Pyle Organizes New Mexico Chamber Music Festival
by Carolyn Gonzales
Classical music festivals have been an important economic boon to places like Aspen, Buffalo and Charleston. Pamela Pyle, associate professor of music, thinks New Mexico could reap the benefits of holding one in Albuquerque.
Pyle is organizing the New Mexico Chamber Music Festival, which runs from Sunday, June 2 through Saturday, June 8, with concerts at the University of New Mexico Center for the Arts’ Keller Hall on Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. and another on Saturday, June 8 at 2 p.m. at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, 2000 Mountain Rd., NW. Tickets are not required for entrance.
The festival has global representation with students from Brazil, China, Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela and the U.S. attending. These students are studying across the country at the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, the University of Texas, Austin, Arizona State University and the University of North Dakota, plus some recent UNM graduates.
In addition to Pyle, who teaches and performs piano and collaborative piano, the faculty includes acclaimed violinists Guillermo Figueroa, L.P. How and Distinguished Professor of violoncello at the Eastman School of Music, Alan Harris.
For this inaugural year, Pyle has hand selected 14 students, who will be divided into four chamber groups– two piano quartets and two piano trios, plus additional configurations of piano/string duos and a string quartet.
“It’s very exciting, as most of these students have not worked together before, so there will be very fresh collaborations afoot! I think they are an extraordinary group of young performers,” Pyle said.
Pyle said that she sees the viability of the festival catching on and becoming a recurring event. “A music festival is a unique experience for students and ultimately for the community that hears and supports them. They work for a short but intensely focused period on specific repertoire, and their whole lives for that time revolve around the music and their work with the faculty and other students. It is an immersion that allows them to learn and grow with the music, with the added bonus of getting to present their interpretations to an audience at the end of their explorations.”
Pyle has done extensive fundraising. Donors from across the city have contributed, as have some of Pyle’s colleagues within the College of Fine Arts and administrators and others across campus, and the Cultural Services offices of the City of Albuquerque. Piano Werkes has graciously loaned the festival the use of a Yamaha concert grand piano. As a result, the festival is free to the student participants.
“The students will be staying with us here on campus. We were able to raise enough money to fly them, and four cellos, in for the festival,” she said. “I am so grateful for the support we have received from so many members of the community. The economy of a city can be positively effected by hosting such a festival, but beyond this, the influx of international students and faculty add to the vision of our city as a valued center for the arts and creativity.”