On a lovely fall evening, Friday 16th of October at 7:30pm, I had the great privilege and honor to attend the “Music for the Soul” concert at the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. The Orchestra at Temple Square was under the direction of the world renowned Igor Gruppman, who is also the Concertmaster for the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg in Russia.
The concert venue was full of people eagerly anticipating the start of this event and there was a large cheer as the conductor and musicians arrived on the stage. The concert itself was incredible and the way the orchestra played a selection of works of Chopin and Mozart was beautiful, it definitely was music for the soul. Maestro Igor Gruppman also played a lovely solo piece “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” written by Christopher Gluck, which he and orchestra equally played with great skill and finesse.
It is always a pleasure to attend Igor Gruppman’s concerts in Salt Lake City, which are traditionally held in the spring and fall. These concerts are free but due to their popularity sell out quickly. There were more than 50 enthusiasts of classical music from Utah Valley University, both students and faculty, at the Tabernacle in attendance that evening. We were personally invited by Maestro Igor Gruppman to the concert after he participated in the fourth international “Women of the Mountains” conference. The conference is held under the banner of the United Nations organization called the Mountain Partnership. Igor and Vesna Gruppman greatly contributed to the conference agenda, as they always do since 2010 when led by them Gruppman International Music Institute joined the Mountain Partnership. They play the roles of true Ambassadors for the Mountain Partnership and mountain peoples.
Vesna Gruppman (Second from Right in the Second Row) with family of Deann Torsak, Executive Secretary of the Women of the Mountains conference after the concert
Igor and Vesna Grumman are the Co-directors of the Gruppman International Music Institute. (for more information, see: http://www.gruppmaninstitute.com/Home.html). “The heart and soul of the Institute is the revolutionary Gruppman Approach, developed by Igor and Vesna Gruppman through their studies with some of the greatest artists of the century–such as Jascha Heifetz, David Oistrakh, Leonid Kogan, and Nathan Milstein – as well as their own years of experience as successful performers and teachers.” During the conference on October 8, 2015, the Gruppman Institute showcased some of its students that learn to play the violin via videoconferencing technology like Skype. This unique method of instruction allows the pupil to receive direct and personal instruction from the instructor, who could be on the other side of the planet, which is essential to learning a classical instrument like the violin.
Using freely available tools, like Skype, this type of teaching opens doors to education to people living in remote regions and mountain ones in particular and allowing them to receive the type of instruction only available to people in developed nations. All that is required is an instrument, access to the internet and the desire to learn. Gruppmans started to teach play music by video-conferencing long time before the Skype was invented and the first technology which allowed them to do that was developed with support from James LeVoy Sorenson, famous philanthropist from Utah.
Carlos Alarco, Liaison at University of Utah, organizing committee of the Women of the Mountains conference