Inhale Life, Exhale Music: The 2018 Intermuse International Music Institute & Festival
"Music is the soul of my life." These words, shared by one of our participants in a written reflection, were echoed by the students, faculty, and guest artists of IIMIF 2018 throughout the intense ten day on-campus program.
Each year we welcome a small group of talented young musicians to live and breathe music under the guidance of renowned teachers and performers. This year's participants, ranging in age from 9-23, impressed faculty with their maturity, poise, enthusiasm, self-respect and respect for each other, and passion for learning, sharing, and growing as a community.
IIMIF 2018: DAY 1
Within the first few hours of the arrival on campus, students were challenged to go outside of their comfort zone through public speaking, participating in a dance and movement workshop by LucidBeings, and diving into their first rehearsal with their chamber ensemble, with the assistance of a faculty coach. When we met for evening reflections (a daily guided wrap-up session), we were already a tight-knit community that had committed to supporting each other in the process of growth. Each student spent several minutes writing a summary of what they had learned, as well as what their musical (and personal) goals are for the program.
IIMIF 2018: Day 2
Students spent the morning in lessons and rehearsals. Before lunch we had the first "Stretches for Musicians" class - a great way to check in with our bodies. These daily sessions allowed us to find ease and awareness of how we use our body, build strength and flexibility, release tension, and reboot for the rest of the day. In the afternoon, pianist Brian Ganz presented a masterclass, with three student pianists performing music of Chopin, Debussy, and Schubert. After dinner, Prof. Ganz presented a lecture-recital on Frederic Chopin's Concerto in F minor (with IIMIF Director Elizabeth Borowsky as the "Borowsky Philharmonic"). His flawless and passionate playing left us all inspired, and we learned and absorbed much from the Q&A session after the concert.
IIMIF 2018: Day 3
A morning of ensemble rehearsals and practicing, yoga, and then... a field trip to Gettysburg! We enjoyed visiting the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, full of interactive exhibits dedicated to the Battle of Gettysburg. After this, historian and actor Bill Parkinson put a personal spin on the Civil War, allowing students to really understand the significance of this historical place. IIMIF Faculty Prof. Audrey Andrist, Prof. Cecylia Barczyk, Dr. Charles Borowsky, Prof. Elizabeth Borowsky, Dr. Emmanuel Borowsky, Dr. Sharon Eng, and Dr. James Stern presented a beautiful program of music for violin, viola, cello, and piano at the Gettsyburg Seminary Chapel; including sonatas by Ernest von Dohnanyi and Luise Adolpha LeBeau and contemporary programmatic compositions by James Lee III and The Borowsky Trio. After the performance we went Apple Haven Farm, where we had a dinner hosted by the Borowsky family, with an incredible view of the surrounding field, orchards, and mountains.
IIMIF 2018: Day 4
Back to work! A full day of musical activities, now with the added benefit of a weekend of concerts and discussions to inspire effective practicing. In the afternoon, Dr. Emmanuel Borowsky presented a workshop for string players on "String Instrument Selection and Care." After dinner, Dr. Mark Hartman presented an interactive workshop on blues improvisation. We used a looper to create a foundation for the improvisation patterns that were built on the blues scale; finding a balance between theory, ear training, and intuition. We finished off the evening with an impromptu swing-dance session led by Kara Iwanowski (Assistant to Director Elizabeth Borowsky).
IIMIF 2018: Day 5
At this point, student chamber groups are already sounding very strong - and it's hard to imagine that they had only first met each other a few days ago. Students are on their second private lesson (total three, hour-long lessons) and working on technique and artistry with their assigned teacher. Dr. Sharon Eng presented a tai-chi workshop for our daily "Stretches for Musicians." Highlights from today's special activities included a workshop with Dr. Andrew Rosenfeld on theory and form (WOW!) and a masterclass by Prof. Jonathan Carney (Concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra). Prof. Carney probably could have gone on for hours beyond the class - he is a passionate teacher who is intent on helping students get to the core of the music, and developing an array of practice skills that will lead to the desired results.
IIMIF 2018: Day 6
Many of our students are considering careers in music, be it performance (solo, chamber, orchestral), education (private studio, or public school orchestra director), or in another capacity (sound engineer, theory teacher, composer, manager). IIMIF Founder Dr. Charles Borowsky has several decades of experience in the arts, from serving as an arts manager, advocating for arts education, and a hands-on approach to the musical careers of his three children. He presented a workshop on "Considering a Career in Music," addressing pre-college education, college and grad school, competitions, performance, and more. In the evening, IIMIF Artistic Director Prof. Cecylia Barczyk presented a masterclass, assisting three advanced cellists in their quest to turn their musical performances of works by Elgar, Lalo, and Brahms into an epic story for the audience. The sunset tonight was especially beautiful!
IIMIF 2018: Day 7
If you had to communicate a chamber work through physical gestures alone - but not conducting or mimicking playing your instrument - could you get a casual observer to notice mood, dynamics, articulations... maybe even the key signature or some personal attributes of the composer? In his second session with IIMIF students, Dr. Andrew Rosenfeld challenged ensembles to find ways of expressing their chamber work and communicating alignment with each other, without making any sound. A great challenge! In the evening, Baltimore actor Prof. Paul Diem presented a theatre workshop that addressed self-care for our bodies through stretches and posture, stage presence, confidence, and communication through body language and public speaking.
IIMIF 2018: Day 8
LucidBeings returned for a follow-up session and was amazed at the growth that students have experienced in just under a week, especially in terms of body and breath awareness, and a sense of trust in the community. They presented an engaging second workshop on "The Brain Dance." Before lunch, we discussed and explored stage presence basics for ensembles, and then in the afternoon, chamber groups performed dress rehearsals for Dr. James Stern. The evening featured the first-ever IIMIF Composer's Showcase! We listened to two string quartets written by IIMIF students, a brand-new piano trio by IIMIF Executive Director Elizabeth Borowsky, and a cello ensemble work arranged by Mr. Dan Cheston (the father of one of this year's cello participants). This last work was so beautiful that we had the cellists play it one more time, as we gathered close around them for an encore performance (note: their third time going through the piece, ever).
IIMIF 2018: Day 9
Today is what we have been working towards in every rehearsal, lesson, and special activity the past few days: the IIMIF student solo and ensemble recitals! Participants presented two polished recitals of beautiful music, demonstrating wonderful progress and growth in their music making. We enjoyed a celebration (with delicious music-decorated cupcakes) after the evening concert.
IIMIF 2018: Day 10
Although a few participants departed after the Saturday evening concert, we had one last treat in store for those that stayed on campus: a special presentation by IIMIF alum and violinist Alexander Strachan. Alex shared his journey through music, from his college studies to his work for U.S. Government, and his eventual work in using music for healing. Alex is a frequent performer in hospitals, hospices, and detention centers - and there was much to be learned from his passionate attitude towards music and life. In addition, Alex gave our participants one last push to really take care of their bodies - sharing suggestions for stretches before, during, and after practicing.
Congratulations to all our 2018 participants - we hope to see you again soon!
Oh... but wait... there's more!
After the conclusion of the IIMIF on-campus program, three participants embarked on a mini-tour of Maryland, sharing their music with appreciative audiences in Parkville, Baltimore, Towson, and Bel Air. In addition to this core group, several local IIMIF participants were invited to take part in these performances.