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UC San Diego Helps to ‘Create, Refine, Amplify’ at Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity

Steven Schick

UC San Diego Department of Music’s Steven Schick. Photo courtesy Banff Centre website

The University of California San Diego’s footprint is growing. This summer it extends to Canada’s Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity where Steven Schick looms large. The distinguished professor of music, Reed Family Presidential Chair holder, and music director and conductor of La Jolla Symphony and Chorus is serving as co-artistic director of Banff Centre’s 2017 Summer Classical Music Series. In the role, Schick, along with flautist Claire Chase, is creating programming under the theme of “Create, Refine, Amplify” that features a strong focus on chamber music plus new approaches to help develop classical musicians’ skills and careers. The program attracts hundreds of individual participants, established groups and renowned composers from around the world.

Former faculty members at Banff Centre, Schick and Chase are offering summer program participants the support of composers, new classical work and the exploration of audience-engaging performance models. The co-directors’ summer programming emphasizes peer-to-peer feedback and collaboration as a pedagogical model while continuing Banff Centre’s commitment to mentorship, performance and recording opportunities.

“Generations of artists, from Canada and around the world, have come to Banff for inspiration and great music-making. I am lucky to have been among them. The chance, now, to come to the Banff Centre as co-artistic director of the Summer Classical Music Program with my friend, the extraordinary musician Claire Chase, is simply one of the great opportunities of my lifetime,” Schick said in a recent interview. “With our terrific partners in Banff, Claire and I will strengthen the legacy of the Banff Centre and embrace with open hearts the spirit of adventure, invention and collaboration that has made it such a special place in the world.”

Steven Schick performing

Steven Schick performing. Photo courtesy Banff Centre website

The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Summer Classical Music Series runs through August with more than 25 events that continue the organization’s tradition of training and presenting world-class music. Besides supervising summer programming artistically, Schick is also one of the percussion performers participating in Open Studios — a format that takes participants behind the scenes into the residencies and workshops of artists, musicians, dancers and authors who present works created at Banff Centre.

A percussionist described by Alex Ross of The New Yorker as "one of the supreme living virtuosos, not only of percussion but of any instrument," Schick formerly served as Banff Centre’s director of the Roots and Rhizomes Percussion Residency in addition to being a faculty member. Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity was founded in 1933 as a learning organization. It is built upon a legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development.

Besides being involved with Banff Centre, and in addition to his regular activities as a UC San Diego music professor, conductor and performer, Schick is also curating San Diego’s upcoming It’s About Time! Festival. Planned for January and February 2018, the festival of rhythm, sound and place is a collaboration among many organizations, from the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera, to UC San Diego’s ArtPower and Department of Music.

Experimentation is the DNA of UC San Diego music. The department is designed to provide a unique environment in which composers, performers and scholars can collaborate and engage with the most vital ideas and newest technologies in order to push the boundaries of contemporary music. It is one of six departments within the #23 ranked Division of Arts and Humanities (U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities listing).


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