When students from the College of Music head east next week to the Big Apple and the bright lights of Carnegie Hall, the Weill Recital Hall stage won’t be the only one they take.
The four members of the CU Boulder Horn Quartet have a packed schedule of side-by-side youth orchestra rehearsals and master classes ahead of them—in addition to their concert-opening performance of Kerry Turner’s “Fanfare for Barcs.”
“We’re taking the show on the road early—performance is an acquired skill, and the more opportunities we create, the better the final product,” says Associate Professor of Horn Michael Thornton, who is traveling with the quartet and helping organize a series of outreach opportunities in New York. “The Carnegie performance is the culmination of a long process of ensuring that the quartet is as strong as possible and they get the most out of this experience.”
The quartet—undergraduates Jason Friedman, Maggie Rickard and Cort Roberts and grad student Jordan Miller—arrives on the East Coast this weekend. Their itinerary before Monday night’s Weill Hall showcase concert includes a master class with the principal horn for the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, a recital and master class at the Manhattan School of Music and a side-by-side rehearsal with the eight horns in the Long Island Youth Orchestra.
“We’re so grateful for this opportunity,” says Jordan Miller. “We just started playing together this semester, so it’s been intensive to get ready for the concert. All the extra performances are going to help us feel more comfortable and really make the trip worthwhile.”
The students will also observe Thornton rehearsing Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 with the Long Island Youth Orchestra ahead of a Nov. 13 concert at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in New York.
Thornton, who is the Colorado Symphony’s principal horn and will also perform the Strauss concerto with the Cape Town Philharmonic in South Africa in December, says it’s crucial for him and his colleagues at the College of Music to continue working as professional musicians.
“The music world is fluid in its style and interpretation,” Thornton says. “We’re teaching our students in a manner that will prepare them to be successful on the national and international level because we give them the most current information.”
Miller herself teaches every week with El Sistema Colorado. She says the side-by-side rehearsal with the youth orchestra will give the group a chance to bring what they learned at last year’s Cleveland Orchestra residency full circle.
“When you’re teaching, you have to think about what you’re doing yourself when you play. Sometimes I catch myself telling a student to do something that I myself am not doing. So it challenges me to be better as a musician.”
As the reality of a Carnegie Hall appearance sinks in for the students and faculty involved, there’s a sense of excitement building for the future of music at the University of Colorado Boulder.
“This is one of the first chances for the college to showcase our most outstanding products outside of Colorado,” says Thornton. “And the fact that this group was all born and raised in Colorado makes us feel such a high level of investment.”
“There is such a large pool of musicians who could have performed at this concert,” Miller adds. “We’re excited to represent the high level of talent at the college.”
Performing with the CU Horn Quartet on Nov. 7 are Joshua Ulrich, Andrew Giordano, Andrew Krimm and Zachary Reaves of the Altius Quartet; Michael Hoffman, tenor; Emily Alley, piano; Benjamin Anderson, horn; Kellan Toohey, clarinet; Cecilia Lo-Chien Kao, piano; and Grace Burns, piano. Find more information on the Weill Hall Showcase Concert page.
You can get backstage access to all the Carnegie festivities next week by following @cubackstage on Instagram.