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Linda Cajigas
Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Thursday, December 3, 2009

IU Jacobs School of Music introduces Starling Chamber Players

Dec. 3, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music has partnered once again with the Starling Foundation, this time to form a new musical ensemble, the IU Jacobs School of Music Starling Chamber Players. The project's educational mission is to enhance musical interaction between Jacobs faculty members and students on the premise that there is no better preparation for the young artists of tomorrow than offering real-life experience with the masters of today.

The Starling Chamber Players

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The six-member ensemble is co-directed by Alexander Kerr, professor of violin and Linda and Jack Gill Chair, and Eric Kim, professor of cello. The directors will oversee all rehearsals, music selection and preparation, while serving as mentors to each student selected to be a player.

"I am thrilled to embark on this exciting new project with fellow professor Eric Kim, the students of the Jacobs School and the Starling Foundation," said Kerr. "It will be an amazing experience for the students to gain an insight into their futures by seeing the performance world and how it operates through the eyes of their mentors as well as to showcase their own talents in performances throughout the U.S."

Under the leadership of Kerr and Kim, the Starling Chamber Players will feature Jacobs School of Music students of the highest artistic level. This year's group includes Peter Vickery, violin; Rose Armbrust, viola; Dashiel Nesbitt, viola; and Davin Lee, cello.

The ensemble plans to tour in the United States, giving three concerts the first year, with a goal of five concerts the second year.

The Starling Chamber Players' premiere performance will be Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. in Bloomington's Auer Hall. The program will include Sextet in G Major, Op. 36 by Brahms and Souvenir du Florence by Tchaikovsky.

The Players' first tour concert will be at the BIG ARTS cultural center in Sanibel Island, Fla., on Jan. 10, 2010. Concertgoers are invited to a reception following the performance hosted by the Southwest Florida chapter of the IU Alumni Association.

"I would say partly why this project is great for everyone involved is that the students have the opportunity to work and perform with their teachers," said Kim. "It is a rare chance that very few schools of the caliber of the Jacobs School of Music offer. From the faculty perspective, we get to feed off the energy and raw talent of these fine young musicians. Also, like a major orchestra that tours, it's one thing to know you have a fine institution at home, another to be able to showcase its many fine assets to rest of the world."

The Starling Foundation began its close association with the Jacobs School of Music in 1983, when it funded a Starling Foundation Scholarship, which continued for 14 years. In 1986, the foundation endowed an additional scholarship, in the name of renowned violin professor Josef Gingold. The Josef Gingold Violin Scholarship supports one of the Jacobs School's finest violinists each year.

Starling funded the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Violin in 1996, the first endowed chair in the history of the school. The foundation's support for the IU Pre-College String Program, directed by Professor of Violin Mimi Zweig, began in 2003.

Kerr balances a teaching and orchestral career with worldwide solo and chamber engagements. He has served as concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He is the principal guest concertmaster with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Also a member of the faculties of the Amsterdam Conservatory and the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado, Kerr regularly presents master classes at several of the nation's leading music schools and conservatories. He has numerous CD releases to his credit.

Kim is considered by many as one of the finest orchestral, chamber music and solo cellists of his generation. He served as principal cello of the Cincinnati Symphony from 1989 to 2009 and has also held principal cello positions with the San Diego and Denver symphonies. Kim is a regular teacher and performer at the Aspen Music Festival and School as well as the Music Masters Course in Japan program held in Kasuza, Yokohama, and Tokyo. He can also be heard at the festivals of Angel Fire (New Mexico), Aspen, Bravo! Colorado (Vail), LaJolla, Santa Fe and Savannah, Ga. He has made several recordings for the RCA, EMI, Telarc and Koch labels.

For more information about the Jacobs School of Music, see