Music

UM’s Frost School goes ‘Live at Home in the City Beautiful’

Posted By Fernando Gonzalez
May 8, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Jennifer Grim, associate professor of flute at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, is scheduled to perform in May. (Photo courtesy of Lucky Wenzel)

The University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and the City of Coral Gables have joined forces to provide weekly moments of musical relief.

The “Live at Home in the City Beautiful” virtual concert series features Frost faculty, students and alumni in performance every Monday and Wednesday at 6 p.m. on Coral Gables’ Instagram channel, @cityofcoralgables.

The mini-concerts, which will continue until the end of May, are part of UM’s efforts to fill the gap in actual live performances. The school’s other online programs include: Friday Nights @ Frost, a series featuring Frost Music Live concerts from this past season; and #FrostiesPerformForU, with at-home performances posted by students, faculty and alumni on the school’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. (There’s a YouTube Channel compilation at tinyurl.com/FrostiesPlaylist.)

“Music unites and heals,” said Patricia San Pedro, executive director of marketing and communications at the Frost School of Music. “If you have any doubt, all you have to do is look at the videos coming out of Italy and Spain, of people playing their instruments and singing from their balconies. Such beauty amid such sadness and uncertainty.

The “Live at Home in the City Beautiful” virtual concert series will feature student Melissa Martinez. (Photo courtesy of Image1st Miami)

“So, at the Frost School of Music, we wanted to do something that would offer the healing and joy and hope in music, while at the same time giving our students, alumni and faculty a stage where they could share their art until the curtain rises again.”

The collaboration with the City of Coral Gables also underscores a confluence of interests between business and music.

For attracting new businesses, “the things that we offer as a city, a good quality of life, arts and culture and all the amenities, are most important,” said Belkys Perez, assistant director of the Coral Gables’ Economic Development Department. “This city has five live theaters that cater to different audiences and numerous concert halls as well. So when coronavirus hit, we wanted to step in and do something for our community. UM was a natural partner, so I immediately reached out to the dean of the Frost School of Music.”

The series started just a few days later, premiering April 1.

The programs have showcased classical music, Broadway and jazz, and provided “an opportunity for our residents, for the community, in general, to sit back and catch their breath away from all of the craziness happening around us,” Perez said. “Our goal is for you to sit back with a smile and maybe expose yourself to some music that you might not have thought about in the past.”

The virtual concert series gives students such as Alexandra Brandenburg a stage where they can share their art. (Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Karbon)

Among the scheduled performers this month are: jazz pianist and musicologist David Ake, associate professor of flute Jennifer Grim, and Frost students Melissa Martinez and Alexandra Skye Brandenburg.

For both established musicians and students at UM, the virtual concerts offer an outlet at a time of social distancing, as well as a chance to explore the future of live performances long after the pandemic fades away.

“One of the blessings in all this for our students has been that they’re learning a lot of new skills,” San Pedro said. “They’re having to be a lot more innovative and learn more about technology, and that’s going to help them. That’s going to enhance their learning and their career.”

Still, weeks without a chance to perform, and no end in sight, pose a serious challenge.

There are “students and alumni and faculty for whom this is their life, this is their passion,” San Pedro said. “Performing live was taken away from them just like that, in one fell swoop. This [series] was a way to give them a stage. We hope that this situation is going to create an even greater appreciation of live music when we go back to the new normal.”

What: “Live at Home in the City Beautiful” virtual concert series

When: 6-6:15 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, through the end of May

Where: City of Coral Gables Instagram page, @cityofcoralgables 

Cost: Free

More information: Frost.miami.edu

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