Update: The Renée Fleming Master Class at MacPhail is now sold out.
In two weeks, Renée Fleming will sing a sold-out recital to open the Schubert Club’s International Artist Series. While there is some small chance of returned tickets being available for sale immediately before the performance, a better (albeit different) chance of catching Ms. Fleming is to catch her the following day when she teaches a master class for singers at MacPhail Center for Music in downtown Minneapolis.
In a phone interview, MacPhail COO Paul Babcock stated, “We are very excited to have Renée Fleming teaching at MacPhail.” While an artist of Ms. Fleming’s caliber would ordinarily be difficult for MacPhail to afford, Babcock and his colleagues have made something of a specialty of hiring internationally renown artists who are in the Twin Cities for other performing engagements. Last spring, Babcock noted, he read that Ms. Fleming was coming to sing for the Schubert Club – and immediately called his counterpart at the Schubert Club to begin exploring if she might be willing to stay in town for a master class.
This sort of two-for-one gambit has worked out very well for MacPhail, one of the largest community music schools in the country. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, for example, has taught several master classes at MacPhail in conjunction with soloist engagements; his warm demeanor and artful pedagogy endeared him with administrators, students, faculty, and community members. “We practically think of him as family,” Babcock noted.
Although the school offers master classes year-round, having artists of international caliber is not only of interest to the students and faculty, but to a larger community interested in music and those who make it. This, Babcock said, is in line with MacPhail’s focus on serving the community in which it is based.