Pianist wins Fisher grant
Assistant piano professor Benjamin Hochman, one of ECU’s newest music faculty members, has been named a 2011 recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, which is presented to talented instrumentalists with great potential for solo careers. Hochman will receive a stipend of $25,000 to use for specific needs in furthering his career.
Hochman joined the School of Music faculty in fall 2010, succeeding Henry Doskey, who retired. The Israeli-born pianist made his recital debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and he has performed with the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. He also has appeared with symphony orchestras in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Seattle and Portland, and he has played with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Raanana and Jerusalem symphonies.
Hochman is scheduled to participate in the Appalachian Summer Festival in Boone twice in July as part of the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble; he will play with the Boston Chamber Music Society in late August.
Summer theatre on hiatus
The stage at McGinnis Theatre will be dark this summer, as the popular ECU/Loessin Summer Theatre program has been affected by the state’s budget crunch. Two years ago, the summer program mounted only one production, Big River, and last year, ECU theater students and faculty participated in the Roanoke Island Festival Park summer theatrical season.
This year, however, the drama and musical series will take a summer off, says Jeff Woodruff, managing director of the ECU summer theatre program. “There’s been a general, overall pulling back, and we’re basically all tightening our belts around here,” Woodruff says.
Last summer’s financial situation prevented staging shows on campus, so the opportunity to relocate at least part of the summer series to Manteo proved to be a good move, he says. But ECU signaled the likelihood of canceling its summer season when it was not represented in late winter casting sessions in New York and other cities.
This gave ECU students a chance to go elsewhere for summer experience, Woodruff says, and “our students are getting lots of work in lots of other places. They are doing outdoor dramas, and some are doing theater in Charlotte. They are all over the place.”
School of Theatre and Dance administrators hope that the current hiatus “is as short as possible,” he says, and the financial situation will not affect the 2011–12 season, which has announced a full slate of theatrical and dance productions, including Threepenny Opera, Oklahoma! and Elephant Man.
Drama camp: The School of Theatre and Dance is expanding its summer drama camp program on campus this year, with two one-week sessions instead of a single session. Patricia “Patch” Clark, associate professor and coordinator for both the Theatre for Youth and Theatre Education Programs and founder and director of the ECU Storybook Theatre, again heads the Drama Camp, with sessions July 18–23 and July 25–30. Drama Camp is divided into three age groups: 5–10, 11–13 and 14–18. Instruction is provided in beginning acting and performance techniques for high school students; character development, performance and script writing for middle school students; and integrated arts, puppetry, mask making, creative dramatics and storybook theater for elementary school students.
Guitar Workshop: Among the guest artists and instructors at the camp, which takes place July 10–13, will be Mary Akerman and Andrew Zohn, who have both performed in previous festivals. Festival artistic director Elliot Frank, professor of guitar in the School of Music, also will perform. Among others who will play in recitals, teach classes or both will be Adam Kossler ’06, now pursuing a doctorate from Florida State University (July 10); You Wang and Carlos Perez (July 11); and Jan Bartlema (July 13). Chinese guitarist You won the 2010 ECU festival competition and was first-place winner of the 2011 Indiana International Guitar Competition at Indiana University. Perez is a visiting lecturer at Columbus (Ga.) State University. The youth and college level competition finals are scheduled July 13.
Band Camp: The popular camp for middle and high school students is June 19–24, with instruction and opportunities in full concert band, small ensemble and solo performance. Special coaching also will be available in jazz performance techniques.
Jazz Camp: This year’s camp will run June 26–30 and provides opportunities for students to learn to play in combos, learn jazz theory and participate in improvisation classes. The camp is for rising seventh grade through 12th-grade players. Faculty members will be joined by jazz professionals from around the state.
Summer Choral Camp: The camp for rising seventh grade through 12th grade singers will be June 26–July 1 and offer activities to strengthen participants’ vocal skills, music reading and aural perception of music.
Suzuki Institute: This year’s camp will be June 30 and July 1–8 for teacher instruction and July 2–3 and July 3–8 for student instruction. The institute has been ongoing for nearly 30 years and provides private lessons in small master classes and group repertory classes for all levels from Book 1 through advanced. Students are placed according to skill level and age.