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A Musical Life with Hugh Sung

Pianist Hugh Sung shares stories about making music and what moves our souls. Featuring interviews with musicians from a wide variety of genres, including Classical, Folk, Rock, Jazz, and beyond. Visit http://amusicallife.com for all episodes and show notes. New episodes coming every Monday.
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Now displaying: 2017
May 1, 2017

Temple University’s Music Preparatory Division, or “Temple Music Prep” for short, is a program located in the heart of center city, Philadelphia, that provides high quality, non-credit music and dance instruction, and related activities to the Community on behalf of the Boyer College of Music and Dance, and Temple University at-large.

World-renowned violinists Sarah Chang and Elena Urioste, as well as several members of the Philadelphia Orchestra share something in common: they were all participants of Temple Music Prep. I also started my own professional career right after graduating from Curtis as a theory teacher and chamber music coach at Temple Music Prep. To this day, I’m not sure who had more fun in my theory classes - the kids jumping up and down on the shaving cream staff lines I painted on the floor or the parents laughing outside my class! Anyway, I digress. This month, Temple Music Prep will be celebrating 30 years of excellence with a series of performances featuring students from their Center for Gifted Young Musicians, culminating in a gala concert on Saturday, May 13, 7:30 PM at the Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square.

Before we visit some of the amazing students and teachers at Temple Music Prep, I want to point out that Temple Music Prep provides quality music and dance instruction to everyone at all ages and ability levels, from their early childhood and Suzuki programs to adult classes and community ensembles. In fact, some of the students we will listen to started participating at Temple Music Prep when they were toddlers themselves.

Links

Temple Music Prep's website: http://www.temple.edu/boyer/community/music-prep/

Temple Music Prep's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TempleMusicPrep

FESTIVAL OF YOUNG MUSICIANS

Friday, May 5– Saturday, May 13, 2017

All performances are free and open to the public

Friday, May 5 7:30 PM Chamber Players Orchestra Ensembles Concert Featuring members of the Chamber Players Orchestra - Temple University, Rock Hall 1715 North Broad Street Lot parking: Liacouras Center Garage - Fee required. Located at 15th St. and Montgomery Ave. (Enter from either 15th St. or Sydenham St.)

Saturday, May 6 4:00 PM Youth Harp Ensemble Concert Featuring the Temple Music Prep Youth Harp Ensemble, Manijéh Pickard, Acting Director - Temple University, Rock Hall (See May 5 for address and parking)

Friday, May 12 7:30 PM Showcase of Chamber Ensembles Featuring members of the Youth Chamber Orchestra, Charles Parker, Jr., Ensembles Coordinator - Church of the Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square 1904 Walnut Street Parking options: Street parking, public garages

Saturday, May 13 2:00 PM Singular Strings: Large Ensembles in Performance Featuring Chamber Players Orchestra, Davyd Booth, Conductor; Baroque Players, Aaron Picht, Conductor - Church of the Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square 1904 Walnut Street Parking options: Street parking, public garages Gala Concert

Saturday, May 13 7:30 PM Church of the Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square 1904 Walnut Street Parking options: Street parking or public garages Featuring: Youth Chamber Orchestra Temple Music Prep Youth Harp Ensemble, Aaron Picht, Conductor with Elena Urioste and Paul Laria Guest violin soloists / YCO Alumni 2017 Inspiration Award Recipient Yumi Ninomiya Scott / Premiere of work by winner of the Boyer Composition Project Competition, Simeon Pate Church

Alumni of YCO You are invited to join the celebration by performing a special piece with the current YCO. Please call or email for details and music in advance.

Now available on iTunes – A Musical Feast: The Youth Chamber Orchestra in Concert – released on BCM&D Records.

To contact Temple Music Prep: Call: 215.204.1512

Email: musicprep@temple.edu

Mar 20, 2017

Jeff Russo was one of the two founding members of the rock band “Tonic”, perhaps best known for their number one hit in the 90s, “If You Could Only See”. Nowadays, Jeff is in demand as a TV and film composer, having scored music for hit shows like “Fargo”, “American Gothic”, and can currently be heard on the new FX Marvel series, “Legion”.


Welcome to A Musical Life. I’m Hugh Sung. Jeff Russo is a two-time GRAMMY® and Emmy-nominated musician who taught himself to play the guitar as a child before going on to become one of the founding members of the multi-platinum selling rock band, “Tonic”. Their debut album, “Lemon Parade”, posted three singles in the U.S. Mainstream rock Charts’ Top 10 back in 1996, with the song, “If You Could Only See,” rocketing to number one. Jeff is now a highly sought-after film and TV composer, having scored the music to the new show “Legion” based on Marvel’s mutant comic book characters and currently airing on FX. He’s currently working on the score to season 3 of the hit series, “Fargo”.

Links

Jeff's Website: http://jeffrusso.com/

 

Mar 13, 2017

David Hart is the developer of the G4 Guitar Method, a method based on his two decades of teaching and opening schools throughout Australia. David’s G4 method not only teaches students the 7 essential skills of guitar playing - it also teaches teachers how to become entrepreneurs and open their own schools, as evidenced by the 50 franchises of the G4 Guitar method around the world.

For most musicians, “sales” is a dirty word. “Art” and “business” are concepts that mix about as well as water and oil in their minds. But for David Hart, the business of music education is all about helping students succeed in becoming better players and teaching teachers essential entrepreneurial skills to grow and keep their student base. David himself learned to play the guitar in the early 1980's and spent many years performing on the Australian music scene in various cover bands as well as solo performances as a singer/songwriter. David discovered his passion for teaching at an early age, opening the first of several guitar schools in Australia back in 1987, and launching his G4 Guitar Method back in 2005. If you’re a music teacher struggling to find or retain your students, no matter what instrument or genre of music you’re in, you’re going to find this interview enlightening, inspiring, and practical.

Links

David's G4 Guitar Method: http://g4guitarmethod.com/

 

Mar 6, 2017

Carol Jantsch became the first female tuba player to win a major symphony orchestra position while she was still a senior attending the University of Michigan back in 2006. In addition to her duties as principal tuba of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Carol has been active as a tuba soloist, appearing in recital and in concerto settings with orchestras and ensembles around the world, and now has started her own tuba cover band called “Tubular”.

Carol Jantsch is a stunning virtuoso musician, which is perhaps even more remarkable for the fact that she performs on an instrument that isn’t typically known for its virtuoso capabilities. As you’ll hear in this interview, Carol thrives on hearing folks exclaim, “I never knew the tuba could sound like that!” I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Carol after a reading rehearsal together, and learned that she is not only a musical virtuoso, but between her varied interests in ultimate frisbee, distance running, reading voraciously and writing her own solo and ensemble arrangements for her tuba cover band, “Tubular”, she is also a virtuoso in the art of living.

Links

Carol's website: http://www.caroljantsch.com/

Tubular's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TubularBand/

 

Feb 27, 2017

Sara Davis Buechner has been hailed by The New York Times for her “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess”. As one of the leading keyboard artists of our time, Sara has an active repertoire of over 100 piano concertos and has appeared with prominent orchestras all over the world. Sara was recently appointed to the piano faculty at Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance, in Philadelphia.

Sara Davis Buechner first came to prominence as David Buechner, winning the gold medal in the 1984 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and a Bronze Medal in the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. Incidentally, as a result of being the only medal winner to perform on a Yamaha piano at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, David was invited to tour Japan, and subsequently became the first American Yamaha artist. In 1998, David came out as Sara Davis Buechner, and underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2002. Now residing in Philadelphia, I had the opportunity to visit Sara for this interview at her new center city apartment. 

Links

Sara's website: http://saradavisbuechner.com/

 

Feb 20, 2017

Sam Rao is a multi-discipline musician, entrepreneur, and developer of Practicia, an innovative app platform that helps students and teachers make practicing more fun and productive. As a musician, Sam studied composition and conducting at Oberlin Conservatory and the Aspen Festival. As an entrepreneur, he co-founded his own music school which grew to be one of the largest in Northern Ohio.

Everyone knows that practice makes perfect, and no doubt you’ve heard the old adage, “how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice”. Ah, but practicing a musical instrument can be the bane of any student and a frustrating topic for teachers and parents alike. I’ll confess, I hated practicing the piano as a kid (and I still hate it as a professional). It’s just one of those “necessary evils” that you have to suck up and do, just like eating your veggies or sticking to your exercise plan, right? As a music educator himself and the co-founder of one of the largest music schools in Northern Ohio, Sam understands the challenges of practicing well. As the CEO and founder of Practicia, he’s introducing a radical new approach to help students and teachers make practicing a musical instrument profoundly more productive and - dare I say - fun? - with some really interesting accountability and gamification tools.

Links

Practicia website: http://www.practicia.com/

Link to App: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/practicia/id1023124296?mt=8

Explainer Promo Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1NTxIwsafQ&t=26s

Features Explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JPOJfbEZHY

Sam's email: sam.rao@practicia.com

 

Feb 13, 2017
Roger Ideishi, Occupational Therapist and Arts Advocate

Roger Ideishi is the Director of Occupational Therapy at Temple University in Philadelphia. He has worked to provide community access and opportunities for children with diverse sensory and cognitive abilities. Roger has worked with such arts organizations as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Philadelphia Ballet Company and The Philadelphia Orchestra to help them build meaningful learning experiences for special needs children and their families.

In many art performance experiences, such as the theater, the ballet, or a classical concert, there is an implicit expectation that audiences are supposed to remain silent and only express their appreciation through applause at appropriate moments. But for folks with sensory and cognitive challenges, such as Autism, it can be difficult to interpret the complex social cues in an artistic environment, and as a result, they can feel shunned, isolated, and disconnected from these communal experiences. Thanks to Roger Ideishi’s work, more and more arts organizations are finding ways to welcome special needs audiences and experience the power of the arts to connect all members of society in meaningful ways.

Feb 6, 2017
Eleanor Sokoloff, Legendary Piano Pedagogue

Eleanor Sokoloff has been teaching piano at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia since 1936. At the ripe young age of 102, she shows no sign of slowing down. Some of her most esteemed students have included the likes of Keith Jarrett, Lambert Orkis, Susan Starr, Leon McCawley, Meng-Chieh Liu, and countless others.

This year, Eleanor Sokoloff will be turning 103 years old, and remarkably, she is still teaching piano at The Curtis Institute of Music and pouring tea at one of Curtis’ most beloved weekly Wednesday tea time traditions. This interview was originally recorded 2 ½ years ago as a 2 part video that was significantly edited down for time purposes, but thanks to the long form medium of podcasts, I thought it would be fitting to provide the full version of this wonderful interview with one of the most important piano teachers of our time. By the way, Mrs. Sokoloff was my piano teacher when I was 8 years old, and thanks to her I was able to enroll at Curtis under her tutelage at the age of 13. I should mention that at the time of this interview, there was a construction crew doing some repairs in an adjacent apartment, so I apologize for the drill and hammer sounds you’ll hear at times.

Jan 30, 2017
Steven Hackman, Composer, Conductor, Arranger, and Producer

Steven Hackman is one of the most exciting hybrid classical and pop artists on the scene today. Steve has worked extensively with the hit classical crossover group, Time for Three, writing several of their unique arrangements, and is currently the Creative Director of FUSE at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the 'Mash-Up' series at the Colorado Music Festival, and founder and creative director of his own music brand :STEREO HIDEOUT:

I first met Steve as a young conducting student at the esteemed Curtis Institute of Music, studying under the legendary maestro Otto Werner-Mueller. But while he was pursuing serious classical music studies, he had a secret passion. One day, I happened to be walking by some of the basement practice rooms, and heard the most amazing pop piano and vocals coming out from one of them. You guessed it - it was Steve, who has an amazing voice, and is an incredible pop songwriter in his own right. As a conductor, Steve went on to work with the Reading Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony. As a pop songwriter and arranger, he continues to collaborate with Time for Three, has a second album of his own original hip hop music in the works, and even had a run on season 7 of American Idol, placing in the top 64 out of 150,000 contestants.  But what really got my attention was the amazing symphonic mashups he’s been creating, blending pop and classical mediums in a way that’s exciting new audiences everywhere.

Jan 23, 2017
Chad Seiter, Movie, TV and Videogame Composer

Chad Seiter has composed and produced original music for several major Hollywood franchises such as Star Trek, Fringe, and Lost. He is also Composer, Music Director and Associate Executive Producer for Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions and The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses touring concert series performing symphonic arrangements of classic Nintendo scores with hundreds of the world’s leading orchestras.

Chad Seiter is one of those composers lucky enough to create music that encompasses his passions for movies, TV and video games. Chad started his career as an assistant to Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino, and has produced music for some top video game titles, such as the 2013 ‘Star Trek’ video game based on J.J. Abrams’ reboot film, and 2016’s ‘ReCore’ from Microsoft studios.  A die-hard retro gamer himself, Chad’s symphonic arrangements of themes from classic NIntendo games has been a huge success, and a great way to attract new audiences who have never been to a live symphony concert before.

Links

Chad's website: http://www.chadseiter.com/

 

Jan 16, 2017
Mimi Stillman, Flutist

At the age of 12, Mimi Stillman was the youngest wind player ever to be accepted for studies at The Curtis Institute of Music with the legendary flutist Julius Baker. Now, Mimi is not only a world renowned flute soloist, but she is also the founder and artistic director of the Dolce Suono chamber music ensemble, as well as an author, arranger, teacher, and lecturer with a doctoral degree in history.

Back when I was the Director of Instrumental Accompaniment at The Curtis Institute of Music, I had the good fortune to work with Mimi Stillman, one of the most remarkable young flutists I have ever met. Mimi has gone on to do incredible things as a musical and artistic pioneer, championing new works by living composers, getting her doctoral degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania, and enriching the Philadelphia cultural scene with her remarkable chamber ensemble organization, Dolce Suono.

Links

Mimi's website: http://mimistillman.com/

Dolce Suono's Website: http://dolcesuono.com/

 

Jan 9, 2017
Joseph Conyers, Assistant Principal Bass of The Philadelphia Orchestra

Joseph Conyers is a remarkable musician, educator, and civic leader. In 2007, Ebony magazine named him one of ‘30 Leaders 30 and under’. In addition to his position in the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joe is the Music Director for the School District of Philadelphia's All City music program, and founder of Project 440, an organization that provides high school students with opportunities and tools for individual growth and community impact.

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful, restful holiday! What a great way to start 2017 interviewing one of the most remarkable people I know, Joe Conyers. I’ve known Joe since his student days at Curtis, and it’s been such a joy and an inspiration to see his incredible life journey and passion for giving to others, from his tenures at the Atlantic and Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestras, to his current leadership position in the Philadelphia Orchestra, All City Music Program, and his remarkable organization, Project 440. Joe was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to sit down with me backstage at the Kimmel Center to record this interview.

Links

Project 440 website: http://www.project440.org/

Joe's bio on The Philadelphia Orchestra website: https://www.philorch.org/about/musicians/joseph-conyers#/

Jan 9, 2017
Joseph Conyers, Assistant Principal Bass of The Philadelphia Orchestra

Joseph Conyers is a remarkable musician, educator, and civic leader. In 2007, Ebony magazine named him one of ‘30 Leaders 30 and under’. In addition to his position in the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joe is the Music Director for the School District of Philadelphia's All City music program, and founder of Project 440, an organization that provides high school students with opportunities and tools for individual growth and community impact.

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful, restful holiday! What a great way to start 2017 interviewing one of the most remarkable people I know, Joe Conyers. I’ve known Joe since his student days at Curtis, and it’s been such a joy and an inspiration to see his incredible life journey and passion for giving to others, from his tenures at the Atlantic and Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestras, to his current leadership position in the Philadelphia Orchestra, All City Music Program, and his remarkable organization, Project 440. Joe was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to sit down with me backstage at the Kimmel Center to record this interview.

Links

Project 440 website: http://www.project440.org/

Joe's bio on The Philadelphia Orchestra website: https://www.philorch.org/about/musicians/joseph-conyers#/

Jan 9, 2017
Joseph Conyers, Assistant Principal Bass of The Philadelphia Orchestra

Joseph Conyers is a remarkable musician, educator, and civic leader. In 2007, Ebony magazine named him one of ‘30 Leaders 30 and under’. In addition to his position in the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joe is the Music Director for the School District of Philadelphia's All City music program, and founder of Project 440, an organization that provides high school students with opportunities and tools for individual growth and community impact.

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful, restful holiday! What a great way to start 2017 interviewing one of the most remarkable people I know, Joe Conyers. I’ve known Joe since his student days at Curtis, and it’s been such a joy and an inspiration to see his incredible life journey and passion for giving to others, from his tenures at the Atlantic and Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestras, to his current leadership position in the Philadelphia Orchestra, All City Music Program, and his remarkable organization, Project 440. Joe was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to sit down with me backstage at the Kimmel Center to record this interview.

Links

Project 440 website: http://www.project440.org/

Joe's bio on The Philadelphia Orchestra website: https://www.philorch.org/about/musicians/joseph-conyers#/

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