Young Artists Program teaches students to take musical risks

When 24-year-old flutist Lara Deutsch was accepted into the National Arts Centre (NAC)’s Young Artists Program (YAP), she was thrilled. Already an accomplished musician, Lara, was keen to sharpen her skills by learning hands on experience from the program’s internationally-renowned faculty.

“Wind students receive an incredible amount of one-on-one training with the NAC Orchestra’s principal musicians,” she said. “I don’t know of many other programs with that much personal instruction!”

The Young Artists Program, founded by Pinchas Zukerman in 1999 and now in its 18th year, offers outstanding private instruction and chamber music coaching with additional career-related sessions and mentoring. It also offers performance opportunities that include public chamber music concerts, public masterclasses, closed works-in-progress sessions and recitals.

Each year, 70 exceptionally talented, classically trained young artists from around the world are given the opportunity to take part in Senior or Pre-College level technical study and chamber music coaching with like-minded young artists, at the University of Ottawa School Of Music and at the National Arts Centre.

Lara is just one of these exceptional students. Throughout the program, she studied orchestral excerpts and she practiced section playing with the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s Principal Flutist Joanna G’froerer. It was during these sessions where she learned the invaluable art of blending and fine-tuning her pitch, to play as a cohesive unit within the woodwind section of the orchestra.

Lara also benefited from learning to maximize her approach to studying and practicing music. “I learned to be much more efficient by deliberately organizing my practice time. This allows me to do hyper-focused work where I need to, and it helps me to avoid the trap of repetition for the sake of repetition,” she says.

Yet, despite the technical and practical skills Lara learned, ultimately, she believes it was the support and encouragement she received throughout the Young Artists Program that truly made the biggest impact on her development as a musician.

“I can still feel the energy and enthusiasm…” she said. “One of the reasons YAP and the National Arts Centre are so special to me, is the incredible people behind it, and the encouragement that the community gives to the YAP musicians. It’s both inspiring and motivating,” she adds.

Lara is a graduate of McGill University where she completed both her Master’s in 2014 and Bachelor’s  2012 degrees on full scholarship under the tutelage of Timothy Hutchins and Denis Bluteau.

In 2015, she was named “Hot 30 Under 30 Canadian Classical Musicians” by CBC Music, and she performs regularly with the NAC Orchestra and has also performed with the Montreal Symphony and Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra. She is also engaged in several chamber projects, principally the ensemble “Duo Kalysta” with harpist Emily Belvedere, and the woodwind quintet “Kaleïo.”

Like many other alumni of the Young Artists Program, Lara firmly believes the mentoring, coaching and support she received were instrumental in shaping her attitude and in building her confidence as a musician.

“If you've already made it into the program, remember you deserve to be there.  Amongst such high-level company, it’s easy to feel pressure to prove yourself or to impress everyone,” she said.

Lara recommends that students who are new to the program try to view the YAP as an experience for personal growth.

“Take the opportunity to grow as a musician: get out of your comfort zone and try new techniques.  Be vulnerable and take musical risks.  And, most importantly, embrace and learn from your mistakes.  If you do all of that, you'll definitely be a new and improved version of yourself by the end of the program!” she said.

The deadline for the next round of applications for the Young Artists program is February 8, 2016.  For more information please visit our website.

Andrea Ruttan

Communications Officer, NAC Orchestra

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