Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music
The Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music is a center of chamber music performance and teaching founded in 1971 and situated on 100 acres (40 ha) of fields and woodlands in Nelson, New Hampshire, in the United States. It is stewarded today by the organization's director, Leonard Matczynski, and ensemble-in-residence, the Apple Hill String Quartet. These professional musicians present concerts and educational workshops throughout the world and, during the summer, teach and coach chamber music to participants of all ages and levels at Apple Hill’s Chamber Music Workshop. Each summer, Apple Hill welcomes 300 students and 45 faculty to the Workshop, a program known and loved for its musical depth and warm community spirit. Over 12,000 students have attended since the early 70s.
With a career in the performing arts spanning 30 years, Leonard Matczynski has worked as a concert violist, teacher, and arts administrator. As the director of Apple Hill, he makes decisions that shape Apple Hill's performance and administrative structure, its concert and touring programs, the Playing for Peace initiative, its long-range plans, and the development of new programs. He is the spokesman for Apple Hill's mission and its representative to the music community, patrons, and audiences. As a concert violist, he studied with Martha Strongin Katz, Heidi Castleman, and Karen Tuttle, participated in chamber music studies with members of the Budapest, Cleveland, and Guarneri quartets, and pursued advanced studies at the International Musician's Seminar in Prussia Cove, England, with Sándor Végh. He has been on the faculty of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, the New England Conservatory of Music, and the Tanglewood Music Center, and is currently on the viola and chamber music faculty of the Boston Conservatory.
Apple Hill String Quartet
The Apple Hill String Quartet has earned accolades from around the world for their interpretive mastery of such traditional repertoire as Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, and Ravel — along with their special dedication to seldom-heard masterworks and contemporary music. They have performed concerts extensively throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia as part of Apple Hill's innovative Playing for Peace program.
Education is an integral part of the quartet's mission — therefore they have conducted mini-residencies in embassies, communities, schools and universities locally in the Monadnock Region, nationally in the major U.S. cities, and throughout the world in such faraway places as Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Algeria, Cyprus, Ireland, England, Burma, Vietnam, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Russia. They also spend countless hours as teacher-performers at Apple Hill's renowned Summer Chamber Music Workshop, held each summer on the Apple Hill campus.
The quartet is deeply committed to the commissioning of new works. Their recent commission by composer and long-time "Apple Hiller" Daniel Sedgwick was premiered at Apple Hill in 2009 and performed to critical acclaim throughout the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Their project, "Around the World with Playing for Peace", features the rich multicultural repertoire of works and compositions associated with countries visited through the Playing for Peace program, as seen through the lens of the string quartet. Featured composers have included Viktor Ullmann (String Quartet #3, written in the Theresienstadt concentration camp), Turkish composer Ekrem Zeki Ün, Armenian composer A. Zohrabian, Syrian composer Kareem Roustom, and American composers Alan Hovhaness, Roger Sessions, John Harbison, Thomas Oboe Lee, Larry Siegel, and Charles Ives. The quartet is composed of Elise Kuder and Sarah Kim, violins, Michael Kelley, viola, and Rupert Thompson, violoncello.
Playing for Peace
Central to the mission of Apple Hill is Playing for Peace, an innovative outreach program founded in 1988 that focuses on social change and conflict resolution through music. Apple Hill travels to areas where there is a history of conflict or mistrust - in the Middle East to Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, and the West Bank/Palestine; to England, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland; to the Greek and Turkish areas of Cyprus; to the Caucasus area of Russia; and to many US cities, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Memphis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco - performing concerts and leading chamber music workshops.
Playing for Peace is considered a unique model for cultural exchange, promoting friendship, understanding, and basic human contact between people in areas of the world beleaguered by long-term conflict. The goal for this program is to offer everyone a unique opportunity to transcend national and cultural boundaries and create meaningful bonds of friendship and understanding while participating in an exceptional pedagogical program that encourages leadership and the development of confidence, creativity, and ambition.
The principal tenet of Playing for Peace is this: At the chamber music workshops, musicians are assigned to play in small ensembles alongside musicians from conflicting communities. For example, Arabs study and perform music with Israelis, Catholics with Protestants, Greeks with Turks, and African Americans with Caucasian Americans. Each ensemble is coached in the skills of chamber music - listening, watching, adjusting, sensitivity, and being flexible – the same skills needed to work and function effectively in the world. The participants learn not only to play music but also to communicate and connect with each other in ways that may not be possible in their home countries.
In the early 1990s, Apple Hill started an on-site residency program for Playing for Peace students as part of the existing Summer Workshop. The program offers free tuition as well as room and board for residencies of up to five weeks. Participants are once again placed together in chamber groups, coached every day by the faculty, and the experience culminates with a public performance. Apple Hill extends not only musical coaching but mentorship as well. During their residency, the participants share meals, chores, and social events, creating a unique musical as well as human community.
Over the years, Apple Hill has formed partnerships with music programs and institutions around the globe as part of the Playing for Peace program. These include US embassies, universities, schools, conservatories and youth orchestras in countries such as Ireland, Turkey, Cyprus, and Jordan, and domestic partnerships with Project STEP in Boston; Dallas Young Strings in Texas; Community MusicWorks in Providence, Rhode Island; and schools in San Francisco, Los Angeles, the Baltimore/Washington DC metro area, and Memphis. Through matching scholarship programs with these organizations, students are able to attend Apple Hill. Participants now arrive from New Hampshire, every U.S. state, and around the world to make music with each other in an atmosphere that promotes diversity, creativity, and understanding through excellence in musicianship.
Summer Chamber Music Workshop
The Summer Chamber Music Workshop offers musicians of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to study and perform chamber music under the guidance of renowned faculty and supportive peers. Over the course of each ten-day session, students receive personalized coaching, perform in chamber groups, and participate in community activities. Unique to the workshop is the Playing for Peace initiative, a program that brings international musicians to Apple Hill.