The BSO’s Orchlab Program Expands

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) have signed a new agreement that will expand the BSO’s Orchlab program, a mentoring initiative designed for the development of public elementary, middle and high school music students and their teachers in Montgomery County, Md.

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Students from the Orchlab program at Wheaton-Loiederman observe Marin Alsop leading a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra rehearsal.

Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) October 18, 2013

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) have signed a new agreement that will expand the BSO’s Orchlab program, a mentoring initiative designed for the development of public elementary, middle and high school music students and their teachers in Montgomery County, Md. The new Memorandum of Understanding authorizes an increase in the number of eligible and participating middle and high schools as well as in the number of BSO musician services to each of these schools.

For participating elementary schools, BSO musician services will more than double in a new five-visit performance residency. The Instrumental Music Performance Residency (IMPR) will be offered to all students in the 4th or 5th grades at designated elementary schools and is designed to support instrumental music instruction. Utilizing recorders, students will rehearse and perform “Irish Fantasy” by BSO bassist Jonathan Jensen. The residency will foster the role of an individual in achieving a satisfying and successful group outcome. The elementary school residency will be directed by a trio of BSO double reed musicians, who will incorporate work on fingerings, rhythm, intonation and breath control with students. The last visit will conclude with a public performance by the students and the BSO wind trio.

At the designated middle and high schools, BSO musicians will make up to 54 separate visits during which they will mentor student string orchestra and band units with the aim of enhancing group cohesion and performance skills. Utilizing music selected by the music instructor, the BSO musicians will offer side-by-side coaching on key aspects of ensemble performance including balance, dynamics, and on-stage presence.

In addition to school visits, the participating middle and high school students in the Orchlab program will also be offered complimentary tickets to attend a BSO concert at Strathmore. Transportation to and from the Music Center will be provided by MCPS. Orchlab will provide professional development for MCPS instrumental music teachers through their participation in forums with BSO musicians.

Orchlab is offered at no cost to the schools, students or their families. The program is funded by the BSO and by individual, corporate, and foundation grants.

About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its enduring pursuit of artistic excellence, the BSO has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout Maryland with innovative education and community outreach initiatives.

The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra’s 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Maestra Alsop’s leadership has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.

Under Music Director Marin Alsop’s leadership, the BSO has rapidly added several critically acclaimed albums to its already impressive discography. The BSO and Maestra Alsop partnered with the Naxos label to record a three-disk Dvořák symphony cycle. The first disc, which includes Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” and Symphonic Variations, was released in February 2008. The second disk in this cycle features Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8, was released in June 2010, and the third disk features Symphony No. 6, Nocturne in B major, and Scherzo capriccioso was released in 2010. Following the success of the BSO’s cycle of Dvořák recordings, the BSO released two new recordings in 2012. The first features Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, and the second, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan.” The BSO and Maestra Alsop also recorded and released with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet a one-disk recording of Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue & Piano Concerto in 2010. In August 2009, the BSO and Marin Alsop released Bernstein’s Mass featuring baritone Jubilant Sykes, the Morgan State University Choir and the Peabody Children’s Chorus. The album rose to number six on the Classical Billboard Charts and received a 2009 Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album. The Orchestra made its foray into online distribution in April 2007 with the release of a live-concert recording of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on iTunes, which quickly became the site’s number one classical music download.

In addition to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where the orchestra has performed for 28 years, the BSO is a founding partner and the resident orchestra at the state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore, just outside of Washington, D.C. With the opening of Strathmore in February 2005, the BSO became the nation’s only major orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas.

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