Utah Symphony musicians energized by new Haitian National Orchestral Institute

Posted on: May 2, 2017

“Almost a year after playing New York’s fabled Carnegie Hall, several members of the Utah Symphony performed at a venue their music director, Thierry Fischer, deemed equally important to the orchestra’s mission: the Dessaix-Baptiste Music School in Jacmel, Haiti,” writes Catherine Reese Newton in Sunday’s (4/30) Salt Lake Tribune. “Fischer and the 16 players spent their spring break, March 26-April 2, in Jacmel as mentors to 113 music students and teachers, creating the first-ever Haitian National Orchestral Institute. Utah Symphony cellist John Eckstein and violinist Yuki MacQueen spearheaded the project in cooperation with the nonprofit BLUME Haiti—Building Leaders Using Music Education. In addition to volunteering their time and paying their own airfare, the musicians raised nearly $30,000 to cover transportation, room and board for the students, who came from all over Haiti…. ‘These kids want to play,’ [trumpeter Jeff] Luke said.… ‘That made it very rewarding.’ … Several orchestra members started fundraising and networking to secure additional opportunities for their students as soon as they got home. ‘The fan-out effect is a big part of all this,’ Eckstein said. ‘We hope by teaching hundreds we’re touching thousands.’ ”

Posted May 2, 2017

Pictured: Horn students in Jacmel, Haiti during teaching trip by musicians of the Utah Symphony. Photo by Jules Youdley