May 2018 - The second annual Haitian National Orchestra Institute (HNOI) is in the books and, wow, what an occasion it was! With our remarkable partners, The Musicians of the Utah Symphony; Thierry Fischer, the Music Director of the Utah Symphony; Paul Meecham, their CEO; Neeta Helms, the CEO of Classical Movements, Haitian conductor, Pierre Leroy and our host, the Cemuchca Institute of Music, we pulled off a stunning event.
The Haitian National Orchestra Institute is an extraordinary addition to the fabric of musical life in Haiti, a country where the barriers to collaboration can be very high. Thanks to the HNOI, participants have the opportunity to meet with like-minded peers to work in sectionals, lessons, masterclasses and rehearsals with the seasoned professionals of the Utah Symphony and, of course, to present their work to the public in what is always an exhilarating final concert. During this intense week of study, strong bonds are formed between the participants and their teachers and amongst the Haitian musicians themselves. For the young musicians, in addition to giving them all something to be incredibly proud of, this transformative experience provides intellectual, spiritual and emotional sustenance for the entire year.
Participants said over and over again how thrilled they were to have been able to share in this event. To have a stake in presenting a positive image of their country is cause for great pride. To understand that there are others who share their love of music and desire to improve is a source of great motivation. Participants bring the remarkable progress in their performance and of their pedagogical skills to their home institutions. Many are teachers, a number have even started their own music programs, and this week has become a crucial component of their development.
The reaction of the participants was uniformly positive. Port-au-Prince based clarinetist, Castillo Saint Armand, said that “For me, this project is very important. For a week I benefited from many things that otherwise would have taken me many years to learn. It motivated me to work more and to apply the techniques and lessons I learned. What I most liked was the patience and motivation the teachers had…The Institute gives young musicians from the entire country the possibility to meet in the same spirit. This experience can bring about a lot of change. The Institute gives us a lot of motivation and a lot of hope! I also like the fact that you are decentralizing in many cities of the country. Invite TV stations, radio stations – this way everyone on earth can know about this big event. Thank you!”
And Cérès Transil, bass and violin teacher at the Marmelade Music School in Marmelade said that “It made me feel like I was alive because my dream was to be part of a great orchestra like this. I hope that the National Orchestra becomes a reality throughout the country. With this, many young musicians will have happy hearts and it will help us prepare our future with joy. Because for me, art and music are life.”
Another young teacher, clarinetist Black Well Dumerzil, said that “The Institute had a great deal of value for me in all ways. It taught me to see my potential, it taught me to live with others, to learn from other musicians. It taught me to believe in myself, that I can do more and it is also a huge opportunity for the country. To prove to Haitians and to the world that Haiti has musicians of quality who, if they have the right encouragement, can do a lot.”
For more media coverage about the HNOI, here are some links you can follow:
Maestro Thierry Fischer’s article in USA Today:
From the KSL TV with great shots of sectionals and rehearsals:
And from the Desert News:
Thanks to the efforts of the Musicians of the Utah Symphony and many others, the Haitian National Orchestra Institute has created a cohort of musicians who have the shared experience of working together to achieve an incredibly inspiring result. In a country where so many things are left half finished, where so many things go wrong, this is definitely going right!
Make a tax-deductible donation for the 2018 National Orchestra Institute:
Check out this wonderful video with interviews from NOI participants and featuring our partners with the Utah Symphony.
The first Haitian National Institute for Orchestra (NIO) was held in 2017 in Jacmel, Haiti at the Dessaix-Baptiste Music School with the support of BLUME Haiti, the Haitian Ministry of Culture and, most importantly, with the extraordinarily committed encouragement and backing of members of the Utah Symphony and their Music Director Thierry Fischer.