"I am deeply impressed with the way that Ms. Field and Ms. Vial introduce the basic rules of performance practice to modern string players. They get immediate results from the students of our newly founded Curtis Collegium, giving them a foundation with which to explore rhetorical music from a completely different perspective."
Matthew Glandorf, Music Studies Faculty, Curtis Institute of Music
"Stephanie Vial is an articulate teacher of 18thc performance practices, whose cello playing truly expresses her intellectual and artistic process. The session that she and Elizabeth Field did with the UNC Baroque Ensemble during the Spring of 2011 offered a fresh way of looking at seemingly familiar repertoire. The students and I were both energized by the ideas and the Vivaldi performance later that term was better because of it."
Brent Wissick, Zachary Taylor Smith Distinguished Professor of Music, UNCChapel Hill
"Violinist Elizabeth Field and cellist Stephanie Vial, both expert performers and knowledgeable musical scholars, have successfully established an admirable teaching program for professional and advanced modern string players in the study of performance practice of eighteenthcentury music. Having identified those inherent musical and technical aspects of string instrument playing that are transferable from period instruments to their contemporary counterparts, these two artists/teachers inspire players of modern strings to find musical satisfaction in realizing their performance of eighteenthcentury music according to the musical precepts of the time."
John Hsu, Old Dominion Foundation Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, Cornell University
2012 Institute Participants
"In the small space of four days, I have been challenged and stimulated in all of the best possible ways. From the seeds that have been planted here, I will grow a new style of playing Baroque music which will be more creative and expressive. I feel I have been given a set of tools with which to build a much bigger house to live in, but I also feel as though I have already outgrown my current home! I am a better player than I was a week ago, despite being a seasoned chamber musician, soloist, and college professor. As an added perk, I also gained a lot of new ideas for teaching my college students. Liz and Stephanie are not just artists, they are communicators---both musical and verbal---and that is a rare and wonderful combination. I highly recommend this class for teachers, even those with years of performing experience, who want to get beyond the cliches, and to grow artistically. Marie-Aline Cadieux
Liz and Stephanie have excellent insight into the interpretation and function of early performance practice and could give musical examples that supported their views. The dance classes were a unique application to the music performance. The close working relationship between the two was supported by the fact that Liz and Stephanie and Paige were all speaking the same vocabulary and taught with the same principals in mind. Jessica Hoffman
It was such a wonderful introduction, but yet so intelligent and deep. I want more! Would have loved more dance ---Stephanie's brain and delightful playing ---Elizabeth's brain and delightful playing ---Alexandra's wonderful humane gift. Marie-Elaine Gagnon
Excellent. [Liz and Stephanie] presented a thorough and broad range of perspectives that touched upon every aspect of performing and teaching the string lit. from the 18th century. Great attitude. Packed with information. Balanced program. Pleasant atmosphere. Relaxed. It was refreshing to spend four days with Liz and Stephanie. Infectious enthusiasm, intelligent and scholarly approach to the music. Thank you! ?
10 on a scale of 1-10. I enjoyed the rehearsals the most. I loved being able to discuss and play. Trio sonata session was great! I could have even gone another day! Thank you for a fabulous week. I am excited to be in this environment---great to have a hands on experience (vs. lecture). And Stepahnie, Liz, and Anne have been so generous with their time, and their enthusiasm---has been an inspiration! David Murray
EMMI is a fantastic seminar on 18th-century string playing techniques. The faculty (Liz, Stephanie, and Anne) are not only skilled and inspriing performers but also have a knack for explaining complex concepts clearly and succinctly. I'm inspired and looking forward to practicing!
[Liz and Stephanie] covered a lot of material - and almost overwhelming amount - in a short time. . . I wish I had prepared a piece for the master class. I think it would be a good idea to encourage everyone to play if possible . . I could really hear the difference when the performers used suggestions from Stephanie and Liz. . . At first I wasn't sure I waned to have a concert, but the concert was really fun, and it was nice to hear the feedback from the audience, and to hear what the other workshop participants had to say about the week. All in all it was very enlightening, and I would return. I really appreciate that Liz and Stephanie are respectful of musicians who don't choose to play in this way. I have heard a lot of "period performers" who make derogatory comments about modern playing, and I love Stephanie and Liz's whole approach which is very open and inviting and non-judgemental. AND THEY ARE BOTH FABLOSUTELY FABULOUS MUSICIANS. Madeleine Mckelvey
[Liz and Stephanie] addressed [18th-century performance practice on modern instruments] very well. And it is an important issue. I would love to see courses from this POV in Universities throughout the country. There are many people like myself, who could be very interested as long as they don't have to change instruments. EMMI was truly mind-opening and enriching in a major way. Liz and Stephanie not only have mastery of the subject matter, but they have the ability to articulate and communicate with empathy and sensitivity. I look forward to continuing this musical exporation and also to continued dialogue and friendship.
I highly recommend this course for those who are curious about the way they have been taught to play in the Baroque style. I promise you will come away with new ideas, and a continued interest in seeking and perfecting a more correct way to play in this style. . . . Performance is te best way to learn. The masterclass and performing together with feedback during the orchestra sessions was very good.
2011 Institute Participants
“I have wanted to attend a Baroque Performance Institute for at least 15 years. My hopes and expectations were exceeded at MEMI. Liz and Stephanie are not only knowledgeable and creative teachers and performers; their enthusiasm for the subject fosters an expressive, joyful, and resonant approach to performance. I am encouraged to continue exploring the baroque performance tradition in my modern instrument until I acquire a period copy, and to incorporate the concepts into my modern performing and teaching.”
“Fundamentally, MEMI was revelatory. The concept of gesture, musical works, and the techniques that go with them (multiple notes within a big note, folded bowing . . .) were all terribly exciting. That coupled with the boundless enthusiasm and depth of knowledge and encouragement that Vial and Field bring to the subject—it was inspiring, and mostly appetitewhetting.”
“I loved the institute. It made my playing more full, in expression as well as technique."
“The most enjoyable and profitable experience were the sessions with Liz and Stephanie—the techniques class, the rehearsal session, the continuo class, all so informative, not intimidating. Very inviting to explore and dare to express! The fusion of scholarship and passion was expressed in each and every session.”
“I found it exciting to play in the ensemble under the expert direction of Liz and Stephanie. After the initial lecture and
demonstration it was the ideal way to try to modify and try to implement the methods to achieve an early music sound on my modern instrument. All of this was supplemented with the wonderful dance instruction which allowed me to feel the music of dance and the visualize the history and background that is intertwined with the music. The individual instruction we received in the continuo session was invaluable.”
2010 Institute Participants
“Each planned activity had meaning, purpose and expert teaching. Liz and Steph work so well together. They are beautiful players and their love and commitment to their work is inspiring. And after all the work, it is joyful. This also applies to Paige.”
“... ability of Liz and Stephanie to distill so many concepts into immediately accessible/achievable practices and to model the desired results while explaining what hand and fingers do. This experience has been a revelation, complimenting, enhancing, and improving my efforts to create timbres and resonance which allow the instrument to speak more freely and with a fuller palette of color and dynamics, with more nuance and elegance.”
“Every aspect of this program informed what was coming up next. . . . I loved the freedom engendered by attending to articulation nuances, with an intelligent and open approach to phrasing as speaking/singing. Liz and Stephanie are wonderful, inspired musicians who are that rare balance of true scholars, natural performers, patient and perceptive teachers who build on the strengths, rather than dwell on the weaknesses of the participants.”
“The thing I most appreciated about this course was the fact that you care so much about serving the music and the person's musicianship above all else. This was so refreshing and gave me some new confidence. Thank you!”
“The accessibility to Liz and Stephanie was great. Their expertise is commendable and a gift to receive. MEMI not only teaches Baroque playing, but also empowers the musician to build a Baroque instinct and then trust it. The course inadvertently teaches ownership and trusting one's musical instinct. The teamwork between Liz and Stephanie is refreshing as they compliment each other so well. There is an openness on both sides.”
2009 Institute Participants
In answer to the question, What did you most enjoy?
"learning a new language of expression with such happy, friendly, nonjudgemental, BRILLIANT, knowledgeable, communicative clinicians."
"the stimulation of my musical creativity through broad concepts (instead of too much instruction on how to play a trill) that I can take with me . . . Great First MEMI I loved the nonthreatening environment."
"I enjoyed experiencing how my approach and playing changed over the three days and look forward to continuing my exploration after the institute . .. I felt that Liz and Stephanie were fantastic and enjoyed myself very much. Thank you."
"I enjoyed everything, especially hearing Liz and Stephanie demonstrate, and their being able to verbalize how to begin to achieve the desired affects. They are very enthusiastic and fine teachers as well as players."
"The enthusiasm and energy that went into the music, and having time to work at details with a good responsive group."
"the opportunity to both play next to Liz and Stephanie as well as discuss the theory of it all . . . The knowledge and scholarship provided (in an extremely congenial atmosphere) in verbal, aural and physical format, allowed participants to really embrace this wonderful style of playing."
“The two of you have so much that comes through in your presentation: scholarship (without snobbery), passion for the music, respect and fondness for each other. I appreciated the way your comments complemented each other, and the way you deferred to each other during your presentation. It was also clear that you desire to help us be able to express this music differently, and you made it fun.”