Kent/Blossom Music tunes up with opening night dinner

Bethany Early

The 39th season of the Kent/Blossom Music program is off to a melodious start.

The guest speaker was Joseph Robinson, retired principal oboe of the New York Philharmonic and Kent/Blossom Music alumnus.

“I want to congratulate you all for rising above your class,” said program director Jerome LaCorte in his welcoming remarks during Sunday’s dinner. “You carry on a legacy of some of the world’s most respected musicians.”

Sounds of Summer 2006 Professional Faculty Concert Series:

• July 5 Miami String Quartet with Jerry Wong, piano

• July 12 Miami String Quartet with Joela Jones, piano

• July 19 Kent/Blossom Music Faculty and Guests Chamber Music

• July 26 Renaissance City Winds

• August 2 Kent/Blossom Music Faculty Chamber Music

• August 9 Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra

All listed concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Ludwig Recital Hall. Tickets may be purchased online at, or by calling 330-672-2613.

The Kent/Blossom Music program brings graduate and undergraduate student musicians to Kent’s campus for six weeks each summer to study music and performance alongside The Cleveland Orchestra.

The program also includes a professional concert series with dates scheduled throughout the summer, and 12 free concerts featuring the student chamber players. These concerts are a culmination of pieces learned over the course of the summer.

“This concert series is sure to be the best yet,” LaCorte said.

The theme of the 2006 Kent/Blossom Music season is an anniversary celebration of composers Mozart and Shostakovich. The first professional concert of the series, featuring Miami String Quartet with pianist Jerry Wong, is at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Ludwig Recital Hall on campus. The concert is open to the public with a cost of $5 for students, $15 for seniors and $20 for adults.

“Our partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra here at Kent is very special,” said Josef Knott, director of the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. The partnership attracts students from prestigious schools everywhere and puts Kent State on the international map for musicians, Knott said.

This year, participants traveled from as far away as Australia, Germany and South Africa, and as close as Cleveland. Participants, who are selected from more than 350 applicants, must submit an application form, a recorded audio audition, a letter of recommendation, an application fee and an optional resume.

LaCorte said a vast amount of marketing is through word of mouth, but flyers and posters are also sent out to promote the program.

Erica Wade and Shanna Swaringen, both participants in this year’s program, said they heard about Kent/Blossom Music from their teachers and also from former participants.

Wade, a 20-year-old violinist from Western Michigan, and Swaringen, a 22-year-old violinist from Arizona State, agreed they are looking forward to the side-by-side concert in July when the Kent/Blossom Music participants will play in concert with The Cleveland Orchestra.

“I can’t even imagine it,” Swaringen said.

She will attend the Cleveland Institute of Music in the fall to pursue her master’s degree in violin performance.

During Sunday’s dinner LaCorte educated participants on the six leadership principles, which serve as the foundation of the Kent/Blossom Music program.

“Learn to be a leader and create the future,” he said. “Understand the influence of your words and actions.”

“I think the night went very well,” LaCorte said. “I can’t help but be excited with a group of young people who have the world at their feet. They feel invincible . It gives lots of encouragement for the next generation.”

Contact Blossom and Porthouse reporter Bethany Early at [email protected].