EMF challenges students to prepare a full-length program each week presented as part of the festival's concert series. Treated like musicians in a professional orchestra, our students are exposed to an accelerated learning process in a positive musical environment.
EMF showcases two student orchestras of equal ability with regularly rotated seating. Each rehearses six times a week in accordance with professional standards for performance, attendance, punctuality, etc. Both orchestras perform with faculty soloists, visiting artists, and the winners of the concerto competition.
At EMF, we believe each student must be inspired and challenged by the repertoire. With this in mind, the school's artistic staff selects a mix of musically and technically demanding repertoire for each instrument. Innovative programming is the catalyst for a rewarding orchestral experience.
From the beginning, the Eastern Music Festival has featured the world's most sought after artists and teachers, who work closely with its students and perform as part of its acclaimed concert series. Past seasons have included regular participation from musical legends like Midori, Gil Shaham, Sarah Chang, Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, and the Canadian Brass, as well as visits from superstar alumni like Wynton and Branford Marsalis.
Sectional rehearsals are held weekly for in-depth study of orchestral repertoire. Faculty members assist in working through challenging passages and solving performance problems specific to each section. Sectionals supplement individual preparation and develop unity of performance.
Chamber music is an important part of the School's curriculum each summer. All orchestral students are required to participate; ensemble assignments are made by faculty at the beginning of the summer, and each ensemble rehearses four times a week. Two of the rehearsals are coached by a member of the faculty. Student chamber ensembles perform on the Chamber Music Recital Series and are often invited to perform off-campus.
As part of the core curriculum, each orchestral student receives one hour of individual instruction weekly from a faculty member. The one-on-one work with an individual teacher throughout the summer allows students to make rapid progress in solving technical problems and learning new repertoire.
Many visiting artists give master classes, open to the public, as part of their residency. Several students will be invited by the faculty to perform in these classes, with consideration given to a student's preparation and repertoire. In addition, faculty members offer weekly master classes focusing on specific topics, thereby giving students the opportunity to experience a variety of teaching styles. All students are required to attend the weekly faculty master classes.
Each year, the School holds a Concerto Competition. Auditions are open to all students. Contestants may perform any solo work with orchestral accompaniment that was originally composed for their instrument and that does not exceed 18 minutes in length. Preliminaries are held on the second Sunday of the Festival; finals are held on the third Sunday. Memorization of standard solo repertoire is required for the final round and the performance.
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