Monday, April 27, 2009

Strings International Music Festival Announces New Programs for 2009

Strings International Music Festival Music Camp is pleased to announce the addition of some wonderful new programs for the 2009 season.

Strings now includes the following new programs (so tell all your friends):

1. Harp program - The program, designed for harp players of all skill levels from 13 - 18 years of age, will include weekly private lessons, daily harp ensemble, flute and harp choir, or orchestra rehearsals, daily chamber music rehearsals (including duets for harp and flute or harp and piano), a concerto competition, master classes, daily required private practice, a group trip to a Philadelphia Orchestra concert, a concentrated private practice seminar, and much more!

2. Flute program - The flute program includes lessons with Mr. Loren Lind, Flutist, Philadelphia Orchestra. All flute students will receive a minimum of two private lessons with Mr. Loren Lind of The Philadelphia Orchestra.

3. College auditions preparations program - Join Kimberly Fisher - whose lecture series and presentations make up the heart of this special Juniors and Seniors Only program. She has won five consecutive auditions with The Philadelphia Orchestra - ranging from The Philadelphia Orchestra substitute list to the position she currently holds as Principal Second Violinist. Ms. Fisher's energetic, communicative teaching style has led to invitations to present master classes, chamber music coaching’s, and audition preparation seminars around the world and she has inspired the creation of “Drumstring Publishing,” which features innovative arrangements and educational materials for string players. With an intensive daily schedule (including a minimum of four hours private practice daily) participation in this program could provide the perfect preparation for the highly-competitive world of college auditions.

4. Piano Studies Program - Designed for intermediate to advanced level pianists, will include two lessons weekly with Hugh Sung, Director of Instrumental Accompaniment and Student Recitals at The Curtis Institute of Music, Daily Chamber Music Coachings, Two Piano Master Classes with Hugh Sung, Daily Music Theory, Four-Hand Literature, or Sight Reading Classes, a Piano Technology Class with Hugh Sung, four hours of required daily private practice, a concerto competition, solo performance option, and much more.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Strings International Music Festival
2009 Piano and Strings Competition
Sponsored by Cunningham Piano Co. and AirTurn, Inc.

Students and teachers: Are you tired of competing for points based solely on “performance perfection?” Then this competition is for you!

Personal, creative presentation will comprise a major portion of the competition. All students will be required to speak about themselves, the music, and what they hope each listener will experience through their performance. They will be judged on this verbal presentation.
Students will be accompanied by Hugh Sung, Director of Instrumental Accompaniment and Student Recitals at The Curtis Institute of Music.

Requirements as follows:
Division I: Ages 11 and under
1. Presentation: Participants will be required to introduce themselves, as well as speak a bit (approx. 1-2 minutes) about why
they love music.
2. Repertoire: One work or portion (such as a movement) of the participant’s choosing, no more than four minutes in length.

Division II: Ages 12-14
1. Presentation: Participants will be required to introduce themselves, state the name of their pieces (with composer), and give at
least two facts or comments about each work they have chosen.
2. Repertoire: Two contrasting works or portions (such as movements) of the participant’s choosing, no longer than eight
minutes combined. Emphasis should either be on as wide a range of expression between the works as possible OR on a
creative connection/theme between two different works.

Division III: Ages 15-18
1. Presentation: Participants will be required to find a creative way of introducing themselves and explaining how their musical
selections relate to aspects of their own character, outlook, and connections to their audiences.
2. Repertoire: Two contrasting movements or pieces, no more than twelve minutes combined, one of which can be an original
composition, include improvisation and/or express an unconventional interpretation.
Judges will place emphasis on each performer’s overall stage presence, from the spoken presentation to the
stage exit.

**First Place winner will receive a $350 scholarship to the 2010 Strings International Music Festival, an SIMF hoodie sweatshirt, a professionally produced video of winning performance (compliments of AirTurn, Inc), and a personalized performance video posted on the Strings International Music Festival website.
Competition Date: May 22, 2009: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Cunningham Piano Co. 5427 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Registration Fee of $30.00 per performer
Phone: 856-875-6816 for more information or for the first annual
Strings International Music Festival Piano and Strings Competition.
Click the following link to register online:
Visit the Strings International Website at

Competition, Competition - 2009 Strings International Music Festival Competitions

2009 Strings International Music Festival Competitions

Attention Stringswe have already posted about the Strings International Music Festival’s online video Facebook music competition, which is open to alumni, new Strings, prospective Strings, and the musical public.

Strings International Music Festival is also pleased to announce 2 other upcoming competitions for Strings music program members only.

The Concerto Competition (open only to musicians enrolled in our music camp program for 2009): Musicians participating in the competition must be ready to perform with orchestra if selected. This event is one of the most intense of the performance opportunities at Strings 2009. Repertoire must be performed by memory and readily available for orchestral accompaniment. Please note that rehearsal with faculty accompanist will constitute preliminary round. Rehearsals may be scheduled as early as Sunday, June 14, so please insure that you arrive at the festival ready to perform competition repertoire. Final rounds are performed in public at an evening concert event at Bryn Mawr College. One Grand Prize Winner will be selected to represent Strings 2009 as a soloist with the Ocean City Pops Orchestra!

The Bach Double and Vivaldi Competition (open only to musicians enrolled in our music camp program for 2009): Violin students will be given an opportunity at the Strings 2009 International Music Festival to compete for an on-stage duo concerto performance at the Kimmel Center – or other Philadelphia area venue - with Kimberly Fisher, Principal Second Violinist, Philadelphia Orchestra, or other member of The Philadelphia Orchestra! To qualify for this competition, violin students must prepare by memory either the first, second, or third movement of the Bach Double Violin Concerto, 2 violin part. One winner will be chosen for each movement. Cello students must perform by memory the first movement of the Vivaldi Concerto in B Flat Major - F.IV, n.2 for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra.

For more information on the competitions and how to register for the 2009 summer music camp season at Strings International Music Festival, visit our website at, or email

Thursday, April 16, 2009

SIMF Video Contest!!!!

Strings International Music Festival Facebook Video Contest

Hey all you talented musicians out there. Whether New Strings, Strings Alumni, Parents, or Prospective Strings... be sure to check out our Facebook page!!

We've upped the ante!! Please see the revised contest details below!


Post your video (or your child’s video) on our Facebook page for a chance to win a $500 scholarship to the Strings International Music Festival (if already registered for SIMF 2009, the scholarship will be applied to 2010. New students may apply the scholarship to 2009 OR 2010), and the opportunity of posting your winning performance on the SIMF homepage!

Posted videos will be judged by the Strings International Music Festival's Facebook Fans (so if you're not a fan - sign-up!). Videos must be posted by May 22nd to be considered. Each voting Fan must email with "VOTE" in the subject line by June 1st with their #1 top pick. Votes will be tallied, and the winner will be announced at the 2009 Strings International Music Festival Opening Recital, Sunday, June 14th (winner does not need to be present)!

Simply click here to be brought to the contest (or click the link below):

Please do not post any opinions or votes of the videos on the actual Facebook page – any such postings will be deleted and not considered.

Contestants may be of any age. There are no age-categories for this video event. Repertoire requirements: One work or portion (such as a movement) of the participant’s choosing, no more than four minutes in length. Performances may be accompanied or unaccompanied and must be performed by memory.

Pass this along to any talented musician you know that might be interested in the contest and Strings International Music Festival as well! Thank you and good luck!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Check it out...

Up from the archives...

Elli Choi on YouTube at last year's Strings International Music Festival performing Mendelssohn Violin Concerto Movement 3.

Simply amazing!!

We also have an interview posted of Elli on our Facebook page.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It is a Small World!!!

Thomas Hong will be crossing paths with Ranaan Meyer outside of Strings. Strings International Music Festival's Resident Conductor, Thomas Hong is the Associate Conductor with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Ranaan Meyer, also on the Strings International Music Festival's faculty, and double bass player with Time for Three, will be performing with Time for Three at FWSO from October 9-11, 2009... something to keep in mind for the fall. They will be performing Concerto 4-3, written for them by FWSO composer-in-residence Jennifer Higdon, and Dvorák Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, "From the New World. For more information visit the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra website.

Here is a Time for Three performance sponsered by the
Morton Fine Arts Association (Morton, IL) February 2009:

Yoon Jae Lee April 19th

Strings International Music Festival
Resident Conductor, Yoon Jae Lee, will be in NYC April 19th with Ensemble 212...

Good Shepherd Church - 152 W. 66th St., New York City
April 19th 8-10pm
Admission: $20 / $10 seniors / $7 students
A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, Op. 61
in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Mendelssohn's birth

Variations on a Rococo Theme for Violoncello & Orchestra (arr. by Wilhelm Fitzenhagen)
featuring Young Artist Competition Winner

Clarinet Concertino in E Flat Major, Op. 26
Mara Plotkin, Clarinet

The Representation of Chaos from The Creation
in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death

Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 "Haffner"

Ensemble 212 was founded by Yoon Jae Lee in 2004 - check them out at

Buy tickets...

Other news about Yoon Jae Lee...
  • Is now the new Music Director of Old York Road Symphony
  • Will be taking part in the C.W. Post Chamber Music Festival, July 13-31, 2009
  • May 10th & May 19th the Carnegie Hill Orchestra of NYC, conducted by Yoon Jae Lee, will be performing (May 10, 2009 – Naumberg Bandshell (Central Park), May 19, 2009 -- Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street).
Here is part of a previous Ensemble 212 performance:

American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras 2008-2009 Member Accomplishments Include...

Strings International Music Festival Alumni Brian Hong!!

Brian was the FIRST PRIZE WINNER in the Solo Strings category for the 2009 Duquesne Young Artist National Competition, Age 13-15 at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA). He was also a FIRST PRIZE WINNER in the chamber music category of the competition (with Masha Feygelson).

Here he is in action, and this is just in his living room!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strings Alumni, Betty Zhou, to Play with the New Jersey Symphony May 28th

New Jersey Symphony 2008-2009 Schedule featuring...

May 28 -- "Best of Nature": Betty Zhou, violin. Jonathan Spitz, cello. Emil de Cou, conductor. 2 p.m. PAPER MILL

Some Betty Highlights:

  • Winner of the N.J.M.T.A. Young Violinist Competition for three consecutive years at ages six, seven, and eight
  • Awarded Artist of the Season by the Edison Art Association
  • 2002 Strings International Music Festival (featuring members of The Philadelphia Orchestra) Concerto Competition Winner
  • 2003 Winner of the Pre-Teen America National Talent Competition in Little Rock
  • 2003 Winner of the Juilliard Pre-College Chamber Orchestra Violin Concerto Competition
  • April 2005 & 2005 Winner of the A.P.T.A. Youth Pianist Competition
  • She has played both violin and piano at Carnegie Hall in May of 2004 and May of 2005

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Croatia Trip 2009!!

Strings International Music Festival students Madison Marcucci, a junior at the Juilliard School, and Michal Marcucci, 13, traveled to Groznjan, Croatia, in August to participate in the International Cultural Center of Jeunesses Musicales Croatia in Groznjan Festival.

"It was an honor to travel with SIMF to participate in the ICCJMC program," said Madison. "I performed and traveled there with student musicians from Croatia, Bosnia, Russia, and Italy. It was very exciting to spend time with people from various countries and backgrounds, and an honor to represent the U.S. I look forward to doing the same in future years!"

In 2009, The Strings International Music Festival will again bring a selected group of musicians from the Strings International Music Festival to Grozjnan to conduct a joint program with the ICCJMC which will include students from various European countries, as well as outstanding students from the U.S.

Much like our U.S. program, the Croatia festival will include private lessons, chamber music, daily orchestra rehearsals, master classes, solo performance hours, a concerto competition and more. The festival will include a festival-ending Grand Finale concert, as well as three days of touring at the conclusion of the festival. Tour locations will include: Rovine, Croatia (a stunning resort area on the Adriatic Sea), Venice, Italy, and Verona, Italy, where we will enjoy an open-air opera in one of the four remaining Roman Coliseums.

To be considered for selection, please send an e-mail to: The dates of this exciting new program are: July 20 - July 30, 2009. Look for additional information about the SIMF/ICCJMCG festival on our website soon
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Tips on Practicing Your Instrument

We all know the old adage, “Practice makes perfect.” More correct is, "Practice makes PERMANENT." The following are some recommended tips to get the most out of your practicing in order to master your music:

*Practice everyday – Set up a schedule for your practicing. Studies have shown that practice done earlier in the day is most effective, but don't worry if you can't practice until later; it is more important to practice everyday. Try not to skip a day.

*Remember that often the hardest part of practicing is getting started. Just get the instrument out of the case and start. Before you know it you will be on your way.

*Have a plan for your practice. It should range from very specific details you want to improve to overall concepts. Instead of practicing for a set length of time, try practicing until you have mastered a specific passage. If you master it before your scheduled practice time is done, that's great!! Move on to another passage or skill.

*Compare your practice with friends – Attend a music program, or a summer music camp. Having friends who practice and instrument makes it more fun, and more social. You may also get some good tips from other students.

*Focus on your senses – Make sure that if you wear glasses to read music, that you have them, and that your eyes are checked regularly – you wouldn’t want to miss a note during an important performance, whether a recital or a music camp performance. Also make sure you are in a good environment for focus. Don't let yourself get distracted by the TV or computer and save the texting for after your practice.

*Feel the music – Try to tell a story or share a mood with your music. Think of how you would express emotions with your voice and try to make your instrument convey the same feelings.

*Don’t be afraid to speak up – Your music camp, school, or private instructor is there to guide you in your music studies, so if you don’t understand something, or you are having trouble with a particular piece, don’t be afraid to let your teacher know.

*Watch the professionals – Every music student, whether a high school music student, or a college music student, should visit their local orchestra. Watch the way each musician moves. Pay attention to the conductor and the flow between each piece of music.

*Set goals and reward yourself – Set a goal to learn a particularly difficult or new composition, and then treat yourself to something special when the goal is accomplished. Rewarding yourself for accomplishment makes learning so much more fun.

*Practice what you are NOT good at. If you have mastered something, move on to a new section, technique or goal.

*Don’t let frustration get in your way – Learning does not need to be quick and easy – most of the time it’s not. If you feel yourself getting frustrated stop and take a couple of deep breaths. Remind yourself exactly what you are trying to accomplish and begin again. You may need to slow down or shorten the passage you are working on.

*Learn practice habits from top performers like the faculty at Strings International Music Festival and attend the Practice Seminar by Kimberly Fisher and other faculty.

Please visit us at to learn more about the great benefits and extraordinary experience of our summer music camp.