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Frost School festival brings back live music

By Amanda M. Perez

Frost School festival brings back live music

By Amanda M. Perez
The Frost School of Music will host a free festival on March 20 for the University of Miami community featuring a star-studded lineup.

Live music is reigniting on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables Campus. Frost Music Fest ’21, which will take place on March 20, will bring together a variety of genres for the enjoyment of University of Miami students, faculty, and staff. 

“There is nothing like the energy and passion of live music. Following COVID-19 safety protocols, Frost Music Fest ’21 will showcase world-class performances ranging from R&B, rock, jazz, orchestral music, a capella, and even opera,” said Shelton G. Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music. 

Renee Fleming
Renée Fleming Photo: Decca/Andrew Eccles

Internationally renowned superstar soprano Renée Fleming, one of the most honored singers of our time, will make her first live festival appearance since the pandemic began. The U. S. National Medal of the Arts recipient and four-time Grammy winner will perform with the all-student Frost Symphony Orchestra led by world-renowned maestro Gerard Schwarz. 

The festival was inspired by the dean, who wanted to create an unforgettable memory for University of Miami students and frontline workers. 

“The music industry is one of the many sectors that have been hit the hardest. I think everybody is fatigued with looking at little boxes on a screen, and we’re fatigued with hearing music like that as well. So, the opportunity to be together and to attend an actual music event safely is going to be very special for our community,” Berg said. 

The free festival will take place outdoors on the Coral Gables Campus intramural fields and will follow strict COVID-19 protocols, including limited attendance, mandatory use of facial coverings, and physical distancing. 

Attendance is restricted to University of Miami students and faculty and staff members. No family members or guests will be permitted. Only students who are enrolled in on-campus classes and participate in weekly COVID-19 testing and faculty and staff members who have been cleared to return to campus, are permitted to reserve tickets. All event attendees will be required to use the Daily Symptom Checker and display a “Good to Go” status to gain entry. 

“I’m so happy to be able to join this outdoor festival at the Frost School of Music,” said Fleming. “It’s always a joy to make music with Gerard Schwarz, and I can’t wait to perform with these gifted students. It’s the resilience of young musicians like these that has really kept me hopeful through the pandemic.” 

Schwarz, director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra, explained that “this is a very exciting and important moment for our school. Having Renée Fleming choose our Frost Symphony Orchestra as her very first live orchestral performance since the pandemic began is not only a testament to our gifted student orchestra, it also confirms the commitment of our school to create the highest level of experience and education one can receive.” 

Frost’s American Musical Ensemble will also perform at the festival. The ensemble will be joined by singer and songwriter John Splithoff, who is a Frost School alumnus. 

John Splithoff
John Splithoff Photo: Lauren Jones

“Since graduating from Frost in 2013, I’ve always felt a very strong connection to the time I spent there,” said Splithoff. “Getting the opportunity to come back and play with AME for such an amazing cause means so much, especially after the challenges of this last year. I can’t wait to come play my alma mater.” 

Ali Murphy, a junior studying music business and entertainment industries, is excited to take the stage with Splithoffand her American Musical Ensemble classmates. 

“It is an amazing opportunity that I, along with all my bandmates, are truly excited for,” Murphy said. “This will be the first time in over a year that we will get to play for an audience this size. Many of our performances over that past year had limited or no in-person attendance. So, we are thrilled to share our original music with UM students in person.”

Murphy says this festival gives her hope for the future of the music industry. 

“Many of the musicians at Frost have been longing to perform, and many students have been yearning for events to go to. So, I think this is a perfect solution,” she said. “I am truly grateful for this opportunity, and I am very appreciative of all the hard work Frost faculty has done to put this event together.” 

Connor Rohrer, a junior majoring in studio music and jazz studies, also feels very grateful and lucky to be able to perform music for a live audience.  

“During the pandemic, live audiences have been severely limited and restricted,” he said. “For me, a live audience radiates as much energy as the music. I’m thankful that I can relive this experience at the Frost Music Fest,’’ he added.With this pandemic happening, I am not sure if I would be in the same situation if I were at another institution,” Rohrer continued. “This festival is an example of the Frost faculty and staff working hard to give students an enriching educational experience.”

Those who attend or live stream the festival will have the opportunity to donate to the Travis Quinn Memorial Scholarship Fund, which was established in 2020. The fund awards scholarships to high-achieving and talented music students who have overcome substantial economic or educational hardship to attend the school. It was named in memory of Travis Quinn, a gifted young musician and educator, following his untimely tragic passing in May of 2020. 

“Quinn was a beloved role model and mentor for underprivileged, aspiring, young musicians and personified the mission of this scholarship fund. His road to the Frost School began in 2015 as a member of Frost Band of the Hour and in 2019 he auditioned to attend for the 2020-21 school year,” Berg said. 

The Quinn Memorial Scholarship fund was made possible by generous contributions from the Kent and Martha Savage Charitable Fund and Eileen and Carmine Parente. Donors who helped make the live musical event possible are the B Carlin Foundation, Sasha and Edward Bass, the Christopher R. Kelly Family Foundation, and an anonymous donor. 

“They’re a huge inspiration to us because my job and my life’s work is to care about the students every day, and these are people who also care to give our students something great to experience,” Berg pointed out. 

The festival is free but advance registration is required. Attendance is limited and entry will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Visit Frost Music Fest ’21 to register.

Set a reminder for the live steam.

Donate to the Travis Quinn Memorial Scholarship Fund