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“I experienced one of the most (if not THE most) valuable and influential clinics for Board of Education teachers. This stuff is exactly what everyone in the system needs.”
—Nancy Shankman, former Director of Music for the New York City Public Schools; Music Education Faculty, NYU
“You are a master at this.”
—Theodore Wiprud, Composer, Educator, Former Vice President, Education, New York Philharmonic
“As a conductor, Michael is assured in his technique and musical expression. He is not a simple “stick-waver” beating time, but he demands that students take a chamber music approach to their orchestral playing, making sure that they are always listening to one another, rather than simply following a series of patterns. His knowledge of the repertoire is vast and extremely impressive, and his programs are musically interesting, as well as being pedagogically sound.
For me the most impressive thing about Michael is his almost “holistic” approach to music-making, focusing not only on the how, but more importantly on the why of a particular musical decision. He draws on a deep knowledge of history, art, philosophy, etc. to help students understand why composers make certain decisions in their music, and his music-making always reflects this approach, which, in my opinion, is the only essential one. Not only is he an accomplished musician (I hate to define him simply as a “conductor”), but he is also one of the finest music educators I know.”
—Keith Fitch, Head, Composition Department, Cleveland Institute of Music
“Your clinic was an absolute joy for both myself as conductor and the students as young impressionable musicians. I would like to again thank you for your openness and generosity in sharing your unique insight and knowledge. My students were inspired and encouraged to do more with the music, and as a result received a standing ovation in Carnegie for their performance (something that they, nor I, will ever forget!) My students noticed immediately that something was different and new about my conducting in certain passages. Because of many of your suggestions, I think that they felt even more connected to me (many said so), and to the music during our performance. Thank you again.”
—David A. Leach, Director of Bands, Ann Arbor Pioneer High School
“Being in education for over two decades, and conducting for even longer, I've not had the pleasure of having such a high caliber clinic for my students, whilst receiving comments on my own craft simultaneously. This truly is saying something, considering my travels and studies. Even so, Michael's comments and interaction were nothing less than spectacular! I grew tremendously in the couple of hours we worked together, and so did my students. Our students cannot stop commenting on the level of professionalism, musicality, and pure kindness extended to them. I can surely say the same. Michael’s respect towards our students and myself was and is very appreciated, and his comments have already been employed in our rehearsals, as well as on the podium. Many life lessons were discussed, as well as what we can work on, to better convey our musical message. Thank you again for this most enriching experience. It is one that will be cherished and valued for years to come!”
—Brian K. Jordan, Director of Instrumental Music, Battle Mountain High School, Eagle, CO
"Michael I cannot begin to tell you how much we appreciated your time and direction and inspiration. Sorry if I was a little intense and overwhelming but I get that way when I feel myself learning and growing. I’ll pass on your encouragement tonight on the bus—it will mean the world to them. (They are in love with you if you didn't notice!)”
—Shawn Cabey, Music Director, Loma Linda Academy, CA
“Maestro, I wanted you to learn of my great appreciation for the way you conducted the two clinics with our band musicians. Thank you for being receptive, warm, engaging, stimulating and kind. Great job in every way, sir! Also, I wanted to quickly mention that I've been teaching for thirty-five years now, and still I enjoy learning new teaching tools and techniques to improve the ensemble. I have had the opportunity to borrow at least five times—with five ensembles—your technique of getting the kids to listen and play without their conductor. In every case, there was new energy and excitement among the troops. It just works, you know?”
—Don Haynes, Director of LBJ Bands, Austin, TX
“The challenging part about working with our particular ensemble was the wide array of students that we brought. Some of them were just a few months out of middle school, halfway through their first year of high school, others just a few months away from starting college as music majors. Despite that, Mr. Adelson’s perspectives on the music and what it means to be a musician meaningfully impacted all of our students.
For the duration of the clinic, the room was silent (the good kind of silent). During the moments reserved for questions, I watched as our students asked questions about things near and dear to their hearts. As we finished, the students lined up to ask questions one-on-one and take photos. As the bus rolled away, the students were buzzing about the experience. At dinner, some of our students that are looking at music as a career had some serious discussions about their futures, prompted by the clinic.
While I’ve never left a clinic without taking something away from it, I’ve never left one that had the impact that this one did. Thank you so much for making this experience possible.”
—Tara Cappelletti, Director of Bands Glenbard East High School
“My students and I SO enjoyed the session with you! I appreciate you being so gracious to me in helping me get out of my “box”!”
—Catherine Bond, Orchestra Director, George C. Marshall High School, Falls Church, VA
“I invited Michael to be a guest speaker in my Math and the Arts class. This is a course that pursues the connections between mathematics and the visual, literary and the performing arts. My expectations were far exceeded. Not only was his topic, “The Fractal Nature of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony”, totally innovative but his presentation was straightforward, clear, and imaginative. His creativity is remarkable but so is the correctness of his mathematical interpretation.
Later, in my Geometric Issues class, Michael discussed the Golden Cut and the Fibonacci sequence in music. In both classes, Michael became a favorite guest artist. He gave selflessly of his time and enormous energy. He cared that the students truly understood the connections between music and math and would remain to answer any questions. He invited students to contact him with any follow-up questions. In my experience, never was a guest speaker as generous with his time.
To say that my students were in awe of Professor Adelson would indeed be an understatement. I later heard statements such as “awesome” and “totally incredible” from them. In fact last month, an alumnus of the college approached me at dinner honoring our arts and technology center; she stated that she would never forget the conductor’s lecture!”
—Ann Robertson, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics, Connecticut College
“Mr. Adelson, We were honored to have a clinic with you. I just wanted to let you know how much it meant to all of us, myself included. I believe you helped us understand how music is a gift and it deserves to be heard. I also believe that a large portion of us will forever be changed by this experience. Music tells a story and we each add something different to a story, and that in turn influences where the story takes an audience. We, the students, were not the only ones who felt greatly honored to have the clinic with you; Mr. Quinn was also very happy to have this opportunity. I know Mr. Quinn learned a great deal as did everyone else. Once more, I thank you. I would also hope this encourages you to continue on with the clinics because it really makes a difference.”
—flutist, Northwest Area High School Band
“Entering school that day, I remember being very excited to hear what Maestro Adelson had to say and was eagerly waiting to show him the orchestra’s and my own hard work with this piece, and silently hoping for his acknowledgement. The experience meeting him was all that I hoped for and more. Hearing what he had to say made me feel the efforts of a professional and their daily hard work. I felt privileged that he was able to speak to us as adults and musicians rather than teacher and disciple. It made me aware that he had acknowledged our hard work and dedication to perform this piece. I felt like a professional and that really made me happy.”
—violinist, Nyack High School Orchestra
“Hi Mr. Adelson! I would just like to thank you for working with our music department! It really was an awesome experience and one I will definitely not forget! Thank you for teaching us about the awesome ways of conducting and how to really get into and be one with the conductor. Thank you so much again for working with our department and it is a day I'll never forget!! Thank you again!”
—saxophonist, Northwest Area High School Band
“I have worked with Michael both in my capacity as the cellist of the noted contemporary music ensemble, Speculum Musicae, and in my capacity as a member of the New York Philharmonic. As a conductor I have found Michael to be meticulous, prepared and clear. We worked together on an outrageously difficult work by Stefan Wolpe, and he brought it off beautifully. In addition to this work, he conducted numerous other difficult works on the same program, was equally prepared on all of them, and managed never to lose his sense of humor. He brings a sense of line, a sense of proportion and a sense of history to his interpretations. As a person he is remarkably friendly, approachable and flexible, somewhat rare qualities in a conductor of his caliber. He retains the ability to be collegial, even while on the podium and under time pressure.”
—Eric Bartlett, Cellist, New York Philharmonic, Speculum Musicae, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
“It is difficult to express Michael’s passion and skill as a conductor with enough superlative. His preparation of a score is meticulous — the mechanics, meaning, shape, any relevant history or literary allusion are all thoroughly researched and ready to go from the first minute of the first rehearsal. His conducting is crystal clear and always sensitive to the needs of the group. Michael has a gift for making requests of the players, whether they be suggestions or corrections, in such a way that the result is a better product and no offense is ever taken. He is articulate, direct and always interested in making superb music over any possible ego gratification. Michael is the ultimate “team player” and has become an integral part of Auros.
—Susan Gall, Artistic Director, Auros Group for New Music
“I confess that I am extremely demanding (or brutal, as I and some of my colleagues have been called!) when it comes to evaluating conductors. So I am happy to say with no reservations that Michael is one of the most terrific conductors with whom I have had the fortune to play contemporary music. He is extremely talented, musically sensitive and thoughtful, respectful and supportive of the musicians with whom he works, and most of all, is a truly fine conductor. His gestures are clear and his metrical control is excellent, which is critical when performing some of the ferociously difficult repertoire that Dinosaur Annex is known to program. Unlike some technically gifted contemporary music conductors, Michael also displays profound interpretational gifts. He communicates his ideas in simple, unassuming ways, and possesses a great sense of humor. Our audiences have commented as well on his confident, dynamic stage presence.”
—Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin, Co-Artistic Director, Dinosaur Annex