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Former Arts Center Students Give Local Recital Before Performing Abroad

Stowell and Pertz image Emmy Stowell and Elenora Pertz

Two former students of the Ashtabula Arts Center who are now pursuing their crafts internationally will be giving a recital in Ashtabula this spring. Emmy Stowell, a senior in the Vocal Music Performance program at The Ohio State University, and Elenora Pertz, currently pursuing a Master’s in Collaborative Piano with the Vienna Conservatory of Music in Austria, will both be performing at Trinity Presbyterian Church on Saturday, April 2 at 3 p.m.

Stowell is training as an opera singer, and Pertz’s piano music focuses on a form known as the art song, in which a pianist collaborates with a vocal performer to create a perfectly-paced, pitched, and blended piece of music. Both young women took part in a wide range of classes, activities, and art forms during their years at the Ashtabula Arts Center, and shared their perspectives on how valuable those experiences were.

“The arts center exposed me to a variety of different art forms at a very young age. I attended a summer arts camp at the age of two there, and started taking dance and piano lessons at four and six, respectively. My piano teacher, Mary Redmond, noticed my interest in piano and nurtured my talent. Studying classical ballet with Shelagh Dubsky introduced me to the hard work it takes to make it in the arts, but also the unrivaled joy that one experiences onstage, and the unbreakable friendships that are made in the process. The arts center was a second home to me for many years, and some of my most memorable childhood memories were made on stage, in the wings, in a rehearsal studio or dressing room. The arts have an astounding ability to enhance one’s life, for both professionals and amateurs alike. Parents should encourage their children to find their passion and follow it with their whole heart, as mine have done. I know my experience at the arts center was a pivotal reason for me choosing a career in this field, and I hope that this institution will continue to inspire the young artists of tomorrow.

[This summer,] I will first be performing at the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden outside of Vienna, Austria. It is a five-week course of intensive study with leading interpreters of the German Lied (art song). As part of the course, we will take part in daily masterclasses with some of the finest Lied pianist and singers, and also perform intimate Schubertiades throughout Austria. Baden was a favorite summer retreat for Mozart and Beethoven, and is where they were inspired to write much of their music. I have been paired with a young Mezzo Soprano, and together we will prepare 25 songs by Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, Schumann, Mahler, and Wolf to perform during the five weeks. Later this summer, I will be one of two apprentice Repétiteurs (pianists) at the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar in Weimar, Germany. In three weeks’ time, we will rehearse and put on multiple performances of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and I will accompany the singers for both the coachings and play the entire opera during the performances.” – Elenora Pertz, Master’s in Collaborative Piano candidate, Vienna Conservatory of Music

“The arts center was always my second home. Every season was a new experience, whether it was The Nutcracker every winter or Straw Hat Theatre in the summer. I always loved the challenge and excitement of becoming a character on stage. My first show was The Velveteen Rabbit, which I probably begged my mom to sign me up for because I was much too young.  I remember asking on numerous occasions if I could be the rabbit and because I was the youngest they were pretty apprehensive. No one wanted to do it but me, so they finally cast me. Fast forward many years and I now study opera at Ohio State. After studying classical music more heavily in high school, I decided to audition for Interlochen [Center for the Arts, in Michigan]. My scholarship to Interlochen was facilitated through the arts center by a generous donation from Bruce Loomis [of Jefferson.] This experience was one of several that helped further my interest in classical music.” – Emmy Stowell, Bachelor’s in Vocal Music Performance candidate, The Ohio State University

Stowell will also be performing in Mozart’s The Magic Flute this summer at the Weimar Lyric Opera Studio in Germany.

There will not be a set admission charge for the concert at Trinity Presbyterian, and no reservations are required; rather, Stowell and Pertz are asking attendees only to make a free will offering to support their overseas summer education projects. Trinity Presbyterian is located at 1342 West Prospect Rd. in Ashtabula.

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