Home Programs Paf Spotlight August 2013 Spotlight: Midland Center for the Arts + Jennifer Stumm

August 2013 Spotlight: Midland Center for the Arts + Jennifer Stumm

Midland Center for the Arts in Midland, MI presented Jennifer Stumm in February 2013.

This Arts Midwest Touring Fund—supported engagement featured a public performance and a masterclass for local string students.

Midland Center for the Arts originated when six local arts organizations joined forces in 1971 to address a growing community’s need for adequate performing, studio, and museum space. With a facility designed by Alden B. Dow, the Center is a non-profit, public foundation that represents its six members: The Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Arts, Center Stage Theatre, Midland Symphony Orchestra, Center Stage Choirs, MATRIX:MIDLAND, and The Midland County Historical Society. Over the years, the organization has hosted professional musicians and entertainment, including the Boston Pops, Norah Jones and Lyle Lovett, as well as critically acclaimed exhibitions such as The Nature of Diamonds, A T. Rex Named Sue, Grossology, and Timeless Warriors & Relics: 1500 Years of Ancient China.

Jennifer Stumm is an internationally recognized musical innovator and dynamic advocate for her instrument. Her career was launched after winning three major international competitions, including Concert Artists Guild (2006) where she was the first violist ever to win first prize in the competition’s 60-year history. Recent appearances include debuts at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Grachten Festival in Amsterdam, and Washington Performing Arts Society series at The Kennedy Center. She is currently international chair of viola studies at the Royal College of Music in London. She holds a masters in music from Julliard and a bachelors in music from Curtis Institute

Jennifer Stumm gave an incredible performance with pianist Elizabeth Pridgen at Midland Center for the Arts. The program, Six Degrees of Inspiration, delved into the complex and fascinating personal musical relationships between composers and their mentors, including Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, Frank Bridge and Benjamin Britten, and Alessandro Rolla and Nicolo Paganini. It offered a rare treat for audience members to hear the viola’s beautiful and unique voice. Since the viola is not a frequent solo instrument among orchestras, this performance was a unique experience for audience members and gave them exposure to viola repertoire.

This was a new venture and event format for the Midland Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-2013 concert season. Jennifer Stumm’s overwhelming talent was apparent from the first piece she performed, which immediately energized the audience. Patrons were on the edge of their seats, fully engaged, and voiced their approval in between pieces and afterwards.

In addition to her performance, Jennifer Stumm conducted a materclass for string students from Central Michigan University’s School of Music. During it, she worked with two individual viola students to improve their technique and musical phrasing while an audience of 20 students and faculty members observed. She performed for the students, answered questions, and advised them on the next steps in their music careers. The class was highly informative and valuable experience for everyone involved. Many students attended her performance later that evening and stepped foot into the Center for the first time.

“The concert with Jennifer Stumm and Elizabeth Pridgen was wonderful! Jennifer was charming and her comments were relevant and interesting…Her playing was just superb! What beautiful tone quality and wonderful technique. She made gorgeous music while her entire being just radiated her love for that music. Thank you for bringing these kinds of wonderful, quality performances to Midland.” — Midland Center for the Arts Audience Member

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This engagement was a Star Project that provided access to a geographically underserved audience.