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in their words

Josh Cohen: Blowing Winds

My parents met in a music history appreciation class at Brooklyn College. They only really listen to classical music and the Beatles. I began playing piano at about age 5 and switched to trumpet in the 5th grade. My father and I used to listen to David Munrow’s medieval and Renaissance music history audio documentary when I was very young.  I always wanted to play the instruments that were around at the time th
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Jeanine Krause: How church music made an oboeist

Aside from cartoons and (I probably shouldn’t admit this), as a child I had a wild attachment to an LP called “Hooked on Classics,” a record of the early 80s of The Royal Philharmonic, conducted by Louis Clark. As a preacher’s kid I was steeped in the hymns of the Lutheran church and surrounded by fabulous church musicians and choirs. In addition, my father has a passion for organ music and co
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Jesse Blumberg, baritone: A life in music

From piano to trumpet and finding his voice I grew up with lots of pianists in my life–my grandmother, mother, sister, and aunt — and those last two are music teachers as well. I took up piano around age 4, quit at 5; restarted at 6, re-quit at 7.  Biggest mistakes of my life in music!  When the music man came to our school I chose the trumpet, presumably because it seemed like it was the loudest of the b
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Program Notes: J.S. Bach ~ Sacred & Secular

NOTES ON THE PROGRAM  Bach’s musical career took him to a series of towns in northern Germany. His final move came in 1723, when he left his position as court musician at Cöthen to take the post of Kantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. His new responsibilities included teaching at the school and organizing the city church music. Bach was the third choice of the councilors who hired him, and he was not exactly what t
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Perfect Pitch: David Miller, Viola

I’ve always loved listening to music from my earliest years.  I have perfect pitch and synesthesia, meaning I associate colors with different keys.  When I was a toddler, my mother played phonograph records for me. When I would ask for the red or the green music, Mom would write down the colors on the record albums so she would know for the next time.  She told me later that it had nothing to do with the color
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Julie Leven: A Warm, Dark Sound

When I was in fourth grade, the fifth grade violinists at my St. Louis elementary school played a demonstration concert for us. Then, the music teacher announced that we could sign up for free violin lessons at school, and that evening I announced to my mother that I wanted to sign up for lessons. My parents – they were not musicians — attended the St. Louis Symphony regularly and listened to classical music at
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Bach to Rock: Noise with Alex Burtzos

As Stravinsky once said, “Good composers borrow – great composers steal.” Like most future musicians (I suspect), I have had a lifelong interest in noisemaking. Before the introduction of instruments, which eventually channeled this energy in a specifically musical direction, I enjoyed shouting, banging, and using household objects as makeshift percussion equipment (all of this is well-documented on VHS tapes residin
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Stepner and Jeppesen: A Musical Marriage

They took a stand, and that was that. It was in 1968, while sharing a music stand at Yale University, that Daniel Stepner and Laura Jeppesen met, and a musical marriage took root for many future decades. Since the early 1990s, Dan and Laura have anchored the Aston Magna Music Festival’s early music – Dan on his baroque violin, and Laura on her viola da gamba. Together they open the Aston Magna Festival this week, Jun
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Rentz-Moore: A Life in Classical Singing

As a child, I really enjoyed singing music in our church choir, with my friends. I also studied piano, flute and violin, although with the latter, I never got beyond, “Twinkle, twinkle little star.” In high school, I participated in the Berkshire County Junior Miss scholarship competition, for which I learned a Mozart art song.  That song really captured my imagination, and I began to think about studying
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A life in music: Erin Headley’s lirone

Both of my parents were musicians, so at the age of four I was encouraged to begin piano lessons. One of my exercises was to harmonize a melody in four parts, which may have foreshadowed my career as a continuo player, some 26 years later. During my youth I was an artist. But at 18 I suddenly decided to take up the cello. That led me to the viola da gamba in graduate school, and the lirone during my doctoral studies.
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