlier this month, as captured by Jori. Note my skepticism as I withhold my dollar bill… this is because Julia can't actually play the violin!

Over many years, Julia and I have enjoyed this running bit of humor, ever since I showed up at her house to solicit fundraising advice carrying my cello case. Julia joining our staff this month represents a significant moment in CMW culture: the first time CMW fundraising will be directed by someone who hasn't also split their time between performing, teaching, and the myriad of other responsibilities that CMW staff positions have been known for over the organization's fifteen-year history.

Joining Sebastian (see his entry below), I'm elated that Julia has agreed to lead CMW's fundraising strategy and development efforts.

-Heath Marlow, Managing Director

Introducing Julia Emlen


We are very pleased to announce that Julia Emlen has joined CMW as our Director of Development. This is a new position that reflects CMW's growth as an organization, and our plans to grow in the coming years.

Julia joins us after a long association with CMW that dates back to the Fall of 2000, when I attended a one-day class she taught on newsletter writing. (View a CMW newsletter from 2002 here.) I was impressed with her knowledge of non-profit communications, and after the class asked her if I could pick her brain about growing CMW, which was at the time in its fourth year. What followed was a memorable coffee date, in which Julia gave me dozens of ideas for building the organization, the first of which was to solicit her for a gift. I squirmed until she instructed me how to do it, and I left that meeting with her personal commitment of support. Julia has been an informal adviser ever since. 

Over the past eighteen months, with capacity building funding from the Rhode Island Foundation's Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence, we have worked with Julia as a consultant to review our development and communications strategy, and to recommend changes that will enable us to grow. She comes to us with a stellar national reputation as an expert in philanthropy, having consulted to organizations across the country as the principal of Julia S. Emlen Associates for many years, and before that overseeing donor relations for Brown University.

Please help us welcome Julia by introducing yourself to her at the next CMW concert.

-Sebastian Ruth, Founder & Artistic Director

Bartok Duos

Wrapping up CMW's season-long exploration of Bela Bartok's 44 Violin Duos, current and former CMW resident musicians, fellows, students, and guests perform several sets of duos during CMW's 15th season reunion concert at The RISD Museum.

Scratch at The RISD Museum

Scratch is a 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. Big thanks to Gus from Zachary S. Martin, Luthier Contrabass & Cello workshop in Pawtucket, RI for having us record sounds in the workshop.

-Liam Hopkins, Phase II

Recorded at The RISD Museum of Art on June 10, 2012