Not only does the Heifetz International Music Institute educate young musicians in their artistic growth, it also treats the community to a variety of world-class listening opportunities. After a year of online programming and virtual concerts during Covid, Heifetz is again bringing live, in-person music to a wide audience.
This year marks Heifetz’s 25th anniversary. It was originally founded in 1996 as a 6-week summer experience by concert violinist and teacher Daniel Heifetz. In 2012, Heifetz opened the doors to 62 students in its new Staunton location. It has grown a lot since then: according to the website, even in the midst of the pandemic, 40 Heifetz faculty members virtually served 100 students across 9 time zones. They brought music to over 500,000 viewers through concerts streaming on YouTube, Facebook Live, and the Violin Channel.
HEIR and Other Recent Notable Activity
As an alternative to normally scheduled Heifetz on Tour programming, Heifetz provided music during the pandemic with its HEIR (Heifetz Ensemble-in-Residence) Program. The audience could attend string quartet or piano trio concerts in-person at The Blackburn Inn & Conference Center’s Great Hall. They could also attend and interact through Zoom.
Another part of the HEIR program was Heifetz’s virtual Heartstrings program, which connected performers with frontline workers and patients at Augusta Health. This program included almost 200 virtual, but intimate performances for patients suffering from both illnesses and the emotional toll brought on by months of social distancing. Additional ensemble performances catered to larger audiences and helped bring music and joy to the wider hospital community. These outlets also helped budding professional musicians connect with audiences.
Virtual Concert Hall
2020’s Rubato Virtual Concert Hall recorded sophisticated, all-new performances by Virtual Institute students and broadcast them to audiences. In 2021, most concerts will be recorded for broadcast, even if they are presented to live audiences. Some will be online only because participating musicians will perform from countries around the world. Want to interact with the Heifetz community? Look for special “watch parties.” Additional streamable options included music, commentary, and interviews from years past.
Chock Full O’Bach
Heifetz students (and most other classical musicians) learn a lot from studying Bach. Heifetz students even use the German composer’s work as audition material for the program. Now they’re sharing with the community by sharing some of those compositions with the public. Subscribe to Chock Full O’Bach to let Heifetz help you start each day with a new release!
What’s Happening Now: Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts
Celebrate music with this year’s annual Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts, which extends through August 6th and offers both chamber music and multi-genre selections! Choose from over 50 concerts. Concert offerings can be either free and ticketed, but since children under 12 are invited to attend all concerts for free, there’s no need to hire a sitter!
- Stars of Tomorrow (First Presbyterian Church, Tuesdays and Thursdays): “The Institute’s signature series showcases breathtaking performances by extraordinary Heifetz students, visiting alumni artists, and our outstanding Heifetz piano faculty.”
- Virtual Stars of Tomorrow: These live-stream performances allow students from around the world to perform virtually.
- Fridays in the Gallery (Staunton Augusta Art Center): Free weekday concerts set against the backdrop of local and regional artists. Register ahead if you plan to attend because space is limited in the venues.
- Celebrity Series (First Presbyterian Church, Friday evenings): These programs bring top performers to Staunton, including Shannon Lee, Philip Setzer, Shmuel Ashkenasi, and the Borromeo String Quartet. Concerts will feature works by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Dohnányi, Schumann, Bach and more.
- HeifetzPEG Showcase (online): This showcase of young talent serves as “graduation recitals” for young string players.
- Heifetz Hootenanny (Saturdays): This series “features students, staff, and special guests in one-of-a-kind, multi-genre mash-ups moves to the Blackburn Inn’s expansive new Great Hall, where you might hear bluegrass picking, Broadway belting, folk fiddling, or rollicking rhythm and blues!”
- Sunday Matinees (First Presbyterian Church, Sunday afternoons): Headliner artists are joined by Heifetz students, alums, and special guests to make wonderful music. Presented by Redbeard Brewing Company.
- Heifetz in the Vineyard (Barren Ridge Vineyard): Concerts both indoors and out take advantage of the vineyard’s idyllic setting. Plus, there’s delicious Barren Ridge wine to sip as you listen.
- PianoPalooza (First Presbyterian Church, July 19): Come watch the Heifetz keyboard wizards as they wow you on the ivories.
- Heifetz Grand Finale (Blackburn Inn’s SummerStage, August 6): The season’s final concert is a passionate gathering of Heifetz students and faculty followed by a farewell feast.
Looking for a Special Gift?
If you like to spoil a music-loving someone on your gift list, head downtown to the Heifetz Gift Shop (107 E. Beverley Street). From music-themed wearables and cards, to Heifetz chocolate bars and sheet music printed umbrellas, you’ll find a unique gift sure to make someone smile. And if you’d like to take an unusual route to supporting Heifetz, you can donate your unwanted household items and clothing to them so they can sell them on eBay. Since Heifetz is a non-profit, they’ll be able to keep 100% of the proceeds and use them to support the Institute.
For other musical experiences in Staunton, click here!