Over the past months, String Theory Youth Initiative ha been preparing a one-week residency with violinist Robyn Bollinger. STYI Chair Allen Liu writes about this experience.

I am so excited that the residency with Robyn Bollinger is only a week away! We’ve spent hours in conference calls and in-person meetings over the past several weeks, and we’ve all been managing spreadsheets and budgets and sending numerous emails to each other, music teachers, schools, and coordinators. It is satisfying to see all of these efforts finally come to fruition.

I am personally looking forward to this residency for two reasons: it will give us an opportunity to engage in the community through music, and the events that we have designed will allow us to re-envision the role of classical music in people’s lives. In regard to the first reason, I first observed how impactful it is to have a guest artists engage in our community when cellist Richard Narroway visited last years and gave presentations and led workshops in schools. This year, we plan for Robyn to visit schools and centers that String Theory and STYI have not traditionally reached out to, and we are hoping to maximize the impact of the residency through these visits. In our discussions about this residency, we asked a question that first emerged when STYI was first founded: What should the role of classical music be in society? Our inclusive, discussion-based workshop with Robyn, the LoLa Lab event focusing on interpersonal musical connections through technology, and Robyn’s innovative concert program “Ciaconna: The Bass of Time” will hopefully all show that music can be relevant, engaging, and accessible. We hope to challenge the audience’s preconceptions about classical and inspire it to consider the possible roles of classical music in society.

Working with Robyn in preparing this residency has been thoroughly enjoyable. I personally have been in contact with her to plan her performances at Erlanger as well as to discuss the focus, structure and repertoire for the workshop. As a group we have met with her on Google Hangouts several times. Robyn is always able to incorporate her innovative perspectives on performance and outreach into the events that we have scheduled, and it has been eye-opening hear her ideas and combine them with ours to make the events during the residency as meaningful as possible.

– Allen Liu, STYI Chair