Orfeo Alliance Brings Internationally Renowned Musicians to Key
As part of the Orfeo Alliance program, Elizabeth Hainen—revered as one of the world’s foremost virtuoso harpists—visited Key in November 2009, accompanied by Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s (ASO) Maestro José-Luis Novo. Ms. Hainen has performed throughout Europe and the United States, including engagements at the Philadelphia Orchestra, New World Symphony, and the Mexico State Symphony, and solo performances at the Paris Opera Ballet, the Vienna Boys Choir, and Carnegie Hall. She was a guest harpist for ASO during the 2009 – 2010 season.
Seated with her magnificent golden harp, Ms. Hainen performed for Lower and Middle School students. Her first selection was a piece from The Nutcracker Suite, which she credited with capturing her interest as a child and sparking her desire to become a musician. After piquing the students’ interest, Ms. Hainen introduced them to her Lyon and Healy 1990 concert grand harp, explaining the composition and qualities of the instrument. She ended the performance with an excerpt from André Caplet’s Conte Fantastique, a work based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story “Mask of the Red Death.”
With strings as the focus for the 2009 – 2010 Orfeo Alliance, Ms. Hainen’s visit was complemented by Maestro Novo’s ongoing work with members of Key’s Strings Ensemble. Maestro Novo held monthly rehearsals with Key’s strings players, and conducted the culminating Upper School Strings Concert in April. In a note to the strings students after the performance, Upper School Division Head Todd Casey wrote, “I wanted to thank and congratulate all of you for a virtuoso performance! The music and musicianship were outstanding, and I am very proud of all of you for so capably representing Key School, our Key Strings program, and the Orfeo Alliance.”
Key Strings also played several Rumanian folk dances by Béla Bartók during A Musical Evening in May, with Key’s Concert Dancers performing original choreographies to the pieces.
Maestro Novo has been Key’s Orfeo Alliance artist-in-residence since 2007. “Our Upper School students have been so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Maestro Novo,” said Upper School Performing Arts Department Chair Rick Layton. “This world-class musician is not only a gifted artist, but also has an intuitive sense of how to work with high school students. For any student to have the chance to spend even a few minutes with such talent is an amazing opportunity; Key’s Upper Schoolers have had hours and hours of exposure over the course of the past three years. It’s a gift for us to have this partnership.”
Article from The Key Review 2009-2010