Festival of Strings Beta Tests High School Student Program

The Festival of Strings at Sam Houston State University will not only showcase the talent in the School of Music, but will, for the first time, invite a high school orchestra to record their pieces and learn from the faculty.

The Festival of Strings is a three-day event filled with clinics and performances featuring internationally renowned artists, as well as an invitational recording session for Houston-area high schools.  Assistant professor of cello Daniel Saenz said this is an important time during a high school orchestra’s recording season.

“We are offering a space for the string orchestras to record,” Saenz said. “In Texas, we have what is called an Honors Orchestra. There’s Honors Choir and band and they have different times of the year for when they record. In the fall, string orchestras record and they send off their CDs and recordings to get judged.”

Students from Klein High School will work with music department staff members over the weekend during rehearsals and clinics culminating in a recording in the state of the art facility on campus. While getting ready to record, the staff will offer technical and musical advice.

“As far as strings are concerned, we would like to get more string players involved in our program,” Saenz said.  “One thing we like to offer is a space, because we have such a beautiful hall with a great sound, and it’s probably the best hall in this whole area. Also, the price we are offering it for is quiet quiet low.”

Although the School of Music is looking to attract more string players, they are almost at full capacity with roughly 500 students enrolled. This is an increase from the approximately 300 students in 2006.

The School of Music also plans to start an outreach program in the next few years in conjuncture with the festial where SHSU music faculty would go to high schools and hold clinics, according to Saenz.

“Part of what we want to do is go to [the high schools] in August,” Saenz said.  “If they promise to come to our event then we go in August and help them prepare, and then maybe sometime in September we help them once more and then when they come in October they are ready to play.”

The Festival of Strings will also feature performances from Josu De Solaun and Anna Petrova, both recent additions to the piano staff in the School of Music.

De Solaun returned to Huntsville this week after winning first place in the piano section of the George Enescu International Competition in Bucharest, Romania. He will perform with the Sam Houston State Symphony Orchestra on Saturday Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gartner Performing Arts Center. Admission is $5 for students, $17 for general admission, and $12 for the group rate.

Petrova currently splits her time between Huntsville and New York’s Manhattan School of Music where she works on her Doctoral Studies. She will perform with the Kolonneh String Quartet on Monday Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center. Admission to the concert is free.

The Festival of Strings runs Oct. 4 – 6.  For more information, contact Saenz at 936-294-1374.

Leave a Reply