The California Institute of Music was conceived in 1990 as the musical brainchild of the husband and wife violinist team Michael and Irina Tseitlin. Since then this private music school has become a leading presence in southern California known for cultivating professional and amateur string players who have become successful and highly individual artists and professional musicians. Several of their former students have become concertmasters of major US and European orchestras such as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Their students have won prizes at over 21 international violin competitions, including the Tchaikovsky, Paganini, Queen Elisabeth and Indianapolis.
The California International Music Festival at the Music Academy Neuwied-Engers is a two-week chamber music course distinguishing itself from other well-known programs by putting its participants in the artist spotlight. In addition to the final gala concert, musicians can perform dozens of times within these two weeks in beautiful venues around and inside Engers Castle providing invaluable concert exposure. Many of the festival’s former participants, who now have successful artistic and musical careers, cite the festival as the program that gave them the experience they needed to enter the professional realm. All participants have access to world-renowned guest artists and teachers, and receive private lessons, master classes, chamber ensemble coaching and participate in the Festival Chamber Orchestra.
The course at Neuwied-Engers in 2015 continues the program begun in 1980 in Taos, New Mexico that has been held in Bavaria (Marktoberdorf), Italy (Bolzano and Saluzzo) and Portugal (Viana do Castelo).
The Festival Curriculum is designed for advanced violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano and wind students. All string and piano students will receive private lessons, chamber ensemble coaching, and master classes, and they will participate in the Festival Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. Wind and percussion students will participate in the Symphony and some may be invited to play in a chamber ensemble. Private lessons will be available for flute and brass. Students applying individually (pre-existing groups may apply as an ensemble) will be placed in chamber groups by the auditioning faculty on the basis of student repertoire preference and their audition tapes. This year the festival will offer Jazz Improvisation and composition courses.
Numerous public performances are scheduled throughout the course. Concerts are popular and well attended and covered by the local and national press. All students will have a chance to perform the chamber and solo literature that they have prepared during the course. It is expected that students will know their part well and are advised to listen to a recording to familiarize themselves with the score. Solo and group participation in concerts will depend on the level of preparedness. If students want to perform solo works, they should provide the festival with a list of the works they wish to play so an accompanist can be prepared.
Auditions: All students seeking to perform in public concerts will audition for a faculty panel. Auditions will be held daily. Students may sign up in our office the day before. Students who wish to participate in a particular Master Class should audition for the teacher offering it. We encourage students not to be shy and to take advantage of all performing opportunities.
Special activities: The city and the permanent staff will host us with warm German hospitality. Excursions will be made on recreational days to outstanding cultural and natural attractions.