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Our fellows are enjoying this wonderful time of the year by immersing themselves not just in the sunshine but also in exceptional music, teachers, and the musical community. Yes! Summer camps are back and some of them have started back in person this year. Some of our fellows are still in camps while others are back from them with renewed energy, focus, and determination to play and learn more. In this feature and next, we will be sharing some of our students’ camp experiences.


Fellow name: Sameer Agrawal
Camp: Center Stage Strings, Curtis Mentorship Network
Instrument: Violin

For the past three summers, I have attended Center Stage Strings (CSS), a 4-week summer camp for advanced string students aged 12-24, which takes place at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Throughout the 4 weeks, you have lessons, daily technique classes, chamber music, and classes about theory and presenting yourself to an audience. You also do a lot of practicing! In addition, there are many concerts, masterclasses, performance opportunities, and other recreational activities.

My favorite part about attending CSS is how I meet so many great people there, who are now close friends as well as very inspiring musicians. At CSS, I find myself very immersed in music and believe that I have improved greatly as a musician because of it. CSS is also unique in that it is a very diverse program, with students and faculty from many underrepresented backgrounds. This year, CSS especially focused on discovering the music of underrepresented composers, holding a BIPOC composer solo competition, and programming diverse repertoire on every recital. This is my performance of two movements of Blue/s Forms by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson from the BIPOC Competition.

Fellow name: Kevin Reyes
Camp: NYO2 – National Youth Orchestra 2
Instrument: Percussion

Time really can be your enemy sometimes. It is amazing and sad to think how fast time went by this past month. I had the opportunity to be part of the National Youth Orchestra in Purchase, New York this summer. I really loved the experience that I had there. I got to meet so many people, conductors, faculty, composers, and most of all, I made friendships that I will never forget. People like Joseph Young, John Ross, Juan Pablo Contreras, Mei-Ann Chen, Molly Joyce, Marc Damoulakis, and Jauvon Guilliam. They all had an impact on me this past month, and I learned so much from these professionals. I also learned so much from all the friends I made. I not only learned musical skills, but I also learned life skills that made me appreciate the people I have around me.

The day I left New York was a very bittersweet day. I was happy that I was going to see my family, but at the same time, sad that I was leaving the people I met that I also considered family. Which just goes to show that music really does create bonds. I came back fully motivated and ready to learn more, and I will try my best to make it in the National Youth Orchestra again some day.

Fellow name: Ella Saputra
Camp: Online Solo Strings Intensive, NYU Summer Strings
Instrument: Violin

This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Online Solo Strings Intensive (OSSI) and NYU SummerStrings (virtual). I was able to take private lessons with Paul Kantor from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, as well as Melissa White and Giora Schmidt from NYU Steinhardt String Studies. I was also very fortunate to have had the chance to perform in masterclasses for Jan Mark Sloman and Kurt Nikkanen. I truly enjoyed studying with each one of them, and felt that they all helped to give me different perspectives and approaches to my playing and practice. In addition to this, both camps offered daily seminars on a variety of topics such as performance psychology, audition strategies, and effective practicing, which were all very interesting, engaging, informative, and applicable. I am grateful to CMPI for their financial support that has helped me to pursue these opportunities!

Fellow name: Autymn Williams
Camp: Sewanee
Instrument: Violin

This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the 2021 Sewanee Music Festival. After being in quarantine last summer it was definitely a refreshing feeling being able to be with other musicians in person and having the chance to make lifelong friendships once again. Sewanee is an orchestra and chamber-based camp with kids from all over the country from all different ages and backgrounds. The festival included many evening concerts throughout the week that were mixtures of both faculty and student performers as well as guest recitals. At first, it took me a minute to get used to the early orchestra rehearsals and the evening private lessons, but I soon became accustomed to the day’s flow and found time to have fun. Apart from the music aspect, I definitely made some of the best memories with friends, from going on early morning hikes in the woods to learning how to skateboard at 1 am. I also had the opportunity to meet many violin faculty from universities and talk with them about their own studios back home and advice about life in general.

Overall, I rate my experience at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival a solid 10/10, not only because of the progress I’ve made as a musician, but also the lifelong memories I made.

Camp Photos!

TOP: Infographic for CMPI Summer Camps 2021

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