by Mike Telin
Founded in 1985 by David and Linda Cerone, the Encore School for Strings served as the summer session of the Cleveland Institute of Music until 2008 when the program was phased out following David Cerone’s retirement as president of CIM. The prestigious program’s alumni include violinists Ray Chen, Hilary Hahn, and Leila Josefowicz, to name only a few. Beginning on Monday, June 12 and continuing through Saturday, July 30, young string players from around the world will gather on the Gilmour Academy campus in Gates Mills to take part in the inaugural season of ENCORE Chamber Music.
ENCORE is comprised of three parts. The String Quartet Intensive (June 12 through July 2), is a program designed for pre-formed quartets and individuals ages 14 to 23. Violin Week (July 3 through July 9), is designed for any violinist who wants an intense learning experience. The Sonata Duo Intensive (July 10 through 30), is a “basics of chamber music” program designed for young violinists and pianists ages 14 to 23.
“People have often asked if we are resurrecting the former Encore, and the answer is, no. We are our own entity,” ENCORE Chamber Music founder and executive director Jinjoo Cho said during a recent telephone conversation. “Our goal is to honor the legacy of a name that belongs to Northeast Ohio, and revive the spirit, respect, and the sense of integrity that the Encore School had for music.”
At the time of this interview, violinist Jinjoo Cho, the Gold Medalist of the 2014 Ninth Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, was on her way to perform her debut recital at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium along with her long-time collaborator pianist Hyun Soo Kim. In addition to her busy solo career, she also serves on the faculties of the Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
With so much on her plate, why did Jinjoo Cho feel that she was the right person to lead the charge of creating a program that would honor the Encore School legacy? “I grew up in Ohio, and specifically Cleveland, although a friend pointed out that I actually grew up in CIM. I am one of the few people who went there for so long, and the air was always about positive learning through partnership and camaraderie. It didn’t have to be me, but I felt like someone needed to spread the joy, because those experiences at CIM shaped me into the musician that I am, and I have a better connection with music because of the way I was trained.”
In addition to daily coachings by core faculty members, students will also take part in master classes given by renowned guest artists, history and interpretation classes, and eurhythmics classes. “We have 32 students or eight quartets coming this year,” assistant director Clara Engen noted during a telephone conversation. “They’re all playing either early, middle, or late Beethoven — so it’s a real festival.”
24 students will attend the Sonata Duo Intensive (the violinists and pianists each applied individually). “It’s quite exciting that the pianists are interested in collaborative playing,” Engen said. “It will be a great opportunity for the violinists to delve into the repertoire with a pianist who is invested in the partnership. That doesn’t always happen in conservatory.”
The students and the public will be able to attend performances and workshops given by visiting guest artists and core faculty members. On Monday, June 13, at 8:00 pm, violinists Annie Fullard and Mari Sato will lead the first of two interactive seminars on the ‘Art of Collaboration’ philosophy. On Saturday, June 18 at 8:00 pm, the Opening Night Celebration concert will feature the Miró Quartet, Daniel Ching and William Fedkenheuer, violins, John Largess, viola, and Joshua Gindele, cello, performing music of Haydn, Beethoven, and Brahms.
Unplug and relax on Sunday, June 19 at 3:00 pm, when Annie Fullard and Mari Sato, violins, Eric Wong, viola, and Daniel McDonough and Paul Katz, cellos, will perform John Adams’s John’s Book of Alleged Dances, Charles G. Washington’s Midnight Child and Franz Schubert’s Quintet in C. Picnic lunches will be available for purchase beginning at 2:00 pm. Electronic devices are to be left in the car. All performances will be held at Gilmour Academy’s Our Lady Chapel. Click here to view a full list of events.
When asked how she managed to pull everything together, Jinjoo Cho gave credit to all of the core faculty members, her staff, the board, and the community. “We’re all starting this together,” she said. “We thought it was important for us to reveal our vision to the community from the beginning. All of the people that we collectively decided to bring to our campus are the highest caliber musicians and teachers.
“For example, The Miró Quartet has an impeccable reputation for their ensemble playing and that’s what we want to push for our students. Paul Katz is a founding member of the Cleveland Quartet, and the Calidore Quartet literally just won the grand prize of the inaugural M-Prize Chamber Music Competition. Things like that are really important to enforcing what the core faculty are teaching the students,” Cho said. “It took a long time to get all of these people together, but we wanted to do it right. I’m very lucky to have had so much support.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com June 11, 2016.
Click here for a printable copy of this article