Rice’s Shepherd School Sends Six Young String Players to NYC in New York Philharmonic’s Global Academy Fellowship Program (May 21–29)

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Rice’s Shepherd School Sends Six Young String Players to NYC in New York Philharmonic’s Global Academy Fellowship Program (May 21–29)

(HOUSTON – MAY 2, 2016) – Six top student string players from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music – one of the nation’s foremost orchestral training programs – will travel to New York City for immersive training and performance alongside musicians of the New York Philharmonic (May 21–29).

This opportunity is one of several created by the school’s season-long partnership with the orchestra, which marks the first U.S. conservatory collaboration in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship Program. The program offers comprehensive and far-reaching career preparation through what Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert described as an unparalleled window into the real life of the orchestral musician.”

The six musicians – violinists Jae-Won Bang, MuChen Jessica Hsieh, and Laura Liu; violist Sergein Yap; and double bassists Andrew Pedersen and Caleb Quillen were selected by audition to serve as the Shepherd School’s Zarin Mehta Fellows. During their New York residency, they will train and play alongside Philharmonic musicians under the direction of David Robertson at David Geffen Hall, as well as participating in mock auditions, individual lessons, a seminar by Jennifer Johnson entitled “What Every Orchestral Musician Needs to Know About the Body,” a tour of the Philharmonic Archives, one-on-one meetings with Philharmonic management and musicians, and chamber music sessions, all coached by Philharmonic musicians. As the culmination of their immersion, the fellows will also be showcased alongside select Philharmonic musicians in a private chamber concert.

Robert Yekovich, Dean of the Shepherd School, said:

The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University prides itself on the exceptional quality of its orchestra program. The invitation to participate in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy is recognition of our success in preparing orchestral musicians at the highest professional level. The Global Academy’s intensive week filled with performing, auditioning, and mentoring experiences is an ideal blend of educational activities for young musicians aspiring to win positions in major symphony orchestras. We feel privileged to partner with the Philharmonic as they endeavor to broaden the impact of their educational efforts.”

The conservatory’s participation in the program also saw members of the Philharmonic traveling to Houston to coach rehearsals and audition students for the Global Academy Fellowship Program at the Shepherd School earlier this season.

For more information on the Shepherd School of Music, click here. For more information on the partnership with the Philharmonic, click here.

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The Shepherd School will continue its New York presence this fall when, under the leadership of music director Larry Rachleff, the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra returns to Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium (Oct 28). Their program will present the world premiere of a new work from faculty composer and Rome Prize-winner Pierre Jalbert, alongside Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, Stravinsky’s Fireworks, and faculty soloist Jon Kimura Parker in Barber’s Piano Concerto. It was two years ago that Rachleff and the orchestra made their Carnegie Hall debut, impressing the Huffington Post with their “energy, artistry and a very distinctive Shepherd sound.”

About the 2016 Zarin Mehta Fellows

The 2016 Zarin Mehta fellows (photo: David Long)

Born in Vancouver, Canada, violinist Jae-Won Bang, 29, is a second-year master’s student of Cho-Liang Lin. She has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician and ensemble player at venues including Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, and Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Hall. She joins the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s violin section next season.

Violinist MuChen Jessica Hsieh, 22, was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and is a first-year master’s student of Kathleen Winkler. A recipient of the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Scholarship in Violin, Hsieh has been coached by the Takács Quartet at Music Academy of the West, and makes regular concert and recital appearances in Taiwan.

Violinist Laura Liu, 23, was born in Plano, Texas, and is a first-year master’s student of Cho-Liang Lin. She has undertaken concerto collaborations with orchestras including the Beijing Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic; was a featured artist on NPR’s From the Top; and was a guest artist on China Central TV’s international broadcast of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

Violist Sergein Yap, 27, was born in Miami and is a second-year master’s student of Ivo-Jan van der Werff. A recipient of the Florida First Lady’s Arts Recognition Award, he was appointed as a Youth Arts Ambassador to Rome. He has collaborated with conductors including Christoph von Dohnányi, Alan Gilbert, Nicholas McGegan, Tito Muñoz, and Osmo Vänskä.

Born in Aurora, Illinois, double bassist Andrew Pedersen, 22, is a first-year master’s student of Timothy Pitts and recipient of the John E. Guida Foundation Full-tuition Scholarship. As assistant/co-principal bass of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, he has worked intensively alongside Yo-Yo Ma, while as a frequent New World Symphony substitute, he has toured to Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

Double bassist Caleb Quillen, 24, was born in Houston and is a second-year master’s student of Paul Ellison. He has worked side by side with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood Music Center, performed in the Houston Symphony bass section, and collaborated with conductors Andris Nelsons, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Ludovic Morlot. He looks forward to joining the bass section of the Kansas City Symphony in September.

About Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music

Founded in 1975, the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas is one of the nation’s youngest major university level music programs. In just 40 years, it has become one of the most prominent music schools in the country, attracting an international student body of 300 music majors. The school’s illustrious faculty of artist-teachers is dedicated to the highest possible cultivation of the talents and skills of each individual student. Shepherd School alumni include Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winners; they have debuted on the stages of Carnegie Hall and have appeared with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera. They hold positions in prestigious orchestras across the globe, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Graduates of the Shepherd School Opera Program have sung in several of the world’s foremost opera houses and recital halls. Recent alumni are members of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Program, the Houston Grand Opera Studio, the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, the Utah Opera Ensemble Program and the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program. The school makes an enormous impact on the cultural life of Rice University and the greater Houston community by welcoming 85,000 visitors who attend more than 500 events each year. 

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