As one week of the Music Academy Remote Learning Institute (MARLI) comes to a close and a new week begins, it seems an appropriate time to look back on an action-packed and inspiring Week One. Each Sunday on the Resonance Blog, you’ll read about the week’s MARLI experience from those living it every day. And who better to kick off the first of these “Week in Review” posts than the two people who have been living with MARLI since its inception? This week, we hear from MARLI Co-Directors Jennifer Bowman and Casey Molino Dunn.
Henry Michaels: What has been a highlight for you of MARLI Week One?
Jennifer Bowman: Finally getting to know these amazing fellows. I love seeing them engage with the faculty and the curriculum that we’ve developed, and reading, seeing, and hearing their responses. I have worked with young and aspiring artists for a number of years now. Their response makes everything worth it.
Casey Molino Dunn: Particularly rewarding has been fellows’ comments about how MARLI not only offers but builds connections between a range of artistic, career, and community-building opportunities. Lessons, studio classes and a range of seminars, including the first round of Innovation speakers, have all focused on what it means to be a 21st-century musician.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
JB: All of the “known unknowns.” MARLI – as a concept – is traversing into completely new territory for the Academy. Casey Molino Dunn and I are new to the organization and were previously only familiar with its reputation as a coveted proving ground for so many world-famous classical performers. In two months (!), we learned about the people, infrastructure, and traditions in order to make MARLI a reality. Our collective experiences at the Manhattan School of Music and The Kennedy Center certainly helped, but the Academy’s amazing faculty, administration, board, and fellows have been invaluable resource. I’m grateful for their time, institutional knowledge, and patience as we figured out this puzzle. MARLI would have never happened without their contributions.
MARLI Co-Director Jennifer Bowman
CMD: Providing varied offerings for 134 fellows all over the world means trying to optimize synchronization (and Zoom connections) across lots of time zones. As Jennifer has noted, this is where the collaborative nature of the MARLI team and the entire Music Academy community has been so important. The amount of activity, all happening digitally, is energizing.
MARLI Co-Director Casey Molino Dunn
What has been the biggest surprise for you in how MARLI is playing out?
JB: The willingness and ability of our fellows to embrace MARLI even as they and the world around them are dealing with so much uncertainty. We still feel the loss of what the Music Academy Summer School and Festival could have been, but I am so encouraged to see their response to what it has become. I’ve heard many close to this program say that the Music Academy is an annual escape. I hope MARLI can still be an escape on some level, but I appreciate how the fellows have also used this as a time of learning, reflection, and development as they navigate the next stage of their careers.
CMD: While it probably shouldn’t surprise me, I can’t believe how fast the first week has flown. During the planning process it became apparent that, like the in-person Festival, the fellows would have an abundance of opportunities. I’m thankful that we’ve been able to set up the digital meeting space in ways that allow fellows access to a range of individual and group offerings.
Looking ahead, what is one thing you’re looking forward to in Week Two?
JB: More performances featuring the Academy fellows on Concert Hall Online! The submissions are rolling in!
CMD: Additional opportunities for fellows to work with a range of leaders in the field, both in their studios, Innovation Seminars and one-on-one career consultations.