St. Mark’s to host academy for young string players

The future of classical music in Durango gets stronger with each passing year.

Already bolstered by programs such as Music in the Mountains Goes to School, aspiring young musicians can stay well-tuned this summer at the inaugural Durango Chamber Music Academy. It’s a program of 3rd Ave. Arts, the creative arm of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Executive director C. Scott Hagler said the academy is an extension of the Durango Chamber Music Festival, which concludes tonight at St. Mark’s,.

The academy is open to any student of stringed music ages 7 to 13 (others may be accepted on a case-by-case basis) who can read music and meet performance requirements. Hagler said future academies may be expanded to include pianists and other instrumentalists, but in it first year they will focus on high and low-stringed instruments only.

Faculty members for the academy are Sharon Neufeld, Kristen Chen and Sandy Kiefer (upper strings) and Kiefer and Lech Usinowicz for lower strings.

Instruction will emphasize the skills of listening, balancing, leading and following other players that are unique to performing small ensemble music. Students will work together as a team with each member of the group assuming conductor duties at different moments in the various pieces.