Olivia Steinman Deems, Artistic Operations Manager for the Sarasota Music Festival, Joins the Club

Olivia Steinman Deems, Artistic Operations Manager for the Sarasota Music Festival, Joins the Club

After a two year pandemic induced hiatus, the Sarasota Orchestra is bringing back the Sarasota Music Festival, June 6 -25 at the Sarasota Opera House and Holley Hall. Here to introduce herself to the podcast and tell us all about this incredible summer festival for approximately 60 pre-professional music fellows and their faculty mentors is Dr. Olivia Steinman Deems, Artistic Operations Manager for the Sarasota Orchestra and Sarasota Music Festival. Come along and join the club!

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• Dr. Olivia Steinman Deems Facebook & Instagram & LinkedIn

• Gabriel Kahane Facebook & Instagram & Twitter

• Caroline Shaw Website & Facebook & Instagram & Twitter

• Calidore String Quartet Website & Facebook & Instagram & Twitter & YouTube

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Robyn Bell: Each summer, the Sarasota Orchestra gives our town a festival of music. In fact, the summer before I began working at SCF, I came down to look for a place to live and stumbled upon the Sarasota Music Festival. Literally the first cultural event I attended on the Suncoast. I didn't know anything about what I was watching. I didn't know the history. I didn't know it was associated with any other organization, but I remember being in that fabulous performance and I was just stunned by the Sarasota Opera House. This summer after a two year pandemic induced hiatus, the festival is back stronger and better than ever as they say. And today I have invited the artistic operations manager for the Sarasota Orchestra, Dr. Olivia Steinman Deems to tell me all about it. So Olivia welcome to the club. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Hi Robyn. Thanks so much for having me 

Robyn Bell: now, before we talk about this year's Sarasota Music Festival. Olivia, tell us a little bit about yourself. So let's start at birth. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Sure. Well, I'm a summer baby. So I grew up in Monroe, Michigan. That's where I'm from. 

Robyn Bell: Good Midwestern girl, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Midwestern girl. Yeah. Come from a family that was all born and raised in Monroe. So everyone in my family is there still a little west 

Robyn Bell: of the only transplant? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yes, I was. I was the first one to leave. And that started when I went away to college. But now some, some other folks have moved. My parents have left moved further north. 

Robyn Bell: Oh no, they went the wrong direction. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yeah. They were the opposite of snowbirds. So uh, I'm a clarinet player by trade. I chose clarinet because my dad. Played clarinet and you know, daddy's girl had to do something like dad be like, dad make dad proud. I grew up watching him go to his high school's alumni, marching band events and. I just thought it was so cool, but after all those years he could still pick up his clarinet, go play, you know, he'd put on his varsity jacket and they all go March.

Robyn Bell: And let's just say, I mean, the public schools in Michigan have fabulous music education programs, so you've got a really good education. I'm sure. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yeah. I do think I did. You know, it was tough growing up. I graduated high school in 2010. So amidst the great recession when all of the arts programs in the country really were kind of on the chopping block. So I feel really fortunate that I had parents who supported me and that Michigan is home to two great institutions for summer music camps, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and Interlochen. So of course those were right in my backyard and I knew about them and I had access to them. Blue Lake in particular could foster in the summer. Keep my music education. I buy 

Robyn Bell: it's a great camp.

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yeah, it was. I attended six summers and went international with them for one summer. 

Robyn Bell: How cool do you still play your clarinet? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Everyone asks me this, you know, I have a doctorate in clarinet performance and. Don't really play clarinet anymore. 

Robyn Bell: What a waste of money. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: I have heard that too, from parents. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. People that paid for those degrees. Well, let's back up then. I made you jump ahead a little bit. So you graduated high school. Where did you go to college?

Olivia Steinman Deems: I started actually at Eastern Michigan University. I had a good relationship with the clarinet faculty there. Kimberly Cole Luevano and I started. And the December of my freshman year. She gives me a call over Christmas break that she's been offered a job at the University of North Texas. She's leaving. And she'd like me to come with her. 

Robyn Bell: He's recruiting you. Yes. At North Texas. A fabulous music school. Yeah. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: You know, and I had such an attachment, such a relationship with her. I'd been. Going to clarinet days and band camps at Eastern Michigan 

Robyn Bell: I'll follow you anywhere. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Right. So, I mean, I really didn't even apply anywhere else for college for undergrad, because I just knew she was my person. I knew she was my teacher. So I hung up the phone said, Hey, mom and dad, I'm moving to Texas. And they were like, what? So sure enough, you know what was that? Seven months later, I packed up my stuff, moved to Texas and started all over. 

Robyn Bell: And so you got your undergraduate degree in clarinet performance, performance, university of north, Texas?

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yes. From University of North Texas. 

Robyn Bell: And where'd you go 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Then, I ended up getting an assistant. Teaching music theory and doing administrative thing or 

Robyn Bell: one of those smart people. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: I don't know. I think I just had decent grades and I studied 

Robyn Bell: so where was that? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So that was at University of Akron. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. In Ohio, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: in Ohio. So that was two years. So I did a lot of chamber music work there. I was part of a graduate wind quintet, and did a lot of community engagement, which really turned me on to chamber music. So then after that I was looking for a doctoral program thinking that I always wanted to be a college professor. That was my goal from, I dunno, high school early on. I knew I was going to get a doctorate.

Robyn Bell: We wanted to be just like your teacher and this is the impact teachers have on us. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: I just thought I can see me doing what she does. I want to be that. So. Even as my interests were changing and evolving. And as I was learning more about my unique skill sets, I still had this goal. I'm going to get my doctorate. I have to get my doctorate. So I ended up at Florida State University for a doctorate in clarinet performance, still I had an assistantship, another administrative assistantship, which started to turn the wheels even more. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. Diverging path is coming your way. Yeah. I see this. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So I ended up working in the registrar's office for a little while in the College of Music helping with, you know, recital credits and students and classes. I ended up getting an additional at her switching an assistantship, I guess you could say to working in the College of Music, admissions office, doing some recruiting and tour is and more administrative work, 

Robyn Bell: but the student services side of college education. Yes. Yup. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: And while I was at FSU doing my. Performance coursework. I also was simultaneously pursuing arts administration coursework. They have a really great arts administration program. I think it was one of the first or the only one associated with the college of music in the nation. Actually.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. We actually have a couple of students from SCF that had transferred to Florida State. They finished their music ed degree and they stay there for that. Master's in arts administration. It's a really good program.

Olivia Steinman Deems: Right, right. The great thing about FSU for doctoral performance students was that I could pursue both paths. And my professor Dr. Debbie Bish was very supportive of this. She encouraged me to, pursue both pathways for arts administration and clarinet performance.

Robyn Bell: And thank goodness for that, right? Yes. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yeah. It's not often that you can find professor who is supportive of you pursuing something wholeheartedly, even outside of their own area. But I was so fortunate. So I took coursework in community engagement, pursued part-time work with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and worked for them my whole time at FSU for three years doing community engagement, marketing box office, you name it, anything I could do anything. I could get my hands on. 

Robyn Bell: And you probably saw, I mean, people that go into performance major and you think I want to be a college professor, or I want to be a symphony orchestra player. The often those jobs just aren't readily available. Very hard to land, lots of competition in the arts administration. You have a whole world that is opened up to you there. So this was a very smart various work professional move for you. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yes, you're exactly right. So funnily enough, my doctoral treatise, you know, when you get a doctorate, you have to write a big document of some kind. 

Robyn Bell: And I'm aware 

Olivia Steinman Deems: that FSU it's called a treatise. And uh, I was struggling to come up with, what was I going to write? You know, every performance major I knew was writing about a particular piece or a composer or a performance practice. And that just wasn't me. I wasn't particularly drawing. To that kind of writing and research, but I knew I had this interest in research in administration in higher education. Like how, how do people get there? How do they get a job? Or what are the odds? I'm a big logical think things through kind of person. So I actually studied and wrote about the history of. The DM or DMA degrees. Oh, so how, how did these degrees come about? Why did they exist? Why are they called doctor 

Robyn Bell: you know, I need to read your dissertation or your treatise because people ask me that, oh, you're a PhD. And I go, actually, I'm a DMA what in the world is that, and I describe it as as a practicing degree, you know, putting my skill into practice. So tonight, I'm going to read your dissertation. So eventually you graduate and you start applying for jobs. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yeah. So I didn't even graduate before I started applying for jobs. 

Robyn Bell: Good for you.

Olivia Steinman Deems: I um, I'm a clarinet player, which means I'm very type a and very detail oriented. Preplanned. So, but 

Robyn Bell: that describes every clarinet player. I know. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Exactly. So by Christmas break, I already had tabs opened of, you know, where could I apply? What orchestras was I interested in? Did I want to go to the higher ed track and work in college music admissions? Was I looking for orchestra? Was I looking for summer music festival? I really was open to anything because my experiences were so varied. That I felt like I could be happy doing almost anything. And I had skills that I would be successful in almost any of those areas, but I wasn't considering performance jobs, which was a little bit of you know, I had to really adjust my mindset because I had just spent nine years dedicating my life to perfecting this craft, which I dearly love and still do. I mean, I have such a passion. For music and for clarinet in particular, I will argue till the end that it's the best instrument there is, you know, 

Robyn Bell: I know you're in a room with a trumpet player, right. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So, you know, it was a real shift for me, but I ended up applying, I think, to 20 positions. 

Robyn Bell: Good for you

Olivia Steinman Deems: at the time, the end of January had rolled around. And ended up with, I think, 15 different interviews. So 15 callbacks, which led me to believe I'm doing the right thing, 

Robyn Bell: right. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: This is where I should be. This is what I should be doing. And ended up with seven job offers and nothing the same. So every job was different, a different industry, a different type of position. I had a 

Robyn Bell: fascinating take your pick, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: right? So then I was left in this other conundrum. Well, like now what, how do I choose? I have a marketing job here. I have an offer for admissions work here. I have an operations job here. I have this, I have something in Arkansas, something in Michigan, something in Florida is like, how do I choose? So. I actually chose Sarasota because of Sarasota Music Festival because of the arts and culture, tradition and history here in Sarasota, Manatee counties, there was no comparison. I even chose Sarasota over Michigan, my home state, where my family is for, for these reasons I felt I would be at home here.

Robyn Bell: It's amazing. Isn't it. But all we have to offer. And so what year then did you come. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So I moved here May 2019 5 days after I graduated

Robyn Bell: and a year. I guess not even a year before the pandemic, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: no I worked. I think what is that? Eight months 

Robyn Bell: I was doing the math in my head. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yeah. So I still joke with my colleagues. You know, it feels like I've been there forever because we've all been through so much. These past three years and we've had to work in new ways and learn each other in new ways, but we still joke whenever someone. Oh, w we didn't know. You didn't know that, or you haven't done this before.

Robyn Bell: It's actually been through what? Yeah, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: I haven't seen a normal season guys. I came here at the tail end of a season, jumped into a festival. The three, a week's work experience. And then we had a pandemic halfway through our first orchestra season. No, I haven't done this. 

Robyn Bell: But you've you have survived and you're thriving.

Olivia Steinman Deems: So happy. 

Robyn Bell: Now. Olivia, I am a trumpet player, as we said, and as a trumpet player, I started going to, band camp at local university, similar to going to the Blue Lake Camp every summer until the summer, before my senior year in high school. And that's when I switched it up a bit. And I went to the Swanee Summer Music Festival as a camper there it's on top of Monteagle mountain in Tennessee, and it was just orchestra camp. And I had never been to anything like that before. In fact, it was at that six weeks festival where I decided to major in music. I said, I have to do this every day of my life. So I'm aware of the many different kinds of summer music experiences in opportunities for young developing musicians. But what makes the Sarasota Music Festival different from all those other ones? Like Sewanee or Brevard or Interlochen or Aspen? What's so special about this one. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: I think there are a couple of things. As a musician, myself, the reason Sarasota was ever on the map for me even was because of Sarasota Music Festival. It has such a reputation. And I think that's because we have such a unique focus on chamber music. That is our big thing, what we love. And as a musician, that's what I love. 

Robyn Bell: I was going to say, musicians, love playing chamber music. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: once you leave school or in the summer, even you don't have often opportunities to just focus on chamber music. It's one of those soul feeding things that we do as musicians, but. It's not necessarily where people get jobs, right? We're talking about you, you end up in an orchestra or you end up teaching and in chamber music, isn't always the focus, but our festival offers a three week intensive experience of a lot of chamber music. You can study. Maybe even 9, 10, 12 chamber music pieces intensively while you're here. And I don't know anywhere else where you can find that. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. That is a big component to it. Now, there, there is also the large concerts on Saturday night. So it is this mix, but the focus of chamber music, you really don't find that in other festivals, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: I would agree. And even our orchestra. As you were saying full orchestra, but the repertoire that's selected is not necessarily the repertoire that you get to play all of the time. You know, it's smaller chamber orchestra type pieces, like the Brandenburgs or The Handel Water Music, you know, these other pieces that you don't always get to hear or see.

Robyn Bell: And there are 60 musicians that are brought to our city every summer. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: That's right. So we bring in approximately 60 pre-professional approximately college age, some have graduated. 

Robyn Bell: Let me ask you this. Because they have to apply to come. Right. Okay. So I'm going to, I have two parts of this question. How many people generally apply? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So generally or over 400 applications this year? It was I think 458 applications. 

Robyn Bell: So this is very competitive to get here. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: It is incredibly competitive and some instruments more so than others, you know? For example, I think there were 50 oboes who applied and we take four, so that's incredibly competitive.

Robyn Bell: And then my other question is what is the audition process? What do these pre-professional musicians have to do to get selected?

Olivia Steinman Deems: So currently we use an audition platform called acceptance. So they submit an audition video of a set repertoire. Sometimes that will reflect repertoire that we're planning to do. The following June applications are open of course, in the fall. So usually from October to around mid February, we'll accept applications and auditions. So they submit recordings of orchestral, excerpts of chamber music of solo works 

Robyn Bell: in it's all audio. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: It's actually audio and video 

Robyn Bell: video. Okay, good, good.

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yep. And it'll be with a collaborative pianist. For example, if they're doing a solo piece, like a Sonata, for example, that might be accompanied in chamber music, they would submit with a group that they had formed maybe at their school. So they might submit a wind quintet or a string quartet that they'd been working on, but it's their experience and their personal performance that's being evaluated.

Robyn Bell: And then who evaluates in. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So this changes every year, the specific person who will evaluate, but each instrument is adjudicated by a faculty member of that same instrument. So we rotate so that the faculty member is not doing auditions every year, because it's quite a bit. 

Robyn Bell: One of the faculty members that will be here, coaching and working with those, those got it. Okay. that would be a lot for it to ask an oboe player. You have to listen to 50 auditions, but they do it. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: They do it, and they do it with love I don't know someone who has been to the festival and doesn't leave feeling like that's family, or this is family, or that's part of who I am now. And we have faculty who've been coming for 30 plus years. So this is their home. And even faculty who've attended as a student. And now. We'll be back as faculty. So there's a real connection and a real sense of pride in shaping what the festival will look like, 

Robyn Bell: which puts the sprinkles on the cake. As I say, it's this extra special now, these 60. Pre professional musicians and all the faculty, coaches, conductors, guest artists, when they come to Sarasota, where do they stay? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So we are so lucky, that our building is just less than a block away from the Hyatt. So everyone stays at the Hyatt, Regency, Sarasota 

Robyn Bell: Oola LA.

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yes. , we're so fortunate. When you asked me what makes us unique. I would have said our location because 

Robyn Bell: you're not on a college campus and people living in dorms, this is like the Hyatt Regency on the water for three weeks. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Right. We really, 

Robyn Bell: where do I apply?

Olivia Steinman Deems: We really treat everyone who comes here, as a professional artist, as a guest artist, the same way that we treat folks, we try to give a good experience of what is it like to be a professional musician. And so, the fellows who come have a roommate, so it's not quite the same.

Robyn Bell: But still they must be like, I have found three weeks of heaven 

Olivia Steinman Deems: and it was pretty nice. It is pretty great. 

Robyn Bell: That is awesome. Do, they have to pay like a fee to come? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So there is a fee. We are really fortunate and blessed really by the donors and sponsors that we have here in the Sarasota and Manatee areas, because without them, the support. For the fellows, we really count on it and so do the fellows. 

Robyn Bell: And that helps subsidize the cost of the rental of the Sarasota Opera House and the faculty salaries, maybe the coaching salary, since I got 

Olivia Steinman Deems: it really covers the cost for the fellow. So 

Robyn Bell: the cost of the room and food 

Olivia Steinman Deems: room, housing board recording all these types of things. So. The actual cost of a fellow to attend. They only actually pay about one fifth of what it costs. 

Robyn Bell: Excellent. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So , we're really, really fortunate. 

Robyn Bell: So if it's a hundred bucks, they're only paying 20, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: right? 

Robyn Bell: I mean, I'm sure that's not a hundred bucks, but that's in my head. That's where I go. Right. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: We all know what housing costs and what things cost here in Sarasota. So, yeah,

Robyn Bell: that's excellent. And. I got the press release that you just got a big grant from the state for the Sarasota Music Festival. So those kinds of things also offset the cost, right? Yeah. Right. It's fantastic. Group effort, community, local state, and you have international fellows that come over as well. Right? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: We do. Yeah. So this year we have quite a few, actually we have a couple coming from Germany, one coming from Estonia, another hopeful. Russia who has taken solace, I think in Japan right now. So we have people coming from all over, even the faculty member from Germany. So this is truly an international festival. 

Robyn Bell: Have you, now you, you did the one festival in 2019, and this is kind of your second one because of the pandemic. Right. But do you see any language barriers when we bring people over from international areas?

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yeah, there definitely are, you know Truly most of the students or the fellows who come that are from abroad are studying in America at conservatory. 

Robyn Bell: So they're picking up the way, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: have some sense of the language already. So there are some nuances, to English, especially American English that maybe aren't 

Robyn Bell: it's so contorted, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: right. So that maybe aren't picked up or communication. So smoothly with someone who English is not their first language. 

Robyn Bell: And I'm going to tell you, I love the way you call them fellows, because I mean, they are students some, as you said, may have already graduated or maybe they're masters or doctoral students. But to call them the fellow and the faculty. Right. I, I love that. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: And we really view them. Like I just was saying, you know, they are all artists at the, core of it. You know, there are fellow artists, there are faculty artists, and we have a couple of guests, artists. Huh. They're all contributing in some way to the artistic 

Robyn Bell: so now we know a little bit more about the fellows. Tell us about the faculty, the guest conductors that you bring in a guest soloists. They were going to have this year. What can we expect? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So. We all know that our music director, Jeffery Kahane will conduct. So he'll be featured as a conductor during week three. So that'll be really exciting. The big finale concert there on June 25th at the Opera House. 

Robyn Bell: I'm going to interrupt you. We'll go back to that. I should've asked Jeffrey Kahane. Is he kind of responsible for picking all of the literature that's performed at the entire festival? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Sort of okay. It's, it's a collaborative, mixed bag. Okay. The best way I think I would describe it. 

Robyn Bell: Maybe the faculty are also involved. I want to do this piece. And 

Olivia Steinman Deems: so there are some pillars basically. So we pre-program the Thursday, Friday and Saturday concerts. So Jeffrey and some other artistic staff at the orchestra will collaborate to. Determined. Oh, this would be a good piece. Or maybe let's approach this faculty and see if they have something they would like to play. We'd like to feature this person. So let's reach out and see what they might want 

Robyn Bell: the shell game. Yes. Yep. Okay. I see by, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: but then there are things that are not selected that we have no idea what they will be until April, which is really fun because. The other unique thing about Sarasota Music Festival is the fellows who attend get to choose what they play, what they work on. And for any professional musician, that's a real treat because if you're in an orchestra, you know, your hand in music, this is what the season is or. If you're in school again, you're handed the, you, 

Robyn Bell: we're going to learn this piece this semester. Right? Right. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So this is an opportunity for the fellows. submit works to us chamber music that they want to work on. They could even choose their group mates, their ensemble mates. If they know someone or maybe they. Make a connection before the festival. So they will submit repertoire to us in advance and based on their responses, we form chamber ensembles that will make up the Sunday rising stars, concerts, which feature. The fellow ensemble 

Robyn Bell: that's right. Yep. All right. I see. Now it's all coming, but you know, as you're talking, I'm thinking what a massive project this is for this, you know, the staff and the communication of the fellows when they're their chosen, the faculty, the guests conductors, the artists, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: right? Yeah. It's a really tight turnaround, you know, because as I mentioned earlier, our applications for the fellows. Do until February 15. So we have about a two week window until announcements go out to the fellows who was accepted. That happens March one. And then there's about a two week, three week period where they, you know, decide, make their commitment or need an extension, something like that. And then we start collecting information. And then by mid April, we have to have formed the chamber ensembles for, 

Robyn Bell: you got to go to press with your marketing, and this is what's going to, ah, so it is loosen. I'm breaking out in a rash. They could about it. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: You know, it is kind of a, I like to think of it as a marathon, not a sprint because I've been working. I work on the festival year round. But the bulk, I definitely speed up my pace. My running speed increases 

Robyn Bell: that last four miles. Yeah. Wow. That's amazing. Okay. And I interrupted our talk of the conductors and I'm so sorry. So but I just had my mind went there. So thank you for indulging me. So you've got Jeffrey Kahane conducting the last concert of the three weeks. Who else are we bring into town? 

Olivia Steinman Deems: We will feature. Yaniv Dinur. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, yes, he was here. He actually spoke to our music students, but 

Olivia Steinman Deems: so he's a familiar face to Sarasota and we're glad to have him back. He'll be featured week one for the orchestra 

Robyn Bell: to go hear that. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yes. And week two Jeffrey will also conduct. But it's a much smaller orchestra,

Robyn Bell: yeah. It's a reduced orchestration pieces. Yes. I saw that. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: And some chamber music as well, so not always as a conductor needed. Yeah. So we're excited about that. Some other guests, artists that are coming, who are excited to welcome back or the Calidore String Quartet. So folks who were around last summer would remember them from our re-imagined reinvented festival, which did not feature any fellows, but only guests, artists. And the great thing about the Calidore is that two of their members are actually festival alumni. So really love bringing them back. 

Robyn Bell: That is so neat. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yeah. So there'll be featured. On the Thursday artists showcase and Holley Hall during week one, and then also on the festival Friday week one at the Opera House. So we're really looking forward to welcoming them back. And then two other really special guests that we're bringing in are Gabriel Kahane and Caroline Shaw, 

Robyn Bell: any relation to Jeffrey there, 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Gabriel is Jeffrey's son, of course. And in his own right is a fabulous composer performer as is Caroline.

Robyn Bell: We'll get to hear from her and she's coming. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So she will be here in Sarasota. Tuesday of week three, she and Gabriel are collaborating with two fellow string quartets. So those eight fellows will get to perform side by side with these phenomenal composer performers. And even one piece we'll be joined by Jeffrey Kahane. He'll join the group as well. So it'll be a really unique opportunity for those fellows and for the audience, because we'll have this hour long program of. Folksy classical music, which is so interesting, you know, with violin vocals, guitar, piano, string quartet, what an interesting combination. And then we'll follow that up with a talk about. All the audience, the fellows can have an opportunity to chat really with Gabriel and Caroline. And what does it mean to be a composer performer? How'd you get here and what does it mean? How do you do this? 

Robyn Bell: You know what I always ask, how do you make money? How do you make money at this? And, you know speaking of that, I teach a summer music appreciation class and part of the main theme of my music appreciation classes is let's track and see how musicians at first made no money. And then how did they really start to make money? And so that's where I go with that. But my summer music appreciation. Because there's really no other concerts to attend. And it's part of the course that they attended a live concert. We require them to attend something from the Sarasota Music Festival.

Olivia Steinman Deems: Wonderful. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, the concert reports are great. They always love it. And many of them had no idea what this event was there, but to see people that are kind of their age, you know, doing us. Yeah. And it's different. I'll read a concert report from someone that went to a concert at the Opera House versus someone that went to say the Sunday. Yes. And Holley Hall. And so take just a second and tell us, you know, there's a little formula to what you do, your weekly performances and where they are. So explain that to us real quick. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Sure. We basically give four concerts each week. That's the basic formula and we have some sprinkled in some extras, as I just mentioned, you know, the Gabe and Caroline feature week three. And then we also do the lecture, a lecture that normally features either the. Current music director or a former, usually it's featuring Robert Levin this year. It will feature both Robert Levin and Jeffrey Kahane. They're fabulous together. Brilliant minds. That's going to be something not to be missed too, but the basic formula is four concerts a week, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So Thursday concerts are in Holley Hall and those feature, the faculty artists. So those are a real treat for the fellows where they don't have to perform. They can just sit in the audience and hear their mentors perform. And for the audience to those, concerts are wildly popular. Then Fridays are the festival Fridays as we call them. And those are at the Opera House in those feature chamber ensembles, not so much large orchestras, maybe a small chamber piece that is maybe 11 or 12. So you could consider that in some ways a chamber orchestra, I suppose. So those are on Fridays. Personally my favorite as a chamber music sucker, I guess you could say, I, you don't get to hear chamber music and you don't get to hear these pieces all the time. So festival Fridays, that's my pick. I love them. 

Robyn Bell: Nice. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: And in the Opera House, it's so beautiful. The setting is beautiful. The sound is yeah. And, 

Robyn Bell: you know, all the musicians I talked to in town, they say, that's their favorite place to perform acoustically and just visually 

Olivia Steinman Deems: yeah. Yeah. There's something special about it. And then the festival Saturdays are traditionally larger orchestra pieces. So thank, you know, Mendelson Prokofiev of that type of thing. And those will typically feature a soloist. So we have Shang. During week one, she will guest solo as a pianist noise. And that will be really great on the Chopin. And then the next fourth concert of the week is usually Sunday, which is the rising stars, recitals. And those feature, the fellow chamber ensembles that have just been rehearsing for only one week. It is a truly incredible 

Robyn Bell: crash course. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: Yeah, no, it is just amazing what they put together. So each ensemble will prepare one movement of their chosen repertoire that, you know, we just spoke about how they kind of get formed based on their own preferences, what they want to play. So they'll play one movement. It kind of forms a potpourri recital of sorts, you know, just in wide variety of ensembles, sort of akin to some of the chamber soirees that the orchestra does during the year. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. You know, as a clarinet player, you were grew up in the band world as a trumpet player. I grew up in the band world and we do chamber music here at the college, quite a bit. I take the band in the spring semester and I divide them up in our whole second concert every year. I call it, join us on stage, but don't touch my bassoon or something like that because we actually have people sit on the Neel stage with us and give the performance that way. So that they're, you know, just right there, but you know, the added element from band would be for instance, a saxophone quartet or a saxophone choir, or a low brass choir, where you could have lots of tubas euphonoiums trombones. So, because this is orchestra centered, you don't really have that aspect. The saxophones as a clarinet player in a band person, does, does this make you cry a little. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: I think my saxophone friends would kill me, but, you know, and I actually, I did play saxophone growing up because I'll see a lot of players will double, you know, in jazz bands and things. But the truth is for me, because I was so immersed in that band world, I really never in my, my school growing up, we didn't have an orchestra, so I really didn't have anything exposed to that until college and. I think as a result of that, I have this real affinity or pull or interest in string instruments. Like they're just fascinating. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. And so the, if you added an element of springing saxophones to this, they're just kind of left out of that, of that Saturday night, big thing they could do all the other chamber music stuff with saxophone quartets. And there, I mean, there's. Not a limited repertoire, but it's, it's different. You would end up with like smaller band. I'm using the air quotes here. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: There are wind quintets that involve saxophone and things like that. But yeah, they wouldn't have the same experience, you know, even, even the piano. Traditionally play on those Saturday nights, but they have such rich chamber music. 

Robyn Bell: I didn't think about that. Yes, of course. That makes sense. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: You're right. They do have a different experience, but you know, we don't have saxophone. We don't have trumpet fellows. We don't have trombone and we just we're just wind. So like that standard would 

Robyn Bell: Quintin with. Okay, so there's no brass choir. 

Olivia Steinman Deems: So when we need brass to play in the Saturday night orchestras, we bring in per service players who play with Sarasota Orchestra. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, I have to write a letter about that. No, I'm kidding. I'm kidding. So my last big question, Olivia is how excited are you and the staff and the musicians of the Sarasota Orchestra to finally going forward with your new symphony center home?

Olivia Steinman Deems: You know what it is so exciting. It's been a long time coming. I know when I was interviewing for this job in March of 2019, part of the lure, what I was told, you know, is that we've got a music center coming. It's a great time to join the orchestra. And that, that has not been a lie. It has been a great time to be part of the organization, but to finally see a site identified a great site at that, you know, With tons of possibilities.

Robyn Bell: It's like 8,000 acres there, something crazy. Like you could just build a mammoth place there.

Olivia Steinman Deems: Right. And. I really think it's going to be something great for the community. It's not just for the orchestra. It's and this is for everyone. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, we were all very, very, very excited. Well, congratulations, Olivia,

everybody likes to be cheered for it. You are now officially part of the club. So tell our list. How they can find out more about the Sarasota Music Festival and more importantly, get tickets to the events.

Olivia Steinman Deems: Sure. So everyone can log on to their favorite browser of choice and go to the Sarasota orchestra.org. You'll see a big banner there featuring Sarasota Music Festival. You can explore, meet the fellows and advance, learn more about the faculty and purchase tickets there. 

Robyn Bell: I can't wait. It's really one of my favorite things here on the Suncoast and in the summer, when there's nothing else to do, the Sarasota Music Festival fills our town with amazing young musician, students, fellows, and esteemed instructors, faculty members. We are so lucky to have this event in our town and everybody should go to every performance. Are you listening to me? Go hear these people perform Olivia, thank you so much for joining me today and telling us all about. In this fabulous music festival is great meeting you and my best for a very successful run.

Olivia Steinman Deems: Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.