Musicians of Ensemble Connect Embark On Second Year of Prestigious Fellowship Program
Ensemble Connect’s 2021-2022 Season Features Concerts at Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School, Plus Residencies and Performances at The Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Skidmore College, Schools, and Community Venues Throughout New York City
Up Close Concert Series Returns in 2022, Featuring Special Collaborative Performances with The Afield and Julia Wolfe, Carnegie Hall’s 2021-22 Debs Composer’s Chair
Additional Highlight of this Season Includes World Premiere of Semafor by Kaija Saariaho, Co-Commissioned by Carnegie Hall
(Wednesday, October 20, 2021) In its 15th season, Ensemble Connect continues its fellowship program with concerts at Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School, as well as residencies and performances at The Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Skidmore College, and in schools and community venues throughout New York City.
Ensemble Connect is an inspirational collective of young professional musicians created in 2007 by Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. The program prepares the exceptionally talented musicians for careers that combine musical excellence with teaching, community engagement, advocacy, leadership, and entrepreneurship. It offers them top-quality performance opportunities, partnerships with New York City public schools, and rigorous professional development. The nine current fellows of Ensemble Connect—hailing from across the globe—begin the second year of their three-year fellowship in-person this October. The traditional two-year fellowship was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlights of Ensemble Connect’s 2021-2022 season include a return to Weill Recital Hall for two performances, including the world premiere of Semafor by Kaija Saariaho (co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall); Ensemble Connect Up Close – the Weill Music Room concert series curated collaboratively by the fellows and guest artists; and four performances at Juilliard’s Paul Hall that feature a diverse range of repertoire from Caroline Shaw to Paquito D’Rivera.
From October 19-22, Ensemble Connect continues its biannual residency at Skidmore College by connecting with the students and Saratoga Springs community. During the residency, fellows engage with Skidmore College students as well as students in local elementary schools, offering master classes, lessons, class demonstrations, and interactive performances. The residency culminates with an in-person performance in Skidmore’s Arthur Zankel Music Center, Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall that will be livestreamed on Friday, October 22 at 7 PM. In addition to performing Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Nonet in F Minor, Op. 2, the group will play the traditional “Deep River” (arranged by Maud Powell; after Coleridge-Taylor) amongst other works. Ensemble Connect will return to Skidmore College for a second residency this season from February 15-19, 2022.
Ensemble Connect presents its third season of its Up Close series in the Weill Music Room in Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing. Two performances explore different approaches to presenting classical music by experimenting with concert formats, audience engagement, and multimedia to activate the performance space in exciting new ways. The first concert on Monday, January 31 at 7:30 p.m. will be curated by the fellows and The Afield, a multidisciplinary collaboration between violinist Rebecca Fischer and visual artist Anthony Hawley. The second concert on Monday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. is programmed in collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair Julia Wolfe and will feature a commission by Robert Honstein and an arrangement of “A Kind of Lung” by Shelley Washington.
In addition to their performances this season, Ensemble Connect will continue their partnerships with 15 New York City public schools, with the nine Ensemble Connect fellows and six program alumni each working alongside a New York City instrumental music teacher. The musicians bring their expert musicianship—as well as their professional performer’s perspective and creative approaches—to band, keyboard, and string programs across four New York City boroughs. Throughout the pandemic to support teachers as they navigated a variety of teaching settings, the musicians created a Digital Resource Library, accessible to all of Ensemble Connect’s partner schools, which includes mini-instrumental lessons, videos focusing on musical concepts, and interactive musical listening challenges.
Ensemble Connect presents approximately 60 interactive performances in schools this season. Fellows and alumni develop these programs to explore a musical piece or concept and incorporate listening activities and audience participation. Ensemble Connect will also partner with community venues in New York City in the spring bringing interactive performances to incarcerated populations, senior community centers, homeless shelters, and for organizations supporting people with disabilities.
Over the course of their fellowship, Ensemble Connect fellows participate in professional development sessions aimed at ensuring they have the skills they need to succeed in all areas of the program and to shape purposeful, personally rewarding career paths that redefine the role of the 21st-century musician.
Fellows meet weekly to learn from artists, composers, and industry professionals in the fields of performance, teaching artistry and music education, arts management, and others to gain new skills and experiment with new approaches to music performance and education while building a strong community within the ensemble. Ensemble Connect alums also play an important role in leading professional development workshops.
Ensemble Connect 2020–2023 Fellows & Partnerships
Laura Andrade, Cello (Austin, Texas)
Education: Eastman School of Music / The Juilliard School
Partnered with NYC Public School: City College Academy of the Arts, Manhattan
Amir Farsi, Flute (Fremont, California)
Education: Peabody Conservatory / Yale School of Music
Partnered with NYC Public School: Ebbets Field Middle School, Brooklyn
Nik Hooks, Bassoon (Merritt Island, Florida)
Education: Walnut Hill School for the Arts / New England Conservatory / The Colburn School
Partnered with NYC Public School: PS 21 Edward Hart, Queens
Joanne Kang, Piano (Sydney, Australia)
Education: Manhattan School of Music
Partnered with NYC Public School: Edward R. Murrow High School, Brooklyn
Halam Kim, Viola (Port Washington, New York)
Education: New England Conservatory / The Juilliard School / Eastman School of Music / University of Rochester (Psychology)
Partnered with NYC Public School: PS/IS 226 Alfred De B. Mason, Brooklyn
Rubén Rengel, Violin (Caracas, Venezuela)
Education: Cleveland Institute of Music / Rice University / Manhattan School of Music
Partnered with NYC Public School: Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music, The Bronx
Cort Roberts, Horn (Loveland, Colorado)
Education: University of Colorado Boulder / The Juilliard School / Stony Brook University
Partnered with NYC Public School: PS 200 Benson School, Brooklyn
Yasmina Spiegelberg, Clarinet (Bavois, Switzerland)
Education: University of Southern California / Norwegian State Music Academy / Conservatory of Amsterdam / Music Academy of Lausanne
Partnered with NYC Public School: Robert F. Wagner Middle School, Manhattan
Stephanie Zyzak, Violin (New York, NY)
Education: New England Conservatory, CUNY The Graduate Center
Partnered with NYC Public School: Brooklyn High School of the Arts, Brooklyn
Ensemble Connect 2021–2022 Concert Season
Performances: During the 2021–2022 season, Ensemble Connect performs more than 10 concerts at a number of venues, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and Weill Music Room; The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall; The Pocantico Center; and at Skidmore College’s Arthur Zankel Music Center, Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall.
2021–2022 concert highlights include:
- Thursday, November 4 at The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall – The fellows of Ensemble Connect continue their second year with a concert at Juilliard that includes Caroline Shaw’s Entr'acte; Mozart’s Quartet for Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello in D Major; Kapustin’s Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano, Op. 86; and F. Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in E-flat Major.
- Tuesday, December 7 at Weill Recital Hall – Ensemble Connect gives a Carnegie Hall concert featuring Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Nonet in F Minor, Op. 2 as well as the traditional “Deep River” (after Coleridge-Taylor) arranged for a chamber ensemble, Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s “The Forgiveness Machine,” Rameau’s Gavotte and Six Doubles (arr. Ryohei Kakagawa), and Beethoven’s Serenade in D Major, Op. 25.
- Tuesday, January 18 at The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall – Ensemble Connect returns to Juilliard to perform Du Yun’s “i am my own achilles' heel,” Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Hilos,” Stravinsky’s Septet, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Quintet in B-flat Major.
- Monday, January 31 at Weill Music Room – Ensemble Connect’s Up Close series returns, with an innovative program designed by the fellows and The Afield, a multidisciplinary collaboration between violinist Rebecca Fischer and visual artist Anthony Hawley.
- Friday, February 18 at Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall – Ensemble Connect returns to Skidmore College for its biannual residency, presenting a concert that features Jörg Widmann’s Oktett and Schubert’s Octet in F Major, D. 803.
- Tuesday, March 15 at The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall – Ensemble Connect performs a genre-pushing program that includes Paquito D’Rivera’s “Kites Over Havana,” Roberto Sierra’s Concierto da Camera, and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence for String Sextet.
- Wednesday, March 23 at Weill Recital Hall – Decoda—an ensemble exclusively made up of Ensemble Connect alumni—performs an exciting concert with world premieres by Gilad Cohen and Michael Hersch, along with Alice Jones’s Dark is a way. Ah Young Hong, soprano, joins.
- Monday, April 11 at Weill Recital Hall – Ensemble Connect performs the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Semafor, along with Wynton Marsalis’s “Meeelaan,” Schumann’s Märchenerzählungen, and Brahms’s Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 40.
- Monday, May 2 at Weill Music Room – Ensemble Connect performs its second Up Close concert this season in a special collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair Julia Wolfe. The concert features a commission by Robert Honstein and an arrangement of A Kind of Lung by Shelley Washington, both for the full ensemble.
- Tuesday, May 24 at Juilliard’s Paul Hall – Ensemble Connect performs a program that includes Joan Tower’s “Petroushskates,” Hannah Lash’s Leander and Hero, and Brahms’s Piano Quintet.
Residencies & Special Projects
Skidmore College: For the 15th year, Ensemble Connect continues its partnership with Skidmore College for two four-day residencies, October 19-22 and February 15-19. During these residencies, the fellows engage with Skidmore College students—as well as the broader Saratoga Springs community—offering master classes, lessons, class demonstrations, and interactive performances, culminating in a performance in Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall.
The Connected Musician: This past summer, Carnegie Hall launched The Connected Musician—an interactive, self-paced video series for collegiate and early professional instrumental performers. Powered by Ensemble Connect and featuring content from musicians taking part in the prestigious fellowship program, program alumni, and leaders in the field, The Connected Musician is intended to expand on musicians’ toolkits, inviting them to consider new ways to engage with audiences using a plethora of digital resources hosted on its YouTube playlist and at carnegiehall.org/TheConnectedMusician.
The Connected Musician translates Ensemble Connect’s core tenets to the digital space with an experiential lab approach that invites users to participate by submitting their own work for feedback from Ensemble Connect, while also highlighting work by current fellows. With the goal of broadening Ensemble Connect’s training to an ever-expanding like-minded global community, The Connected Musician resources are offered free to musicians looking for careers beyond traditional performance, and who are interested in engaging with audiences of all kinds in new and exciting ways. The first learning module—“Create a Musical Snapshot”—was launched in July and offers bite-sized videos about how musicians can develop a creative introduction to a piece of music by developing their Teaching Artist toolkit. The Connected Musician will continue to expand to include new modules over the coming season, continuing to provide access to its training model as it broadens its network and community of musicians worldwide.
Throughout the 14 years since Ensemble Connect was established, Carnegie Hall has maintained close relationships with the program’s alumni. As the reputation of this group has grown, demand for work by the 135 alumni has developed as well. In 2011, Decoda—an ensemble exclusively made up of Ensemble Connect alumni—was formed and later named an affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall.
Additionally, alumni perform with current fellows in Ensemble Connect, lead professional development sessions, serve as advisors for current fellows, and participate in the Weill Music Institute’s education and social impact programs to bring live music to people throughout New York City. Ensemble Connect’s alumni currently perform in more than 100 performing ensembles in the US and around the world. They have created non-profit organizations including Notes with a Purpose in Las Vegas, Musicambia in New York and beyond, New Docta International Music Festival in Argentina, Scrag Mountain Music in Vermont, and VotesART. Many alumni also hold faculty and guest artist teaching positions at US universities and colleges. Alumni have gone on to perform, teach, and engage with communities in 53 countries around the world. To find out more about the impact of Ensemble Connect worldwide and to learn about alumni projects, follow this link.
Ensemble Connect is made up of extraordinary professional classical musicians residing in the US who take part in a two-year fellowship program created in 2007 by Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. The program prepares fellows for careers that combine musical excellence with teaching, community engagement, advocacy, entrepreneurship, and leadership by offering top-quality performance opportunities, intensive professional development, and partnerships throughout the fellowship with New York City public schools.
On the concert stage and in schools and communities, Ensemble Connect has earned accolades from critics and audiences alike for the quality of the concerts, the fresh and open-minded approach to programming, and the ability to actively engage any audience.
Exemplary performers, dedicated teachers, and passionate advocates of music throughout the community, the forward-looking musicians of Ensemble Connect are redefining what it means to be a musician in the 21st century.
Ensemble Connect is a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.
Lead funding has been provided by Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, Max H. Gluck Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation, Hearst Foundations, The Kovner Foundation, Phyllis and Charles Rosenthal, The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, Beatrice Santo Domingo, and Hope and Robert F. Smith.
Global Ambassadors: Hope and Robert F. Smith, and Maggie and Richard Tsai.
Additional support has been provided by the Arnow Family Fund, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, E.H.A. Foundation, Barbara G. Fleischman, Leslie and Tom Maheras, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and Joyce and George Wein Foundation, Inc.
Public support is provided by the New York City Department of Education and the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.
Ensemble Connect is also supported, in part, by endowment grants from The Kovner Foundation.
Ticket Information for Carnegie Hall
Tickets are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org. To support a safe reopening for in-person events and in accordance with the advice of medical and public health experts, all artists, visitors, and staff are required to show full proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). We regret that currently we are unable to welcome attendees under the age of 12 who are not fully vaccinated. In addition, everyone on Carnegie Hall’s premises will be required to wear a properly fitting mask over the nose and mouth at all times.
For more information on discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.
Ticket Information for The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall
Tickets for the November 4 Ensemble Connect concert at Juilliard’s Paul Hall will go on sale October 26 and will be available online only. Performances from January through May will go on sale at a later date as part of Juilliard’s spring semester offerings. Juilliard remains committed to the highest standards of health and safety for students, faculty, staff, and guests. Audiences are required to show proof of vaccination and wear appropriate face coverings while visiting Juilliard or Lincoln Center facilities. The Juilliard Box Office is currently operating remotely and may be reached at 212-769-7406 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ticket Information for Skidmore College’s Arthur Zankel Music Center
Tickets: $8 adults, $5 seniors, Free for students and children
For more information, please visit skidmore.edu/zankel or call the college’s Department of Music at 518-580-5320.
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