A Year of Musical Moments with Merit’s Guest Artists

Paco Fonta holding a guitar at the front of a classroom.

Performing a piece in front of its living composer, being conducted by a world-famous maestro, learning practical audition skills from a professional musician—these are some of the experiences that Merit School of Music students at all levels enjoy thanks to collaborations with a wide array of guest artists. This opportunity to expand their musical horizons, gain new technical and artistic insights, and make incredible connections is an invaluable complement to their day-to-day learning in private lessons, group classes, and ensembles.

One such guest artist journeyed all the way from France to work with our summer camp students! Marc Geujon, the Principal Trumpet for Opera National de Paris, kicked off our Trumpet Camp by spending two days sharing his expertise with students and helping them to develop their skills through warmups, breathing exercises, and technique instruction, as well as providing insight into the life of a professional musician at such a high level. To wrap up his time with us, Mr. Geujon performed a breathtaking recital in our own Gottlieb Hall, inspiring our students, faculty, and staff alike.

Education at Merit can extend beyond classical music, too. In an exciting collaboration with Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, we welcomed internationally renowned flamenco guitarist, singer, and composer, Paco Fonta. Mr. Fonta spent two days teaching the intermediate and advanced guitar students in our group class program about this Spanish folk musical tradition. Students had the opportunity to learn the unique techniques, strumming patterns, and chord sequences that create the distinctive flamenco sound.

“As musicians at Merit, we have so many opportunities to be exposed to different cultures and styles of music that we might not otherwise learn about,” says guitar student Raffi. She was struck by the interdisciplinary nature of the flamenco tradition, as she also studies flamenco dance outside of Merit. “Flamenco goes beyond guitar; there are also vocal music and dance elements, so to learn about the way the music we study crosses into other art forms is really exciting.”

The knowledge, insight, and cultural diversity these guest artists bring are essential in enriching our students’ education and providing them with a broader framework through which to understand music and the world. We are delighted to facilitate these transformative experiences for our students and grateful to the wonderful artists that choose to be a part of music education at Merit!

Over the last year, exceptional guest artists have provided transformative experience for students at Merit School of Music including:

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