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Wheaton Pianist Selected to Participate in NY Music Festival

Wheaton resident Matthew Gammill is one of only 10 rising musicians nationwide chosen to participate in the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, a new music festival in Potsdam, NY.

Pianist and Wheaton resident Matthew Gemmill is among only 10 rising musicians nationwide, chosen to take part in a new music festival in Potsdam, NY.

The Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar will feature local artist Gemmill during its premiere season from May 21 to May 26 at The Crane School of Music at The State University of New York at Potsdam.

Stephanie Blythe '93, the Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano with a "once-in-a-generation" voice, decided to bring her artistic vision back to her alma mater, SUNY Potsdam, for this program.

The inaugural season of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar is aimed at reinvigorating individual artistry through the American art song by energizing up-and-coming young singers from across the United States and Canada. North Country audiences will be able to take in world-class recital performances throughout the week.

Participants this season were selected from a competitive national audition.

The seminar was founded as a venue for emerging singers and collaborative pianists between the ages of 23 and 35, to promote individual artistry through the art song genre. The Metropolitan Opera star is joined by Dr. Graham and their former vocal coach, Alan Smith, a prominent collaborative pianist, vocal coach and composer.

"Coming back to Potsdam is like completing a circle for me. SUNY Potsdam and The Crane School of Music put me on a road to self-discovery as an artist and a person. This place gave me the courage to search out my dreams and succeed, and now it will be a place where I can share what I can with the next generation of musical interpreters," Blythe said.

They have developed an intensive week of music making for the participants that will incorporate related aesthetics and what it means to be a performing artist in today's society. All music will be performed in English and will feature a number of living composers, many of whom Blythe has professionally collaborated with. The participants will be treated to a full week of masterclasses, coachings, discussions and recitals led by Blythe, Smith and Crane School of Music Professor Dr. Gary Busch.

Gemmill holds degrees in piano performance from Wheaton College and collaborative piano from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Martin Katz. Other principal teachers include Daniel Paul Horn, Chiu-Ling Lin, and Katherine Collier. Gemmill currently works as a vocal coach, accompanist and music teacher in the Chicago area, and also serves a guest faculty member at Wheaton College, where he teaches accompanying and vocal coaching. Recent engagements include song recitals at the Chicago Cultural Center and Fourth Presbyterian of Chicago. A fellow at the 2011 Tanglewood Music Center, Gemmill will return there for the 2012 season. He currently lives in Wheaton.

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