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Student Opportunity: Amster Chamber Music Program

The following post is written by Education Director and Amster Coordinator Amy Crandell.

The Austin Civic Orchestra is pleased to announce its Fourth Annual Pearl Amster Chamber Music Program, which highlights chamber music and in-residence experiences for deserving young musicians in the Austin area.

How the Program Works

  1. The ACO sponsors one chamber music group each year (January through March) on a rotating basis. This year’s ensemble will be a percussion ensemble. Future ensembles: woodwind quintet (2021), brass quintet (2022), and string quartet (2023).
  2. Students in these ensembles will perform as part of our concert and when appropriate, they sit in and perform in concert with the full orchestra. In 2020, the ensemble will perform on March 28 as part of the Texas Rising Stars concert at UT-Austin’s Butler School of Music Bates Recital Hall.
  3. From February – March 2020, the percussion ensemble will rehearse for an hour on most Tuesday evenings at Anderson High School and be coached by Austin percussionist Ian Fry. The piece they will play is Ogoun Badagris by Christopher Rouse,
  4. Directors or teachers can nominate high school students (grades 9-12) who would benefit from participating in this residency with the ACO. These nominations will be read by ACO Music Director Lois Ferrari, who will narrow the field to two or three finalists per chair. These finalists will then perform a live audition for a panel of judges who will select one winner for each chair.
  5. Students who are selected and complete the residency will also receive college scholarship assistance from the Pearl Amster Memorial Endowment Fund, managed by the Austin Community Foundation and payable to their college. The amount varies each year; the 2019 scholarship award was $800 per student. Winners have until their 21st birthday to use the scholarship funds and do not need to major in music.

Who Can Be Nominated?

To participate in the Amster Chamber Music Program, students must:

  • Be 14-18 years old;
  • Live within a 60-mile radius of the Capitol of Texas;
  • Play a string, wind, brass or percussion instrument that fits the ensemble for that year. In 2020, it is a percussion ensemble.

How Do I Make a Nomination?

Make a nomination using this form.

  • Music teachers – either band or orchestra directors or private teachers – can nominate one or more of their students.
  • Each teacher can nominate as many students as would benefit from playing and performing with a percussion ensemble.
  • Nominations are due by January 10, 2020. Auditions will be held on January 18, 2020 at Ausin ISD Anderson High School.

We look forward to making chamber music with talented youth from the Austin area! Please email us if you have any questions.

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