5HE Weekly Inspiration — Clark, viola

Hello Fifth House Fans!  Here in the House, we’ve decided to start posting weekly inspiration blog posts.  Once a week, we’ll give you a look inside what Fifth House Ensemble & Staff members find inspirational to us as artists and to our work with 5HE.  Check back weekly to see what the rest of us find inspiring!  If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll be notified via tweet as soon as each week’s post is up!  *hint-hint*


And without further ado, I’m super excited to kick this weekly series with a post from 5HE violist, Clark Carruth!  Enjoy!

Seems rather ironic that my first Fifth House Ensemble blog post comes during a relative lull in my own personal 5HE activities. Sure, half the group just spent two awesome weeks at New Music On the Point, but I was back here in Chicagoland secretly kind of savoring not having, ohhh say, five rehearsals in the next three days, two school visits, a conference call or two, and a major concert right around the corner. Don’t get me wrong – I love all the things we do, but a break can be nice.


But a break can also be dangerously relaxed. So how do I keep up my viola chops when I have to keep working at my non-5HE job (gotta pay the bills) and can’t run off for six weeks to a summer music festival like I once did?


Well, I certainly spend time in the summer getting out the old scale and etude books to brush up on technique, but the last few weeks at “work” have also really motivated me to keep picking up my viola even though there isn’t a big performance in my immediate future.


So what is my “work”? I’m the Music Institute of Chicago’s Winnetka campus director, and job number one is meeting new students to find the right teacher for them. I know from years past that the time frame of late May through early June is always busy with parents seeking summer music lessons for their kids. This year, however, the kids I’m meeting seem more motivated, musical, experienced, and in some cases just really darned talented. Today is a great example: first I meet a ten year old who hadn’t practiced piano for a month but still ripped off the opening phrase of movement three from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata like he had just performed it (for reference see this video on YouTube), and then this afternoon I meet a boy who struts in carrying a saxophone and a violin, plops down at the piano in my office only to announce he wants drum lessons! And then to cap it all off he plays his own piano piece that he had recently written – if only I were so driven as an eleven year old!


Thankfully I am driven now, and I think plenty of that drive has to do with all the great young musicians I constantly get to meet and draw inspiration from.


That, aaaand, I can’t wait to play this piece in the coming season:  E. Schulhoff’s Concertino for Flute (Piccolo), Viola, and Contrabass.


Look forward to playing it for y’all!

Fifth House Ensemble

Leave a Reply