From the Desk of Trey Devey: Transformation and Possibilities

Scholarships, touring opportunities, and The Interlochen 5 provide life-changing opportunities for Interlochen students.

David Geffen Hall - Interior Rendering

A rendering of the interior of the renovated David Geffen Hall. Photo credit: Diamond Schmitt Architects.

Exterior Rendering of the new David Geffen Hall

A rendering of the exterior of the renovated David Geffen Hall. Photo credit: DBOX for TWBTA & Lincoln Center.

Dr. Leslie B. Dunner conducts the Arts Academy Orchestra in Miami

Dr. Leslie B. Dunner (center) conducts the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra at Miami's New World Center on March 6, 2020.

Just a few short weeks ago, the New York Philharmonic (including 14 Interlochen alumni!) returned home to David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While the world has changed forevermore, so too, has David Geffen Hall. As New York Philharmonic’s Chief Executive Officer Deborah Borda said in a recent interview, “we stripped it to the walls.” According to New York Times critic Zachary Woolfe, the results of the $500 million renovation are “already obvious.” Some may even say, transformational.

Asked what it means to play in the new hall, New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist and Interlochen alumnus Anthony McGill (IAC 91, 93; IAA 94-96, IAC St 96) responded, “I might be able to change a young person’s life by them seeing me on that stage and saying ‘I want to do that.’ That’s the most important thing I could possibly do in my life…is to represent possibility.”

I’m struck by these two themes: transformation and possibility. They are the threads that are woven throughout Interlochen’s history, the promise that attracts students to this magical place, and the vision that our alumni take away with them. And it’s these themes that are reflected in our commitment to invest in excellence and expand access to the Interlochen experience to every deserving young artist.

Right now, visiting teaching artists from the Interlochen Arts Camp and Academy faculty are acting on that commitment, mentoring students at 15 New York City-based creative youth development organizations. A newly established NY Phil Interlochen Scholars program will forever change the lives of 30 of these young artists, providing them with scholarships to attend Arts Camp in the summer of 2023 and experience for themselves the transformation and possibilities that Interlochen provides to young artists.

The announcement of the scholarship recipients will be made on March 3—in David Geffen Hall.

That evening, 140 Interlochen Arts Academy students will experience a transformational moment themselves, as together they become some of the first visiting artists to ever perform in this newly renovated venue. Spanning all artistic disciplines as only Interlochen can, our students will premiere a new multidisciplinary work, Mukti, and the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra will perform side-by-side with musicians from the New York Philharmonic (follow along on our journey to David Geffen Hall here). Experiences like these help students envision themselves as the creative changemakers they will become someday. Tickets for this historic event are now available. Please join us. Let’s celebrate this moment together.

We have heard from generations of alumni that the touring opportunities they had at Interlochen were some of the most transformational moments of their lives. A few weeks ago, we celebrated our Academy reunion weekend, and it was my honor to speak to many alumni who returned to the stately pines—some of whom noted our performances at Lincoln Center, the World’s Fair in Montreal, the Atlanta Olympics, and even the White House lawn as among the most significant moments of their Interlochen experiences.

One notable event featured a panel of alumni answering the question: “What’s an Interlochen alum like you doing in a place like this?” Panelists shared the ways that their time at Interlochen opened up a world of professional possibilities to them. They included Martha Jacobi (IAC/NMC 64-70, IAA 71-73, IAC St 72, 74-77), psychotherapist and Lutheran pastor; Jane Morrison (IAA 80-82), Fulton County (Georgia) State Court Judge; Will McClintock (AS 85, IAA 85-87), Senior Fellow, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis; Alfred Martin (IAA 91-93), Associate Professor of Communication Studies, University of Iowa; and Anna Hochhalter (IAA 99-02), landscape architect. Their exposure to what we now call The Interlochen 5 played a crucial role in propelling them to a life of purpose and promise beyond the arts. Like Anthony McGill, these alumni also represent the possibilities we strive to make available to young artists.

Thank you for joining us on this important, transformational journey.

Trey Devey