GMYS – founded by Robert Strassburg in 1958 to foster a love of music in young people and to enrich the cultural life of the community – is an orchestra program dedicated to training young South Florida musicians between 5 and 18 years of age. Over the years, the Quartet has worked with the some of the students, coaching them during their Sunday afternoon rehearsals.
“As faculty of the college we like to work with high school and middle school kids and impart some of our knowledge – the way other musicians did with us when we were kids,” says Michael Klotz, the group’s viola player.
Christopher Charters, a student at Coral Reef who has played with GMYS for 10 years, says it was a treat to play with such talented players. “It’s great to see how the professionals do it and how well they do it.
“I think the performance went well. I was a little scared going into it at the beginning but the end result was good. It was a lot of fun. That moment in the concert where everybody focuses and concentrates on their music and it just turns out beautiful. That’s beautiful music.”
The Amernet’s Marcia Littley says these kind of programs can go beyond mastering an instrument or fostering a love of music. They are beneficial to the students regardless of the profession they choose. “The experience level of students is not only about the diploma. We’re hearing more and more corporations are looking for teamwork. I think learning to work as a team in an integrated situation like an orchestra or a string quartet is crucial and I think music provides that in many ways for students.”
The FIU quartet, lauded for their “intelligence” and “immensely satisfying” playing by the New York Times, has garnered worldwide praise and recognition as one of today’s exceptional string quartets. The group was formed in 1991, while its founding members were students at the Juilliard School. They rose to international attention after their first season, winning the Gold Medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition in 1992. In 1995, the group was the first prize winner of the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition.
After a series of performances abroad, the group returns to the Wertheim Performing Arts Center on April 16 at 7:30 p.m. and the FIU Miami Beach Urban Studios on April 18 at 7:30 p.m.