In School Concerts, by the numbers:
From February 14 to March 6, more than 5,000 students and 236 teachers in grades 3–5 participated in 19 Philharmonic Schools interactive concerts at 15 partner schools throughout New York City’s five boroughs.
The performers included a string quintet of New York Philharmonic Teaching Artists: Stani Dimitrova (violin), Caeli Smith (violin), Marie Daniels (viola), Mitchell Lyon (cello), and Brian Ellingsen (bass).
These five-borough tours happen each year as part of the Philharmonic Schools program.
The concert, titled Finding Our Roots, explored how different composers found inspiration in their own roots — in their own life, in their travels, in their family traditions, or even the history of their country or a country where their ancestors grew up. The repertoire included:
Dvořák String Quartet No. 2, Op. 77, 1st Movement
Ives String Quartet No. 1, 1st Movement
Libby Larsen Sorrow Song and Jubilee
Daniel Bernard Roumain String Quartet No. 5, 2nd Movement “Klap Ur Handz”
Dvořák String Quartet in Eb, 4th Movement
“My favorite moment of each performance was seeing the students move to the music. ... They were always so excited, often leaping to their feet. They would stare at Stani with such concentration, you could see they really wanted to internalize the music and experience it physically,” said Caeli Smith.
Mitchell Lyon said, “I always looked forward to Brian inviting a volunteer on stage to compose a melody using the pentatonic scale. Their nerves from being up in front of their peers would melt away the second the note they were pointing to came floating out of Stani's violin and the baton became almost a musical magic wand in their hands.”
“I was truly amazed when at one of our first concerts, a little bit into [“Klap Ur Handz”], the students’ regular clap turned into an incredibly complex clapping pattern in which the students were able to stay perfectly together,” Stani Dimitrova added.
(Photos: Michael DiVito)