Mozart in training
Conservatory Music in the Mountains develops classical talent

SideStory: Music in the Mountains at a glance

A grand piano waits at the ready at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. Music in the Mountains kicks off its 24th season this weekend, and the Conservatory has been a part of the festival for 14 of those years. The music education program draws pupils from throughout the world and will play 22 concerts during the 2010 festival./Photo by Stephen Eginoire

by Stew Mosberg

For the past 24 years, Music in the Mountains has filled our hills with the sound of superlative music. With its compact 2010 summer season only three weeks long, MITM squeezes recitals, chamber ensembles, full orchestra, and star-quality soloist events into the tent at Durango Mountain Resort. The music will also resonate in the Roshong Recital and Community Concert Halls at Fort Lewis College, at the Plaza at Three Springs, in Kirtland, N.M., and at a host of smaller local venues.

Avid followers of the festival also know about the year-round educational curriculum that MITM sponsors, the most celebrated of which is the extraordinary Conservatory program founded and directed by Arkady Fomin. Artistic Director and Dean of the New Conservatory of Dallas and the Conservatory Music in the Mountains, Fomin is also a violinist with Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Clavier Trio.

In 1997, The New Conservatory of Dallas combined its program and some 30 young students with the Music in the Mountains Festival. Today there are more than 100 pupils from across the United States and abroad. The Conservatory provides its students with orchestral experience, chamber music, theory classes, individual coaching, and master classes. Throughout the 2010 festival, the Conservatory will present 22 public concerts featuring the faculty and the young artists, most of which are free.

“Last year we the Young Artist Competition,” Fomin proudly explains, “which awards monetary prizes and gives the winners an opportunity to perform with the Festival Orchestra under the direction of Guillermo Figueroa, as well as under my direction with the Conservatory Chamber Orchestra.”

Students are taught by a distinguished faculty including professors from Manhattan School of Music, Texas Christian University, Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, East Michigan State University, and members of the music faculty at Fort Lewis College.

Hard-pressed to single out the most gratifying moment in the Conservatory’s illustrious history, Fomin mentioned a few significant events that suggest the program’s success. “Participant Celeste Golden won the Bronze Medal at Indianapolis International Competition and returns here (Durango) as a faculty artist,” he says.

Celeste Golden-Boyer (she married Brandon Boyer this year) is performing a violin recital at Roshong Hall on July 12 and has been both performing and studying at the Aspen Music Festival and most recently with the Marlboro Music Festival. She also won her first “job” with the Fort Worth Symphony. When reflecting on the MITM program Golden-Boyer says, “My most exciting memory of the Conservatory was getting to perform a concerto with them when I was 12 years old – my first performance with an orchestra. I am also looking forward to performing with my teacher, Mr. Fomin, for the first time, on the Prokofiev Sonata for Two Violins, a new piece for me.”

Golden-Boyer will also be on the Conservatory faculty for the first time this year.

Arkady Fomin, director of the Conservatory, performs during last year’s festival./Photo by Stephen Eginoire

Recalling a couple outstanding moments of his own, Fomin mentioned his pleasure of performing with the Clavier Trio, and his conducting of the festival orchestra with former student violinist Vadim Gluzman as soloist. He also speaks enthusiastically of the standing ovation received last year by 13-year-old violinist Randall Goosby, the Conservatory’s first Young Artist Competition Grand Prize Winner.

The charming and poised Goosby, barely in his teens, has already garnered awards and critical acclaim and became the youngest recipient of The Stradivari Society of Chicago’s generous loan of a magnificent 1590 Giovanni Paolo Maggini violin. Goosby currently studies in New York once a month with an MITM audience favorite, Philippe Quint, who he first met at the Dallas Conservatory two years ago.

Juggling a busy music career by performing every month, Goosby continues to be a mathematics tutor and honor student in his hometown of Bartlett, Tenn.

Violinist Chloé Trevor, now 23, first attended the Conservatory when she was 11. “It was much smaller back then, but just as exciting,” she reminisces, “It was the first year that I learned that I had a musical family made up of other kids just like me.”

It is clear from listening to Trevor that what goes around comes around. Many former graduates of the program have gone on to teach music and the vivacious young woman has been teaching students in the Conservatory program for the past three years. She started teaching at a private studio in Dallas about nine years ago and then taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music preparatory program and the Rice University preparatory program. She also teaches at a middle school and has a private studio in Houston.

Trevor won the Lynn Harrell Competition in 2007 and was thrilled to perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra where her mother is a violinist.

Reflecting on how the Conservatory impacted on her career, Trevor comments, “Being concertmaster of the orchestra for eight years helped to shape my leadership qualities. I have also served as concertmaster at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. The various concerts available to me in recitals and as a soloist with the orchestra increased my confidence as a performer. I have performed as a soloist with more than 20 orchestras in six different countries and am currently preparing for a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.”

Although the Conservatory program hones the student’s musical talents, it goes beyond the technical experience. “We may spend hours rehearsing and practicing for concerts,” Trevor explains, “but in the end it’s really about the people, the friends you learn to make music with and the audience members who love the art. I want to bring joy to others through my music.”

Summing up her experience and gratitude for Fomin and to the MITM Conservatory program, the violinist states, “I know that I can directly attribute my musical devotion and success to Arkady Fomin and the Music in The Mountains Festival. The teachers I have studied with, the friends I have made and the loving, supporting Durango community have all greatly influenced my career path and given me bright hope for the future. I want to bring joy to people through my music. After all, what more is music than a collaborative joining of souls to touch each other’s hearts?”

Conservatory Director Fomin concurs. “The quality of music education we provide during three weeks in Durango is unsurpassed,” he says. “My hope is that with adequate financial support from local and national sources we’ll keep the future of the Conservatory growing and see more professional musicians as a result of our dedication, as well as educated music lovers in the audience seats.” •



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