Cape native selected to elite violin workshop

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Since she began playing violin as a young girl, Cape Gir-ardeau native Liesl Schoenberger has heard her share of compliments, won her share of competitions and played with an array of elite classical music groups. She loves to play bluegrass fiddle, too.

Her newest accomplishment begins today when she starts a prestigious workshop at New York City's Carnegie Hall as one of only four violinists selected from throughout the country.

The professional workshop is different from her previous honors. Led by legendary bluegrass double bass player Edgar Meyer, this workshop combines her two loves of classical violin and bluegrass fiddle.

"I'm very humbled by being chosen because this is one of the biggest things I've wanted to do passionately for myself," said Schoenberger.

The workshop is called "The Porous Borders of Music" and brings in big-name classical and bluegrass musicians like Meyer, Bela Fleck, Mike Marshall, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas to work with 16 musicians between the ages of 16 and 30 on a variety of instruments.

Schoenberger was chosen from more thn 100 applicants from the United States and overseas. Meyer himself had a large hand in the selection process, said Sarah Bruning with Carnegie Hall.

For a week Schoenberger and the other musicians will spend 12 hours a day learning how to fuse classical and Americana styles, culminating with a concert May 21 with workshop guest teachers and the students.

Schoenberger said one of the most exciting aspects of the workshop will be learning from and performing beside Meyer.

The culminating concert won't be her first performance at Carnegie Hall, but it will be the most exciting. She'll be sharing the stage with musicians who have inspired her to be a classical violinist and bluegrass fiddler at the same time, Schoenberger said.

Classical is the style she has studied in school, but Schoenberger's real love is bluegrass. She's released three bluegrass albums.

"When I'm at school it's all classical," said Schoenberger. "But when I come home and start playing with bands and get into a different style of music, it really reminds me why I love bluegrass so much."

Schoenberger graduated from the elite music school at Indiana University May 6 and now plans to pursue her master's degree there. Where she'll go from there, whether to the classical concert stage or Nashville, is unknown. But she thinks by connecting with both bluegrass and classical masters at this workshop she might get a better idea which road to pursue.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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