2011 MTNA Conference – Opening Session – Culminating a Year of Collaborative Music

Wouldn’t you know it, we had internet connection issues tonight, so this post won’t quite be live. We are working on the issue and it should be resolved tomorrow so that the posts will be live throughout the day! Anyway…here is a rundown from the Opening Session:

After some lovely prelude music performed by Stained Glass Brass, a professional ensemble from the Milwaukee area…

…all those gathered began the 2011 MTNA Conference Opening Session with a rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.

MTNA President, Ann. M. Gipson, addressed the crowd next, referencing Wisconsin’s football championship earlier this year and calling this gathering our own version of the Super Bowl.

After welcoming everyone, she turned the microphone over to Cathering Walby, Wisconsin MTA President. Wisconsin MTA celebrated their 100th anniversary this year, and they are delighted to begin their second century by hosting this conference. She encouraged everyone to spend time dissecting what they learn and take home valuable insights that they can use in their teaching.

Next up Benjamin Caton, MTNA President-Elect and Conference Planning Committee Chair, gave everyone an overview of the conference. He first began by stating that 10 months ago he was very excited to be coming to Wisconsin. After his “beloved buckeyes got whipped” several times in recent games, though, he was re-thinking his excitement. However, he said, “We’re all together now.” In 1977 he attended his first conference with excitement. He recalled a session he went to by David Berge that blew his mind, making a lasting impact. He encouraged attendees to attend sessions that they may not even think will be very good, adding, “It might blow your mind.” Caton continued by introducing and thanking each of the members of the Conference Planning Committee. He shared that they have established a little different structure to the schedule this year that he hopes will make it easier for attendees to keep track of what’s going on when throughout the conference.

Gary Ingle, MTNA Executive Director and CEO, was up next. He introduced individuals in attendance that represent organizations that have partnered with MTNA for the Year of Collaborative Music:

Marvin Blickenstaff and Sam Holland of the Frances Clark Center
Brian Chung of Piano Manufacturer’s Association International
Tracy Cowden of Virginia Tech Dept. of Music
Pat Feeley of Canadian Federation of Music Teachers
Allison Gagnon of North Carolina School of the Arts
Eli Kalman of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Lauren Kaiser of Music Publishers Association
Janet Lopinski of Canadian Chopin Festival
Sigrid Luther of Chattanooga Music Teachers Association
Sally Pollock of University of Central Oklahoma
Janet Pummill of ClaviVoce
Rubia Santos of University of Wyoming Dept. of Music
George Shybut Performing Arts Medicine Association
Donald Simonson of National Association of Teachers of Singing
Kathleen Tyson of Connecticut State Music Teachers Association
Katherine Tobey of Baton Rouge Music Teachers Association
Richard VanDyke of Cincinnati Music Academy

Dr. Janice Wenger was the final person recognized by Dr. Ingle. She was the chair of the Year of Collaborative Music throughout this past year. This conference marks the culmination of this international initiative. She proceeded to introduce the Year of Collaborative Music Steering Committee:

Jean Barr, Gail Berenson, Andrew Campbell, Ann Epperson, Alexandra Nguyen, Jennifer Snow; Ann Rivers Witherspoon was added to the committee part way through the year and contributed much to the group with her enthusiasm and ideas. All the masterclass special guest performers were also recognized.

She concluded by highlighting some of the importance aspects of the year. Their three goals were recapped:

  1. Connect with other professional music organizations.
  2. Create and identity in MTNA for collaborative musicians.
  3. Collaborate with other MTNA instrumentalists and vocalists.

Activities that contributed to the success of this endeavor:

  • Intermediate Chamber Music Repertoire Database (available on the MTNA website)
  • Commissioning Intermediate Chamber Compositions
  • Chamber Music and Piano Duet Competitions
  • Collaborative Performance Track and Pedagogy Saturday
  • Worldwide Performance of Chamber Music on January 22, 2011, the International Day of Collaborative Music

A short video was shared at this point, highlighting chamber performances from the International Day of Collaborative Music. There were numerous recitals and festivals held all across the country as a part of this collaborative celebration. She suggested that with such an overwhelmingly successful response perhaps we should plan such a day every year!

Jean Barr was recognized as a pioneer in this field. She is the first person in America to earn a D.M.A in accompanying. Her “efforts, energy, bubbling ideas, and tenacity” contributed largely to this project. She was welcomed to the stage and greeted by a standing ovation.

Dr. Janice Wenger encouraged everyone to use this as a starting point for continued collaborative efforts by connecting with others and creating events. Thomas Ediger was recruited to lead an impromptu singing of Dona Nobis Pacem:

President Gipson presented Dr. Wenger with a small gift as an appreciation for all of her work to make this past year possible.

Peter Simon, president of The Royal Conservatory of Music, was the final one to take the podium. He announced that in partnership with Carnegie Hall, they are launching The Achievement Program. Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, came to the podium briefly to express his enthusiasm for the commencement of this program. In addition to being a great performance venue, Carnegie Hall actually has a great commitment to music education. They are building a music education center that is slated to open in 2014. After significant research, they came to the conclusion that it was very important to develop a national standard for music education. The exploration into this possibility began two years ago, but the past six months have been a more intense movement in that direction. They are excited to be making the official announcement about this development here at the MTNA Conference. Gillinson encouraged us all to remember that everyone matters; every moment matters. What can we all do to make sure that the full potential is realized?

Simon shared a few additional words before introducing tonight’s guest performers from The ARC Ensemble (Faculty Members of the Glenn Gould School):

Benjamin Bowman, violin; Marie Berard, Violin; Barry Shiffman, viola; Bryan Epperson, cello; Dianne Werner, piano; David Louie, piano

The program consisted of:

Suite for Piano left hand and Strings, Op. 23 by Erich Korngold

I.   Praludium und Fuge: Kraftig und bestimmt
II.  Walzer: Nich schnell, anmutig
III. Groteske: Moglich rasch
IV. Lied: Schlicht und innig, nicht zu langsam
V. Rondo – Finale (Variationen): Schnell, heftig

Quintet for Piano and Strings in A Minor, Op. 84 by Sir Edward Elgar

I. Moderato – Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Andante – Allegro

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