The year of 2014 has at last come to a close, and Arquetopia’s music programs have grown yet again. We are very pleased to announce the nearly completed renovation of our new, permanent space in Puebla and the beautifully finished music studio, music office, and library. The new music studio will serve as the much-needed and long-awaited rehearsal space for Arquetopia’s young students and collaborating adult chamber musicians in Puebla. This is a special accomplishment for Arquetopia as previously, our youth music programs operated only at our secondary space in Oaxaca due to having had no consistent space for music in Puebla. Eventually, we hope to expand this new studio space to include an intimate chamber music performance hall with a grand piano.
Our students have been learning many important, advanced concepts of music including theory, history, solfege, and, of course, performance. For some of the students, the emphasis is on performing solos with orchestra, while for others, it is on learning how to perform in small chamber ensembles. An integral part of this curriculum is the study of opera and the human voice, and how singing concepts dramatically affect a wind-instrument musician’s abilities and instincts regarding sound production. In-depth research projects are assigned on composers, pieces, and specific topics such as ways to minimize performance anxiety and prevent performance-related injury.
Our YouTube and Vimeo videomaking project also continues with the production of short clips of student rehearsals and performances rotated publicly on these two websites in order to increase student motivation to practice, maximize concentration, and to eliminate stage fright.
From generous donations from you, our Global Giving project supporters, Arquetopia was able to obtain more critically needed equipment for students: mouthpieces, reeds, instrument repair and maintenance kits, and more music stands. Numerous educational resources were also recently purchased for the program including method books, sheet music and scores for the music library, music notation books, and music learning software for the students’ use. We are having more instruments professionally refurbished and are always accepting donations of additional instruments (new and used) to build our programs. Now that we have obtained our permanent space in Puebla, we hope to eventually purchase a digital piano for the classroom, to be used both for teaching complicated theory and harmony concepts and for performances.
We wish all of you a brilliant 2015 and thank you again for your donations to our unique and effective educational music programs. Thanks to your caring and generosity, our extremely hard-working young students and staff eagerly face this new year with so much continued progress and new goals to reach.
An Intensive Summer of Progress
It’s been a very different and intensive summer for Arquetopia’s music programs from previous years. We have embarked on a new project for 2014 that has been not only proven to foster more motivation toward practicing and learning but also provides a quantifiable, permanent audiovisual record of each student’s work and progress while eliminating stage fright.
This year’s special emphasis on learning how to eliminate stage fright goes beyond attaining the solid self-confidence students already get from having practiced properly. During each individual lesson, students are recorded on high-definition video, performing portions of the latest pieces of repertoire they are studying. Performing regularly for a critical audience, whether the audience is live or in the form of a high-quality camera, instills better concentration and desensitizes students to the common environmental elements that cause stage fright. The videos of the students are then rotated on YouTube and Vimeo during times of year when students are working toward live concert performances. The knowledge that their work will soon be seen and heard publicly on these websites after each session, regardless of how prepared or unprepared they are, motivates students to practice longer and more diligently than without recording.
These clips are catalogued in Arquetopia’s permanent library for future access by the students who may draw upon them for submission to various future endeavors such as competitions, concert performance opportunities, job auditions, and especially for college and conservatory scholarships.
Arquetopia’s New Music Space in Puebla
As of July 4 and after more than two and a half years of searching for a permanent home for Arquetopia, we have acquired a new space for our foundation, international artist residencies, and growing music programs in the central historic district of Puebla. The beautiful, spacious, and acoustically ideal music studio in the building’s solarium tower provides the long-awaited solution for our music programs’ previous space limitation of operating only in Oaxaca. Additional plans for the purchase of a quality grand piano and for the construction of a premier chamber music rehearsal and performing venue on the top floor are currently underway.
All of us at Arquetopia, staff and students alike, wish to profusely thank you, our many donors, for your continued support. It is no small miracle to have reached this important milestone in our journey, and we humbly acknowledge and appreciate the exceptional generosity of all of you. Have a wonderful summer and autumn.
This year has started off with a loud bang at Arquetopia (in the music room)! In February, an intimate recital was staged in Puebla in which students performed a wide variety of orchestral miniatures specially arranged for the group to feature students of various levels and their director/instructor, Christopher Davis.
The students in our programs have been working hard on various concepts of music including theory, history, solfege, and, of course, performance. Each student was assigned an in-depth research project that involved analysis of several cornerstone works in the repertoire prior to choosing the pieces that student would be practicing and performing this year in concert. For some of the students, the emphasis is on performing solos with orchestra, while for others, it is on learning how to perform in small chamber ensembles. An integral part of this curriculum is the study of opera and the human voice, and how singing concepts dramatically affect a wind-instrument musician’s abilities and instincts regarding sound production.
Another facet of the students’ spring studies was a series of museum trips to learn about the invention and development of historic musical instruments in pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico.
Arquetopia continues its additional focus on the sponsorship of one particular young student, Ángel Montellano of Oaxaca, Mexico, who made his public debut as a soloist last year as part of Ensemble Arquetopia’s summer concert series. This year, Ángel is working on an especially challenging curriculum of varied repertoire from which he will be choosing in order to expand his presence as an up-and-coming artist in different regions of the country.
From generous donations from our Global Giving project supporters, Arquetopia was able to obtain more critically needed equipment for students such as mouthpieces, reeds, instrument repair and maintenance kits, and orchestral music stands. Numerous educational resources were also recently purchased for the program including method books, sheet music and scores for the music library, music notation books, and music learning software for the students’ use. Currently we are having several instruments professionally refurbished and are always accepting donations of additional instruments (new and used) to build our programs. As well as the permanent building we are hoping to obtain this year, we hope to eventually purchase a digital piano for the classroom, to be used both for teaching complicated theory and harmony concepts and for performances.
As we push through the windy spring and head into southern Mexico’s seven-month monsoon season, we thank all of you for your generosity and continued support. Arquetopia’s music programs will continue to provide quality music education –and valuable life lessons– to marginalized but talented youth in the vibrant kaleidoscope that is this developing nation.
Arquetopia’s music programs have made solid strides in progress since our last report, intertwining growing educational programs for young musicians with important professional opportunities. This past summer, Arquetopia sponsored two very successful chamber music concerts in two of the most prominent venues in Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico.
The first of the two summer chamber music concerts, held July 28, was performed to a full house at the Capilla del Arte, a beautiful art museum and concert space of the Universidad de las Americas (University of the Americas) in Puebla’s downtown Historic District. The concert showcased the new Ensamble Arquetopia, a new “collective” of international professional musicians dedicated to performing chamber music from the Renaissance to the present. The musicians featured on this concert were American clarinetist and Artistic Director Christopher Davis; Mexican clarinetist Citlalli Rosas, principal clarinetist of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Puebla (State Symphony Orchestra of Puebla); and special guest artist Lisa Maresch, Japanese-American concert pianist and prominent music educator now based in San Francisco California, who was Artist-in-Residence at Arquetopia for four weeks of collaboration during July and August. The ensemble performed memorable works by Mendelssohn and Baermann, followed by Maresch who took the stage with a valiant solo program of piano works consisting of Liszt, Baley, and Scriabin.
The second summer chamber music concert of Ensamble Arquetopia, held August 11, was performed to a full audience in the spectacular cloister of the Exconvento de Santo Domingo, a magnificent former monastery in Oaxaca’s Historic District. This longer concert featured Davis and Maresch; Mexican flautist Andrik Arias; and thirteen-year-old clarinet prodigy Ángel Montellano, also from Mexico. Maresch performed a demanding solo recital of piano music consisting of Liszt, Baley, and Scriabin, and the ensemble performed difficult works by Saint-Saëns, Poulenc, Mendelssohn, and Baermann, receiving a standing ovation from the large audience and several offers for future concert engagements. Highlighting the concert was young clarinetist Montellano’s formal public debut as soloist; he was particularly well-received by the emotionally charged audience. The concert received much coverage by the local press.
Currently, classes are back in session and Arquetopia's educational music programs are back in full swing with regular intensive lessons and rehearsals. The rapidly growing Ensamble Arquetopia is now planning for future workshops and concerts to be performed in Puebla, Mexico City, and the United States (exact locations to be determined). These concerts will again feature Davis and Montellano on clarinet as well as several international musicians, students and professionals alike, on various instruments. Arquetopia will also soon unveil a new scholarship opportunity for a deserving young musician. This scholarship will provide the opportunity to participate in a three-week educational music residency at both locations of Arquetopia in southern Mexico. More information to come!
From deep within our hearts, all of us at Arquetopia thank you for your continued support. We look forward to keeping you informed about our upcoming activities and progress. We wish you a happy autumn and a memorable holiday season.
We’re excited to report that Arquetopia’s educational music programs for youth have been solidly growing! This past spring, Arquetopia introduced its music programs to an audience of young clarinet students from all over Oaxaca, Mexico. The performance was a chance for Christopher Davis, Arquetopia’s Co-Executive Director and Director of Music Programs, to showcase his own skills as well as the skills of his star student, a thirteen-year-old clarinet virtuoso from Oaxaca named Ángel Montellano. Ángel began studying clarinet with Chris at Arquetopia Oaxaca in July of 2012 and fast became the rising star of the studio, rivaling the artistry of university-level clarinetists of the USA. Previously Ángel was self-taught and served as principal clarinet of the Orquesta Esperanza Azteca (Aztec Hope Orchestra), the largest youth orchestra in the area. The two of them performed works by Mendelssohn to a packed room in Oaxaca’s main university’s Escuela de Bellas Artes (School of Fine Arts) which is housed in the Exconvento de San Jose, a majestic former Catholic convent from the 1500′s. Afterward, Chris held an open discussion about the launching of Arquetopia’s music education and performance programs and the scholarship program that is now available for all participants.
Arquetopia’s music activities continue this summer with the highly anticipated arrival of Lisa Maresch, a tremendous Japanese-American concert pianist and prominent music educator based in Los Angeles, California, who will be Artist-in-Residence at Arquetopia for four weeks. During her special residency in Puebla and Oaxaca, Lisa will participate in musical collaborations with young students in Arquetopia’s programs as well as with Arquetopia's adult professionals (see below); she will also perform solo piano recitals for the public of both communities.
Upcoming this summer are two key concerts sponsored by Arquetopia, the first one in July at the Capilla del Arte, a beautiful art museum and concert space of the Universidad de las Americas (University of the Americas) in Puebla’s downtown Historic District; and the other in August at the Exconvento de Santo Domingo, another magnificent former convent in Oaxaca’s Historic District. These concerts will showcase the new Ensamble Arquetopia, a new “collective” of international musicians dedicated to performing chamber music from the Renaissance to the present. As each concert consists of different configurations of musicians from this “collective” of both adult professional and outstanding youth musicians, from piano and flute to string quartet with clarinet, this ensemble is always evolving from concert to concert. For these summer concerts, the musicians featured are American clarinetist and Artistic Director Christopher Davis; violinist Jonathan Avila and clarinetist Citlalli Rosas, both of whom are members of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Puebla (State Symphony Orchestra of Puebla); youth clarinetist Ángel Montellano of Oaxaca; and special guest artist Lisa Maresch, pianist of Japan/USA. The August concert in Oaxaca will be Ángel’s formal public debut as soloist.
Thank you profusely for your past and continued support. We look forward to keeping you updated on the exciting activities we have planned for the upcoming months. To be able to create and maintain a quality program, with important opportunities for talented and dedicated young musicians in one of the poorest parts of the world, is truly a miracle for which we are grateful.
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