For Taconic Music students, study is intensive

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MANCHESTER — When Taconic Music students bowed and plucked their final strings for the summer 2018 Chamber Music Intensive (CMI) program on Sunday at Burr and Burton's Riley Center for the Arts, it ended four weeks of intensive chamber music study for students from across the U.S. and around the world.

Chino Soberano, one of those nine students, traveled from the Philippines to the Northshire to pursue his passion for music. After earning an undergraduate degree in violin performance at the University of Philippines, he came directly to the U.S. to earn his master's in violin performance and is working toward a doctorate in musical arts at Arizona State University.

"Professor Danwen Jiang, my current violin teacher at ASU, is a member of the faculty, and she invited me to apply. The tuition was

really affordable for an international student like me, so I went through with it," Soberano said.

Two of his best mentors have been involved in the festival, which was enough to persuade him to join this summer, he added.

The Taconic Music Summer Festival is only the second festival Soberano was a part of. "Coming from the Philippines, we did not have much knowledge and exposure to the wealth of summer music camps here and elsewhere in the world. That's why I'm late to the game," he said.

He recommends the festival to fellow musicians because of the program's intensity. "Four complete works in a month is a stretch. ... You'll learn how to practice and work smarter."

Cellist Alex Krew is currently pursuing his master of music degree at Indiana University. His friend and violist, Andrew Collins, encouraged Krew to participate in Taconic Music's CMI with him.

"This is the most music I've ever covered in one month. It's intense [but also] fantastic," he said. In his perspective, the size of the festival sets Taconic Music apart from others. "Other festivals are so big that you don't get to know the faculty. Here I know everyone," he added.

One of Krew's favorite aspects about the festival is the location of being in Manchester. The group spent a great deal of their free time outdoors, he said. "We went fly fishing at Orvis pond and hiked Lye Brooke Falls and Bromley Mountain recently."

This wasn't Krew's first Vermont outing, since he participated in the 2010 Yellow Barn Festival in Putney. "I loved Vermont then, and I love it now," he said.

Rhode Island native and violinist Cami Sylvia returned to Manchester for her second summer with Taconic Music's CMI. "This summer involved more intense performances, extra guest artists and four master classes, compared to two classes last summer," she said.

Although Sylvia hopes to perform in an orchestra someday, she has a certain love for chamber music. "There is a great deal of intimacy with chamber ensemble," which this program allows her to explore further, she added.

Sylvia thoroughly enjoyed spending part of another summer in Vermont. "It was wonderful to connect with the community more which is what I love about this program and festival," she said. The connections she's made with the artistic directors, Ariel Rudiakov and Joana Genova, in addition to the friendships with her classmates, are bonds she says she can count on moving forward in her career.

"Our hope is that our nine players [finished] their time here with a sense of accomplishment for having learned and performed four major pieces from the chamber music literature in their entirety. They are a terrific group of hard-working and idealistic young people, and the world needs much more of what they do," Rudiakov said.

Emma LeMay lives in Sandgate.

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