PRE CONCERT TALKS
Attending a pre-concert talk helps concert goers gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the music they are about to hear.
About an hour before most concerts the PEISO hosts a preconcert talk – often conducted by Maestro Mark Shapiro, by a composer of a new piece of music that the PEISO will be performing that day, or by one or more of our talented solo artists.
At these talks you can gain an insider’s view and learn something about the music that will be performed in the upcoming concert. These presentations are open to anyone attending the concert and they are free of charge.
Each presentation proves unique. You may learn interesting details about the orchestral works to be performed; or you may learn something interesting about the composers art; or you may hear the guest soloists share some of their insights, knowledge and experience about the works they will be performing. And there usually is plenty of time for the audience to pose questions!
One of the mandates of the PEISO in our founding mission statement is “to provide experience and practical training in orchestral music for Island students.” Our orchestra continues to live out this mandate through our program of teaching and mentorship within the orchestra.
Each concert season, gifted Island students are selected to take part in concerts and undergo lessons and practice sessions well in advance of concert with qualified teachers who are also orchestra members. As part of the mentorship portion of the initiative, these students are then seated beside long-standing musicians in the orchestra throughout the rehearsal process and concerts. In this way, not only do the students learn a large amount of orchestral repertoire representative of all styles and periods, but also the program imparts to these young artists practical knowledge and hands-on experience of being a section member (i.e. strings, brass, woodwinds) of a symphony orchestra from qualified teachers and players.
THE SUZANNE BRENTON AWARD
Fostering the development of talented young PEI classical musicians is a key mandate for the PEISO. To this end, the PEISO supports a yearly scholarship called the Suzanne Brenton Award.
The award was created by a financial gift by a former orchestra member who began to learn cello in her early 60s! Through her endowment gift, every year a top young PEI music student is selected from soloists performing in the yearly PEI Kiwanis Music Festival and awarded an invitation to perform a concerto or other solo work with the PEISO, usually during the February concert. You will be amazed at the high performance quality of these young musicians, many of whom go on to make careers in classical music.
MUSIC EDUCATION ON THE ISLAND
If someone has an interest in music and wants to learn to play a musical instrument, where can I go to find a teacher? Where do I go if I want to take up a musical instrument?
We are very fortunate to have a number of excellent private music teachers on PEI! These teachers offer private lessons to beginning, intermediate, and advanced students at a modest price. You can find a listing of them by visiting the website for the PEI Registered Music Teachers Association at peirmta.ca
If your child or grandchild is enrolled in the PEI English or French language school systems, there are music programs in place for students interested in learning to play band instruments such as woodwinds, brass, or percussion. But if your child is interested in playing a string instrument (i.e. violin, viola, cello for example) that is no longer possible because the string program was shut down by the department of education some years back.
There is, however, an avenue for students interested in developing their skills as string musicians. For over twenty years the Singing Strings ensemble has trained hundreds of island string players. You can find out more information about them by visiting: singingstringspei.wordpress.com
For more advanced college age music students, the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) also has a music program. In fact, many of our younger musicians who perform with the PEISO or serve as concert weekend volunteers study there. You can find out more about the music program by visiting the UPEI Department of Music webpage at: upei.ca/arts/music