Director Spotlight: Marisa Solomon

Meet Marisa Solomon, Director of Program for Maine Students since 2022 and faculty member since 2012. Kneisel Hall’s 2023 Program for Maine Students will take place June 17-23.

What year did the Program for Maine Students start and who started it?  

I’m not sure of the year..maybe the early 1990s?  It was Marian Hahn, George Sopkin, and Irene Rissi (Blue Hill area violin teacher) who began the program.

How long have you been on the faculty and how long have you been the director?

I’ve been on the faculty since 2012, and 2023 will be my second year as director.

What kind of growth do you see from the students during the week?

We marvel at how much progress the students make in just one week! Working with our beloved mentors, the students dive deeply into not only their ensemble’s repertoire but also the art of playing chamber music. They learn to collaborate, to listen, to trust; the importance of understanding the entire score, not just their parts…I could go on and on. I am always incredibly proud of the transformation our students make from the first day to the final concert!

How is this program different than other chamber music programs in Maine? What makes it special?  

The Young Artists are what makes this program so special and unique! The students are continually inspired by the YA’s exceptional talent, wisdom, and generosity of spirit.  And a number of our graduates became YA mentors themselves!  In fact, two alumni – Sophie and Josie Davis – founded the Envision music program at Bay Chamber in Rockport, which includes faculty who are also former students! So I would say the Program for Maine Students continues to spread the infectious love of chamber music throughout the state.

What is the most important/memorable thing that these students take away from participating in this program?

Of course, the students leave having bettered their chamber music skills.  But there is also great camaraderie that happens during this program.  The students find like-minded peers who share their love of making music.  They allow themselves to be vulnerable, and to share their artistic interests and talents, no matter the style or genre.  Our talent show is a perfect example – students get up on that KH stage and sing, play original compositions, recite poetry – even slam poetry!  These are all reasons why students return summer after summer.  And I am grateful for that!