Meadowmount School of Music is a summer program for young string players founded by legendary violin teacher Ivan Galamian in Westport, NY, in the Adirondacks, that has helped mold some of the world’s most prominent musicians, among them Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Joshua Bell. This summer, “the original practice camp” marks its 78th year with its first fully in-person session since 2019 and two new leaders at the helm: Executive Director Mark Hayman, former Executive Director of Young Concert Artists; and Artistic Director Janet Sung, international violin soloist as well as Head of Strings and Violin Professor at the DePaul University School of Music and Artistic Director and Founder of Chamber Music Chicago (and a Meadowmount alumna) – both of whom were appointed in 2021.
Meadowmount’s 2022 session takes place June 25 – August 13. During that time, approximately 175 young violinists, violists, and cellists, aided by a roster of teaching faculty and guest artists pulled from the top ranks of the music world (see below), will engage in a program of intensive study and practice devised by Mr. Galamian to effect, in his words, “a year’s progress in seven weeks.” During those seven weeks, the school’s campus becomes an active concert hub, with three to four performances a week by the students, faculty, and guest artists in Meadowmount’s Edward Lee and Jean Campe Concert Hall.
This year, the school has expanded its public concert offerings to other venues in the Adirondack region, as well as to The Violin Channel’s digital concert hall. Meadowmount has also launched a partnership with the local school district, and has purchased a historic house to establish a base in the town of Westport. And renewed efforts to fund scholarship opportunities have already resulted in the Gurrena Fellowship, a grant worth $50,000 for one Meadowmount student.
“While so much in the world has changed since Meadowmount opened in 1944, the school’s ethos and practice have not,” said Janet Sung. “Ivan Galamian created an environment and structure that allows young musicians total immersion, without distraction, in their studies. His original model based on ‘slow pace, fast progress’ offers an opportunity for a transformative experience for musicians, and continues its tradition through the lineage of our faculty and guest artists – almost all who teach at Meadowmount also studied here, myself included!”
“We are looking forward to letting more people in on the musical riches of Meadowmount – by bringing new audiences to campus concerts and expanded engagement in the community, and with greater visibility via The Violin Channel,” said Mark Hayman. “With new board, artistic, and administrative leadership, we have a renewed commitment to growing our institution, be it the beautiful campus, our historic legacy, or the broadening of support for students with increased fellowships and scholarships.”
Concerts on Campus, in the Community, and Online
The school offers a robust schedule of public concerts that take place in Meadowmount’s 500-seat Edward Lee and Jean Campe Concert Hall. Programs featuring students performing solo and ensemble works take place on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 pm and Sundays at 5 pm. Guest artist concerts, also featuring faculty and occasionally students, are scheduled on select Thursdays at 7 pm.
Meadowmount’s expanded public offerings this year in the Adirondack area include concerts at such venues as The Grange Arts and Community Center in Whallonsburg, NY; the Depot Theatre in Westport, NY; the Westport Library; the 1874 Schroon Lake Boathouse Theatre; East Branch Friends of Arts in Keene Valley, NY; and Ballard Park, Westport, NY.
Also new in 2022, six Wednesday evening concerts will be livestreamed on The Violin Channel’s digital concert hall, VC Live.
Institutional Growth: New Board Leadership, the Ivan & Judith Galamian House, School District Partnership
The Meadowmount board of directors has a new chairman, Hans Jørgen Jensen (succeeding Earl Carlyss), and a new member and treasurer, Caroline C. Croen, who is Vice President, Chief Financial
Officer and Treasurer of The WNET Group – and a Meadowmount alumna. In addition, with a grant from the Judith J. Galamian Trust, Meadowmount has purchased a historic home in the town of Westport to be used for faculty housing during the summer session and for special events year-round. Newly christened the Ivan & Judith Galamian House, the 1830 residence on Stevenson Road will give the school a base in town, which is a 15-minute drive from the campus.
Beginning this summer, Meadowmount will partner with the local Boquet Valley Schools district, collaborating on summer and after-school programs, and will offer students and their families concert tickets.
The Gurrena Fellowship
Meadowmount is launching its 2022 session with the news of a new annual fellowship. Created in memory of David A. Barnebl, a passionate music lover, by his wife, Linda Gurrena Barnebl, the Gurrena Fellowship will provide funds for one year of education, concert and management support, and living expenses, all worth a total of $50,000, to one exceptional student named at the end of the session. Linda Gurrena Barnebl aims to “support and encourage exceptionally talented students to become abundantly successful in their professional journey by continuing to pursue their careers with vigor and passion, particularly in chamber music, without the burden of financial constraints.”
The 2022 Faculty and Guest Artists
This year’s Meadowmount faculty, led by Janet Sung, who will also teach, includes violinists Kikuei Ikeda, I-Hao Lee, Gerardo Ribeiro, Ann Setzer, Ivan Ženatý; violists Molly Carr (assisted by pianist Anna Petrova), and Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot; and cellists Hans Jørgen Jensen and Julia Lichten, all of whom coach individually in their instruments as well as ensemble chamber music; and Steven Rochen, cello, who will coach chamber music. Almost all faculty members are in residence for the full seven-week session, unusual for summer music schools.
The 2022 guest artists, who offer master classes, individual instruction, and perform for and with the faculty and students, are violinists Philip Setzer and Paul Kantor; violist Matthew Lipman; cellists Hai-Ye Ni, Thomas Mesa, and Thomas Landschoot, and the Aizuri Quartet. In addition, composer, violinist, and Meadowmount alumna Jessie Montgomery will give a virtual master class. Meadowmount also features a collaborative piano staff of six artists.
The Meadowmount Experience
When he founded the school in 1944, Ivan Galamian, the fabled violin pedagogue widely considered the father of classical string playing in America, originated a routine and method of practice and study that has been acknowledged as fundamental to success by a list of alumni that includes some of the greatest artists of our time. The basis of the approach is purposeful practice: the students, ranging in age from 13 to 30, practice four hours in the morning, each hour divided into 50 minutes of playing followed by 10 minutes of rest. A break for lunch is followed by another hour of practice in the afternoon, along with private lessons, chamber music rehearsals, master classes with guest artists, and career development workshops, which this year will include for the first time sessions on concert livestreaming and working with artist management and administration.
The weekend schedule includes area field trips and a Sunday morning hike, and there are special events such as auditions for the NPR radio show From the Top and a talent show. There is a health and wellness staff of specialists who offer free Alexander Technique, yoga, and guided meditation services; physical therapy and massage services are also available. Tuesdays always feature “Pizza and Game Night.”
All this takes place on Meadowmount’s bucolic 240-acre campus that, in addition to the 500-seat concert hall, features a 100-seat performance space, chamber music rehearsal cabins, dormitories, and a historic main house that was the home of the Milhollands, a family with a prominent role in civil rights movements of early 20th-century America.
Before Meadowmount, violinist Joshua Bell had never practiced his instrument for more than an hour a day.
“Some of the most incredible musical moments of my life” [were at the school], he says. “I can’t even imagine how many things that are a part of me now are things that all began at Meadowmount.”
Violinist James Ehnes said, “Sometimes, I think of the incredibly short period of my life that I was actually there. Four summers, seven weeks each summer, and only six weeks that first summer. And yet so much changed for me as a musician and as a person during that time.”
The stellar array of alumni over the school’s 78-year history includes Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, Jaime Laredo, Lynn Harrell, Kyung-Wha Chung, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Joshua Bell, James Ehnes, Rachel Barton Pine, Alisa Weilerstein, and Jessie Montgomery. Meadowmount alumni are well represented internationally among soloists and chamber musicians, principal players of leading orchestras, and distinguished teachers. With a capacity enrollment of 200 on the 52-building, 240-acre campus, the school retains an intimacy that provides for personal attention and fosters camaraderie among the students. Many of the school’s alumni return as members of the faculty, ensuring the continuity of the Meadowmount teaching tradition. The faculty roster that has over the years included Gregor Piatigorsky, Josef Gingold, Isaac Stern, Leonard Rose, Sally Thomas, and Dorothy DeLay, has recently featured cellist Hans Jørgen Jensen and violinists Ann Setzer and Kikuei Ikeda – a lineage that is unmatched in the field.
Find more information by visiting: www.meadowmount.org
Photo at top: Meadowmount School of Music Facebook page photo.