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Ask a Young Artist Why Music Matters


The Curtis Institute of Music is turning out young musicians who not only play extremely well, but are also advocates for their art form. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, three recent grads, now members of the Bok Trio, are passionate about the importance of music, and optimistic about its future. 

Susan Lewis: With its ability to engage and delight us, music is great entertainment, but also much more.

Alex von der Embse: I love music, and I wouldn’t  play the oboe if I didn’t think there isn’t some inherent good in what we did, and some inherent need for music in the world and art.

SL:  Oboist Alex von der Embse is part of the Bok Trio, as is bassoonist Wade Coufal.

Wade Coufal: I’ve always thought of music and art as a friend. No matter how dark times get, you can go back to your favorite song or your favorite book. It’s like there’s someone there for you.

SL: Coufal says it was in high school that music transformed him.

WC: I had crippling shyness. When I started playing the bassoon, I became insanely passionate about music and making music. I began to find my voice and my confidence. It's completely shaped my life.

SL: Wade, Alex ,and pianist Michelle Cann are participating in a Curtis pilot program of community service. They work with children in hospitals and school settings. Michelle believes such active involvement with people is a key to the future of classical music.

Michelle Cann: I don’t have to sell a Beethoven symphony. I just have to say, 'listen to this, and this is what’s going on,' and say why I care. Sometimes putting myself in there and getting personally involved. They say, "Wow! You like this, and this is why you like this. How do I get more of this?"

SL: Bok Trio members combine their individual service work with concert performances at a variety of venues.

You can tell us why YOU like this music and why you care about its future, when you support our Warp Drive by contributing here, or by calling 1-866-809-9784.

On Sunday, February 8 at 5 pm on WRTI, Michelle Cann will be the host of Philadelphia Music Makers.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.