From the desk of Trey Devey: January/February 2020

Interlochen Arts Academy students pursue citizen artistry in Miami—and around the world.

President Devey greets two junior girls during a Camp reception.

President Devey greets two junior girls during a Camp reception.

Dear Interlochen Friends,

You may have heard that a group of Interlochen Arts Academy students will travel to Miami in early March for a four-day performance tour. Building on the remarkable success of our tour last year to New York City, 120 students from all seven majors—music, dance, theatre, creative writing, visual arts, interdisciplinary arts, and film and new media—will immerse themselves in Miami’s cutting-edge arts ecosystem and bring pop-up concerts and exhibitions to Vero Beach, the Frost School of Music, Citrus Grove Middle School, and other venues, culminating in a collaborative multidisciplinary performance at the New World Center. With a bursting arts landscape that has grown exponentially over the past few decades, Miami will offer our students insights to a diverse cultural capital unlike any other.

Alumni often tell me that there was an active focus on touring in past generations at Interlochen, and that these tours were formative experiences for them. Bringing their art to new audiences inspired unbreakable bonds among fellow students and collaborators, a global perspective, and an empowered understanding of what it means to be an artist.

We have reinitiated this tradition not only to bring back these formative experiences, but also to give our students more opportunities to connect with Interlochen alumni and friends. In addition to the upcoming Miami residency, you’ll find small cohorts of Interlochen students performing and learning this year in vibrant arts communities around the world. For example, thanks to a new partnership between Interlochen Arts Academy and the Sibelius Academy at the University of the Arts, Helsinki, four student musicians will attend week-long intensives at the Sibelius Academy this summer. In August, 21 theatre students will travel to Scotland to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

We are also creating more opportunities for Interlochen students to engage with our local Michigan region. For example, this year we brought nearly 1,000 Traverse City area school children and their teachers to Corson Auditorium for the Arts Academy Dance Company’s magical production of The Sleeping Beauty. The production will soon tour to the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor and the Midland Center for the Arts.

In turn, we continue Interlochen’s legacy of bringing world-class artists to campus who challenge students to engage with their art in new ways. Earlier this month, for example, the Grammy-Award winning percussionist Matthew Duvall (IAA 85-89, IAC/NMC 84-85) and the award-winning “eco-acoustician” Matthew Burtner created an outdoor sound installation with the entire Arts Academy student body that illuminated how to use art to call attention to the climate crisis. (Read a Q&A with Duvall in this issue of Crescendo.)

In these Interlochen experiences we foster on and off campus, we are challenging our students to listen deeply to the world around them and to create art that reflects and illuminates our modern world and catalyzes vital conversations. We teach that human interaction, empathy, and flexibility are creative skills as integral to their future as artistic techniques. As students gradually broaden their mindset from self-involvement and personal introspection to community responsibility, they become citizen artists poised to make meaningful contributions to society.

Interlochen alumni live and work across the globe. But if you are able to join us in Miami, we would love to have you with us. I hope you will join us for the immersive multidisciplinary student performance of “ONE” at the New World Symphony on Friday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m, followed by music and mingling at a reception on the rooftop. 

I know you will be inspired by the remarkable energy, vision, and talent of Interlochen’s emerging citizen artists, whose reflections on this trip to Miami will help shape them. I have no doubt that their experiences there will inspire them to contribute to future creative communities for years to come.

With gratitude,