International music sounds at WSU

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(Photo by Tyler Saal) Pianist Lydia Artymiw directs music student Ling-Yu Lee in a one-on-one teaching session at the Sid & Mary Foulger International Music Festival. The two-week festival brought together music students, teachers and performers from all over the world.

Weber State University has hosted both renowned and budding musicians from around the world with the Sid & Mary Foulger International Music Festival, running June 30 through July 13.

The festival featured 15 guest artists, along with students from places as diverse as Taiwan, California and China, with students ranging in age from 11 to 26 years old.

Kimi Kawashima, festival manager, said this is the first year the festival has been of this magnitude and had this sort of configuration. Kawashima said that in the past, it’s been a week-long music camp, but expansions in the music department and donations and support allowed a larger festival this year.

The music festival brought in guest artists to teach music students in a two-week camp, including pianist Lydia Artymiw, violinist and concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony Alexander Barantschik, and violinist and concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra Erin Keefe.

Peter Mack, an award-winning Irish pianist and professor of piano performance at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Wash., came to WSU to perform and work with students at the festival. He said he was having a great time at WSU, especially sharing the experience with other artists.

“Some of the other faculty are living legends,” Mack said, “so it’s been a real thrill and a real honor for me to be with them, because I’ve heard of them from afar, but I’ve never met them. And now we get to spend two weeks with them. For me, coming as a faculty member, that’s a real thrill.”

Nicholas Maughan, a senior studying piano performance at WSU, was at the festival as an accompanist for students.

“The great thing about summer music camp is you get to meet students and faculty from all over the country,” Maughan said. “So you start creating these relationships with people who will be your future colleagues and relationships with teachers who really become mentors.”

Maughan said he attended music camps as a child and is still in touch with friends and mentors he met at those camps.

“You’re really with top-level players, so you get to hear amazing performances and you get to learn new pieces that you would not have discovered without having been in a place like this,” he said. “It’s really an intensive, really immersive kind of music-making experience.”

Misha Galant, who studies piano, traveled from the San Francisco area for the festival. He said he’d had a lot of fun and that he’d definitely come back again.

“I like the teachers a lot,” Galant said. “They’re really helpful. I’ve got good advice.”

Kawashima said hosting the music festival helps spotlight the music department at WSU and all the department’s talent.

“I think it can really showcase the incredible facilities,” she said, “especially in the department of performing arts. Every single person that is here has complimented Weber State for such incredible facilities.”

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A group of music students participate in a demonstration with violins in the Val A. Browning Center at Weber State University. The gathering was for the international music festival at WSU.

Yu-Jane Yang, director of keyboard studies at WSU, also said the festival was a great benefit to WSU and its music community, giving particular exposure to the music department.

“This festival is important for Weber State for the scale and scope of it,” Yang said. “With Mr. Foulger’s generous gift to our department and also his enthusiasm for music, he really wants to see this happening at Weber State, to bring a really high caliber of performers, students and faculty to our campus and to Utah.”

Fan-Ya Lin, award-winning WSU piano graduate, was also one of the featured artists at the festival. She said she felt like she had a special role in the festival this year, having had the opportunity to perform both with piano students and faculty members.

“It’s really a true privilege to be able to perform with and to work with these great artists,” Lin said.

The 2013 International Concerto Competition Winners Concert, playing with the Utah Symphony, will take place July 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Austad Auditorium of the Val A. Browning Center. July 11 will be the chamber music concert “Thematic Transformations” at 7:30 p.m. in the Allred Theater of the Browning Center.