A Photo Essay From Music@Menlo

Marianne Lipanovich on August 4, 2009

A Few Notes From the Field at Music@Menlo

“It’s a wonderful, intimate setting. The musicians and programs are fabulous.”

— Terri Lahey 

“It’s nice that they have so many soloists, so many stars.”

— Steve Smith

“My friend introduced me to this festival three years ago. The best part is seeing the little students learning from the masters. It is the most beautiful thing, to have everything in one place in our neighborhood.

“This is one of my most favorite events during the summer.”

— Reiko Oshima (Tokyo)

“It’s exciting to see young people being trained. It’s unique. Aside from great music, there’s such intimacy. You get to know the music and the musicians. And the youngsters ... with so much talent, there’s great assurance that classical music will stay alive.”

— Eileen Birnbaum

“I love the intimacy and quality of the musicians, and the energy.”

— Bill Meehan

“This is my first time here. I’m looking forward to it.”

— Christine LaMond

“It’s the excellence of the artists, the outreach to the community, the intimacy, and the education. Part of what we do is see the spark of the young performers as they are taking in the lessons from the masters. We have had students then return to teach. It’s a tremendous collaboration and sharing.”

— Board member Michael J. Hunt

“A friend invited me, then I got involved in the host program. I’ve had a musician stay with me for the past three or four years. The first year was a pianist. I have a nice piano and it was wonderful to hear it being played so well. This year I have a flutist. You find you just start to do more and more.

“The event itself is so welcoming. So many things are free, and you can be as involved as you wish and learn so much. The community is so lucky to have them here.”

— Chris Klint

“This is my first year. It’s wonderful. I love hearing the students. The audience is so knowledgeable. It’s worth it to hear the music played in a small room like it would have been played in a ducal room.”

— Marguerite Stevens

“It’s wonderful music. The acoustics are absolutely wonderful and the audience is so attentive.”

— Sheila Mandoli

“The students are absolutely fantastic. As performers, they are certainly as good as the ones featured on NPR and invited to Carnegie Hall.”

— Frances Nitzberg

“This is my first time here. What I am loving is the atmosphere of great camaraderie. Also, seeing young people who love music doing it so easily and having fun. It’s a feeling I got as a graduate student in England seeing performers such as Jacqueline du Pré and Itzhak Perlman.”

— Mauricio de Maria y Campos (Mexico City)


More on the Young Musicians

The internationally known artists who perform at Music@Menlo may be the primary draw for attendees, but the festival’s education program is equally impressive.

In just seven years, both the International Program, with 11 students this year, and the Young Performers Program, with 28 students, have become highly sought after and highly competitive programs for young classical musicians.

“We’re immersed in music 24/7,” says Kirstin Lee, 23, a violinist from New York City, who is in the International Program.

“It’s a long day,” adds fellow International Program participant and violinist Sunmi Chang, 28, originally from South Korea.

David Finckel discusses
cello technique with a student

“We get here at 8:45 for announcements, go into coachings or rehearsals, perform or go to a Young Performers concert at 6 p.m., and then go to the main concert at 8 p.m.

“Afterwards, we attend the postconcert parties. And we have to rehearse. I’m often not in bed until 1 a.m. and then get up at 6.”

International participants perform

Not that they’re complaining. Neither are Young Performer participants Kaitlin Cullen-Verhauz, 14, a cellist from New York City, and Emily Shehi, 11, a violinist from Kansas.

For Shehi, rehearsing with others is one of her favorite parts.

She also loves that “You get to meet everyone, because the program is small.”

Cullen-Verhauz says the master classes are great.

Institute participants on campus

Having a coaching in front of the audience helps make performance nerves less of a problem.

“You always have nerves when you perform, but it makes it easier.”

And when it’s over? When you leave, Lee says, “you feel so hollow.” Shehi agrees.

“It’s different to be around people who don’t play.”