My name is Caleb Borick and I have been honored to attend the PIMF piano program for the past two years. Each year, it has been an incredible, life changing experience for me. This past summer, the festival was filled with constant excitement from the moment I arrived and performed Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Greater New Orlean’s Youth Orchestra (GNOYO). I found that I was able to focus much more intensely on my practice and musical advancement while I was there. I feel certain that it helps to be surrounded by a compassionate group of musicians who appreciate both talent and hard work.
I met my teacher, Svetlana Smolina, at the music camp in 2014. She has been excellent the whole time I have known her. Always able see my potential and help me to reach goals I never even thought were possible, Svetlana is a fabulous instructor and role model! Before the festival I had not made any major advancements outside of my city, but after two years at the festival, I have been accepted into two major international piano competitions, toured the East Coast with GNOYO, and played on Wisconsin Public Radio.
PIMF gave me the opportunity to experience chamber music, something I had never done before and now love! When I signed up to play chamber music for the first time this past summer, I never imagined I would be so lucky as to play in a trio with college students and young professionals in the Music House program. The coach, a clarinetist with the Philadephia Orchestra, had excellent ideas and helped us to transform our piece into a masterpiece. I will always remember the satisfaction I felt in the final Chamber Concert, listening to everyone and performing all the while understanding the dedication and devotion to our art that made it possible.
Another one of my favorite parts of the music camp was Svetlana’s piano class, where we sight read, demonstrated various etudes, and learned new techniques. The best memory I have of this class was when I got to sight reading a four-handed transcription of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with many of my friends in the piano program. Another activity I enjoyed that was assigned to the class was to read parts of a book written by several famous pianists and give a summary of the chapter we read. I gave mine on the chapter by Sergei Rachmaninoff. I found this to be especially helpful as I dive into Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto. I can’t wait to play this concerto with the Ocean City Pops next summer during the festival. Overall, I would highly recommend PIMF to any music student. Each year I leave the festival completely recharged and full of new ideas.
Caleb Borick practicing on one of Cunningham Piano’s Bosendorfers at the Philadelphia International Music Festival.