How a Training Orchestra Benefits Students and Professionals

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with David Chan, Music Director, Montclair Orchestra and Concertmaster, Metropolitan Opera, who talks about the unique ways this training orchestra is benefiting its students and their musical professionals.

12/4/19 #2264






"Wow. That was, in fact, the Montclair Orchestra. This is David Chan, the music director. You saw him conducting there. He's also a concert master at the Metropolitan Opera. Hold on one second. I need to clarify something. What we were just looking at? Coming from St. Luke's in Montclair? That's correct. Around the corner from where I live? Absolutely. And I thought I knew what was going on in town. That's extraordinary. Talk about that orchestra. Well, we're relatively new on the block. That's for sure. We're in our third season now. But I think already, very exciting things are happening. And it was conceived originally as a way to serve the cultural community in Montclair. Which, as you know, is so so rich. Absolutely. But maybe not as deep in music as it is in art and film and some other areas. So this came about. And by the way, it turned, also, into a project to help train the next generation of musicians. How so? We're approximately, half and half, professional and student. So we have the best professional musicians in the world coming from Lincoln Center, New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, also Jersey side, New Jersey Symphony, and other top orchestras in the area, playing together with conservatory students fromJuilliard, Manhattan School, Montclair State of course, and it just turned into a fantastic collaboration. How are you getting these extraordinary musicians? How do you get them to come to St. Luke's in Montclair? Well I think anytime you're a musician, there's a part that you do for yourself, for your own artistic creativity, but a part, also, just to give something. Give something to the community. And when you work with students or teach, you're giving to the next generation. So I think it's all these things put together. There's a desire to do things outside the normal box. And I really think the project has brought out the best on both sides. You have the younger colleagues inspiring their older ones. And then also the older ones with their experience, the students have to up their game a little bit. Dave, you're looking at the students here. How are they selected? Because they have to be awfully talented? Well we're lucky in this area with the proximity to New York City, that we have access to some of the best students in the world, as well as the professionals. A lot of it is teacher recommendations. Some of it is auditions. Some of it are players that I know and encounter through Summer festivals. So it's a variety of methods. You know, you're a violinist? Yes. My... quote, my notes say, "he's a brilliant violinist." [laughter] At what point, beyond being a brilliant violinist, who obviously had to work..."