October 30, 2013

There'll Be Bach in the Community

There'll Be Bach in the Community

Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and more can be heard around town as CIM musicians play community outreach concerts throughout Northeast Ohio. Just a couple months into the school year and students have already performed dozens of recitals with many, many more planned before Thanksgiving and CIM's winter break.

While its typical for conservatories to provide students with chances to perform on stage during the academic year, CIM offers student musicians a plethora of opportunities to also play outside standard concert halls--thanks to an expansive  Community Outreach program that books as many as 300 events a year.

Recent CIM graduate Annalisa Boerner (viola, BM’10, MM’12; pictured above, far right) credits the program with helping her prepare for professional auditions, saying that she learned to perform in all sorts of environments with difference audiences and that these concerts played a crucial role in improving her ability to play under pressure.

“At the same time, I was able to put smiles on the faces of audiences—young and old—and be reminded of the positivity that those performances can create,” she explains.

CIM students, sometimes on their own and sometimes alongside CIM alumni or faculty, may play two, three or more times a week as part of the program thanks to partnerships with prominent organizations throughout the area. CIM regularly works with the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, Judson Smart Living Communities, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Public and Heights Library systems—to name just a few.

Cleveland Public Library has even designated the first Saturday of the month as CIM Saturday. As part of the Library’s Music at Main program at the downtown branch, CIM students play an hour-long program of chamber music as ensembles, soloists or a combination of both.  Similarly, CIM musicians regularly perform for Music at Coventry, Monday evening concerts at the Coventry Village Library just a couple miles from campus.

While the focus tends to be on traditional repertoire, students and alumni may also play programs featuring more contemporary compositions or even works by CIM students or faculty. For example, a work by CIM composition department head Keith Fitch was performed by a student ensemble for the grand opening gala of MOCA Cleveland’s new building last year.

Beyond performance activities—that include recitals, demonstrations and even music therapy—many CIM students participate in teaching and tutoring opportunities at local schools in traditional collegiate subjects and musical programs.

So, in addition to honing her performing and audition skills, Boerner gained teaching experience through the CIM program, substituting at Royalton and Aurora schools and working at the Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA).

“The teaching that was most meaningful for me was working with our CSA students,” she says. “They were genuinely excited, absolutely interested and wanted to be taught for all the best reasons. As a teacher and performer, I can’t imagine a more meaningful place to share my music.”

Performing and teaching opportunities are available for both undergraduate and graduate students at CIM. Venues include the aforementioned libraries, museums and hospitals as well as senior living centers, residential communities, public gardens and parks, K-12 schools and more.

Sharing their musical gifts with appreciative audiences provides unique performance experiences for our students and enriches the lives of the community members for which they play. Our students find engaging with Cleveland’s communities personally rewarding and professionally beneficial. The events allow them to give back, while building their confidence as performers and developing professional skills and networking.




See also: CIM students capture the 'magic' of Mozart’s opera

Westlake Observer (October 15, 2013)