San Francisco, New York, New Music, and the Boston Globe

by Victoria Aschheim '10. Artist Development Fellow: 2009

Victoria S.D. Aschheim ‘10, of Dunster House, was awarded a Fellowship to attend New England Conservatory (NEC) Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, followed by instruction and mentorship by Professor Anthony Cirone, Chairman of the Percussion Department at Indiana University, and former member of the San Francisco Symphony, in percussion performance and ensemble conducting. A Music and History of Art and Architecture joint concentrator at Harvard, Aschheim has also studied with percussionists from, among others, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She plans to receive a Masters in Music for Percussion Performance from NEC in

2011. Her future goals include becoming a member of an orchestra, teaching at the university level, and continuing to be involved in musical outreach in community settings.

A very happy Fourth of July from Victoria Aschheim. As the Office of the Arts knows, the configuration of my Artist Development Fellowship changed from my original plan. Instead, my Fellowship began at the San Francisco Symphony, where I studied with Raymond Froehlich. This study wonderfully evolved into lessons with Trey Wyatt and Jack Van Geem as well. I am grateful for the generous warmth and welcome of Ray Froehlich, Trey Wyatt, and Jack Van Geem (of the percussion section) to the San Francisco Symphony and its fine premises, and for the kindness extended to me there during my Fellowship stay, with an invitation additionally to attend rehearsal of the Symphony under the baton of Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas. Also, I am appreciative of Resident Conductor and Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Benjamin Shwartz for discussion of musical topics. While in San Francisco I was invited by Nora Pirquet (cellist in the San Francisco Opera and Harvard College alum) to attend rehearsal at the San Francisco Opera of their production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, a great treat too since I have done academic research at Harvard on the work of George Gershwin, and Gershwin’s xylophone writing (in Porgy and Bess and in An American in Paris) is prime element of orchestral percussion study. It was the first time I had experienced a live performance of Porgy and Bess. Thoroughly memorable!

My work in San Francisco was followed by travel to New York City and greatly appreciated, intensive lessons at Juilliard with Daniel Druckman of the New York Philharmonic. I look forward to my work with Mr. Druckman continuing in August. Attendance at the New York Philharmonic performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel rounded off my first set of lessons with Mr. Druckman. It brought back so many memories of Festivalensemble Stuttgart, a summer music festival I attended. I performed in the chamber orchestra in Britten’s War Requiem under the direction of Maestro Helmuth Rilling and Maestro Robin Engelen, with Torsten Schonfeld, Solo Timpanist of the Berlin Staatskapelle, as the percussion section coach. We also recorded the War Requiem during the festival, so it was interesting to observe Maestro Maazel’s interpretation! Our recording is here and on iTunes!

Participation in the New England Conservatory Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, supported by the Artist Development Fellowship, had a most delightful conclusion for me when I discovered that my performance (and my name) was included in the review in the Boston Globe of the marathon concert that concluded the 2009 Institute. Of the 36 pieces performed in the marathon concert a handful were singled out for inclusion in the Boston Globe review, which described the Lukas Foss piece in which I performed: "percussionists Victoria Aschheim and Masako Kunimoto working inside the instruments’ cases – and the combination of clanging, buzzing, and slow-rolling scales was mysterious and magical." The Boston Globe review concluded by noting the "flair and enthusiasm" of the Contemporary Performance Practice Institute, an altogether gratifying conclusion to the work at the 2009 Institute. I am deeply grateful for having been selected to receive a 2009 Artist Development Fellowship.