Strathmore Student Concert Series Expands to Include All 10,000 Fifth Graders in Montgomery County Public Schools
World-class Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs 6 student concerts in May
N. Bethesda, MD (January 18, 2008)— On May 7, 8 and 9, 2008, the Music Center at Strathmore opens its doors for the first time to all Grade 5 students from Montgomery County Public Schools, giving them the unique opportunity to attend a performance by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Carolyn Kuan. Co-presented by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and Strathmore, with support from The Webber Family Foundation and The Wachovia Foundation, these interactive concerts, designed and performed by the Baltimore Symphony, feature music by the late, great American composer Aaron Copland and an original composition by modern composer Gregory Smith. To accommodate the 10,000 students, six daytime performances are scheduled over a three-day period in the 1,976-seat Concert Hall, two each day at 10:35 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
This new educational series marks an expansion of Strathmore's student concert programs. Since opening the Music Center in February 2005, Strathmore has welcomed all Montgomery County Public School second grade students each fall. With the addition of all Montgomery County Public School fifth graders, Strathmore and the County have demonstrated a commitment to provide world-class music education experiences to the County's youngest residents. These concerts also mark the return of the class of students who attended the first concert at the Music Center in 2004, before the building opened to the public in February 2005.
"I am thrilled that 10,000 fifth grade students are returning to Strathmore to reinforce the outstanding musical experience they had as second graders," said Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. "MCPS is proud to partner with Strathmore and the Baltimore Symphony in helping to nurture a new generation of individuals who understand and enjoy orchestral performance."
"The gifts from the Webber Family Foundation and The Wachovia Foundation allow Strathmore to present world-class performing arts experiences to Montgomery County Public School students. By giving children access to live performances, we allow them to explore their creativity and foster music appreciation that can last a lifetime," said Eliot Pfanstiehl, President & CEO, Strathmore.
Since becoming a founding partner at the Music Center at Strathmore in 2005, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has enriched the Montgomery County area with world-class performances and educational outreach programs including youth concerts, master classes and its innovative "BSO on the GO" in-school workshop program. Vice President and General Manager Kendra Whitlock Ingram notes that, "Exposure to a live classical music experience can be a powerful influence for a 10 or 11 year old and the BSO is proud to share in that experience with every public school fifth grade student in the county. Characteristic of all of Gregory Smith's educational programs, Mr. Smith's Composition draws the students into the narrative, helping them gain critical listening skills by the end of the 40-minute program. Our music director Marin Alsop, who commissioned the work, says it best, 'It is difficult to find a work that is entertaining, educational and musically satisfying. Mr. Smith's Composition is all of these things.'"
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert program highlights the works of Aaron Copland, one of the great composers of the 20th century, best known for his incorporation of popular forms of American music into his compositions such as jazz and folk music. The program includes Fanfare for the Common Man, excerpts from "Dance" from Music for the Theatre, El Salón Mexico, Variations on A Shaker Melody, and Hoedown from Rodéo. The program's main component will focus on the compositional process, illustrated for the students using Gregory Smith's original work, Mr. Smith's Composition. Students will learn how to listen for and identify musical themes and techniques, and gain a better understanding of how composers communicate their ideas through a range of instrumental and vocal timbres.
To enhance the educational opportunities presented during the concert, teaching materials were designed by the Baltimore Symphony, in conjunction with the Maryland Music Educators Association and MCPS, for teachers to use in preparing their students for the performance. These materials are available to the teachers online at BSOkids.org and include a lesson plan for the instructors to teach students about Aaron Copland, composer/conductor Gregory Smith and various compositional techniques. Recordings will also be sent to Montgomery County instructors to prepare the students for the music they will later hear performed by the BSO.
The Strathmore Student Concerts with the Baltimore Symphony will be held May 7, 8 and 9, 2008 at 10:35 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Music Center at Strathmore. The Music Center is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD, immediately adjacent to the Grosvenor-Strathmore station on Metro's Red Line. For more information on Strathmore, visit www.strathmore.org or call (301) 581-5100.
About Gregory Smith, composer/conductor
The career of Gregory Smith (b. 1957) covers the entire range of the musical world from serious chamber music to Broadway to movie scores. His television music can be heard on all of the major networks as well as stations around the world. The family/educational concert works of Gregory Smith have received over 700 performances by over 160 orchestras, often with Smith narrating. His latest work, The Melodic Life, was premiered by Marin Alsop at the Cabrillo Music Festival in August 2006. Smith enjoys a long association with the Walt Disney Company and has served as Composer and Music Supervisor for numerous productions at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Euro Disney. He composed and conducted the music for the highly acclaimed nighttime spectacular, Wishes, at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Smith also composed and arranged the music for Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration currently showing nightly in Anaheim. His music accompanies the nightly fireworks display at Euro Disney. Most recently, Smith composed, arranged and conducted the music for the fireworks show at Hong Kong Disneyland.
Smith's television and film credits range from composing themes for MSNBC, The Discovery Channel, ESPN, TNT, Headline News, scoring for the various Star Trek TV dramas, additional music for The Mighty Ducks (II and III), orchestrations for Con Air and Now and Then, to arranging songs for the Disney animated features Pooh's Grand Adventure and Pochontas II, to composing animation music for Warner Bros. cartoons. Smith recently composed the logo theme for the newly merged CBS Paramount Television. Also for CBS Paramount, he conducted and produced the re-recording of the original Star Trek theme to celebrate the show's 40th anniversary.
In 2002 Smith was honored to compose the music for the Salt Lake Winter Paralympics, which was performed by the Utah Symphony and chorus. Donny Osmond sang the centerpiece song, "Inspire The Spirit," during the opening ceremonies that aired internationally on ABC.
As a conductor, Smith has recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and Seattle Symphony Orchestra as well as numerous recording studio orchestras in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Prague.
About Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Carolyn Kuan is currently an associate conductor with the Seattle Symphony. She holds the distinction of being the first female to be awarded the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship by the Herbert von Karajan Centrum and American Austrian Foundation in 2003.
She has performed with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Charleston Symphony, Richmond Philharmonic and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Kuan is a keen advocate of new music, having served as assistant conductor for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music under Music Director Marin Alsop since 2003. She also held the post of conductor of the Smith College Composers Ensemble and has led the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in readings and recordings of new compositions.
The recipient of numerous awards, Kuan was named the first Taki Concordia Fellow in 2003 and has received additional awards from the Women's Philharmonic, the Conductors Guild, the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship and the Susan W. Rose Fund for Music. Kuan studied with Marin Alsop, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier and Leonard Slatkin. She graduated cum laude from Smith College and received a Master of Music from the University of Illinois and a Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory.
About the Baltimore Symphony
The Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its uncompromising pursuit of artistic excellence, the Baltimore Symphony has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout the Maryland community through innovative education and community outreach initiatives.
The BSO made musical history in 2005 when it announced the appointment of Marin Alsop as its 12th music director, making her the first woman to lead a major American orchestra. Maestra Alsop's inaugural concerts in September 2007 marked the dawn of a new era for the BSO, as she brings her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music to BSO audiences throughout Maryland.
With the opening of the Music Center at Strathmore in February 2005, the BSO became the nation's first major orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas. As the founding partner and resident orchestra of the Music Center, the BSO presents more performances than any other partner on campus.
The BSO at Strathmore is actively involved in giving back to Montgomery County and the Greater Washington, D.C. area, continuing the Orchestra's 81-year history of high-quality education programs for music-lovers of all ages. In addition to midweek education concerts, the BSO collaborates with the Levine School of Music and MCYO to present lecture series and master classes for area youth. Last season, the BSO at Strathmore launched its newest education initiative, BSO on the Go, which brings small groups of BSO musicians into local schools for free and interactive music education workshops.
Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc., Peter Vance Treibley, chairman, Eliot Pfanstiehl, president & CEO, is Montgomery County, Maryland's home for the arts. A 24-year-old presenter of concerts, art exhibitions, and community festivals, Strathmore offers world-class performances by major national artists of folk, blues, pop, jazz, show tunes, and classical music in the Music Center, a state-of-the-art 1,976-seat concert hall and education complex, and in the Mansion, a turn-of-the-century historic home. Strathmore has welcomed more than 5,000 artists and 2 million guests at its signature exhibitions, concerts, educational events and outdoor festivals since 1983.
The campus, anchored by Strathmore Presents programming and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, is also home to prominent and emerging arts organizations-from the Washington Performing Arts Society to the National Philharmonic, Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, CityDance Ensemble and Levine School of Music.
Strathmore recently produced the Washington Area Music Timeline Concert Series, an "ambitious" (The Washington Post) series of 64 concerts tracing Washington, D.C.'s music history, and the world premiere concert of cELLAbration: A Tribute to Ella Jenkins, released nationally on DVD by Smithsonian Folkways. Strathmore commissions new works of art and music, including the world premiere musical compositions Emergence: A Cicada Serenade by David Kane, Strathmore Sonata by Garrison Hull and BlingBling by Scott McAllister; works by Artist in Residence musicians; and the commissioning of the sculptures Music of Light by Meryl Taradash, Tetra con Brio by Roger Stoller and Little Temple by Stefan Saal.
Strathmore performances can be heard all over the country on NPR and XM Radio. Public Television also recently aired The United States Air Force 60th Anniversary: A Musical Celebration, a performance taped at the Music Center.
Education plays a key role in Strathmore's art and music programming. From Children's Talk and Tours of art exhibitions, to Strathmore's Artist in Residence program, a unique East Coast curriculum designed to help young musicians, the development of arts appreciation has always been an important component of Strathmore's mission.
Strathmore is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to non profit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Strathmore is also supported in part by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.