Houston’s AFA revives Summer Music Festival for young musicians

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Last month, after a pandemic-related hiatus in 2020, AFA celebrated the return of its annual Summer Music Festival and marked a significant milestone in its history. Despite ongoing coronavirus precautions, the 25th anniversary of the flagship program has prevailed, serving about 300 musicians in grades 3-12 with five weeks of training under the guidance of esteemed faculty artists.

Held at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, the intensive will conclude this week with chamber recitals for various instrumentalists, performances for junior and intermediate-level pianists, a final orchestra concert, and a virtual premiere that will showcase new film-based dance works by a handful of high school students participating in the Composition Studio session.

The latter – which will go live on AFA’s social media channels on the evening of July 23 – will offer viewers a glimpse into the creative process with behind-the-scenes composer interviews while highlighting the organization’s long-standing collaboration with Houston Ballet Academy. “Being a successful composer is about collaboration,” says AFA executive director Amanda Fisher, who approached Houston Ballet’s former managing director Cecil C. Conner Jr. with AFA founder J. Todd Frazier to discuss the possible partnership two years after the nonprofit provider of music education was established in 1993.

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