April has been a month filled with performances, classes and practice, practice practice for Li Sile, a student violinist from China.
She and seven other Chinese music students have spent the past several weeks living and studying at Palm Beach Atlantic University. The students are visiting through a residency program developed by the University’s School of Music and Fine Arts.
|Assistant Professor of Violin and Preparatory Department Director Patrick Clifford, second from left, visits with residency students (from left) Wu Yue, Yang Xinyu, Ding Yutian, Li Sile, Xiong Xueqin, Liu Peiyao, Li Ganyi and Ding Guoguo.|
In addition to studying alongside PBA music faculty, the students were able to take master classes with renowned string artists James Buswell and Carol Ou from New England Conservatory and David and Linda Cerone, formerly of the Cleveland Institute.
“I feel that I have learned a lot,” Li said through a translator. “I hope that I have a chance to come again.”
Before they depart this week, the seven violinists and one cellist will perform a chamber orchestra concert at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Helen K. Persson Recital Hall in Vera Lea Rinker Hall, 326 Acacia Road, West Palm Beach. The concert is free and open to the public.
In addition, the students have performed on the senior recital for composition major Jair Crawford; the recent Opera Scenes performances directed by School of Music faculty member Marilyn Mims; the Oratorio concert with PBA oratorio chorus and Dr. Geoffrey Holland; with the PBA Symphony during the Distinguished Artists Series finale concert; and during last week’s chamber music concert.
The residency program developed out of an ongoing partnership between PBA and East China Normal University. Seven of the students are from East China Normal University and one is from the Shanghai Conservatory.
For most of the students, this has been their first chance to experience living and performing in the United States.
However, it is the second trip to the States for violin student Yang Xinyu, who came to Arkansas as an exchange student two years ago.
The 22-year-old, who goes by the American name Catherine, said she decided to return “to experience once again a new culture and environment” as she pursues her studies.
Others said they came for the same opportunity. Liu Peiyao, a 23-year-old graduate student who goes by the name Chloe, said she has enjoyed the South Florida scenery and hospitality. “The people are very kind and patient,” she said.
When she returns to her country, “I want to introduce violin performance to more and more people,” she said.
Patrick Clifford, assistant professor of violin and director of PBA’s Preparatory Department, said that he hopes the program will continue. In the future, he hopes PBA music students will be able to study and perform in China, he said.