why we love outreach
Malachai: "I grew up in a musical family in Los Angeles's famously artistic Laurel Canyon area, and for as long as I can remember I have always felt drawn to the history, physics, and mechanics of all kinds of instruments. In my early childhood, my parents taught me percussion, violin, ukulele, piano, and double bass, but I was insatiable, and thus eventually embarked on a quest to teach myself as many other instruments as I possibly could. I focused mainly on the double bass, though, and later attended Rice University as a double bass major, but my musical interests stretched far beyond as I spent my middle school and high school years exploring and learning every orchestral wind, string, brass, and percussion instrument. Along the way, I also became drawn to non-classical musical genres like early Jazz, the music of Harry Partch, Steely Dan, and Frank Zappa, and especially novelty xylophone music. I also came into contact with baroque-era string and Renaissance wind instruments for the first time at the very end of high school through my brother's own passion for baroque music and instruments, and I, too, found their unique sounds and repertoire completely electrifying. While a student at Rice soon after, I was lucky enough to encounter a few other colleagues who shared my interest in historical performance practice, and as I pored over books in the library for innumerable hours in order to teach myself all that I could about ancient instruments, I began to teach others, too. In doing so, I first experienced the thrill of resuscitating and interpreting ancient music as a means of keeping it alive for the next generation, and I was hooked. My ensembles began as a small viol consort and separate crumhorn band within Rice's Collegium musicum (early music ensemble), but we soon broke away and began pursuing our own activities as independent groups. Around that time I was also becoming similarly devoted to music outreach as the director of Rice's JUMP! program, so it became a natural progression for me to use it as a vehicle for sharing ancient instruments and music with others of all backgrounds, and in every setting imaginable. I am absolutely overjoyed that the Crumhorn Collective has since evolved into such a powerful ensemble in that regard, and that our members' diverse musical backgrounds in winds, strings, and percussion across a multitude of genres have combined to finally realize the thoroughly modular, endlessly flexible ensemble I have always envisioned."
Dino: "I first became involved with the Crumhorn Collective while studying percussion performance at Rice University. As a percussionist, the majority of my work had been in contemporary classical music. I had performed at such conferences and festivals as the Festival d'Automne in Paris, the Society for Electroacoustic Music Conference in Blacksburg, Virginia, the Darmstadt Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany, and the Stockhausen Courses in Kürten, Germany. When Malachai first invited me to perform in an outreach concert with the Crumhorn Collective, I became really intrigued by the idea of bringing the music of the Renaissance back to life. Since then, I've continued to work with the Collective and enjoy sharing this music and the interesting history behind it."
Eva: "I grew up in a musical family and have played the cello, my primary instrument, since I was eight. My interest in early music began with a summer of viola da gamba lessons at Interlochen Arts Camp at the age of 12. When I went to college at the University of Michigan, I took up the gamba again and then discovered the baroque cello, which sent me down my current path toward a specialization in historical performance practice. As a Masters student at Rice University, I met Malachai through the Shepherd School of Music’s Collegium Musicum ensemble, and began playing with him, on cello and viola da gamba, in some of the early configurations of the Crumhorn Collective. Over the course of the next few years, I spent summers studying baroque cello and viola da gamba in Europe, and eventually moved to The Hague, Netherlands to do a second masters in baroque cello performance. Playing recorder and flute as a child has helped me pick up the Renaissance recorders and crumhorns in recent years, and I’m having a great time playing these with the rest of the Crumhorn Collective. I love playing outreach because it gives us the opportunity to connect with audiences that classical musicians don't often get to play for, and it's wonderful to get to introduce these unusual instruments and fun music to kids of all ages."
Alexa: "My interest in Renaissance music began in 2011 while attending the Medieval and Renaissance Workshop that was put on by the San Francisco Early Music Society (SFEMS) in Sonoma County. Since becoming a doctoral student in Early Music at the University of Southern California, my interest in Early Music has continued to grow. My primary study up to that point was baroque cello and viola da gamba, but the doctoral program allowed me to learn a variety of new instruments, such as the baroque bassoon, and the vielle, which is a medieval fiddle. In 2014, I was invited to join outreach concerts put on by the Crumhorn Collective in Houston, TX. For the past two years, I have been involved in these concerts where I perform on dulcian, recorders, viols, and crumhorn. Learning a variety of instruments for the concerts is challenging because we constantly switch between instruments, but it is a thrill to see the excitement from the audience."
Rebecca: "I grew up with a big family in a small house in Vermont. My father, a flute maker, and my mother, a piano teacher, surrounded us with music to such an extent that I thought music-making was a normal part of everyone's life. I chose to play the cello when I was five and consequently became a member of the family band. As a homeschooler, my siblings and I spent a significant portion of our time playing together and gigging. I was accepted to Oberlin Conservatory for my undergrad and came in contact with Cathy Meints, the first professional I'd ever met who had a career in historical performance. Her viola da gamba playing opened a new portion of music I had never encountered. I earned a minor in gamba and baroque cello with Ms. Meints and continued to play early music through my masters at Rice University. Malachai Bandy and I connected at Rice over Baroque music, but I was not immediately drawn to the Renaissance music he loved. I remember seeing him walking the halls with lutes, crumhorns and hurdy-gurdys and through his excitement for Renaissance music, I became convinced I needed to learn more instruments. He also invited me to start playing outreach concerts. Although I had long since realized that my musical childhood had been unique, I hadn't considered I could bring music to students and give them a small window into a life full of music. Outreach has become a deeply enjoyable part of my life as I get to share with students how music can enrich our lives."