Summer String Festival

The Summer String Festival Is The Opportunity Of A Lifetime For Students Who Are Passionate About Music.

Save the date: August 8–12, 2022
8:30 a.m.-3:15p.m.
Elisabeth Morrow School
Englewood, NJ
Ages 4–14
For inspired violinists, violists, and cellists 
Applications Open Feb. 2022

Amelia Gold, Founding Artistic Director
Millie Castano, Administrator
Stephanie Nebel, Program Coordinator
James Blumer, Arts Division Administrator

The EMS Summer String Festival is a summer music program for young violin, viola, and cello students who are deeply engaged, experienced, well-trained and love music. The combination of an intense, pre-professional music experience combined with the fun of camp brings together 150 of some of the most outstanding, young musicians nationally and internationally onto our 14-acre campus. This is a highly competitive program that requires an audition. The Festival culminates with a dynamic gala performance where students shine, performing with the orchestras they’ve been working with throughout the week.  

A Day in the Life at the Summer String Festival

Students are dropped off on our campus at 480 Next Day Hill Drive with their instruments, music, and their lunches. The morning begins with an All-student warm-up at 9 a.m., with students separated by orchestra/Suzuki group cohorts and joining via Zoom. Students then move into their sectionals based on levels or orchestra rehearsals for group rehearsals. Throughout the day, students engage in interactive experiences with guest artists. The in-person program includes art, theater, sports, dance, and tie-dye electives. Participants enjoy two provided snacks each day.

Activities

FESTIVAL WARM-UP
(ALL STUDENTS)

The entire Festival joins together each morning to get everyone connected and energized through playing scales and arpeggios while performing activities like jumping jacks and sit-ups. It is a mix of fun and intense music learning.

ORCHESTRA
(FOR OLDER STUDENTS)

Each orchestra rehearses daily. In addition, participants practice together in sectionals, small groups of 8–16 students who work on the individual parts of their music to improve the overall quality of the orchestra.

GUEST ARTIST PERFORMANCE
(ALL STUDENTS)

Performing musicians give workshops varying from jazz and klezmer to classical and rock music. All participants meet and work with the guest artists and are inspired by hearing music in a new and exciting way.

SUPERVISED PRACTICE
(ALL STUDENTS)

Music faculty and counselors, all of whom are string players, assist participants in daily practice sessions.

JUNIOR ENSEMBLE
(FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS)

Students practice and perform new and familiar pieces in groups. The class studies the Suzuki Method books, numbers one through three, and/or the duet repertoire.

How do I apply to the EMS Summer String Festival?

The application process for the Summer String Festival is competitive. We wish we had space for everyone that would like to attend, but the program fills very quickly each year. We will accept applications for Summer 2022 beginning in Feb. 2022.

2021 Rates & Attendance Options

Summer 2021: There are two options for Summer String Festival Students

FULL DAY IN-PERSON PROGRAM (MUSIC + ELECTIVES)VIRTUAL MUSIC ONLY PROGRAM
Limited to 150 studentsVirtual Students will join the in-person music classes via Zoom.  Students younger than 8 will require support from an adult if attending the Festival virtually.
$750*$300*
Deadline for refunds is July 1.Deadline for refunds is July 1.

*These fees include a non-refundable $50 registration fee

The Summer String Festival offers need-based tuition aid supported by private donors and foundations. Tuition aid awards are based solely on the family’s financial resources. Tuition aid funds are limited and it is important to apply early. Tuition aid awards will be announced by Friday, April 16th with acceptance letters.

COVID-19 Safety

What COVID-19 Precautions is the EMS Summer String Festival Taking? 

  1. Mandatory masking for all students, faculty, and staff
  2. Fully ventilated spaces
  3. Ultra HEPA IQ Air units in all teaching spaces
  4. 6’ spacing requirements OR Plexiglass barriers
  5. Sanitizing surfaces
  6. Hand washing/Hand sanitizing
  7. All students must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test no sooner than Wednesday, August 4.
  8. Read more about our commitment to COVID-19 safety at EMS.

Sample Schedules

SAMPLE JUNIOR VIOLIN/CELLO ENSEMBLE SCHEDULESAMPLE ORCHESTRA SCHEDULESAMPLE VIRTUAL/MUSIC ONLY SCHEDULE
8:30-8:55 a.m. – Arrival8:30-8:55 a.m. – Arrival9-9:20 a.m.- Warm-up
9-9:20 a.m. – Warm-up9-9:20 a.m. – Warm-up9:30-10:10 a.m. – Sectionals/ Group Suzuki instrumental Class
9:30-10:10 a.m. – Festival Suzuki Class9:30-10:10 a.m. – Orchestra Sectionals11:35 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Orchestra/group canon class
10:15-10:35 a.m. – Snack10:15-10:35 a.m. – Snack1:35- 2:15 p.m. – Guest artists/ Supervised practice 
10:45-11:25 a.m. – Drama/musical theater/sports10:45-11:25 a.m. – Specials
11:35 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Canon class 11:35 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Orchestra rehearsal
12:20-12:50 p.m – Lunch12:20-12:50 p.m. – Lunch
12:55-1:25 p.m – Elective/recess12:55- 1:25 p.m. – Elective/recess
1:35-2:15 p.m – Guest artist/Suzuki Class1:35-2:15 p.m. – Guest artist/supervised practice
2:20-3 p.m – Electives (art/drama/sports)2:20-3 p.m. – Electives (art/drama/sports)
3:05 p.m – Car dismissal3:05 p.m. – Camp meeting
3:15 -3:25 p.m. – Car dismissal

Our Staff

Janey Choi

The career of violinist/ teaching artist/ concert host Janey Choi reflects the diversity of her interests and influences. She has performed, taught, and collaborated with artists across the globe, bridging disparate genres and engaging wide-ranging audiences. 

Highlights of recent years include regular performances with such groups as the Ardelia Trio, Teaching Artists Ensemble of the NY Philharmonic, substitute Concertmaster of “Jagged Little Pill” and Disney’s “Aladdin” on Broadway, on tour with Adele, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, and Stevie Wonder, and her debut as a host of the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts. In addition to specializing in creating and performing in interactive concerts, she is also musical director of Thomas / Ortiz Dance, and co-founder of Music + Art, a series that commissions original artwork inspired by chamber music. Dr. Choi holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin from The Juilliard School, and a doctoral degree from Rutgers University. She has been on the teaching faculties of the New York Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Binghamton University, and has presented educational workshops for the College Music Society National Conference, Concert Artists Guild, Tokyo College of Music and Lincoln Center. She enjoys organizing pickup chamber music, hiking, playing soccer and ice hockey with her husband and two daughters.

Will Curry

Will Curry enjoys a diverse career as a music director, conductor, violist, violinist, teacher, and coach. Will was recently the music director and conductor of the national tour of Miss Saigon and previously the violist and assistant conductor with the Broadway productions of My Fair Lady, Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, and Les Misérables. Will served as the associate conductor and violist for the Toronto production of Les Misérables and toured with Les Misérables as concertmaster and assistant conductor.

A passionate teacher, Will teaches violin and viola at the Elisabeth Morrow School and Wilton Music Studios. Founding the Leadership Academy for Conductors, Will teaches conducting online and has run several online group programs. He is a teaching artist with Broadway Classroom and has taught masterclasses and guest conducted at universities and high schools across the country.  An avid chamber musician, Will is a member of Mod3, with pianist Carol Ann Aicher and oboist Kevin Chavez. He is the founder of the online series, Songs from the Shower. Will regularly performs with the Broadway Chamber Players and has performed with singer-songwriter, Amanda Brown, and with Pink Martini.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Will studied viola with Roland Vamos and conducting with Victor Yampolsky. Previous teachers include Carol Ann Aicher, Alice Bish, Liu-Quo Chang, Charles Pickler, Matthias Tacke, and Clara Takarabe. Will trained in the Suzuki method at The School for Strings in New York City with Allen Lieb and Kati Gerson. 

Amelia Gold

Amelia Gold began her violin studies at the Manhattan School of Music with the Master Suzuki teacher, Dorothy Kaplan Roffman at the age of four years old. During Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s first trip to the United States, Amelia performed for him at the Manhattan School of Music at the age of six. She received a Bachelor of Music Performance from The Juilliard School and her major teachers include: Prof. Raphael Bronstein, Ariana Bronne, Nicole Di Cecco, Masao Kawasaki and Dorothy Delay.

Amelia was the violin teacher for the Miramax film, “Music of the Heart,” where she worked with both Meryl Streep and Madonna. Her students have won numerous awards and competitions and have performed at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Alice Tully Hall, New Jersey Performing Arts Center and The Bergen Performing Arts Center. Amelia and her students have been featured on,”The Today Show,” HBO, New York 1 and the CBS, ABC, and NBC television networks. Her students have been model performers for the “Link -up” educational videos for the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. Amelia’s music programs have been profiled in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,The Bergen Record, The Suburbanite, The Press Journal, the Star-Ledger and 201 magazine where she was featured on the cover twice. Her students have opened up for Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Chaka Khan, Sheila E. and Sarah Chang. They have performed live with The Piano Guys, Black Violin, Sybarite5, Miri ben-Ari, DuoScope and Time for Three.

Amelia is the Director of the Arts at The Elisabeth Morrow School and the founder of the EMS Summer String Festival where she teaches over 300 young violinists and musicians. 

She also is the founder and creator of the EMS Triple-A camp and The EMS Summer Arts Academy and the. She has served on the faculty of The Kaplan JCC Thurnauer School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music pre-college division for the past 28 years.

Amelia is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bergen Performing Arts Center and is the co-chair of the education committee and was appointed as a trustee of The NJ Cultural Trust. She co-founded the Associates Committee of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and has been honored for her work with children by the Anti-Defamation League, Bergen Family Center, The Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, and is a featured performer on the MyOngaku Suzuki volume one practice companion app which recently won the United States gold design award.

 A lifelong Englewood resident, Amelia resides with her husband, Dr. Brian Benson and their four children who all study string instruments and perform as The Benson6.

Ani Kalayjian

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “representing the young, up-and-coming generation,” and a “superb cellist with a large, expressive, singing tone, passionate musicianship, and magnificent playing” by the Journal Tribune, Armenian-American cellist Ani Kalayjian enjoys a prolific career as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and educator that has taken her to Japan, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, and throughout Europe and the United States. Ani is the Chair of Music & Artistic Director of Carriage House Concerts at the Woman’s Club of Englewood, in Englewood, NJ. She launched this innovative concert series in 2018 with a mission to connect the community through the arts, featuring world class performers performing treasured chamber music works in the charming Carriage House from the 1800’s, doing outreach in the local community, and giving educational opportunities to young performers to share their talents & open up for our artists. She is also the Co-Artistic Director of LYRICA Chamber Music Series in Chatham, NJ and has launched an international virtual cello festival, “Miss Ani’s Pop-up Cello Workshop” with students from over 9 countries, including Australia, Kenya, Syria, Lebanon, Brazil, England, and beyond.  She has most recently performed all over Jordan with Oberlin College, return visits to American University of Beirut, AGBU Sao Paolo, & concerts for Pleasantville Chamber Music Society & Saugerties ProMusica as well as performing for a recent film premiere of Messaein’s Quartet for the End of Time for Music for Montauk festival.

A passionate chamber musician, Ani has attended various festivals including the La Jolla Chamber Music Festival in California, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival as a Shouse Artist in Michigan and the American String Project in Seattle as well as the Lichfield Festival in England.  She has also performed at Michael Tilson Thomas’ Carnegie Hall workshop in New York, Pablo Casals Prades festival in France, Mendelssohn on Mull in Scotland, Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada as an Artist-in-Residence, Sarasota festival in Florida, Apeldoorn festival in Holland, London Masterclasses, Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, New York String Seminar, Holland Music Sessions, RNCM International Cello Festival in England, Sebago-Long Lake, Finger Lakes, & Music for Montauk Chamber Music Festivals and Chateau de la Moutte festival in St. Tropez.

An avid teaching artist, Ani is the Head of the Cello department at the Elisabeth Morrow School and on faculty at Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, New Jersey and enjoys giving masterclasses to musicians around the country. She has also been on faculty at the Horace Mann School. Ani regularly gives talks on musician entrepreneurship at universities such as New York University, Oberlin College, Lebanese American University, Royal Academy of Music, & the Royal Northern College of Music. Ani received an M.A. with Distinction from the Royal Northern College of Music in England as a student of Ralph Kirshbaum and a B.A. from the Mannes College of Music as a student of Timothy Eddy.  Keep up with Ani’s upcoming concert dates and news at www.anikalayjian.com and @anicellist on Instagram.

Seojin Yang

Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. Seojin Yang studied at Yonsei University. As a proud graduate, she won the Yonsei University’s concerto competition. Her passion for music moved her to continue studies, receiving a Master’s degree at Mannes College of Music in New York with Marcy Rosen, and Doctoral degree at Rutgers University in New Jersey with Jonathan Spitz. Seojin Yang, doctoral candidate, has performed a solo recital at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall and has the title of Artisti International Competition Winner. She also performed chamber music with the prestigious artist including Arnold Steinhardt. Her fascinating musical performance can be seen on Youtube as well. Her achievements are well acknowledged as the Assistant Principal Cellist of Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the former faculty at the Chopin Institute and the current co-director/chair of the cello section of NJ Arco Youth Chamber Orchestra. Seojin is an educator as well. She has more than 15 years of teaching experience in and out of orchestra settings with the certificate of excellence for music education, Golden Key Music Festival from New York. She is currently cello faculty at the Elisabeth Morrow School in NJ. 

Isaac Park

Isaac Park is a musician, teacher and performer in New York, New Jersey and Korea. After receiving a master’s degree in cello performance at Manhattan School of Music, he began seeking opportunities to bring his music and voice to new areas of music. He teaches cello privately in the NJ area and teaches at EMS.

James BLUMER

James is a certified Alexander Teacher, Licensed Body Mapping Educator, violin teacher, and freelance violinist based in the New York metropolitan area. He serves on the faculties of the Elizabeth Faidley Studio, Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, and is also the Arts Division Administrator and Violin Faculty at the Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, NJ. His violin students have won numerous competitions and performed as soloist with orchestra.

As an expert in movement education, James is sought-after as a clinician on the benefits of Alexander Technique and Body Mapping in performance and pedagogy. He offers private lessons, workshops, and masterclasses to performers of all types on how understanding the body’s natural design can improve movement, leading to performance enhancement as well as injury prevention. James has presented masterclasses and workshops at numerous schools and organizations including the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, Mannes School of Music, Ithaca College, New Jersey City University, Luzerne Music Center, Biennial Andover Educators Conference, and the Suzuki Association of the Americas National Conference. He has also served on the board of the Association for Body Mapping Education.

James studied violin performance at Montclair State University, the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz, Austria, and Ithaca College. While in Ithaca, he completed long-term Suzuki teacher training (Books 1-10) with Carrie Reuning-Hummel and licensed as a Body Mapping Educator in 2014. In 2018, James finished the three-year teacher certification program at the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City.

Brittany Sklar

Brittany Sklar, violin, began her studies at age four and was accepted to the PreCollege Division of the Juilliard School and The Curtis Institute of Music. She has won multiple concerto competitions sponsored by the Gotham Chamber Orchestra, the Long Island Sound Symphony, the NY Lawyers Orchestra, Summit Music Festival, first prizes in the NJ ASTA and the New Jersey Symphony Young Artists Competition. She additionally won two of The Juilliard Orchestra’s violin competitions. That would lead to multiple orchestra engagements with The New Jersey Symphony and the Omaha Symphony. Sklar has worked with conductors Neeme Jarvi, JoAnn Falletta, Arkady Leytush and George Manahan. Sklar was selected to appear on “From the Top,” and was a participant in the New York String Seminar. She has attended the Elisabeth Morrow School Summer String Festival every year since its start, as a camper, then counselor and finally a teacher. This makes this year her 26th! Sklar joined the Elisabeth Morrow faculty in 2009.

Misako Sato

Misako Sato is an alumni of the SunHwa School of the Arts where she studied with YangJun Lee. She earned her bachelors and masters in music degrees from Mannes College of Music. She has performed on Saturday Night Live, at the United Nations, in Korea, and various chamber orchestras in the New York area. 

One of Misako’s passions is teaching young students. She believes music education is vital to a well rounded learning experience. Misako is a certified teacher in Kindermusik as well as the Suzuki Violin Method. She has been on the faculty of Seoul Academy, Calderone School of Music, and currently teaches violin at the Elisabeth Morrow School and The Thurnauer School of Music. 

Lorra Baylis

Lorra Baylis began studying the violin at the age of four in Greenville, NC with distinguished Suzuki Professor, Joanne Bath. At the age of 9 she began her studies with Elaine Richey and attended the North Carolina School of the Arts from seventh grade through High School. She received her Bachelors in Violin Performance from the University of Houston studying with Fredell Lack and Kenneth Goldsmith. During her time at UH, she began her study of Violin Pedagogy assisting Kenneth Goldsmith in teaching in his Prep Department Studio. She also joined the faculty of St. Thomas University Conservatory. From Houston she went to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and received her Masters in Violin Performance in the studio of Zaven Melikian. She continued her study of Violin Pedagogy becoming Mr. Melikian’s assistant in the San Francisco Conservatory Prep Department. While in San Francisco, she performed with the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Cabrillo Music Festival and recorded with Stratos Chamber Orchestra. She moved to the New York area in 1996. During that time Lorra has had the opportunity to perform or record with wonderful artists

such as Madonna, Harry Connick Jr., Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Audra McDonald, Barry Manilow, Kelly O’Hara, Diana Krall, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello and Placido Domingo. She is a member of the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, the New York Pops, and performs with Encores at City Center and on Broadway. Whilst performing in the city, she has loved being a part of the program Amelia Gold has developed at The Elisabeth Morrow School and The Summer String Festival and is thrilled to be teaching with her since 1998.

Everhard Paredes

Everhard Paredes Studied in Venezuela Ruben Cova, Ruben Camacho and Virginie Robilliard. 

In 2002 moved to Europe to study with Habib Kayaleh and received a Performance Diploma.

In 2004 Everhard studied with William de Pasquale and Isaac Malkin. He holds a Bachelor degree from Manhattan School of Music.

Everhard has performed as soloist with Simon Bolivar Orchestra, Chacao Symphony, Venezuelan Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Celebrate. He has been concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, South American Tour, Simon Bolivar Orchestra and Venezuelan Chamber Orchestra.

Sam Marchan

Samuel Marchan, Violin and Viola Pedagogue, BM The Juilliard School, MA New York University, Suzuki Certified, Kaufman Music Center Faculty, United Children Music Project  Artistic Director, avid urban biker, volleyball fan and Kites Builder. Music is lo maximo.

Carey White

Carey White is a violin teacher and Artistic Director of violin groups at the JCC Thurnauer School of Music. Director of Middle School Music at Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County. Carey is proud to have been part of the EMS Summer String Festival since the very first year! She also conducts the Bergen County chapter of HaZaPrep, a choir under the Zamir Choral Foundation. She currently sings with Mastervoices, under conductor Ted Sperling.  

B.A., Barnard College, Anthropology. Trained at Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division. Violin studies with Dorothy Kaplan Roffman, Rimma Sushanskaya, Vladimir Zyskind, Patinka Kopec. Participant in Interlochen Arts Camp and Festival La Stâge Musicale, France. Former member, New York Youth Symphony; Hebrew University Orchestra, Israel. Suzuki Certification, The School for Strings. Dalcroze teacher-training. Former music faculty, Ramaz School, NYC; The Elisabeth Morrow School, general music, chorus and violin. For over 10 years, Carey sang as lead singer/violinist in The FunkeyMonkeys! She also played and sang on several albums and played in bands of different genres, from rock to improvisation and bluegrass. Carey lives with her husband and 4 children in NJ.

Wayne du Maine

Wayne J. du Maine trained at the Juilliard School and is Director of Brass at New York University. He currently performs on trumpet with the Met Opera, numerous Broadway shows and Encores! He loves to cycle, play softball and study the music of great composers. 

Our Alumni

One of our most amazing students was a late starter on the violin. He began his studies at six years old and joined EMS Summer String Festival in the Repertory Orchestra, which is the beginners orchestra conducted by Ms. Gold. He attended for many years as a student then as a counselor before attending Colburn School of Music and then Curtis Institute of Music. He returned as a faculty member and became the Co-Concertmaster of the London Philharmonic orchestra and now the Concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony. His name is Kevin Lin.

​​​​​​​What Have Previous EMS Summer String Festival Performances Looked Like?

With COVID-19 protocols in place, our Festival will look different this year with social distancing and mask requirements. You can relive what previous performances have looked like below. 

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