A summer at Chautauqua Institution gives young musicians the chance to learn surrounded by talented peers, faculty and guest instructors.
It’s a chance that is made possible through scholarships, like the ones awarded by the Hebrew Congregation. The Hebrew Congregation Scholarship recipients for this year will perform in a recital at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday in the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua.
Elijah Spies, a violist with the Music School Festival Orchestra, said he feels lucky to have received the scholarship. He said studying at the Institution, specifically with Karen Ritscher, has improved his playing.
“I’ve had such a wonderful experience at Chautauqua,” Spies said. “I was just thrilled to have these opportunities provided to me.”
As a member of the MSFO, Spies not only has the chance to perform in recitals like Tuesday’s, but also has the opportunity to perform in weekly Monday night Amphitheater concerts. He said it has been a privilege to play with the MSFO and work with Music Director Timothy Muffitt, and Rebecca Tong, the 2017 David Effron Conducting Fellow. Spies said both Muffitt and Tong are excellent conductors and respectful of the musicians.
In Tuesday’s recital, Spies will play a selection of three pieces for solo viola. He’ll begin with a short piece by Elliott Carter, called Figment IV. The Carter piece will be followed by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1.
The final piece Spies will play is “Nine Fingers” by Garth Knox. Spies said it’s an exciting show piece that has been fun to learn. The piece involves extended techniques, specifically staccato and strumming his viola.
Other pieces in Tuesday’s recital include a Francis Poulenc trio for bassoon, oboe and piano, and two vocal duets — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Fra gli amplessi” and Sarah Brightman’s “Time to Say Goodbye.”
Tuesday’s recital is a way for him and the other recipients to perform for those who helped their journey to Chautauqua happen.
“It’s inspiring to be around so many hardworking and dedicated musicians in the orchestra,” Spies said. “It has really been a privilege.”