Yesterday at the MECMA: David Aaron Carpenter Live in Concert

Yesterday's MECMA welcomed world-acclaimed violist, David Aaron Carpenter, for a special concert at the MusicHall of Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, in addition to the daily schedule of masterclasses and lessons. 

As part of the EUFSC and SAMIT’s efforts to promote high quality musical education, this year’s edition of InClassica is also incorporating the inaugural edition of the Middle East Classical Music Academy (MECMA), taking place from the 4th to the 23rd of September. This educational initiative features three weeks of lectures, discussions and masterclasses in the schools of piano, wind, and strings, led by a roster of international professors and music pedagogues consisting of some of the most illustrious names active today. In addition, the MECMA is also presenting a series of daytime concerts featuring soloists, orchestras, and prodigies from all around the world, with select Academy students being offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of joining these artists in live performance on stage.


Yesterday at MECMA


Violin masterclass • Stella Chen
Violin masterclass • Svetlana Makarova
Violin masterclass • Pavel Vernikov
Trombone masterclass • Vasily Kozlov

Quotes from Professors:

Stella Chen
- How did you enjoy the class and how would you evaluate the level of the students? “It was amazing! I didn’t really know what I was in for, really — they [the organisers] just asked me to teach some people, and it was fantastic.”

- What did you focus on? “I tend towards music, and the non-technical aspects. For the last person I tried to incorporate some technique, as I realised that some of these kids might have come mainly for that, but I always go straight for the music, yes. I try to focus on people’s thought process for when they’re practising at home, because yes a teacher can tell you what to do, but at some point you have to do it on your own. I try to ask questions and prompt people to practise more efficiently.”

- What are your views on this initiative, offering this calibre of tuition here in the Middle East? “I think it’s incredibly wonderful, and I saw three kids from very different places — one person just came in from Iran, and I think it’s so interesting, because the level is so high across the board, but obviously there are different ways of training, depending on where you’re from. So I think it’s really great to hear from each other and to learn, and everyone has a very personal, very different way for how they learned how to get around this very awkward instrument.”

- How has everything been from an organisational perspective? “Fantastic! No complaints, it’s been wonderful — easy sailing here.”

Daytime concert: Viola and Orchestra

David Aaron Carpenter (soloist)
- How did the concert go? “It was really wonderful. This was actually the first time I played with the Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra and with the Maestro so it’s been a very nice collaboration to be in Dubai and to feel the entire surrounding and just feel at home here. It’s been great to just be here for a few days and get a chance to have some time with the orchestra and prepare a little bit of Alexey Shor’s Musical Pilgrimages. I just love the piece, especially the 2nd movement and I always feel like I’m being taken into a new world and embarking on a musical journey, and it’s great to have a musical journey with the Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra.”

- Speaking of Alexey Shor, you’re more acquainted than most with his works. How has it been to perform his work here, and to see the development of his music from when you first got in touch with it? “To see the progression of Alexey’s compositions, I’m just so proud of him as a musician, and as a person. For us to have so many years together… I mean the first piece he actually composed for me — I remember performing with my orchestra in New York and we played in the Metropolitan Museum. It was just a great event and to have something like that and see it morph into the international superstar composer that he has become just makes me unbelievably proud and grateful that we had this musical journey together. I’m incredibly proud of him.”

- How has your time in Dubai been? “It’s my first time performing here but I’ve been here three times already. I love the malls although I don’t think I can step outside for more than two minutes, it’s kind of hot! But it’s really great for me because my mum is originally from Iraq so I kind of feel at home, with the Middle Eastern roots in me. It’s also nice to hear Arabic being spoken. It’s a little bit different from what my mum speaks at home but it’s fairly similar. It’s great to have not only a musical language bring us all together but also our actual spoken languages.”

- These concerts are taking place as part of the MECMA alongside the masterclasses throughout the rest of the day. What do you think of this format for an Academy and how effective do you think this can be? “It’s beautiful. Unfortunately we don’t have so many festivals taking place now because of the virus so it’s incredibly crucial that we have mentors so that these students can learn from top masters at these classes. These people are absolute legends and for them to be here and be giving classes to young students in Dubai it’s the most beautiful thing. As musicians I think we do have a responsibility to inform and then inspire the next generation of how to play and also how to live in the music world as well. So I think it’s very important and I’m really happy to be here."

- How have things gone in terms of organisation for you? “Unbelievable! This is one of the greatest organisations in my experience. We even have people we can get in touch with if we need anything. This is something that you never find in any other festival, so just to have all this happening is just amazing. Every single detail has been looked after, and it’s been an absolute pleasure.”

Mikhail Kirchhoff (conductor)
- What are your thoughts on the concert today? "Today our Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra played the 13th concert, there are still five left. But the most important wealth is famous soloists, stars who delight us every day, and it is an incredible success for the team to beat the best soloists from all over the planet in one month. Each soloist is a great gift for us, a great holiday. This is a great experience for us."

- What was your impression of working with the soloist today? "I met David Aaron Carpenter in Malta four years ago. He shocked me as a person, as an artist, he has a wonderful sound, he is a very subtle musician. We discussed with him today this work "Musical pilgrimage" by Alexey Shor, this is the so-called musical pilgrimage from the classics through romanticism and to the present day."

Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra


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