Arts in Education - Caring for Our Audiences Young and Old

Arts in EducationCaring for Our Young Audiences

Four Nations has developed the Arts in Education program to respond to the need for attractive and interactive arts programming and to help nourish students' need for art in our time, in which most administrators and politicians feel that the arts are unnecessary ornaments.

For the last ten years, The Four Nations Ensemble has worked with selected schools in New York City and around the country. The trio, in cooperation with teachers, creates festivals of music, poetry, art and history. Concerts, art workshops, explorations of life in the Baroque era, exercises in writing prose and poetry, and projects that use skills of math and language enhance and enrich both the students' and teachers' work.

Festivals of the arts can be focused around an historical period (Music and young America), an aesthetic period (early Romanticism), a personality (Juana Inez de la Cruz or Beethoven) or a structural issue (variations, sonatas). Connections are made between all the arts while students write original poetry and paint images in an effort to translate sound into image and word.

Each member of the Four Nations Ensemble is committed to spreading the messages and joy of great art to young men and women, and our concerts for students are prepared with the same attention as performances for our most discriminating audiences. Only by hearing interpretations of integrity and intensity will classical music become necessary experiences for new audiences.

"To see three hundred children every morning listening in rapt silence to Baroque music is a sight to behold. Four Nations reminds us that it is easy to underestimate the children we teach. It was music that created this awareness."
Jane Oxton, School Arts Coordinator, St. Cloud, MN

Arts in Education - College and University Residencies

The Four Nations Ensemble has developed special relationships with colleges and universities throughout the country. Each school demonstrates a different personality with varied needs and the Ensemble responds with programs tailored to differing levels of experience and interest.

Our programs range from professional workshops in performance practice to lecture demonstrations connecting classical music to larger humanities studies. Programs illuminating relationships between great writers (Shakespeare and Donne), painters (Goya or Rembrandt), and important events in scientific or social history (Galileo, the French Revolution) make music a vivid illustrator of our cultural past. A working and familial relationship has developed between the musicians of the Ensemble and faculty members at the residency schools which enriches Four Nations' work on campus and throughout the community.

For its work with Arts in Education and universities, The Four Nations Ensemble has enjoyed funding from Chamber Music America, The Presser Foundation, The J. M. Kaplan Fund, The Ruth and Gerald Dickler Foundation, The Herman Goldman Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Pre-Concert Talks - Breaking Down The Barriers

Pre-concert talks are an integral part of a Four Nations concert. The music at hand is placed in context through allusions to society, history, art and literature. Humorous and sometimes shocking anecdotes convey serious and illuminating information. Andrew Appel, artistic director of the ensemble, challenges the audience with questions and signposts that direct the attention of each listener and enhance his or her enjoyment of the repertoire.

A chamber music concert by The Four Nations Ensemble is not meant to feel like a presentation of a virtuoso in isolation. Chamber music is about interaction, about an exchange of ideas. In educational, amusing and non-didactic pre-concert discussions, relationships are drawn between the less familiar world of music and the more commonly known arena of literature, art, and history. Information and issues are brought to the fore in order to focus the audiences' attention on savory and remarkable aspects of the music and to make clear the relationships that exist between every piece on the program.

Unlike the audiences of the past, all of whom played instruments and knew the issues of structure and technique, today's audience responds to and benefits from information as an aid to appreciation and pleasure.Turning the concert hall into the music room and the artists into guests and friends is one challenge to today's musicians, and one that The Four Nations Ensemble enjoys.

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