Kairos Chamber Music Lyceum
July 14 – July 23, 2016
Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA
The Kairos Lyceum is a ten-day, residential, chamber music institute for dedicated high school and college-aged string players and pianists. Hosted by the Kairos String Quartet, ensemble in residence at Central Washington University—renowned for their exciting performances and commitment to education—the Lyceum has provided an intimate and inspirational chamber music experience to students from the Pacific Northwest and beyond for over a decade.
To bring together inspiring professional musician/educators with emerging young artists in order to study and perform masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire.
To encourage young musicians to increase their commitment to serious music making, while at the same time broadening their interests so that they may relate to a large variety of people.
Kairos One of two Ancient Greek classifications of time. As the counterpoint to kronos, kairos is non-chronological time; those special moments when a child is at play or an artist is absorbed in their work and time is suspended.
Lyceum The tract of ground in Ancient Athens where Aristotle held seminars on a broad range of topics. Today the term is associated with any organization that provides inspirational lectures, concerts, and entertainments.
Students, faculty, and guest artists present numerous performances throughout Central Washington as part of the Kairos Festival concert series. Students will have the opportunity to perform in Central Washington University’s state-of-the-art music facilities as well as some of the region’s most unique and inspiring venues.
Every year the Kairos Quartet invites experts from wide-ranging disciplines including the Fine Arts, Dance, Theater, Martial Arts, Opera, Biology, Psychology, and Philosophy to present talks and interactive workshops for Lyceum students fostering an atmosphere of interdisciplinary inquiry.
Applications are due April 1st 2015. Visit the application & fees page for application instructions and to apply online. A successful live or recorded audition and positive recommendations from a teacher/conductor are required for acceptance to the Lyceum.
After reviewing application and audition materials we place participating young artists into small chamber music ensembles (string quartets, quintets, etc.) and assign the repertoire that they will study and perform over the course of the Lyceum. Students are informed of their assigned repertoire in advance of the Lyceum allowing them to do much of their individual practicing before the program begins. All of the participants also play in The Lyceum Chamber Orchestra (a small string orchestra), which is featured on our Festival Concerts. Throughout the course of the ten-day institute a team of experienced artist faculty members guides the student ensembles as the young artists explore the nuances of artistic expression, musical and interpersonal communication, and ensemble playing.
The ten-day schedule includes a variety of musical and non-musical activities including 25 hours of faculty led rehearsal/coaching, 16 hours of unsupervised student led rehearsals, 5-15 hours of individual practice and/or free time, three student concerts, two Festival Concerts (featuring artist faculty as well as the Lyceum Chamber Orchestra) and daily, one to two hour long mini-seminars aimed at putting the creative process in perspective by exploring non-musical arts and disciplines ranging from pottery to karate. Additional planned social activities such as hikes, swimming, bowling, and BBQs, promote informal interaction between students and faculty.
Lessons that extend beyond music making. In addition to work on purely musical and craft-specific skills, the Lyceum embraces and stresses a philosophy of music making that draws upon themes of broad significance. The interrelated themes of communication, listening, and our motto “people before product,” have a direct relationship to chamber music but are also of value in almost any imaginable discipline and facet of daily life.
Making music requires careful listening; as individual artists we are taught to listen to and analyze every sound we make. In the context of chamber music the challenge is to hear one’s own musical line while simultaneously hearing your individual colleagues as well as the overall blend or “group sound.” This sort of listening is active, requiring a concerted effort and a purposeful directing of attention; it requires interpretation and analysis and is a prerequisite for effective communication.
The art of communication
A string quartet is a microcosm of democracy: no single member is considered to be “the leader” and the group performs and rehearses without a conductor. Consequently, the art of communication––both on and off stage––is central to the ensemble’s success.
Rehearsals can require a great deal of diplomatic skill as the group strives to reach an artistic consensus. Differences of opinion are inevitable and the quality of the group’s music making will depend heavily upon the members’ skill at verbally articulating their musical ideas, and upon everyone’s ability to set aside differences, maintain an open mind, make compromises, and sacrifice individual artistic vision for the good of the whole. The goal is not to suppress individual expression, but rather to find a way to weave together a cohesive interpretation from four distinct personalities. The most artistically successful groups will find ways to utilize and highlight the strengths of their individual members.
Communication extends beyond the rehearsal room and onto the stage. Here communication within the ensemble becomes essential for playing and staying together; simultaneously the group must stay focused on its raison d’etre: communicating the musical ideas of the composer to an audience that may be hearing the piece for the first time. In contrast to the verbal skill required in rehearsals, on-stage communication relies heavily on non-verbal and visual cues. Group members must make frequent visual contact and breath and move together to ensure unity of ensemble. Posture and gesture help to convey musical meaning to the audience—in addition to communicating musical semantics and emotion through carefully sculpted sound, performing ensembles must develop a choreography that visually reinforces their sonic message.
People before product
Central to our music making and educational philosophy is the realization that people are the essential ingredient of all artistic endeavor. It is people who are the creators and the viewers of art; a conception of creative activity that does not have people at its center is incomprehensible.
We stress the importance of maintaining positive interpersonal relationships with your colleagues and teach that it is not the ensembles that consist of the most talented players who make the greatest impact; rather, it is the ensembles that are able to work constructively and that enjoy one another enough to sustain long-term relationships and growth that ultimately make the most notable contributions.
The Kairos String Quartet
Comprised of violinists Carrie Rehkopf and Denise Dillenbeck, violist Tim Betts, and cellist John Michel, the Kairos String Quartet is recognized as one of the premier chamber ensembles in the Pacific Northwest. The quartet holds an endowed residency at Central Washington University where all four members also teach. The ensemble maintains a busy schedule, regularly touring and performing throughout the region and making occasional national/international appearances. Recent recording projects have focused on works by contemporary American composers. The quartet is well known for its commitment to education and community service, conducting clinics and making dozens of appearances at schools, youth symphonies, community centers, retirement communities, and institutions of higher education each year. “Kairos” is the Greek word for non-chronological time: those special moments experienced by children at play, reunited friends, or artists absorbed in their work. The Quartet hopes to create many such moments.
The Kairos Lyceum is a program of the Central Washington University Foundation. The CWU Foundation leads the charge to support and enhance programs at CWU by seeking gifts, grants, bequests, and other forms of financial support, and when secured, being a prudent steward of its resources and friendships. The CWU Foundation augments the basic needs of the university’s programs, ensuring excellence in faculty and students. The Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors who commit to seeking charitable gifts that support Central Washington University. The CWU Foundation is an independent, non-profit, charitable 501(c)(3) organization established in 1968.