SUNY Schenectady String Day
Join us for a day for strings, including a masterclass, a Feldenkrais class for string players, Q and A with Professor Barker Schwartz and Professor O’Neil, and presentations by instrument repair shops.
Saturday, October 14, 2023
9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
SUNY Schenectady, School of Music Building
9:30 a.m. - Introductory remarks and discussion of careers in music by SUNY Schenectady Ann-Marie Barker-Schwartz and André Laurent O’Neil
10:00 a.m. - Masterclass with Ms. Barker-Schwartz and Mr. O’Neil
11:15 a.m. - Feldenkrais for String Players led by Norman Thibodeau, Feldenkrais Instructor
12:00 p.m. - Lunch (please bring your lunch)
12:30 p.m. - Q and A session with Ms. Barker-Schwartz and Mr. O’Neil
1:00 p.m. - Bow and String Instrument Maintenance and Repair led by Thomas Dunn of Sixth Generation Violins
Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz, founder and director of Musicians of Ma’alwcyk, attended Boston University, where she studied with Roger Shermont and received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance. Concertmaster of Albany Pro Musica and many of the choral orchestras in the Capital Region, and a former member of the first violin section of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and Barker Schwartz currently performs with the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra. She received her Master’s degree in American History from the University at Albany (New York), where she specialized in research of music in America during the 1700s and 1800s. A Cunningham Research Resident at the New York State Library, she worked on early 19th-century musical activities in Albany, culminating in a production in 2009 of George Washington’s favorite opera The Poor Soldier by William Shield and John O’Keefe. Ms. Schwartz was a producer for Dorian Recordings, and continues in that capacity for the award-winning Baroque ensemble REBEL. Their last recording, devoted to music of Telemann, was in the 2014 Grammy pool.
Ms. Schwartz has taught music history at the University at Albany and Siena College. She is the adjunct professor of violin and viola and also coaches the chamber music ensembles at SUNY-Schenectady.
André Laurent O’Neil loves to stay active in many diverse musical projects, ranging from performing on and with period instruments (including the viola da gamba and fortepiano), to teaching modern cello, playing chamber music, and composing. A deep and lifelong interest in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Solo Cello Suites has led him to record all six for CD release last March. André performs regularly with Capitol Chamber Artists and Bennington Baroque, is principal cellist of the Union College Community Orchestra, Studio Instructor at Union College, and is the newly appointed principal cellist of the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra. He also collaborates frequently with Musicians of Ma’alwyck. Farther afield he is the principal continuo baroque cellist and gamba player for New Trinity Baroque, with whom he performs several times a year in Atlanta, Georgia and Belgrade, Serbia. He is an alumnus of the Empire State Youth Orchestra.
Flutist and composer Norman Thibodeau lives in Schenectady, New York, and is active as a performer and teacher from Central New York through Western New England. He was assistant principal flutist of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México and is now a member of the chamber group Musicians of Ma’alwyck and the wind quintet Fünf. He teaches flute at Schenectady Community College, the Berkshire Music School, and privately. He has recorded solo flute works of Anthony Holland for Albany Records, and has had both live and recorded performances broadcast on NPR.
As a composer, he has had works published and recorded by ALRY Publications and by flutist Jan Vinci on Albany Records (a CD very favorably reviewed in American Record Guide). His ensemble compositions have been performed by the orchestra of the University at Albany, the College of St. Rose Wind Ensemble, and the String Ensemble of the Empire State Youth Orchestra. Critical praise cites “dazzling contrapuntal moments” and “crunchy, yet pleasing complexity” (Byron Nilsson in Metroland), and even from his earliest orchestral work, “a remarkable grasp of the medium” (Albany Times-Union).
He combines his flute and composition interests in the medium of “Extended Techniques” for flute, using such sounds as double-stops and an array of mouth percussion. This resulted in invitations to be guest artist of the 2008 Skidmore College Flute Festival, and to teach extended techniques at the Wildacres Flute Retreat (which he continues to do).
Norman was trained at Peabody Conservatory and the University at Albany. He studied composition with Leonard Kastle and Lee Mitchell, as well as counterpoint and orchestration with John Henry Carton. His flute teachers include Irvin Gilman, Robert Dick, Stephen Preston, and Britton Johnson, and he has performed in masterclasses of Trevor Wye, Thomas Nyfenger, and Julius Baker. In recent years, both his playing and teaching are informed by the Feldenkrais Method, of which he is a trained practitioner.