Mason Johnston Does It Again!

Mason Johnston (2011, 2011-12 FIS, 2012-13 FIS, 2013, 2014), Franklin Pond alum on the cello, was the youngest (ALMOST 21!) finalist in the nationwide Rapido! Competition sponsored by the Atlanta Chamber Players. He was one of 5 finalists in the country to be chosen to have his work played by a trio of ACP players — also ASO musicians. The judges were Robert Spano, Michael Gandolfi, and Jennifer Higdon, and the main sponsor was Atlanta’s own Ron and Susan Antinori. It was so exciting, and, although he didn’t win this time, he is still a winner and we are very proud of him. Mason is in the white shirt in the pictures. Best of luck Mason for a bright future.

And BRAVO cellist and Franklin Pond faculty member Brad Ritchie for mastering 6 new and difficult pieces so beautifully on that program.

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Congratulations to Mason Johnston!

We are SO proud of alumnus Mason Johnston (cello 2011, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013, & 2014). We know he is destined for greatness! Music has always been in his bones.

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Update from Tim Richardson (2008 & 2009)

Tim Richardson (2008, 2009) has been hired by University of Southern California to collaborate in their chamber music program this fall, and he will be working directly with Glenn Dicterow (the former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra).

Update from Stephen Upshaw (2003)

(From Stephen Upshaw’s newsletter)

Dear friends and colleagues,

After a busy summer season which ranged from the Schubert Octet in the Cheltenham Festival to a run of Lutoslawski at Sadler’s Wells with Rambert Dance, I’m writing to share a few exciting events which you might be interested in.

Firstly, on October 31 I’m incredibly excited to be giving the world premiere of composer Benjamin Graves’ “Four Façades” for solo viola and seven players alongside my colleagues in the Riot Ensemble.
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Way to go, Wick Simmons!

This video by alum Wick Simmons (2009 & 2010) recently hit You Tube. He always LOVED playing. We’re so proud of him!

Christopher Wang makes headlines!

Fox 5 Atlanta recently featured Christopher Wang (FIS 2013-14 & Summer 2015) for his spirit and talent, as he plays for patients inside the Winship Cancer Institute infusion center at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

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Drew Alexander Forde Takes His Music to Sea

Photo by Strings Magazine

Drew Alexander Forde (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) recently shared his experience of performing on a cruise ship with Strings magazine.

“As the electric, final chord of Astor Piazzolla’s “Primavera Porteña” washes over the audience at the end of our third performance of the night, the room erupts with applause. It is just another hard day’s work aboard ship. 

When people ask me why I chose to perform on a cruise ship, my first answer is ‘ ’cuz I’m broke.’ But all joking aside, a lot of stars had to align for this gig to make sense…”

Read the full article here

Alum Noah Johnson performs with Atlanta Opera Orchestra

Alum Noah Johnson (2011 & 2014 cello), played “Carmen” with the Atlanta Opera Orchestra this month (May 2018) with Franklin Pond faculty members Bill Johnston and Ginny Fairchild.

Noah Johnson (middle)

Alisha Zamore is the Geraldine Tilson winner of a $7,500 scholarship

Alisha Zamore is a senior at McIntosh High School in Peachtree City. She is an active musician in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony, Southern Crescent Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program. Last year, her Mozart Clarinet Quintet won first place at the first annual Franklin Pond Chamber Music Competition. This summer, she will be joining the National Youth Orchestra on their performance at Carnegie Hall and tour of China, South Korea and Taiwan. Zamore is the daughter of Lector and Jackie Zamore.

Alisha is an alumna of the 2016-2017 Fall Into Spring Program.

Reunion in Paris

Ronda met up with two Franklin Pond alums in Paris! Chris Dalton and Grayson Fuller have been there for over two years.

Chris Dalton (2005) graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston and started traveling around the world, working in one place and learning the language and culture, while earning the money to travel somewhere else (with his viola of course!)). He has always had a global mindset and speaks about seven languages, Unfortunately, the evening of his Paris arrival, he was caught in the Paris nightclub shootings. He was sitting at the cafe and saved his life only because he crawled behind the bar when the shooting started. He did get shot in the foot with a lot of shrapnel lodged in his legs and right hand. He spent a long time in the hospital and is still, 2+ years later, getting treatment. Since then he has become a French citizen with dual citizenship. Despite his bad luck start, he still loves Paris and is hoping to be able to play viola again soon.

Grayson Fuller (2010) graduated from Harvard in Latin American Studies, but ended up in Paris for a work and school opportunity.  He says he is  “working in sustainable development, which is basically development that doesn’t impede future generations’ livelihood – practically speaking it’s like a mix between public policy and international affairs. I was doing a masters here as well before I started working. In Paris I’ve been playing with my school’s orchestra for the last two years.” Grayson still loves playing chamber music which he did throughout his Harvard years.