Clifford/Levy Creativity Grants
Inspired by a belief in the importance of individual creativity in creating a culture of excellence in the arts and education, the Clifford/Levy family created and funded the Clifford/Levy Creativity Grants for the School’s faculty to catalyze positive change for years to come at The Diller-Quaile School of Music. Below are the descriptions of recent projects that Diller-Quaile grant recipients have completed with their awards.
18th Biennial Suzuki Association Conference, Minneapolis, MN. Hubert attended the 18th Biennial Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference in Minneapolis entitled, "A Collaborating Community." Suzuki teachers, students and parents gathered to share ideas with a focus on ways to work together in support of each other. They had the opportunity to learn from one another; and share the experiences of students as they observed master teachers in their elements. The conference offered many diverse panels, discussions, and presentations.
Dalcroze School of the Rockies, Professional Studies, Group Lessons, Denver, CO. Diller-Quaile has been an important center for Dalcroze Education in the United States for many years. Master teachers such as Anne Farber and Ruth Alperson, holders of the Dalcroze Diplôme, have taught and trained countless students, including some serving on our faculty. But because of the particularly high level of skill required to earn the Diplôme Supérieur, and the necessity to live in Geneva for extended lengths of time, there have been few new recipients. Those entering the Diplôme Supérieur program in Geneva must pass a rigorous entrance exam in the three branches of Dalcroze study: eurhythmics, solfège and improvisation. Jeremy Dittus, a holder of the Diplôme based in Denver, Colorado, has carefully created a pathway which can lead students to mastery of the necessary skills, and offers instruction via Skype classes, which he teaches at the Dalcroze School of the Rockies. Michael applied himself to these studies via Skype instruction over the course of the year, to prepare for the Diplôme Supérieur in Geneva and to become a stronger musician and teacher, better able to serve the needs of the Dalcroze community at Diller-Quaile and beyond.
Piano Study with Ethan Iverson, New York City. Jamie Reynolds studied piano with Ethan Iverson in NYC. After moving to New York to study with Fred Hersch in 2005, Jamie felt ready to return to lessons, this time with a focus on piano technique. In particular, the lessons focused on the unique teaching methods of Iverson and Hersch’s teacher, the late Sophia Rosoff, which emphasize emotional engagement with the music and a holistic approach to the physicality of piano playing. Jamie feels that these thirteen lessons have brought about a fresh approach to his piano playing in general, and to his role as an accompanist at Diller-Quaile in particular.
Study of the Haydn Cello Concerti with Fred Zlotkin, New York City. Ever since Tomas was a child, he has been enamored by the two Haydn cello concerti. Their elegance, virtuosity, ingenuity, and expressivity were instantly engaging. Tomas took five lessons with cellist Fred Zlotkin to study these concerti. Mr. Zlotkin winner of the International Music Competition at Geneva, has traveled the world as concerto soloist, chamber musician, and has been the principal cellist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra for over 25 years. Mr. Zlotkin has performed both works on many occasions and has an in-depth understanding of the cello and the classical style. He is also a master of creating his own cadenzas for the works that he performs. Creating cadenzas has always fascinated Tomas; he has been improvising for years and is now exploring this avenue within a classical context.
Morganne and Artists By Any Other Name presented Debussy’s La boîte à joujoux (The Toybox) through music, dance, and narration in a concert for the Diller-Quaile community.
Artists By Any Other Name (cofounded by Morganne Aaberg and Harmonnia Junus in 2014) is a multidisciplinary collective that aims to create artistic experiences that drive the imagination forward while invigorating the spirit. ABAON performed Debussy’s La boîte à joujoux for the Diller-Quaile community and friends of the School. The production included piano quintet, dance, and narration. Morganne and Harmonnia inspired students by showing them first-hand how artists work with their friends, share art with their community, and follow their imaginations.
Ian Bentley attended the Summer Vocology Institute at the University of Utah in Summer 2017
The Summer Vocology Institute (SVI) at the University of Utah is an intensive program led by world-renowned voice scientist Dr. Ingo Titze to learn “vocology” – the study and practice of voice health and habilitation. The program combined music, speech science, vocal pedagogy, health, and theater training and gave real world experience in applying these concepts to both performance and health settings. Having already completed the first block of the program, Principles of Voice Production, Ian then completed blocks 2 and 3 in 2017. In Block 2, Instrumentation for Voice Analysis and Voice Habilitation, he studied the scientific instrumentation used in voice clinics to assess vocal health. Block 3, Voice for Performers, focused on different kinesthetic techniques for the singing voice. After completing the program, Ian earned a “Certificate of Vocology” from the University of Utah.
Miranda Sielaff studied with Manhattan School of Music Professor Karen Ritscher
Miranda took four individual viola lessons with Manhattan School of Music professor Karen Ritscher. As a former student of Ms. Ritscher during Miranda’s undergraduate years, Miranda felt poised to benefit from her unique teachings at this point in her career when she has 15 years of experience as a performer and teacher. Miranda wanted to continue to develop her own viola playing, and saw a great potential for the impact of these lessons on her own teaching. Ms. Ritscher is the kind of teacher Miranda aspires to be. She models the resilience needed to maintain a growth mindset throughout one’s career, and she supports each student’s individual path by encouraging, enlightening, and developing their awareness.
Samantha Spiridellis attended the Kodaly Summer Institute 2017 – A Week in Hungary
During July 2017 in Kecskemét, Hungary, Samantha gathered with participants from around the world to celebrate, sing, and study global folk music at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. Through NYU, students joined the 30th International Kodály Seminar and Kodály Art Festival to study the method and philosophy of Zoltán Kodály in the homeland of its origin. Students participated in daily choir and solfège class, while selecting from various workshops to deepen the application of the Kodály method. Early childhood pedagogy, traditional music research, choral music, and conducting were a few of the electives offered.
Eri Yamamoto studied West African Drumming at the Wula Drum Center in Brooklyn to bring fresh, new rhythmic ideas to her piano accompaniment of Diller-Quaile classes. Eri studied with Abdouleaye Toure, an expert in Guinean music, who taught her many traditional West African rhythms using various drums.
Commissioned New Works for Classical Guitar by Women Composers, Performed and Recorded by Guitar Ensemble “Duo Noire”, New York, New York
The world of classical guitar is an overwhelmingly male enterprise. Flippin feels this omission of 51% of the population is unacceptable, and addressing underrepresentation in this field has become a raison d’être for his guitar ensemble, Duo Noire. The Clifford/Levy Creativity Grant partially funded the commissioning and promotion of two new works by extraordinarily talented North American women composers—resulting in concerts, promotional videos, and submissions to various guitar and New Music media outlets that recognize Diller-Quaile for its role in supporting the project and its ongoing commitment to commissioning new works.
The culminating work of this project, the critically-acclaimed album NIGHT TRIPTYCH, has received numerous reviews and mentions in the international press, including Stereophile Review, The Arts Fuse Review, Textura Review, I Care if You Listen Review, and All Music Review.
To Attend and Perform at the Contemporary Music Conference: “New Music Gathering”, Baltimore, MD
The New Music Gathering is an annual four-day conference dedicated to the performance, production, promotion, support, and creation of new concert music. Taking place at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the focus of this conference was on “Communities.” The conference featured concerts, lecture recitals, roundtable discussions, and talks. The Keynote address was given by Marin Alsop, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony, whose outreach initiatives include ‘OrchKids’, a program providing music education, instruments, meals, and mentorship to Baltimore’s neediest young people. Isabelle believes it is important to keep the classical music tradition alive and relevant through the music of today’s living composers. The theme of this conference made it relevant to the community music setting of Diller-Quaile, as it involved building musical communities through teaching, faculty concerts, and outreach. At the conference, Isabelle identified possible new repertoire for students by today’s living composers, and shared these discoveries with piano faculty through a workshop or presentation.
To Complete The Suzuki Teaching Training Course, Year One, New York, NY
The Suzuki Teaching Training Course for violin is a two-year program at The School for Strings. The first year is taught by Allen Lieb. Each weekly two hour seminar involves in-depth discussions and problem solving strategies used in the Suzuki Approach for teaching musical materials. Students are also required to observe lessons for at least two hours each week and write reports on them. With this grant, Lila hoped to grow as a teacher in order to give students the positive experience that she benefited from through the Suzuki Approach. At this time of this grant, Lila was the teaching assistant at Diller-Quaile for Book I and II Violin Group Class. She hoped that a complete knowledge of the Suzuki Approach would enable her to provide more support to both students and teachers, as well as help her to carry out Diller-Quaile’s mission: to inspire participation in music for a lifetime.
To Attend the 2015 Take A Stand Symposium, Los Angeles, CA
Take A Stand, a partnership between the Longy School of Music of Bard College, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Bard College, is a biennial symposium focused on enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in the El Sistema movement in the United States. The conference included presentations from internationally renowned music educators, performances from the acclaimed Simon Bolivar Orchestra, and opportunities for U.S. students and teachers to collaborate with colleagues from Venezuelan El Sistema programs. Eun has experience with an El Sistema based orchestra program in Queens, was eager to implement any teaching or community engagement strategies that she gained from the conference. She hoped to present what she learned at the symposium, and keep colleagues informed of new developments in this rapidly expanding field of music education.