This week the Atlanta Music Project was honored to welcome a special guest to our classes. Violinist Peter Povey, a graduate of the Yale School of Music, was kind enough to spend two days with our violinists at both our Gilbert House and Coan Recreation Center sites.
Born in Australia and raised in England, Peter came to the United States for graduate studies at Yale, where we met as classmates. At Yale, Peter and I hung out a lot and played on the School of Music intramural soccer team. We also both spent quite a bit of time participating in the school’s outreach program (now called the Music in Schools program). In the end, outreach has come to be a key part of both of our careers.
These days Peter is a prime example of a Teaching Artist. He is pursuing a Doctorate in violin performance at Northwestern University and is on the faculty of numerous programs, including the Montgomery Music Project (founded by Yale School of Music alum Laura Usiskin) in Alabama. He founded the McAlester Institute of Music, “a two-week music program for students age 6-18, designed to effect social change amongst young people, develop leadership, and improve music schools through contemporary teaching.”
Peter has been a member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and, as he told our admiring students, he once performed for the Queen of England!
When Peter told me he wanted to spend a couple of days with us here in Atlanta to see the program, I gladly welcomed him, on the condition that he work with our students. He graciously accepted.
During a question and answer session, one of our students asked Peter if he had any advice about performing in front of important people. Peter responded that anytime one is performing, people are watching you from the moment they can spot you. Therefore, he emphasized, concert decorum is just as important as your music playing, as that is what people tend to remember. I thought this was fitting advice for our students, who will be playing for many important dignitaries in the months ahead!
Special thanks to Peter for coming by our sites and working with the Atlanta Music Project students!