Wharton’s Performing Arts School has a thriving adult division as can be seen in the inaugural concert for the Small Ensembles program. Small Ensembles is a 15-week course for students of all ages, instruments, and abilities. After a placement audition in January, students began rehearsals and coachings with Performing Arts School faculty members Christine Ciuffreda, Joe DeVico, Laura George, Sean Hack, Alice Hamlet, Lyubov Vasilyeva, and Kristen Wuest.
Says adult student Robert Bohrer, “I’ve been taking piano lessons at Wharton for four years—now I’m an old beginner! I signed up for Small Ensembles for the opportunity to play with other musicians. The experience is very different from playing solo. You have to listen to others as well as to your own playing.”
Adds Bohrer, “I have very much enjoyed playing piano with my ensemble partner, Gail Bayse, on cello. And I thank our coaches, Alice Hamlet and Luba Vasilyeva, for their patient and helpful instruction.”
Says Bayse, “I have been studying cello for over five years at Wharton. I was intrigued when I heard students had the opportunity to participate in a small ensembles program with faculty guidance. It has been wonderful to get to know Robert, my ensemble partner, as well as become aware of what playing a piano involves. It’s a great way to broaden my appreciation for the time and effort is required to play our five-minute second movement of a Vivaldi Sonata.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) presents a concert featuring students in its Small Ensembles program on Saturday, May 5 at 3:00 p.m. at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. Performances by Lily Liu, percussion, Matthew Higgins, piano, and Andrew Furst, trumpet; Maggie Liu, flute, Elizabeth Eck, cello, and Marcello Silva, piano; the adult flute ensemble; and Gail Bayse, cello and Robert Bohrer, piano include works by Miles Davis, Gurlitt, Vivaldi, and original works by the students. The concert is free and open to the public.