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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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Tenor Christian Ibarra on Learning from Professional Musicians in Merida, Mexico

Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute presented a Professional Training Workshop November 5–10 in Mérida, Mexico, in collaboration with Fomento Cultural Banamex. The workshop was led by five members of the chamber music collective The Declassified, all alumni of The Academy—flutist Elizabeth Janzen, violinist Owen Dalby, violist Meena M. Bhasin, cellist Claire Bryant, and pianist Gregory DeTurck. It was an intense and inspiring week that included coachings and performances of chamber music with 13 talented young musicians from the Mérida community. The performances took place at the Senior Center Celarain and the Teatro Peón Contreras, one of the most important opera houses in Mexico.

Below, tenor Christian Ibarra relates his experience working with fellow student soprano Wendy Carolina Carrillo Pèrez, coached by pianist Gregory DeTurck, as they prepared Schumann's Four Duets, Op. 78, for performance.

By Christian Ibarra, tenor

I really want to thank the Fomento Cultural Banamex, Carnegie Hall, and Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatán for their great effort that made the Professional Training Workshop possible, and for giving us the opportunity to meet and learn with great musicians. 

Working with pianist Gregory DeTurck was so awesome. He is not only a great pianist, but also understands and conveys the style and the sensitivity to each piece we must have. He was always experimenting with different ideas and was always open to our own proposals. And also, very kind and yet firm and disciplined in giving us instructions.

The performance at Teatro Peón Contreras. LEFT: Violist Meena M. Bhasin of The Declassified joins students for the Dvořák Quartet. RIGHT: Schumann Duet, featuring young musicians from the Mérida community and The Declassified pianist Gregory DeTurck. Photos by Javier Corona.

My favorite moments were the two performances, at the Senior Center Celarain and at the Teatro Peón Contreras. This is when all of the experiences of the workshop came together, mixed with our nerves about performing with these great musicians, and supported by the precious energy from the audience. This workshop seeks a stronger connection with the audience, bringing classical music to people who don’t have frequent contact with it.

LEFT: The Declassified cellist Claire Bryant joins students for the Bach Trio Sonata at Senior Center Celarain. RIGHT: The audience applauds for all 18 performers at Teatro Peón Contreras. Photos by Javier Corona.

One more time, for your passion, kindness, patience, and this opportunity, ¡¡Gracias!! Hope to see you very soon—let's keep making music! A big hug to everyone