October 10, 2014

CIM student performs with Joshua Bell and is featured on HBO show

CIM student performs with Joshua Bell and is featured on HBO show

Cleveland Institute of Music student Leah Ferguson was awarded a coveted spot in a National YoungArts Foundation program where she was given the opportunity to perform with world-renowned violinist and Grammy winner, Joshua Bell. HBO’s three-time Emmy® nominated documentary series Young Arts Master Class  featured Ferguson and eight other young string players on the show, which premiered on in October.

Over the course of the program, Ferguson, viola student of Robert Vernon, attended intensive coaching sessions with Bell that culminated in a performance in the virtuoso’s three-story New York City penthouse, with an audience filled with the likes of Josh Groban, Steven Isserlis, and Richard Hyung-ki Joo, along with a throng of HBO cameras. Bell and the students then went off to London, where they performed a sold-out concert at Limelight rock club.

Ferguson attended premieres of the HBO show in both Miami and New York City in September, where she and her fellow program participants performed with Bell.

The opportunity to play with and receive feedback from the violin star was a valuable experience for Ferguson. “He’s just so inventive,” she says. “He has a million ways of playing a phrase, and it changes every time. It’s really great practice for us to have to catch him and watch him. He’s just really a giving collaborator.”

The National YoungArts Foundation has been providing opportunities to young artists since its foundation in 1981. With more than 10,000 applicants every year, the foundation selects roughly 700 winners to participate in programs mentored by experts in various arts fields. The National YoungArts Foundation supports young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts.

On November 19, 2014, Ferguson will solo at Severance Hall with the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra under the baton of guest conductor Kimbo Ishii.