Friday, April 1, 2011

American String Teachers Association Convention

I attended the American String Teachers Association annual convention in Kansas City two weeks ago with Lyris Hung, our Bowed Brand Manager. Scott Laird, music educator at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, was there as well representing D’Addario. With almost a thousand teachers in attendance, our D’Addario booth was mobbed and we quickly ran out of posters and other items!

There were hundreds of presentations, as many as ten simultaneously, and I wish I could have gone to all of them! Lyris and I presented our own session “Demystifying your strings” and we could have stayed for hours answering questions. Several of our artists presented clinics, including Christian Howes, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, Jeremy Cohen (Quartet San Francisco), Eric Gorfain (The Section Quartet), Pedro de Alcantara, Scott Laird and electric violinist Mark Wood. Mark Wood and his band, joined by the Olathe Area Youth Symphony closed the Convention with an exciting concert. Lyris remarked that students are often weak in rhythm, but this orchestra, inspired by Mark, was rockin and groovin! Middle aged classical string teachers were doing the same in the audience!

Lyris and I also visited the Kansas City Symphony to answer questions about strings. We were hosted by Christine Grossman, their principal violist, and a D’Addario string player. We attended their concert and I thought Kansas City was fortunate to have this wonderful orchestra. The strings played with a warm cohesive tone, the principal wind players were excellent, and the balance between the sections outstanding. They seem to have strong support from the community and everyone is looking forward to their new home in the $400million Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. We walked by the complex which is nearing completion and it looked spectacular!

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