In March 2017, fourteen Utah Symphony musicians and Music Director Thierry Fischer will travel to Haiti to work with 100 young Haitian-born musicians. The initiative is spearheaded by Utah Symphony cellist John Eckstein, who first visited Haiti on a teaching service trip in July 2016. The musicians will hold the first Haitian National Orchestral Institute—a week-long workshop for top Haitian music students—at the Dessaix-Baptiste Music School in Jacmel, Haiti’s cultural capital. Every section of the orchestra except tuba and harp will be represented in the group of Utah Symphony musicians, who are volunteering during a break from regularly scheduled performances. While the musicians are paying their own way, the group aims to raise $20,000 to help fund expenses for the Haitian students. Salt Lake City-based luthier J.P. Lucas will join the group to teach string instrument repair. Haitian-born conductor Canes Nicolas, a visiting professor of music at Southern Utah University, will act as assistant to Fischer. Haiti was hard hit by hurricanes in October 2016 and January 2010. The group is partnering with the U.S. nonprofit Building Leaders Using Music Education (BLUME) Haiti, which works to strengthen the country’s socio-economic fabric through classical music.

Posted December 1, 2016

Pictured: Utah Symphony cellist John Eckstein with cellists in Haiti last July