No COVID-19 Across 4 Weeks of In-Person Philadelphia International Music Festival Summer Camp

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The Philadelphia International Music Festival resumed in-person summer programs this summer on the campus of the Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Wayne, Pennsylvania for over 250 campers taught by members of the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra and others, and completed all four weeks of instruction, rehearsal, and performances under stringent health and safety protocols that resulted in no Covid-19 infections among staff or attendees.

“It was a resounding success!” says PIMF President Sandy Marcucci, “ZERO Covid, thanks to everyone abiding by a plan that was months in the making, with copious research and consultation right up until the first day of camp and literally, right through. We never let our guard down. The bottom line: we kept everyone at PIMF safe and healthy and connected to making live music again in person. It’s been deeply, deeply satisfying to achieve that, to be live and to THRIVE.”

Early hurdles included finding a new venue for the program, as long-time partner Bryn Mawr College made the decision to close its campus for the summer. After consulting with several colleges in the Philadelphia region, PIMF decided on the elegant grounds of Valley Forge Military Academy. Also on the prestigious Main Line, VFMAC is easily accessible to off-campus faculty and day campers joining the residential campers from all corners of the United States.

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Structuring the program presented its own challenges, as the international students who flock to PIMF every summer still faced travel restrictions this year. Enrollment even for stateside musicians was evaluated to allow for social distancing while affording the full orchestra and ensemble experience PIMF is known for.

The end result included more than 250 campers ages 8-19 over 4 weeks in

4 orchestras
50 chamber ensembles
760 private lessons
12 master classes
120 student performances
10 music electives
125 practice rooms
2 competitions

And a host of other offerings including mock auditions, faculty recitals featuring principal players from The Philadelphia Orchestra, thousands of hours of individual private practice time, and even a trip to the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia for a live Philadelphia Orchestra Performance.
Teachers included the following members of The Philadelphia Orchestra:
Kimberly Fisher, Principal Second Violin and PIMF Artistic Director
Marc Rovetti, Assistant Concertmaster
Dara Morales, Assistant Principal Second Violin
Kerri Ryan, Assistant Principal Viola
Hai-Ye Ni, Principal Cello
Priscilla Lee, Associate Principal Cello
Nathaniel West, Acting Assistant Principal Bass
Patrick Williams, Associate Principal Flute
Ricardo Morales, Principal Clarinet
Daniel Matsukawa, Principal Bassoon
Mark Gigliotti, Co-Principal Bassoon
Jennifer Montone, Principal Horn
Jeffrey Lang, Associate Principal Horn
Anthony Prisk, Second Trumpet
Angela Zator-Nelson, Associate Principal Timpani & Section Percussion

Many campers echoed the sentiments of 17-year-old French horn player Elizabeth “E.J.” Ferrara of Princeton, NJ, who thanked PIMF for what she called “giving us our music back.”

“PIMF was a breath of fresh air for me, and I loved every second of it,” the first-time camper continued. “This was my first opportunity in over a year to share my love of music with others. My favorite part was that everyone was as in love with music as I was. My roommate and I even woke up to a different orchestral piece every morning as our alarm.”

Cellist Tristan Price, 13, of Philadelphia, was equally delighted to be making music in the same room with others: “It’s really great to be back at PIMF,” he said. “To be able to have interactions with people, to play alongside other people. It’s a really great feeling, after a year of not.”

PIMF will wrap up its successful summer with an intensive virtual “end of season” festival online for students around the country and the globe who were not able to attend the in-person camp in June or July. The online program August 23-28, 2021 for students ages 13-19 includes the Virtual Piano Studies Program and the Virtual Solo Performance Preparation Program, each including rigorous private lessons and seminars, electives and evenings filled with faculty recitals and master classes with principal players and other members of The Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as a live-streamed solo performance opportunity for all participating students.

ABOUT The Philadelphia International Music Festival:

The Philadelphia International Music Festival (PIMF) is a resident summer music program directed by Kimberly Fisher, Principal Second Violin of The Philadelphia Orchestra, offering student musicians from around the world the unique opportunity of spending up to four weeks immersed in music education and performance training with members of the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra.

Since March 2020, PIMF’s new platform PIMFOnline.org has been filling the training void for social-distancing music students with Master Classes taught by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra including: PIMF Artistic Director Kimberly Fisher, Principal Second Violin; David Kim, Concertmaster; Hai-Ye Ni, Principal Cellist; Ricardo Morales, Principal Clarinet; Boris Allakverdyan, Principal Clarinet, Los Angeles Philharmonic; and many others. As of June, 2021, PIMF is offering summer camp programs both online – at pimfonline.org – AND live on Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line.

For more information on PIMF, visit philadelphiamusicfestival.org, call (856) 875-6816, “like” the Philadelphia International Music Camp & Festival on Facebook, [email protected] on Instagram and Twitter, and visit the Philadelphia International Music Festival YouTube Channel for performance videos from previous festival seasons.

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