|First Meridian Seminar @ ECU participants with Toby Hanks and Meridian Arts Ensemble in front of ECU Recital Hall - please click image for larger version
|MAE trumpeter Jon Nelson gets some help “adjusting” his instrument before rehearsal. Assisting him are Travis Alford (New England Conservatory) and Chris Neverve (ECU)
East Carolina University (ECU) and the Meridian Arts Ensemble (MAE) have developed a close working relationship over the past four years. Beginning in April of 2003, MAE performed for the NewMusic@ECU festival. The following year they served as ECU’s Robert L. Jones Visiting Distinguished Professors with the group in residence three times, and each individual member offering clinics and recitals, making nine visits in all.
Last year, through a Chamber Music America Outreach Residency Grant, the Meridians helped establish brass chamber music programs in Eastern North Carolina public schools. Four high schools formed student brass chamber groups that were coached by the Meridians and ECU faculty, culminating in an ECU Brass Day where the
ensembles collaborated with the Meridians in a public performance.
Most recently, the second Meridian Seminar @ ECU took place from June 11-18. Seven participant brass chamber ensembles received coaching twice daily for four hours by MAE members and guest master teacher John Swallow of the New York Brass Quintet. Participants also had individual instrument classes, a baroque brass performance practice class by Thomas Huener and Barry Bauguess, a special master class by John Swallow, a mock orchestra trial, an improvisation class by Brian McWhorter, and yoga lessons from Mellisa Joplin.
MAE gave a public concert premiering a major new quintet by Ed Jacobs and collaborating with Seminar participants on music by Gabrieli, Theurer, and Prieto. Students also performed for Cypress Glen Retirement Center, the Greenville Town Commons, and in their own public recital where they received recordings of their performances and comments from the Seminar faculty.
The Meridian Arts Ensemble is a standard-bearer for contemporary brass chamber performance. With eight CD’s and numerous international awards, their concerts are consistently bold, polished, and ambitious. The last several years at ECU have demonstrated that education is as important to the Meridians as soliciting and performing quality new music. Participants in all of the educational sessions with MAE were without exception enthusiastic about their coaching and teaching. The true measure of their teaching abilities is the extraordinary level of performance achieved by the summer seminar participant groups and the high school brass chamber groups during last year’s residency.
Meridian Arts Ensemble
East Carolina University School of Music