Summer Festivals

November 6, 2006 at 06:30 AM · Do any of you know of any summer festivals? I'm looking to work on my own chops, so something self centered would be cool.

I don't really want to go to Meadowmount or anything near a forest. Actually I don't mind forests, but I'd prefer at this summer thing, that there be no camp fires, or no ample need for bug spray. I used to love summer camps and did them for 2 months every year from the time I was like 6, but now I'm a spoiled sissy.

So if anyone knows of any festivals where there are nice teachers who can help me improve as a musician, with some chamber music, I'd like to hear some suggestions.

Replies (59)

November 6, 2006 at 06:31 AM · Happily, Caeli Smith started us a Violin Help wiki on this very topic! Of course, it's a welcome discussion topic as well.

November 6, 2006 at 09:34 AM · Tough it up, Pieter. Mosquitos are good for you.

November 6, 2006 at 01:50 PM ·

November 6, 2006 at 12:08 PM · By the way, I have heard that there is some interesting renovation going on at Meadowmount.Might want to stay tuned there, as well.

November 6, 2006 at 04:19 PM · It may help to know how interested you are in the chamber aspect, because many of the best overall festivals have that as their focus. I've found that some of those summers have helped my individual playing the most.

Otherwise, have you gone to Encore already? I never did, but it's all the rage. I doubt you'd find a better collection of players surrounding you.

November 6, 2006 at 04:48 PM · Mr. Cole,

What I really need right now is a lot of solo time and private instruction. A good chamber program obviously wouldn't hurt but given the choice, I'd probably opt for something where I can have some help focusing on studies/caprices/show pieces like at Aspen or Encore...

That Heifetz thing looks really cool, but the movement classes and such fare have put me off.

November 6, 2006 at 05:02 PM · Summer Session at the North Carolina School of the Arts was by far one of the best experiences I ever had.

No bug spray, no camp fires (occasional bonfires in the fields and movie nights for those who want to participate).

I heard Brevard makes you do chores and it's all outdoors.

I will admit you have have to play one or two outdoor concerts at a state park - but they aren't bad at all.

November 6, 2006 at 06:38 PM · Encore is great. There are no campfires, there is running water in the dorms, there is a town within walking distance, there are TVs and internet, and not too many mosquitoes. The downside is the dorms aren't air conditioned so it can get hot and humid as hell in there!! Oh, and it's one of the best groups of players and teachers you'll ever find.

November 6, 2006 at 08:15 PM · Well if you aren't put off by the possibility of younger players whizzing around day and night, go to Encore! You'll meet people that you'll run into for the rest of your life, and the Cleveland Orchestra is nearby if you want a taste of the big picture now and then. I went to Blossom for 2 summers but at least at that time it wasn't very geared toward solo playing. The proximity of the orchestra was the greatest asset there. Even then (10 years ago) Encore was the place to be.

There's always Marlboro, although that may venture into the mosquito territory for you. :) I don't think you'd be better inspired anywhere else, although you really have to be disciplined and tireless if you're going to work on your individual stuff there. At Encore from what I understand, you don't really have a choice.

November 6, 2006 at 08:22 PM · Its true there are a fair amount of little "child prodigy" types at Encore, but also a lot of college and grad students. Pretty diverse range of ages, that's actually one of my favorite things about it.

November 6, 2006 at 08:30 PM · Mr. Cole, in my opinion, in order to get to the point where you can really benefit from chamber music and those types of things, you first need more or less, all the tools. Which is why I still need to focus on learning the solo rep, being able to play well etc... I'd love to do Marlboro or go to Tanglewood with all those orchestral people, but I've still got to work on my own, kind of like in the film "Rocky", where he runs up all those stairs then turns around and raises his arms in silent celebration... I even wear the workout gear when I practice.

November 6, 2006 at 08:46 PM · Believe me, there's plenty of stairs to run up--last time I was there I lived on the top floor of my dorm. Yecch!

November 8, 2006 at 06:20 AM · Pieter, you haven't experienced the true camp life until you've gone to Domaine Forget, stayed in the chicken coups with 11 roommates and been dealing with several drunken musicians all at once all while trying to get your sleep. Not to mention the bugs out there leave marks on you the size of a toonie and force you to consider the use of pants in the 30+ Celsius weather with humidity at 85%.

That's the TRUE musicians camp. Actually, Domaine Forget was a blast and I would go back there in a heartbeat.

If you are looking for upscale dorms and practice huts that you don't have to hike through 4 ft high grasses to get to, consider the Banff Centre for the Arts.

November 14, 2006 at 04:46 PM · Brevard does make you do chores but they are only cabin things like, sweeping the deck or vaccuming the floor. All the chores take less than two or three minutes. Brevard is one of the best summer festivals I have ever been to. They always give excellent performances and the teachers are amazing. The only stuff outside is walking from place to place. Every building has air conditioning. There is so much to do there! You would highly enjoy it!

November 14, 2006 at 10:23 PM · Over the years I've heard very good things about both Brevard and Interlochen Summer programs... would have loved to have gone to either when I was a kid. But... now... I'll make a quick mention considering along with whatever else you end up doing... going to a week of fiddle camp this summer. You'll give yourself more choices.. and have a great time! Best wishes.


November 15, 2006 at 09:18 PM · Have you considered Music Academy of the West? Santa Barbara is certainly posh, and I believe it's tuition-free.

November 15, 2006 at 10:26 PM · sold.

November 15, 2006 at 10:37 PM · Greetings,

Pieter could never resist a freebie,



November 16, 2006 at 02:12 AM · What's the audition repertoire?


November 16, 2006 at 03:25 AM · I heard they only accept seven violins which makes for some long odds.

November 16, 2006 at 03:33 AM · i also just heard that one of the teachers takes his or her students making for even longer odds.

November 16, 2006 at 03:44 AM · Greetings,

is this the `Snow White ` joke for this week?



November 16, 2006 at 05:11 AM · Music Academy lists all their students for the season, and it's definitely more than seven violins. Maybe that's how many were accepted this year not counting the teachers' own students?

November 16, 2006 at 08:41 AM · Michael,

If I don't try, I won't know.

November 16, 2006 at 03:59 PM · But people are allowed to go for more than one year so there are only so many fellowships, like Aspen.

March 1, 2007 at 09:21 PM · Oooh, Mike, you liar, all the buildings were SO not air conditioned! I know because I lived in an un-air conditioned cabin without real walls or a real ceiling that bugs and spiders fell through.

But I won't go there.

Brevard is a fun place, but I found many of the students to be very unfocused. I'm going to Encore (hopefully) this year, in hopes that the fellow students will be just as serious about their music as I am (and maybe stop talking about sex and hot boys for more than two seconds.)

March 1, 2007 at 09:21 PM ·

March 1, 2007 at 09:22 PM · Natasha,

Regarding "...and stop talking about sex and hot boys for more than two seconds..." yes, you will find that at Encore. It is a tremendous gathering of assorted nerds, geeks and geniuses--conversation topics range from the usual teenage-ish gossip, to critical analysis of Dostoyevsky and fierce debates about program music vs. absolute music...and the best of both worlds, which includes such odd things as hilarious jokes about Leos Janacek's love life which, being music nerds, nearly everybody understands. :) Anyway I'm almost certainly going back to Encore this year so maybe I'll see you there...

March 2, 2007 at 07:39 AM · Natasha, if vapid conversation bores you then perhaps a monestary (or a nunnery in your case), would be the best option. You'll never escape it. Best to learn right now how to tune it out.

Curiously, some of the most spectacularly talented people I've come to know like to talk about exactly what you mentioned, because the mundanity of pretensious and idiomatic discussions makes them crazy with boredom.

March 2, 2007 at 02:34 PM · Natasha, disregard that, a monastery/nunnery is not necessary. The thing I noticed most about the social/conversational dynamics at Encore was, though, here were a bunch of serious musicians most of whom were surrounded for the entire school year by ordinary teenage idiocy and people who couldn't tell Beethoven from Led Zeppelin. All the musicians get together and it's like "OMG! People like ME!!!" :) so a lot of the conversations can be exuberantly geeky. Also, Pieter, you'd be surprised at the lack of pretensiousness.

March 2, 2007 at 04:17 PM · I have to disagree with Pieter too. There's a difference between when people engage in everyday "vapid conversation" and when they take pride in their unwillingness to learn, indulge in malicious gossip, and/or let their hormones dictate their behavior. I KNOW it's possible to get away from the latter type of social interaction; I am lucky enough to experience wonderful social dynamics whenever I get together with my friends and when I was at summer music camp last year. It is not an issue of pretentiousness; it is an issue of being around people who don't make you feel like a total freak for following your passion.

I am sorry if this is strongly worded but I feel very strongly about this. There is no reason why people who are intellectual should not seek out other intellectuals out in the world, especially when considering a summer camp.

Natasha, it's a perfectly valid complaint and I hope you find a better place this upcoming summer.

March 2, 2007 at 04:35 PM · Hey Pieter - I've heard great things about ENCORE, you should apply there. It's not one of those orchestra camps that will prohibit you from practicing. Also the longtime teaching assistant to Jascha Heifetz, Sherry Kloss is holding a week long seminar in Pittsburgh, PA June 17-24. You can find info on her website

March 2, 2007 at 06:50 PM · Well, there we have it. That's precisely the problem... too many "intellectuals" in the world. Intellectuals are as annoying as the MTV herd.

Of course I don't fault you for to trying to find others with a passion for music, but instead of insulting the majority of people and alienating them (which presumably they've done to you, since you need to go to a geek fest to find people like you), be a bit wiser.

I'm surprised to hear that Bravard was troubling. I heard that it's good.

Nate: Thanks for the recommendation. I might try to go to the thing in Pittsburg... I'll be in Israel for masterclasses during Encore so that probably won't be possible.

March 2, 2007 at 07:22 PM · Well, remember there IS a difference between "intellectuals" and intellectuals. :) As for your "insulting the vast majority of people and alienating them, so you need to go to a geek fest to find people like you..." that's quite rude. As far as I know my passion and commitment to music has never offended the vast majority of anyone, but a lot of people simply don't understand it.

You're going to Israel during Encore--is that to Keshet Eilon?

March 2, 2007 at 08:17 PM · Maura... there's a big difference between saying that you want to find a place to indulge your love of music openly, and to say things like "teenage idiocy" and insult people with more conventional priorities. "They" might be idiots, but did you ever consider that they might think you are wasting your youth discussing Solzynitsyn and Orientalism? This is all a matter of perspective. I have a lot of respect for kids like you, who develop such a keen interest in such things so early, but it is also a reason I don't really identify with most classical musicians. There exists some sort of insecurity and inate antagonism toward the mainstream.

And yes, I will probably be at Keshet Eilon, barring another insane missile attack.

March 2, 2007 at 09:50 PM · Sorry, once again my big mouth gets me in trouble....I meant no insult to anyone. Please substitute "vapid pop-culture obsessions and childish gossiping" for "teenage idiocy" if you prefer a more specific description, and please note that it was not my intention to label every single non-musical teenager in the United States as an "idiot." (Don't you just love the era of political correctness...)

Have fun at Keshet Eilon! I've heard it's a fantastic program (but please don't go if the war heats up again, I don't want you to get hit with a Katyusha.)

March 2, 2007 at 11:30 PM · I actually had a very good experience at Brevard this last summer. There is quite a wide range of talent there (I would guess especially so in the pre-college division), but I didn't find it too difficult to find people with similar passions. I ended up doing the "Advanced Chamber Music" fellowship program, which as you could probably guess focuses on quartet playing. There's also an orchestra fellowship (both provide full tuition and room+board). The quality of music at the top level is very good in both areas, though with the fellowships you may find it difficult to focus intensely on solo repertoire (something I don't necessarily mind). I can't really speak to the quality of the program for the younger kids, though, other than that they have to do extra things like theory classes and such.

In any case, they have a huge amount of funding and basically offer some kind of scholarship to everyone that comes, even if it's only work-study. They don't have quite the name of Meadowmount, Aspen, Encore, or that level of summer institute, but I actually really enjoyed my time there and felt I improved more than in my 3 summers at Meadowmount. And for what it's worth, I'm planning on going back this summer.

I would say that if being surrounded by high-strung prodigies or lots of extremely advanced students is a critical part of your motivation for improvement, then Brevard is probably not the best place for you. But if you are largely self-motivated and able to pursue your own independent excellence, Brevard can work out really nicely.

March 2, 2007 at 11:40 PM · Just avoid festivals where there's a "Nature's water: drink at own risk" sign above the drinking fountain.

Though there are a select few player so terrible that death would improve their technique. Hmm.

March 3, 2007 at 09:16 AM · Maura... I'm quite politically incorrect and have said things and published things in a university environment which would make most blush, so don't put this on me. I think you're intelligent enough to realize that you've voiced a fairly typical opinion. I'm sure that by now you've found out that the average violinist or orchestra player has a lot of contempt for the average highschooler because they're often excluded from that social circle. I know you weren't calling all teens idiots. I cannot conclude that it is what you meant, but don't scape goat it by saying that this was a lapse in political correctness.

I don't really care but I always find it funny how quick "smart" kids are to make fun of the majority of society, which often shows quite the lapse in wisdom. Maybe this is not what you were doing, but I've heard it a million times.

As for a ketyusha rocket... perhaps that's exactly what I need to get my act together.

March 3, 2007 at 06:27 AM · Tom, good to hear that ACM at Brevard was rewarding-- I applied to it for this summer.

March 3, 2007 at 07:38 PM · Pieter,

Cripes, I have no idea what you're trying to say anymore. (I can be rather politically incorrect myself, just FYI.) I said something that I perhaps could have phrased a bit better, and now here you are talking about how "the average violinist" has a lot of contempt for "the average high schooler", analyzing "social circles", and lumping me in with your image of the "smart kid" making fun of "the majority", or whatever. With your kind permission, I'd like to declare this rather pointless exchange over.

March 3, 2007 at 10:31 PM · Sure thing boss.

March 5, 2007 at 08:53 AM · It's a kAtyusha rocket not ketyusha....

March 5, 2007 at 05:38 PM · Having been to Encore, Aspen, and Music Academy of the West, I would say that if you're interested in working primarily on your own stuff, Encore would give you the most time to do so (along with a fantastic faculty and peer group), as the other two have orchestra commitments built-in (particularly Aspen). But if you've already been admitted to Keshet Eilon and they conflict, first of all, congrats, and secondly, I doubt it will leave you lacking in individual attention. The application deadline for Music Academy has passed, but for future reference, I can't recommend Kathleen Winkler highly enough. She's a fantastic teacher and person!

March 6, 2007 at 02:20 AM · Thanks Gena :) :) :)!!!!!! Wowzers, katyusha rockets and Gennady Filimonov... two of Russia's greatest exports all in one thread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 6, 2007 at 02:58 AM · you can call Mr. Filimonov thanks.

March 6, 2007 at 02:51 AM · no thank you, Gena.

March 6, 2007 at 02:59 AM · When you go to Israel, enjoy the archery lessons.

I am sure you will be learning how to be one with the target (Zen)...Just don't get too zen about & become the target, otherwise you'll get shot at :)

BTW, Amnon Weinstein, learned his craft from his father, and then studied in Cremona with Pietro Sgarabotto, Giuseppe Ornati and Ferdinando Garimberti, and in Paris with Etienne Vatelot.

March 6, 2007 at 03:00 AM · Actually, I'm incredibly excited to meet Mr. Weinstein. I read how he apprenticed for Sgarabotto, so I cannot wait to listen to his stories and wisdom.

March 6, 2007 at 03:47 AM · Having discussed Pietro S. with David Segal (who studied with him as well) and Pietro's son Paolo (whom I know and have spoken to about his father), Pietro grew up during a turbulent time in Italy. He was quite a nationalist in the 1940's (if you get my drift).

It will be so nice for you to be surrounded by Russians and Israelis. Perhaps you may learn a thing or two about their approach - "Shut up..Listen..and Learn!" :)

March 6, 2007 at 07:46 AM · Gennady, I'm as international as you are, and I do my fair share of shutting up when someone is worth listening to. But, thanks for the good wishes.

March 6, 2007 at 08:03 AM · You'll want to bring back a D. Schmidt bow so pack an extra credit card.

March 7, 2007 at 03:12 AM · PieVi,

"I'm as international as you are" - you mean to say?................. what exactly?

March 7, 2007 at 05:13 AM · You're implying that I'll benefit from being around Russians and Israelis, as if I'm just some Canuck who hasn't been beyond my borders... I understand what you mean, but don't take the fact that I love to anger you as indicative of my typical behaviour with normal people, and a reflection of my experiences.

March 7, 2007 at 07:49 AM · you don't have to go far to be around Russians & Israelis, especially in our business. If you decide to be your normal self (with them), acting the way you normally do here, it will be an eye opening experience for sure even if it is your second time beyond the border.

You obviously missed the point of: "It will be so nice for you to be surrounded by Russians and Israelis. Perhaps you may learn a thing or two about their approach - "Shut up..Listen..and Learn!" :)


Now you have actually admitted that you love to anger me.

I am really touched.

March 7, 2007 at 09:00 AM · I sent my reply to Gennady... I'm not going to continue this in public.

But, for the record, I'm from Africa, have traveled extensively, and went to a boarding school at which 40 or so countries were represented, so the idea that I'm culturally stagnant is ridiculous.


As for Keshet Eilon, I was wondering who here has attended, and is planning on attending in the future? If I can go it will be really great, as it has been explained to me that it's a very unique experience. Like I said to someone earlier, Israel has a unique connection with the violin which does not exist as strongly anywhere else. It would be great to finally see Israel and see what it is that makes the violin such a big part of their cultural life.

March 8, 2007 at 02:24 AM · No messages from you in my email. Try again.....

Here is something refreshing for the record.....

As far as not continuing in public, or at least on this had no problems (on the other thread) insulting a member of Seattle Symphony, odeonquartet and Appraisers Association of America by stating ;

"I must say, of all the toys and playthings I've ever had in my life, you are by far my favourite".

Just remember, you have yet to go to grad school, and have yet to get a real job. So don't insult those who have offered you advice on "a great" many occassions.

I can only say that if I was a student today, I would thank people like Larie N. for providing such a fantastic venue where young people could ask questions etc and learn from the pro's.

That was not possible 10-20 years ago.

Thank you Laurie!

March 8, 2007 at 03:01 AM · strange, I just replied to one of your e-mails to me from a while ago. I suppose it's a different address.

You're right, Ms. Niles is a great lady and does a tremendous service for us all.

March 8, 2007 at 03:05 AM · my email is the same as it has been. Just click on my name and then send a message.

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