In Colombia: Mozaic musicians on a mission.

You know he travels incessantly.  You know that he keep his chops up by performing and conducting in the world’s greatest concert halls.  But you may not know that Festival Mozaic’s Scott Yoo is also the Artistic Director of a festival for young musicians in Colombia called Medellín Festicámara.

Scott reports:
The Medellin Festicámara had its second season in March of 2012 and it was a spectacular one. Last year’s festival was one week and included young violin and cello students. This year, we included violins, cellos, as well as violas and bassists in the second week. We added a second week that included flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns.

I was honored to be one of 25 distinguished artists who lived, ate, rehearsed, and performed chamber music with these 40 young Colombian musicians.  The festival also gave 43 master classes, reed-making classes, and Alexander Technique classes that were attended by over 400 young musicians.

Many Festicámara artists are familiar faces to the audiences of Festival Mozaic. Flutist Alice Dade, bassoonist Michael Kroth, violinist Jason Uyeyama, violist Miguel Hernandez, and cellists Madeleine Kabat and Michelle Djokic were among the North American participants. In addition, bassist Susan Cahill and violinist Kristin Lee also performed in Medellín and will be making their first appearances in San Luis Obispo for the 2012 season.

What I am most proud of was the growth of each young artist during their week with Festicámara. Students that were shy and timid at the beginning of the week came into their own during the rehearsal process and grew into leaders before our eyes. Several students through the course of the week received opportunities to study in the United States with Festicámara faculty members. Many of these young artists come from unspeakable poverty, and it is truly humbling to see their dedication to music-making despite their unfortunate life circumstances. It’s a reminder of why music is important to the human spirit.

I was deeply humbled to marvel the interaction between the students and their older American counterparts. They have made lasting friendships, and I think that in many ways we learn more from them than they do from us. There was not a dry eye in the room at the end of either week. My dream someday is to bring a group or two from Festicámara to Festival Mozaic to share this joyous experience with the SLO community.

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This year’s selections included

  • Dvorak’s Sextet for Strings in A major, Op 48
  • Schumann’s Quartet for Piano and Strings in E flat major, Op 47
  • and the Sextet for Strings in G major, Opus 36 by Johannes Brahms, among others.

Students and faculty live and rehearse in a beautiful hotel outside Medellín called the Hotel Piedras Blancas Comfenalco.  After two weeks, the festival orchestra is ready to perform four concerts throughout the region, free to the public.  “For me, the concerts are important but the heart of the Festival is at Hotel Piedras Blancas, because that is the Festicámara focus: the academic side,” says Scott.

For more information on Medellín Festicámara, befriend the festival on Facebook here.


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