National String Project Consortium 20th Anniversary Virtual Concert
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Virtual Orchestra Pilot Project at Marywood University
This is a rough draft version of what the virtual orchestra will look like. Thanks to Sophie Till and Marywood University for piloting the project. Credit to Ruari O’Neill for editing.
Brian Balmages just finished composing “Greater Than…” for multi-level string orchestra. Part A is for an intermediate string orchestra and is playable alone, however, the B and C parts add depth to the overall orchestral sound. The B and C parts are for younger players. Because the NSPC sites have a variety of levels offered to the students, we felt that a multi-level piece represented our mission of creating opportunities for all students across the United States. The piece will be published this month and be distributed in the fall to all String Project sites.
The National String Project Consortium (NSPC) is a non-profit organization (501(c)(3)) which implements new and supports existing String Project sites across the country. String Project sites provide public school children the opportunity to learn to play stringed instruments. String Projects are a collaborative effort between higher education and public school districts that benefit children and communities that often do not have orchestra programs in their schools. String Project sites also provide undergraduate and graduate college music education majors the opportunity to experience authentic teaching while pursuing their degrees. Currently, there are 42 active String Project sites located in colleges and universities across 23 states serving over 3,000 students. There are seven sites in Texas, four in California, and three in Georgia and Pennsylvania. The highest number of students at a String Project site is Arizona State University (402). For more information about our organization check out our website at http://www.stringprojects.org/.
As a part of its 20th anniversary celebration, NSPC seeks to engage students and teachers from the 42 String Projects across the country in a virtual recorded performance of a work commissioned for this event. To promote collaboration and celebrate the successes of our students’ string education, NSPC will create an opportunity for our students to perform a piece specifically written for String Project students. Brian Balmages, a renowned educational orchestral composer, has accepted our offer to compose a piece that incorporates multi-levels of players. Because String Project sites have beginning to advanced stringed instrument players, Balmages’ composition will provide an opportunity for all students to participate. Balmages will write a lyrical orchestra piece that is for an intermediate ensemble, but he will also write supplemental beginning level parts to complement the full string ensemble. Balmages will complete and provide the piece by November of 2019.
Robert Jesselson, a founding member of the NSPC, will create a video of himself conducting a recording of the piece. NSPC will distribute the parts and the conducting video to students in the 42 String Projects across the country. The students will submit individual recordings of their part. Sound engineer, Ruairi O’Neill, will incorporate all the students’recordings into a virtual orchestra performance. He will create a large-scale collage with each film which will provide a small part of the overall visual presentation that will be shown on a large screen performance at the American String Teachers Association Conference in Orlando, FL in March of 2020. The 42 String Project sites will also be invited to perform the newly-commissioned work at their own Spring concerts in 2020 and incorporate the virtual video.
To ensure the success of this project, Sophie Till, NSPC board president, will pilot a virtual orchestra performance with her String Project students during the fall of 2019.
Ruairi O’Neill engineered this music video. It includes the use of visual effects software, compositing large amounts of media in 3D, and syncing up many audio tracks to a piece of music.
This example represents the work Ruairi will develop regarding compositing, editing, and adding effects to the video of approximately 1,000 String Project students from across the country playing a newly commissioned work by Brian Balmages.
Dr. Robert Jesselson presents a blog on the cellobello website offering teaching techniques to students and teachers. He incorporates video as well as written information. https://www.cellobello.com/cello-blog/in-the-practice-room/the-joy-of-feuillard-a-sequential-approach-to-teaching-bow-technique-part-12-feuillard-no-33-theme-and-variations-1-3/
Dr. Jesselson will virtually conduct approximately 1,000 String Project students from across the United States.
Brian Balmages wrote this string orchestra composition and suggested this piece as an example of the type of composition regarding level and style that he will write for the NSPC 20th Anniversary piece.
Balmages has published a vast variety of band and orchestra educational literature as he is the Director of Instrumental Publications for The FJH Music Company. Other examples of his pieces are found at: https://www.fjhmusic.com/composer/bbalmages.htm.
Start and End Dates
11/01/2019 — 05/25/2020
All String Project Sites Across the United States, New York