New York Festival Orchestra (NYFO) is a project of the nonprofit organization, FORTE 90, INC.*
*FORTE 90, INC. has presented educational and outreach programs at public and private schools, churches, hospitals over 15 years. Forte 90 has also supported a series of classical concerts at Carnegie Hall, NY as well as at the famous Rudolfinum - Dvorak Hall in Prague for professionals of the highest level as well as concerts for students as part of the Forte 90’s program “Young Talents”. In this program, young artists performed with professional artists in front of large audience. Forte 90 also collaborated with international festivals in the US and Europe and granted students scholarships to attend music festivals.
Recently, Forte 90 started Brooklyn String Competition which encourages local students to compete to get to the best level as possible. Forte 90's latest project, launched in the 2014-2015 season, is the New York Festival Orchestra (NYFO). Visit http://www.forte90inc.org to learn more about FORTE 90, INC.
In collaboration with the FORTE 90，INC., the following educational and outreach programs are available:
I. Educational Projects for the Public/Private Schools
A set of 3 Educational Concert Programs for the Public Schools
Each concert lasts approximately 45 minutes. The concerts may be performed separately. However, they work best if performed as a set within one school year.
Program #1: The String Family
Introducing the string instruments - names, parts, and interesting facts.Demo of the string instruments - comparing the sounds of different instruments to establish a connection between size and sound (small size - high sound/ big size - low sound). Active listening to select pieces of music is followed by discussion of simple, relative, dynamic values such as fast/slow, loud/soft. The demonstration ends with short lessons on each instrument.
Program #2: Music Basics
Introducing the basic elements of music: Rhythm and Melody.Demonstration of three contrasting rhythms by using select musical excerpts to illustrate the connection between the rhythm, or heart beat, of the music and its essential character.Active listening to each selection is followed by discussion of its rhythm and melody using simple analogies to walking, dancing, marching, and dreaming.
Program #3: Music Styles
Defining the meaning of ‘style’ with examples from the worlds of art, fashion, pop music. Demonstration of different styles by comparing three short excerpts from Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods. Each style is then exemplified by a specific composer: Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky. Active listening to other music selections is followed by a discussion about the essential character and style of each piece to determine:
- unique traits as clues to its period of composition
- types of emotions or ideas the music inspires
- other types of music that sound similar or related to each selection
Concluding discussion asks participants what sort of music they would be most interested in composing and why.
Workshop for graphic artists and chamber ensemble
This is a first draft on the language for this new workshop. We will probably modify the language (recommendations are welcome), but the basic workshop structure and strategy, as a 2-phase workshop, is described below in some detail. The intent is to offer a flexible format that can be modified to work with participants who may be very young artists/kids in an art class, or high school or college students.
Workshop period: approximately 2 hours, includes a short break.
Intent: to provide participants contrasting examples of music as an inspirational source to inform artistic expression that is manifest in nonmusical ways, such as painting, drawing, or even dance.
Goal: the participants each produce 3 original works of art based on the same subject, but each work is informed (or inspired) by a contrasting musical selection. The resulting triptych of works illustrates the subtle power of inspirational sources to help reveal nuanced abstractions of the same subject. What may begin as a rudimentary exercise about “informed listening” of music ends as an illustration of how the art of music can change how we feel, think, and act --consciously and unconsciously-- in creating alternate works of art: abstracting an inspirational source into another, new work of art.
Strategy: a controlled workshop that offers participants a timed period within which they learn about each musical selection and then allow that music to inform their work on canvas/paper.
Part I (approximately 35-45 minutes)
1. The chamber ensemble members take their usual positions/configuration for rehearsal and performance. They have prepared 3 contrasting musical selections (perhaps 1 movement each) to represent the following, general characteristics or qualities:
a. Structure, balance, precision, technical prowess, control
b. Wanderlust, searching, apprehension, anxiety, brooding, sadness
c. Passion, speed, audacity, freewheeling, chaotic, free, independent
The musical selections are perhaps further differentiated in that they may each come from a very different period of music. Early Classical, Romantic, Contemporary, for instance.
2. The participants are positioned, with easels or drawing pads, in a semicircular configuration around the ensemble. Each artist should be within 12-16 feet of the ensemble: far enough away to hear the ambient mix of all voices, close enough to feel the vibrations of the acoustical instruments.
3. The ensemble personally introduce each piece of music and include brief, insightful, age-appropriate comments as to the character of the music, the composer, and any unique aspect of what may have inspired the composer, or perhaps the subject of the composition. These are specifically nonmusical references, some bit of narrative. Each piece is then played, in turn. Following each piece, the participants are asked to comment. Any questions or comments are taken up by the musicians--and perhaps a quick musical reference played again to anchor the comment directly to the musical passage in discussion.
~ short break ~
Part II (approximately 50-60 minutes)
1. Subject/model. All participants return to their positions. A separate model or subject is introduced. The subject is seated or positioned at the optimum place relative to the young artists -- perhaps right in front of the musicians. The participants are asked to take a few minutes observing the subject while the musicians prepare. Participants are asked to try a quick sketch or paint the subject within the time it takes to play the first musical selection. Depending on available time, the movement may be played twice through.
2. For the 2nd selection, the participants are asked to move to an alternate spot: perhaps those who were on the left end of the configuration are now more center. Those at the center positions move to the right end. Those on the right come around to the left end. All the participants now have a distinctly different angle on the subject. Music for selection 2 plays, artists paint or draw the subject again.
3. Repeat the process for selection 3. The artists move to the right again so that each of their renderings represents a different angle of view of the subject. Each of the artists' renderings will now represent a different physical angle and a different musical perspective.
Artists discuss the experience and their own 3-piece work.
III. Educational Projects for the Community
Family Concert Series in Concert Hall.
These are short concerts featuring one large piece of music, or few short works. Before the concert, the performers share their understanding of the piece by demonstrating the major themes and explaining the emotional content of the music. After the performance, the audience is encouraged to ask questions about the music.
Family Concerts in a Churches / Libraries / Museums
These concerts typically feature four or five short pieces from different music styles. The concerts are suitable for all ages, and make a great treat for the entire family. They are particularly good for young listeners who may not yet have the patience to sit through a full length, standard concert format.
Free Matinee Programs at Churches / Libraries / Museums
The members of group offer a number of free Sunday Matinee Concerts. These concerts feature standard recital programs, unless otherwise requested.
IV. Master Classes, Workshops and Chamber Music Festival/Camp
Programs catered for students with intermediate or advanced level on the instrument.
Chamber Music Master Class/Workshop
The ensemble demonstrates skills of playing chamber music with a wide range of the repertoire. Topics covered include style, balance, intonation, musical communication, and listening. Student groups are invited to perform and be coached in this class.
Chamber Music Attitude Towards Success
Members of the ensemble are active soloists and teachers and have a wealth of experience in dealing with musical careers. They offer valuable advice to young musicians as regards to the workings of the music world such as skills needed, getting established, networking, and chamber music etiquettes.
The Ensemble splits into separate instrument classes to discuss in detail the basic elements of playing chamber music. Individual student performances may be coached as well.
Spring, Summer or Winter Chamber Music Camp or Workshop (Residency Programs)
The camp takes place during the spring, summer or winter and offers a week of daily classes in music theory and history, instrumental skills and chamber music, as well as a chance to see open rehearsals of the ensemble. The ensemble members not only coach the students but also play along with them.