Bruce left this world quietly on November 21, 2022, at a beautiful hospice house near Boston. All of his family members have stayed close. The staff at the hospice relieved us of his medical care, allowing us to be with him and each other.
As many of you well know, Bruce devoted his life to music and to his family. He was a beloved husband, son, brother, father, grandfather, cellist, teacher, mentor, coach, colleague and artistic leader. His musical and professional accomplishments are too many to chronicle here, so we will be posting links with more information.
We are very grateful for all your care and concern for Bruce — for the cookies, cards, meals, phone calls, messages, visits, and all your expressions of love and friendship. His generous and loving spirit will always be with you, and with us.
We will keep you posted on plans for memorial events. His ashes will be buried in the family cemetery in the countryside near Amboy, Indiana, in a private ceremony.
We all treasure our memories of Bruce and will continue to live our lives in ways that he inspired.
I don’t want to leave the semester without recapping this exciting event that took place in April, 2022. First, a bit of background for you out of towners:
The Rivers School Conservatory Seminar on Contemporary Music for the Young was founded for young performers to hear, play, and learn the music of their time. Since 1978 the seminar has presented 3,254 pieces, representing more than 1,920 composers and 720 premieres, including 227 commissioned pieces. Each seminar’s programming is unique; pieces are performed only once, so that repertoire, composed within the last 25 years, is constantly being explored. Every year RSC commissions one composer for a major work. Past commissioned composers and guests include:
John Cage Doris Hayes Wendy Rolfe Ivan Ttherepnin Daniel Pinkham John Harbison Gunther Schuller Sir John Taverner Lukas Foss
Samuel Adler Lowell Liebermann Michael Gandolfi Robert Sirota Libby Larsen Matthew Aucotain
This year’s commissioned composer was Chen Yi. From her publishing Company’s website: ‘As a Distinguished Professor at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, a prolific composer, and recipient of the Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Dr. Chen Yi blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. Her music has reached a wide range of audiences and inspired peoples of different cultural backgrounds throughout the world.’
Dr. Chen Yi spent three days with us. She coached her new piece for string quartet, Song of Spring. She gave master classes, attended and coached in rehearsals, and moderated a round table discussion, How to Advocate for Women Composers Today. Her inimitable effervescence and deep warmth was felt by everyone. I wanted to present this opportunity to my students because I knew it would be unforgettable to them. It is not very common to formally learn and perform new works.
Seven of you from my class joined many other students and faculty members for this weekend of immersion in new music. The first three students listed here presented world premieres. The other pieces were firsts for Rivers, for sure, including the Balch and Benn which were commissioned by Jennifer Koh for her pandemic project, Alone Together.
Vaccine Etude No. 3 by Piotr Szewczyk was performed by Elliott Ho.
Vaccine Etude No. 5 for the G String by Piotr Szewczyk was performed by Oliver Rodriguez.
Quarantine Etude No. 3 was performed by Oghenebrume Sekegor.
YangKo for Solo Violin and 2 Percussionists by Chen Yi was performed by Leah Jin.
Cleaning by Katherine Balch was performed by Elizabeth Irvine
Song of Aphrodite by Lincoln Brady was performed by Catherine Irvine
exhalation by Hand Benn was performed by Anouk Grigoryan
We’re already thinking about next year. Let me know your ideas!
South African cellist Abel Selaocoe makes his Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra debut exploring the parallel worlds of folk music from the African continent and the European classical tradition.
I’ve been waiting months to be able to share this with you. Please don’t miss it. It is a most moving and unforgettable experience.
Unless you have time to hear the whole concert, I’d recommend you begin watching the clips after the Haydn “Bear” Symphony. There is a rendition of Bach, as well as what I hope is a beautiful Mother’s Day gift, a piece dedicated to Mothers.
Pat is our magical violinist friend who I met when Bruce and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra hired her to become an artistic partner years ago. I’ve been talking to many of you about expressiveness in violin playing, and she is the embodiment of what this means. She is the most inspiring, gentle, playful, warm, imaginative, and electrifying musician that I know. Here is a clip of one of her concerts in St. Paul. Please search for more of her work; she has a huge commitment to contemporary music, which some of you will be embarking on in your performances at Rivers this weekend. Enjoy!
I’ll bet you think that spring is a long way off, don’t you. Well, it’s time to save the dates for our spring recital. Please put aside Sunday, May 1 for a dress rehearsal, and Sunday, May 8 for our recital. For now please block off from 12 pm to 3 pm both days, although those windows will get smaller when we get closer in.
Once again, Mr Vytas Baksys will play for us in Rivera Hall.
ChamberMusicLab master classes are now open to RSC students, parents, and faculty. All CMLab master classes happen between 11:00am-12:00pm in Rivera Recital Hall. The next master class will be on January 22 with violist Jason Fisher, a faculty member at RSC and a founding member of A Far Cry. The next ChamberMusicLab recital is scheduled for January 22 at 8:00pm.
Violin Master Class with Natalie Lin Douglas RSC and RS students who are recommended/nominated by their teachers are invited to attend a violin master class with Dr. Natalie Lin Douglas on Sunday, January 23 at 1:30pm in Rivera Recital Hall. Advanced students are encouraged to check with their teachers for the audition. Natalie, a New Zealand-born violinist, educator, and arts entrepreneur, is the founder and artistic director of Kinetic, the Houston-based conductorless ensemble. Committed to amplifying diverse, under-represented, and newly composed classical music through flexible chamber and orchestral ensemble performances, Kinetic has been coined “Houston’s indie, conductorless orchestra.” Under her leadership, Natalie has commissioned and premiered numerous works by composers of our time. An avid chamber musician, Natalie has toured throughout New Zealand in concerts presented by Chamber Music New Zealand and in the UK with the Scottish Ensemble. In 2020, Natalie was appointed assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Music and Theater Arts.
Violin Master Class with Karl Ørvik RSC and RS students who are recommended/nominated by their teachers are invited to attend a violin master class with Karl Ørvik on Saturday, February 12 at 4:30pm in Rivera Recital Hall. This master class is intended to provide performance opportunities to upper intermediate and advanced students. Students at the level of auditioning for District, All-State, and Regional Upper Youth Orchestras are encouraged to audition. Student nominations and audition videos are due by Monday, January 31 to Jin Joen at email@example.com. Karl Ørvik plays the violin and viola and has been featured in solo and chamber recitals throughout the U.S. as well as Canada, Norway, and South Korea. He is the founding violinist of Trio Klaritas, which has appeared in concerts in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, and at the Tanglewood Music Center. Ørvik is a member of the violin/viola faculty at both the University of New Hampshire and Stonehill College, as well as a long-time member of the string faculty at the Community Music Center of Boston. Previously, he has held positions as adjunct instructor of violin and viola at both Wisconsin Lutheran College and Alverno College.
Invite your friends and family with their favorite masks to hear you this Sunday, Dec. 5 at Rivera Hall in Bradley at 2 p.m. Don’t forget to bring your piano music and to wear clothes that you’re comfortable playing in! Please bring treats if you can.