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Alain Barker
IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2008

Jacobs School faculty and students triumph in Carnegie Hall concerts

January 10, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Eight students from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the largest contingent from any school in the country, were among the 62 young musicians, aged 15 to 22, chosen to participate in the nationally-acclaimed New York String Orchestra Seminar (NYSOS), towards the end of last December.

For the first time in over two decades, auditions for the seminar were held on the Indiana University campus, where 27 students (out of 322 applicants nationwide) competed for the coveted spots.

Stanislav Pronin

Photo by: Allen Cohen

Stanislav Pronin rehearses with the NYSO at Alvin Ailey studios in NYC.

Print-Quality Photo

The 10-day intensive orchestral and chamber music program, which cellist Yo-Yo Ma called "the defining moment for me as a teenager," culminated in two sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall, December 24 and 28, hailed by The New York Times for their "spirit of renewal" and for a "particularly lovely string sound."

The orchestra, led by Jacobs Professor of Music Jaime Laredo, offered a Mozart program with Yefim Bronfman as soloist on Christmas Eve. The December 28 concert featured Jacobs School of Music Professor André Watts in a performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. The program also included the New York premiere of Adagietto for String Orchestra by Richard Danielpour for string orchestra and the Dvorak "New World" Symphony on December 28.

Both concerts can be heard free online through Feb. 15 on the new classical music Web site at

"It's a joy and honor to work with these unbelievably talented kids -- to pass on my love and respect for music—and see them discover, over these 10 days, that they want to make music for the rest of their lives," Laredo said.

The seminar also offered chamber-music coaching from many noted artists, including IU faculty members Sharon Robinson, cellist, and Linda Strommen, oboist, as well as from members of several string quartets, including the Orion String Quartet, the Jacobs School's 2007-08 ensemble-in-residence.

Jacobs School students participating in the seminar included violinist Stanislav Pronin, 22, of Toronto; violists Leah Kovach, 21, of Salt Lake City; Dash Nesbitt, 20, of Jenks, Okla.; and Nathan Schram, 20, of Arlington, Texas; oboist Jennifer Berg, 21, of San Antonio, Texas; bassoonist Selena Yamamoto, 20, of Pearl City, Hawaii; and double bassists Noah Cotler, 19, of Woodland Hills, Calif.; and Emily Honeyman, 21, of Ann Arbor, Mich.

In addition, Jacobs student Neesa Sunar, cellist, was selected to take part in the chamber music workshops, and Jacobs alumnus James Stroup, bass, joined the seminar staff as a management intern.

"I can honestly say," said Honeyman, "that this is the most musically enriching, not to mention fun, 10 days of my life. A great bass section is very hard to come by. The section this year is fantastic! This is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life."

For Schram "making the most beautiful music I've ever made with no financial burden is a dream come true. . . . It changed my life, as well as the lives of the other participants in this renowned program."

"This past week in New York is one of the most significant moments in my life. . . . I have never played in an ensemble with as much musicianship as this group," said Cotler.

Founded in 1969 for Alexander Schneider by arts administrator Frank Salomon and led, since 1993, by conductor and violinist Jaime Laredo, the seminar has among its alumni not only prominent soloists like Yo-Yo Ma and conductors Peter Oundjian and Douglas Boyd, but also the concertmasters of the Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Philadelphia Orchestras, members of leading chamber music ensembles, including the Brentano, Emerson, Guarneri, Johannes, St. Lawrence and Takacs String Quartets, and faculty at leading music schools and conservatories.

More information can be found at