SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Edmund Niemann of Scarsdale’s Hoff-Barthelson Music School guides young students through every step of the learning process. This weekend’s closing notes of the School’s 27th annual Festival of Contemporary Music, “Music of Our Time,’’ reflects Niemann’s passion for mentoring and showcasing the School’s talented musicians.
“It’s very rewarding to see our students grow as musicians,’’ said Niemann, who took over as director of the festival from Wilma Machover in 1999. “To see them grow every year and learn challenging pieces has been great. Many continue playing music after graduating from Hoff-Barthelson.”
Niemann believes the varied performances make the festival special. Jazz, young composers, beginning and junior singers, faculty and the various choirs, clubs and orchestras make for a unique and entertaining week of musical celebration.
“We have performers from as young as 7 or 8 years old working all the way up to high school students,’’ Niemann said. “They are doing pieces from the 20th and 21st century, and some of them are the most challenging they might ever play. It’s really about widening our musical horizons.”
Niemann said Machover’s devotion established the Festival as one of the highlights of the renowned Music School’s calendar. The Festival started on Monday (May 9), and includes performances nearly every day of the week. The Festival concludes on Sunday, May 15 with a concert at 7 p.m. at Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation in White Plains. It will include performances by the Chamber Choir, Jazz Department student ensemble, faculty and students, Viola Club and Festival Orchestra. The suggested donation for Sunday’s concert is $15. Visit the Hoff-Barthelson website ( www.hbms.org) to view the complete list of performances.
The closing concert is the highlight of the Festival every year, but it is particularly the case this year. The Viola Club, which performs at Oberlin College in June at the American Viola Society, will perform a piece composed specifically for them by Hoff-Barthelson faculty member Conrad Winslow.
“The HBMS Student Ensemble will perform the World premiere of a piece by composer Gerald Cohen,” Niemann said, “which is produced in collaboration with the Copeland House.” The faculty and student performances are also highly anticipated.
“The Sunday concert is always packed,’’ Niemann said. “The students look forward to their recitals. The faculty performs as well, and students enjoy hearing the faculty. It’s always a great concert.”
For more information about the Music of Our Time Festival, contact Hoff-Barthelson at 914-723-1169 or visit www.hbms.org.