Each year, Columbia's Odyssey Chamber Music Series selects a pair of fellows. These young artists learn the ropes of classical performance both on and off-stage. The 2016-2017 Odyssey fellows are Anna Provo and Ryan Koesterer. They visited the Classical 90.5 studios recently and talked with Classical 90.5's Trevor Harris about their expectations for the coming season.
On a recent visit to the Classical 90.5 studios, said "Odyssey Chamber Music Series is a really cool group that brings in world-class musicians and provides world-class music from Columbia, Missouri... I didn't expect to find anything like that when I came to Columbia, Missouri. It was kind of made up to be a big city and I come find out it's not quite as big as it was made out to be, but there's still this crazy music scene and Odyssey is definitely a center of the awesome music that's coming in regularly."
Provo, a graduate student at MU studying percussion, says about her studies, "I study everything from orchestral excerpts to playing steel pan to playing mbira, which is a thumb piano, to playing marimba and drum set, so it's a really really wide gamut." Her influences include the percussion quintet Nexus, So Percussion and Third Coast Percussion. Says Provo of performing live: "I would always rather play with somebody else than by myself, so I like to listen to people who play with other people. I think it is a remarkable experience to make music with someone and have to be on such an intimate level that you can see what's happening and the communication that happens."
During this upcoming Odyssey Chamber Music Series season, Provo expects to help with events, prepare and take down after events, take tickets and helping plan her own concert with her fellow fellow Ryan Koesterer. She took fewer hours of coursework this semester in order to be able to best contribute to her Odyssey work. "It is an excellent opportunity to work with really awesome musicians as well as being able to learn to interact at a professional level with a series such as this," said Provo. "I am treating it like I would treat a class almost, like, this is an important thing that I'm going to do, so I am going to put work into it just like it's a class, as if I am being graded, because I am. I am being graded to my own standards."
Perryville, Missouri native Ryan Koesterer is the second fellow in the 2016-2017 Odyssey Series fellow. The flutist is pursuing a bachelors degree at MU. This spring, he studied at the US Army School where he completed Advanced Individual Training. "After a soldier graduates from basic training, they go off to do advanced training specific to their job. My job was to a musician," said Koesterer. "I had to go through a 10-week course where they show you how to work and perform in small groups... how to march a ceremony, you have lessons every week. It was a fantastic experience... I've never had an experience like that. These people are all professionals already. This is their job."
Asked why the US Army has a band, Koesterer said "It is a big historic factor. You have the old fife and drum core. You can track these types of bands almost to Roman times. One of the things I would ask my platoon sargeants 'What's the most valuable thing that you've done in your career as a bandsman?' and for them it's actually getting deployed." In that setting performers enter war zones and perform for infantrymen. "We go out to these locations that the USO won't travel to due to the danger factor. We bring a little piece of home to them," said Koesterer.
The 13th Odyssey Chamber Music Series begins Wednesday, October 5 with a concert with the San Francisco-based men's choral ensemble Chanticleer.