Announcing recipient of a PiP recital for 2016/2017

We are pleased to announce the recipient of a PiP recital for the 2016/2017 season. Congratulations to the Dublin-Laurens Arts Council in Dublin, Georgia on their selection for a Partners in Performance recital! Applications for the next round of consideration are available now. Visit the Application Info page for more information!

Announcing recipient of a PiP recital for 2015/2016

We are pleased to announce the recipient of a PiP recital for the 2015/2016 season. Congratulations to the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale in Billings, Montana on being selected for a Partners in Performance recital! Applications for the next round of consideration are available now. Visit the Application Info page for more information!

Announcing recipients of PiP recitals for 2014/2015

We are pleased to announce two recipients for the 2014/2015 season. Congratulations to the Corrales Cultural Arts Council in Corrales, New Mexico and the Juneau Jazz & Classics Music Festival in Juneau, Alaska on their selection for Partners in Performance recitals! Applications for the next round of consideration will be available on November 15, 2014. Visit the Application Info page for more information!

2013/2014 Season Announcement

We are pleased to announce two PiP recipients for the 2013/2014 season. Congratulations to the Chamber Music Society of St. Cloud in St. Cloud, Minnesota and the Grant County Community Concert Association of Silver City, New Mexico on their selection for Partners in Performance recitals! Applications for the next round of consideration will be available on November 1, 2012.

Partners in Performance is Moving!

Partners in Performance is in the process of relocating to a new office space. Please visit the Contact page for an updated mailing address and phone number, effective as of August 17th, 2011.

2012/2013 Season Announcement

We are very pleased to announce the PiP recipient for the 2012/2013 season. Congratulations to the Arts and Lecture Series of Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY on its selection for a Partners in Performance recital!

Big Plans Ahead For Fergus Falls

The PiP offices recently received a letter from A Center for the Arts detailing the continued success of its Chamber Music ff Series. A Center for the Arts Executive Director Rebecca Lynn Petersen writes that the series "was inspired by Midori and her PiP commitment to chamber music in smaller, more rural areas." Founded in the 2009/2010 concert season, this series has big plans for its upcoming third season, with performances by the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, the Arsenal Trio, Imani Winds, and the Artaria String Quartet in the works. Partners in Performance is proud to support the excellent efforts of A Center for the Arts and our other past presenters in their work to promote classical music in their communities.

Are you a former PiP presenter with exciting developments in the works? Please contact us and share your plans!

Reflections on Midori's Partners in Performance recital in Fort Kent, Maine

Charles Danziger (of Danziger, Danziger, & Muro, LLP) helped to coordinate Midori's Partners in Performance recital at the University of Maine, Fort Kent in March, 2011. He provides the following reflections on the experience:

When Midori was scheduling her Partners in Performance ("PiP") concert in Fort Kent, Maine, her assistant told me cheerfully that Midori was planning to fly to Philadelphia after the evening performance and reception.

As a part-time resident of Fort Kent (as well as a PiP board member), I had to chuckle at this somewhat overly optimistic itinerary. Fort Kent is located in the far northeastern corner of the U.S., right on the Canadian border. The nearest airport ("Presque Isle") is about 2 hours away (counting for moose and snow on the roads), and has very limited flights in or out. Driving is, of course, an option - if one doesn't mind the 14-hour ride to Philadelphia.

Fort Kent is also a fascinating community comprised largely of Acadians -i.e. descendants of 17th-century French colonists. It is known for its stunning outdoors, and hosts the World Cup Biathlon as well as the Can Am dog sled race. In short, it is a town with tremendous culture that is, because of its remote location, cut off from much culture. In this sense alone, it was the perfect choice for the sort of outreach that PiP strives to achieve.

I am happy to report that, despite fears of snowstorms, Midori did arrive in Northern Maine as planned - on a sun-drenched day, with snow glistening. Together, we drove from the airport directly to the Fort Kent elementary school, passing ominous signs along the road that warned: "Break for Moose - It Could Save Your Life." At the school, Midori played a short piece by Bach for the local children. She then fielded questions ranging from "What are your bow strings made of?" to "What do you do if you screw up during a concert?" to "Does all your traveling give you lots of frequent flyer miles?"

Next stop was the cozy home of Dr. Byoung Yang in Fort Kent, a charming physician who had graciously offered to put up Midori and her accompanist, the marvelously gifted pianist Charles ("Charlie") Abramovic. Midori immediately set up shop practicing violin in the living room. Byoung had kindly produced a music stand and humidifier for Midori's violin. My main responsibility was to cook dinner (I had toyed with the idea of making Greek "moussaka" with real ground moose, but I resisted the obvious pun and opted for a safer roast chicken instead.)

That evening over dinner, Midori, Byoung and I discussed outreach in rural America with the university's music professor, Scott Brickman -- himself a composer whose works had recently been performed in New York. In preparation for the PiP event, Scott had also taught a special class in the community on Midori and classical music.

The next morning (the day of the concert), I got up early to prepare the local specialty for Midori and Charlie for breakfast - i.e., "ployes," which are deliciously addictive buckwheat pancakes resembling crêpes. But I miscalculated the amount of water in the recipe, and they were a flop (though Charlie made a valiant effort to eat one). Ever the trooper, Midori interrupted her violin practicing to correct the recipe and serve up a stack of ployes, complete, of course, with delectable local maple syrup (though purists stick to just butter).

Throughout the day, Midori and Charlie practiced for the concert, ably assisted by their page turner Joanne Zafonte, herself a beloved piano teacher to virtually every piano student in Fort Kent.

We took a break for lunch, and had a choice between the two local dives - the "Swamp Buck" or "Doris's Café." We opted for the latter, and were served homemade bread and... yes, more ployes.

Charlie was so smitten with the charm of Fort Kent - rolling hills, picturesque lakes, French-speaking Canada at the doorstep, and a truly delightful community - that he declared that he wanted to return there for a summer vacation with his family.

Throughout the rest of the day, I played chauffeur for the two musicians, as did our friend Dr. Ganesh Mochida (a pediatric neurologist at Harvard who had made the special trip up north to hear Midori).

At 7 pm, the audience began to file into the performance venue: the Fox Auditorium at the University of Maine at Fort Kent ("UMFK"). The audience included local Mainers and Canadians (including a contingent from the Canadian "Jeunesses Musicales"), dressed in everything from casual clothing, to black-tie, to - in the case of one little boy named Aaron -- a top hat.

After a warm and welcoming speech by Dr. Wilson Hess, the affable new President of UMFK, Suzanne Nance of Maine Public Broadcasting roused the crowd with an enthusiastic introduction to the concert. Ms. Nance pointed out that at least 3 other much larger cities in Maine had tried for years to convince Midori to play there, but it was tiny Fort Kent that had managed to win her. Ms. Nance cheered: "You did it, Fort Kent!" (or words to that effect.) The public loved this, and clearly realized that they were in for something special.

Which was the understatement of the year.

Midori (wearing a long red dress) and Charlie gave a thrilling hour and half performance of Beethoven, Bach, Franck and Ravel. Many in the community have since told me that it was one of the most memorable events this town of about 6,000 had ever experienced.

Truth to tell, most of the locals had not heard of Midori before the concert, and certainly had no exposure to this caliber of live classical music. But the impact of the evening's dazzling performance was palpable - not to say audible, given the loud "oohs!" and "ahhhs!" from various corners of the auditorium as Midori and Charlie played with extraordinary power, skill, and verve. At moments during the concert, the crowd was so enraptured by the music that one could hear a pin (or more appropriate for this rural community, a potato) drop.

PiP's mission of outreach was fulfilled in spades, and I can report from personal experience that Fort Kent residents are still gushing about that unforgettable evening.

After the concert, Midori insisted on greeting the entire audience in the lobby before the champagne reception that followed for those who had paid a bit more. She chatted up the locals, posed for photographs with them, signed autographs, and, for about two hours, became a part of the local scene. Proceeds from the evening benefited the University's International Performers Series, which provides free entertainment to university students and the greater Fort Kent community.

Finally, at around 11:30 pm, Midori and Charlie got into the car to return to Presque Isle for the 6 a.m. flight the next morning. They brought back with them the heartfelt thanks from this amazing little town - not to mention a special souvenir: packages of the mix needed to make - what else? - "ployes."

2011/2012 Season

We are delighted to announce the names of the three presenting organizations that have been selected for PiP recitals in 2011/2012. They are: the Melbourne Chamber Music Society in Indialantic, Florida; the Churchill Arts Council in Fallon, Nevada; and the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Garrett Lakes Arts Festival Checks In With PiP

Beth Johnson, GLAF Executive Director in 2006 and currently on the publicity committee, provided this update in June 2010:

Midori and Robert McDonald performed for Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF) on November 4, 2006. The Partners in Performance-sponsored recital allowed the organization to present these artists and first-rate chamber music in our rural Western Maryland community. It was truly a dream-come-true! For twenty-four years GLAF has endeavored to fulfill its mission of enriching the community with high-quality performing arts and arts education. The organization's primary purpose is to improve the quality and increase the scope of performing arts for local residents and visitors to Garrett County. Midori provided a "boost" to the volunteers, the audience, and the community-at-large....and had an impact at growing our audience base, enough so that 2010 marks the fourth summer for hosting the world-class Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Thank you, Midori...and thank you, Partners in Performance, for making it all possible!

Chamber Music Flourishing in Fergus Falls, MN

In a letter recently received at the PiP offices, A Center for the Arts Executive Director Rebecca Petersen wrote, “Since Midori’s visit [in October 2007], we have done more with chamber music than ever before.” Indeed, it’s true: having continued success with chamber music presentations after Midori & Robert McDonald’s PiP concert, A Center for the Arts recently established the dedicated Chamber Music ff Series, beginning in the 2009/2010 season. Among the artists performing in the inaugural series are the Concordia Wind Quartet, 8th Street Quartet, and the Arsenal Trio. Some of the programs find themselves in atypical concert settings such as the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center and a “musical zoo” for children in a local church. A hope for the future includes summer chamber music concerts in the local parks. Partners in Performance is thrilled to hear these creative, effective developments with one of our past presenters, and proud of the great work they continue to do in promoting classical music in their community.

A Young Artist Residency in Reno

After hosting Midori & Charles Abramovic in the first of their two PiP concerts, the Performing Arts Series at the University of Nevada at Reno has developed a unique and rewarding Young Artist program for October 2009. Co-sponsored by Partners in Performance and a Western States Arts Federation grant, the highly praised Carducci String Quartet will conduct an educational residency in Reno in addition to their performance on October 22. The group will play for and coach string players in the Reno Youth Philharmonic and at the local public high school and elementary school. In addition, the Carduccis will work with UNR musicians in a masterclass on October 20, followed by an on-campus social hour. The Quartet will give lecture demonstrations at two community libraries, one within a Senior Center, both of which are free of charge. PiP is proud to be affiliated this special project and with a presenter who recognizes the importance and effectiveness of musical community engagement. For more information, visit http://www.unr.edu/pas/carducci.htm.

2010/2011 Season

We are happy to announce three presenters of PiP concerts in the 2010/2011 season: the Hot Springs / Hot Springs Village Symphony Guild in Hot Springs, Arkansas; Morehead State University Arts & Humanities Council in Morehead, Kentucky; and the International Performers Series at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Pianist Jonathan Biss will give a solo recital for Hot Springs; violinist Midori will perform in recital with a pianist at Fort Kent and Morehead.

2009/2010 Season

Three wonderful organizations were selected for the PiP program in the 2009/2010 season: Bay Chamber Concerts in Camden, Maine; Bemidji Concert Series in Minnesota; and the Shenandoah Festival in Woodstock, Virginia. Bay Chamber will present a recital by new PiP artist, pianist Jonathan Biss; Midori will perform at the Bemidji Series and Shenandoah Festival.

This season also marks the official launch of PiP’s Young Artist Program. The Reno Performing Arts Series will present the Carducci Quartet on October 22; Joplin Pro Musica will present cellist Gabriel Cabezas and pianist Andrew Tyson in a recital on December 4.

To read more about these talented young artists, visit their websites:

An Update from Dawson, Minnesota

In October 2007, the Dawson-Boyd Arts Association presented a PiP recital by Midori and pianist Robert McDonald to an enthusiastic audience. Using the ticket proceeds from that memorable concert, the Arts Association planned a special project with a particular focus on the strings students of the local school district: a three-session residency with the Artaria String Quartet. In January and February 2009, the Artaria Quartet spent one full day working with 16 students selected to participate in this “Four Quartets” residency; on March 6, the Artaria and four student quartets performed in a finale concert for the community. The program featured music by Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schumann. As Luanne Fondell, Performing Arts Director, wrote to PiP before the project: “This will inspire string students to participate in the exhilaration of chamber music.” For more information, visit http://dawsonboydarts.org/.

Jonathan Biss Joins PiP’s Roster of Artists

Photo by Jimmy Katz

We are delighted to announce pianist Jonathan Biss’s participation in the Partners in Performance program, beginning with the 2009/2010 season. Known for innovative concert programs and exceptional technique, Jonathan is an enthusiastic chamber musician and keeps a rigorous schedule of performances all over the world. Jonathan’s involvement in PiP is a true gift to our organization, and we look forward to an enduring collaboration with him.

Get to know Jonathan at his website: www.jonathanbiss.com

Young Artist Program

Beginning with the presenters awarded recitals in the 2008/2009 season, Partners in Performance will launch a new Young Artists Program as a way to enhance and continue our supportive relationship with past PiP presenters. In addition to the originally-given performance by a high-profile musician such as Midori, PiP will co-sponsor a second concert in the following season by a rising young artist. Preference will be given to young artists with a local connection, such as having lived or attended school within the state, but this is not required. A test-run of the Young Artist Program will be conducted in April 2009 with the Southwest Montana Arts Council, which presented a PiP recital by Midori and Charles Abramovic in April 2008. Violinist Korbinian Altenberger, a graduate student at USC’s Thornton School of Music, will give a recital with pianist Jiayi Shi on April 3, in addition to participating in various community engagement activities in the two days prior.