Name: Chloe Calvino
School: Arizona State University
Year: Junior/ 3rd year
Duration with SOUNDS Academy: 3 years
SOUNDS Academy alumna Chloe Calvino shares with us her experience attending and participating in the Ameropa Music Festival in Prague. She attended July and August of 2018.
Let’s take a look at her pre-Prague conversation below.
Q: Why don’t you share with us a little bit about yourself, what instrument do you play and why do you play it?
A: “I play the viola and I play it because there was no other violins left at the elementary school that I was renting from.”
Q: How has music affected your life?
A: “Very positively in every way. I would say that I have a lot of really good friendships and close connections because of it.”
Q: Why are you going to Prague?
A: “I am going to Prague for a classical music festival called the Ameropa Music Festival (July 15-Aug 5). I hope to use this opportunity to become a better player and make some meaningful connections.”
Q: How did this opportunity come up?
A: “I had applied to several festivals locally in the states and unfortunately, they didn’t work out. The audition pool for one of them was really intense. Although I was talking with the director and was nearly guaranteed a spot before the festival, I wasn’t selected. After that I reached out to my professor and asked what I should do and she suggested this one instead. Their application was still opened and I applied and got in.”
Q: How do you hope you can further your future by going to Prague and performing at The Ameropa festival?
A: “While the musical experience is invaluable, I really wanted to start making connections that will help my future, like I want to meet people that will point me in the right direction to meeting other people you know what I mean? I really want to foster connections that will help my career in the future.”
Q: Have you ever been outside the United States before?
A: “Well does Mexico count on the weekend? No, technically no. Nothing this crazy.”
Q: What are some of your experiences that have prepared you for this trip?
A: “I started going to music festivals with SOUNDS. I went to Ithaca College Summer Music Academy my Junior year of high school and SOUNDS totally helped with that. They gave me a huge scholarship, helped me raise funds (not sure if the scholarship and the fundraiser were the same or different events) and talked with the camp personnel to get me a reduced tuition. That was my first experience with a music camp outside of Arizona. I have had so many valuable connections from that experience. In addition to friends, the conductor for the camp also taught at the college and he wanted me to attend college and play there. He then ended up getting a job at ASU, the same year that I had gone there. That was great for me because I didn’t miss out on having him at all. When I ran into him the next semester, I was like “Hey Dr. Meyer” and he said “looks like we’re going to be playing together after all.” So it was really funny how things turned out. As it was a certainly an important connection to make.
To answer your question more completely, I’ve wanted to do more festivals ever since I did the one with SOUNDS back in high school. (Round Top, AIMS in Graz, Castleman Quartet Program)”
Q: Are there multiple conductors at Prague Conservatory?
A: “Prague Conservatory, as I found out, is for high school age students. If I were to study music in Prague, I would study at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, which is a proper university. There is only one conductor there on faculty.”
Q: Do you have any goals that you hope to accomplish in Prague?
A: “I have small goals and I have big goals. Starting with the big goals, I want to see a new part of the world. They say Prague is relatively stuck in time because it was untouched by any of the bombings from World War 2. So I’m really excited to see a part of Europe in an authentic way. I know it sounds cheesy but I’m excited to see the place, meet new people, make new friendships and also hopefully become a better player in the process. I want to conduct in the future so I am hoping to get in touch with the conductor (one of the conductors if there is more than one) at the Prague Conservatory and see if I could get a lesson or two with them.”
Clearly, Chloe was highly anticipating this incredible experience to attend the Ameropa Festival in Prague! Now that she attended, she has some unique insight on her music experience and goals.
Chloe’s post-Prague interview can be read below.
Q: What have you learned from going to Prague?
A: “Quite a lot. Music is taught differently around the world, and is interpreted in many different ways than what we’re used to in America. In the Czech Republic, musicians there focus more on musicality and passion rather than stressing too much about technique. Some of them say that American musicians play without passion, and are too boring to listen to.”
Q: Have you had any revelations since going there?
A: “I had to come to terms quickly with where I stood on the side of the argument in European style vs. American style: passion or technique? I think there’s a happy balance, and it’s strange, because I really think technique and theory can help inform style. I’m a little torn on what side to choose, and I don’t think I could pick one, really.”
Q: How has this affected your plans for the future?
A: “I used to want to do my graduate degrees in Europe, for orchestral conducting. But if conducting is mostly theory and score study, I wonder how it’s approached from a European perspective. It’s made me a little hesitant to study outside of the U.S., but I think I still might consider Europe in the future for a Doctoral degree and jobs in the future.
Q: Have you reached any goals that you set out to do?
A: “I have made lots of friends from all over the world! This truly was an international festival, and I know a handful of people from Spain, Ireland, Austria, Japan, China, and India. Kinda crazy! I also met a lot of professors that I hope to use as connections later.”
Q: What did you learn from playing at the Ameropa Festival?
A: “I learned that you have to stay on your toes in performance! Some things would catch you by surprise in the final run-through of a piece and everyone was expected to go with it. Musicality was totally on the spot and in the moment. Music would be different in interpretation almost every time we’d play it. It definitely made me listen better and be better able to adapt to changes quickly.”
Q: What was your favorite part of Prague?
A: “While the chamber music was incredibly fun and informative, the actual city of Prague was my favorite part. You could easily lose yourself and find yourself happy that you’ve done so. The city was incredibly beautiful, with architecture I’d never seen before. I never got bored going into the city with friends.”
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
A: “It was very interesting not being able to speak the primary language of the country. I actually learned a lot of Czech while I was there, out of necessity. I could easily see how immersion is the best way to learn a language, as I was able to hold up entire conversations in Czech by the end of my stay there.”