Photo courtesy of Leif Ove Andsnes.
This month’s Engagement Spotlight features excerpts straight from this grantee’s final report. Below, The Gilmore Keyboard Festival describes their programming and reflects on the intricacies, challenges, and rewards of a community residency.
We at The Gilmore presented pianist Leif Ove Andsnes in recital on April 30, 2018 in Kalamazoo as part of the 2018 Gilmore Keyboard Festival. WFMT Radio in Chicago broadcast the recital and intermission interview of the artist. The Gilmore live-streamed the recital to a global audience of 302 on livestream.com, the Gilmore website, and Facebook Live. David Abbot, professor of piano at Albion College, presented a pre-concert talk for 150 people.
The day after the recital, Andsnes gave masterclasses (which were free and open to the public) to three young pianists who were nominated by their school faculty.
Andsnes instructs a student during a masterclass. Photo by Chris McGuire Photography, courtesy of The Gilmore.
We partnered with Lakeside Academy, an adjudicated residential treatment program and high school, and presented a community residency to 15 students in connection with the recital. Students are placed at Lakeside Academy because they are experiencing behavioral issues such as aggression, substance abuse, anger management, and adolescent sexual aggression. Residents live at Lakeside for 6-15 months. The participating student population was 60% African American, 30% Caucasian, 10% multi-racial and 100% female.
We presented four sessions prior to the concert and one after. The pre-concert lessons included a discussion of contemporary musical genres, discussion about the historical principles of Classicism and Romanticism, and close listening and student response to the pieces featured at the concert. Discussion of concert etiquette, what to expect at the recital, and information about the pianist was also included. At the concert, students were able to go onstage to view the piano as it was being taken apart for adjustment, and then backstage to meet the artist. The residency culminated in a post-concert discussion at Lakeside. We believe students have a richer, more rewarding concert experience with instruction before attending, and a chance to reflect afterward.
The residency provided us a challenging opportunity to design a program tailored to the students’ needs, which would also relate to and enhance the concert experience. The onsite activities seemed particularly successful. Students were attentive in class, willing to share their interpretation of the music, and full of questions.
“The Arts Midwest Touring Fund encouraged us to present this in-depth and meaningful education program through a residency for an underserved population with limited access to the arts.”
Even though it is a challenge to work with students who have experienced trauma and neglect in their lives and have behavioral issues, the residency had a positive impact on them and provided them with a unique experience that was outside their normal routine and environment. Providing these positive experiences to area youth also helps connect The Gilmore to the next generation.
“The residency at Lakeside was particularly successful…The best part was watching [the students’] faces as they stepped out on stage to see the piano, and then had a chance to speak with Mr. Andsnes—they were just beaming. It was a very special night for them.”
—L. Boughton, Residency Teacher
“The music seemed really different when we heard it live. It was like it filled the room with water. It was even more beautiful than on the speakers in the classroom.”
—Storm, student, Lakeside Academy
“Leif Ove Andsnes revealed yet again that he is one of the supremely finest piano artists in the world. Every moment of his recital was magical, and his pianism reflected the mood, texture, and purpose of each of the works he performed…An amazing recital in all ways.”
—Jurgen Skoppek, audience member