Concert Series

Opus May, 2015

Opus Electronic Newsletter Masthead, May, 2015

CCM News
Student Spotlight: Honors Recital Pianist Alex Brady
Behind the Scenes--What the faculty does for the summer
Why Music Matters: Keep up your summer practice!
Upcoming Performances 


Pianist Brian Friedland plays before a packed audience at CCM Jazz Night

Free Faculty Jazz Concert
On April 10th, we had a full house, as many of you stopped by to check out faculty members Brian Friedland, Carlos Averhoff, Jr., Jorge Perez-Albela, and Ehud Ettun as they played 90 minutes of smoking jazz—both jazz standards and originals. Amazing job!

Sumi Henderson at Play Day 2014Play Days!
We’re into our Play Day season now, with recitals on May 5, 12, 14, 16, 17, and 21. These last spring recitals are a great chance for all our students to showcase their progress over the year. They also serve an important fundraising purpose. Students should have received a pledge envelope and sheet, and will be asking for pledge sponsors. All funds raised directly benefit the CCM Financial Assistance Fund, and enable us to offer music education to students regardless of financial circumstance. We hope to have 100 percent participation, and raise at least $6,000. The student that raises the most funds will receive a $100 Amazon card!  Please support this effort, and check out a recital or two. If you need more information or another pledge kit, stop by the office.  You can also donate on line in honor of a CCM student here.  Thank you!


Ehud Ettun makes a point at the Concert & Lecture series
Concert and Lecture Series
Our Spring Concert & Lecture series concludes on Thursday, May 14th, at 7 p.m., when Ehud Ettun explores “Theme and Variations.” Given a memorable tune, how can the composer recast the theme in interesting and linked ways? Ehud will explore this essential formal element of music, and will perform selections from Schubert, Paganini, Mozart, and Rzews. He will be joined by selected faculty members and guest artists. Tickets are $25 and are available at the door. Read more about the Concert & Lecture series.

The Spring Musicales offer a chance for students to play for one another and for a faculty member, and then engage in thoughtful discussion about what’s been played. They are organized by ability, and we consider them an important part of musical education. Many have already taken place, with a couple more scheduled in the near future. If you’d like more information, contact Erica in the office.

We'll Miss you, Joyce--and Hello to Karen!
After five years, CCM's Finance Manager Joyce Meadows is retiring. It seems sailing her boat and getting ready for the arrival of her first grandchild sounded better to her than ledger sheets and payroll analysis. Go figure! Karen Kashian has stepped in as our new Finance Manager. Karen's got lots of experience and she'll be working here Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We wish Joyce the very best!

Alex Brady will participate in our Honors Recital May 12thSTUDENT SPOTLIGHT:
Honors Recital Pianist Alex Brady

Earnest, self-aware, kind. Not necessarily the first adjectives that’d come to mind when you consider an eleven-year-old boy, but Alex is an unusual young man. (note: Alex would add, “Hey! I’m almost 12!") He’s very bright, determined, and goal-driven: just the sort of musician who you might expect to be in the Honors Recital to be held at CCM May 12th at 7 p.m.

We had a chance to speak with Alex the other day.

When did you start playing the piano?
I started about five years ago, when I was six years old. We were living in Princeton, New Jersey at the time. I’m very lucky because music is a big part of our family. Both of my grandmothers play piano, my aunt taught piano and was an accompanist, and my mother played violin through college. She still takes out her violin once and a while. My father plays a bit of guitar, and my younger brother Nicholas plays violin; he takes lessons here at CCM with Perry Tal.

You take lessons with Keith, right?
That’s right. We moved up here this past year and the music teacher at my school recommended CCM to my mom. There are lots of great piano teachers at the Conservatory; I started taking lessons with Keith Kirchoff here in September.

Honors Recital LogoWhat do you think of him?
I really like Keith. He wants me to play well—but it’s different with Keith than with the other teachers I’ve had. My other teachers were ok with me playing the right notes, but Keith expects much more. He works with me to help me understand what’s going on in the piece we’re practicing—the dynamics, tempo, emotion of the piece, all of that. Keith says “It’s not about just playing it.”

How much do you practice?
I used to practice 45 minutes per day, but I’ve upped that to an hour per day. It varies depending on what I’m working on. Sometimes I split the time so I play a bit when I get home, and more later. Right now I’m working on my recital piece: Piano Sonata in C by Haydn.

What other things do you do besides playing piano?
I love to read. I write quite a bit. I enjoy tennis and swimming—I don’t think of myself as an athlete, but I do play some sports. I like being outside, in nature. There’s always something new to see. I also listen to a lot of music. Maroon 5 is pretty good, but I definitely prefer Beethoven.

I look forward to hearing you at the Honors recital!
Thanks. It’ll be great playing.

What does the faculty do during the summer?
With a faculty as diverse and interesting as ours, it’s no surprise that our instructors are up to a variety of things over the summer both locally and around the world. We asked a few of them to highlight some of their musical activities…

Guitar and Uke faculty member Chaim Burstein spends the summer recharging a bit. He teaches one day per week, so his students have the option of keeping up with their lessons. He’s also pretty busy with weddings and special events—his in-demand band books up quickly, and far in advance, for weekend events.

Faculty plans for the summer!Piano faculty member Rasa Vitakauskaite has a different kind of summer plan: she’ll be flying to Madrid, Spain to perform in a music festival there. Says Rasa, “I’ve been to Spain several times, but never to Madrid—I’m pretty excited!” Rasa will also teach at a two-week-long International Summer Music Festival at the Boston Conservatory, and will end the summer with a trip to Hungary, where she’ll be recording with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. “It will be a busy summer and I’ve got tons of practicing to do!” Rasa adds.

Kathryn Christensen, also a member of our piano faculty, will be spending three weeks teaching and performing at Camp Encore-Coda, in Maine. “I love the musical environment at camp, as well as the opportunities to hike and enjoy Maine's natural beauty! I will also be accompanying daily ballet classes during Boston Ballet School's summer program. I'm looking forward to expanding my ballet accompanying skills by working with a variety of teachers.”

Keith Kirchoff will be running a summer festival at Western Michigan University ( He will also be playing at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, and will be touring New Zealand and Australia with the ElectroAcoustic piano. “It should be a fun summer,” says Keith. We agree!

Violinist Perry Tal will be touring with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, led by Daniel Barenboim. They’ll be in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Salzburg, Vienna; Berlin, Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland; and will perform at the BBC Proms, an eight-week season of daily orchestral classical music concerts described as “The world’s largest and most democratic musical festival.”

Don't let your music assignments fall behind!WHY MUSIC MATTERS: IT'S SUMMER, KEEP PRACTICING!
When you think of summer, practicing and taking lessons isn't always a priority. This article from 2012 will change your mind. It has some terrific ideas and observations about staying on top of the summer practice schedule…it can be a huge benefit. A good family read

Lilac Sunday, Arnold Arboretum, Sunday, May 10th
Free. And while not exactly a performance, it’s still a great place to take a walk with your mom, children, dog…don’t miss the Bonsai garden.

Go see Shrek!Shrek the Musical, Wheelock Family Theater, through May 24th
Tickets $15-35
Great cast, classic story, and beautiful sets. What’s not to love? "You mighta seen a housefly, maybe even a superfly. But I bet you ain't neva seen a donkey fly!"

CCM Jazz Faculty, Wednesday, May 27th, 7:30-10:30
Free. Main Streets Cafe, 42 Main Street, Concord, MA
Come on out and listen to Jorge, Carlos, Brian, and Ehud play jazz standards and original compositions. Cool dudes... 

Cambridge Arts River Festival, Saturday, June 6, 12-6 p.m.
Free. This annual festival features jazz, folk, indie, rock, dance, poetry, family activities, food…CCM faculty member Carlos Averhoff, Jr. performs at 1:30 p.m.!