"Cleveland Orchestra spends day nurturing future listeners and musicians in South Florida"

Brett Mitchell leads a feedback session with members of The Cleveland Orchestra after reading new works by six student composers at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. (Photo by Zachary Lewis)

Brett Mitchell leads a feedback session with members of The Cleveland Orchestra after reading new works by six student composers at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. (Photo by Zachary Lewis)

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) has published an article about several of The Cleveland Orchestra's educational initiatives during their 2017 Miami residency, including several events led by Brett Mitchell on Tuesday, January 31:

Brett Mitchell leads members of The Cleveland Orchestra in reading sessions of new works by six student composers at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. (Photo by Zachary Lewis)

Brett Mitchell leads members of The Cleveland Orchestra in reading sessions of new works by six student composers at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. (Photo by Zachary Lewis)

The day began at Coral Reef High School, a "mega" magnet school in Southwest Miami. There, associate conductor Brett Mitchell and a large group of players took part in a "side by side" rehearsal with members of the school's student orchestra.

No watered-down fare here. With help from their professional mentors, the students performed excerpts from the very repertoire the Cleveland Orchestra itself has been playing of late: Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 and Mendelssohn's "The Hebrides" Overture.

Most of the instruction took the form of private conversations between Cleveland Orchestra members and Coral Reef students. Those are always the meat of "side by side" rehearsals.

Still, Mitchell had a few words of wisdom for the group as a whole. Rehearsing the Sibelius, he noted that great musicians are also expert listeners, and know when and how to yield to a colleague (in this case, a flute) who belongs in the foreground.

"It's not about how softly you play," Mitchell explained. "It's about how transparently you can play."

Shortly thereafter, Mitchell and four other members of the orchestra made their way north to Coral Gables, to the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. There, in keeping with a now decade-long tradition, the musicians played through and commented on six new works by student composers.

For the six young artists in question, it was a momentous occasion. Any performance, for a budding author of music, is a rare treat. But a performance by a quartet from the Cleveland Orchestra, with live feedback? Possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

To read the complete article, please click here.