The Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet traveled to the city of Le Mans, France, to perform for the Festival Musica Malicorne, June 30-July 4.
The quintet from the School of Music consists of bassoonist Matthew Dutczak, horn player Caitlynn Sandberg, oboist Gabriella Beltran, clarinetist Cristian Barazal, and flutist Cassandra Gunn. Based on sample recordings from the school year, these musicians were selected to play a reduction of Georges Bizet’s French opera, Carmen, and other chamber performances for the festival.
“We are blessed to have been invited to the Festival Musica Malicorne and to share our artistry with the universal language that is music,” says oboist Gabriella Beltran.
Immediately after arriving in Le Mans, the Quintet began one of many rehearsals for the festival. “It was an amazing experience. I learned how to better balance work and leisure time,” says horn player Sandberg. In between rehearsals, the team found time to admire the culture by exploring the medieval architecture of Le Mans and indulging in delicious French food.
“The host family we stayed with made us home-cooked meals. Lots of vegetable salads and pastas with an emphasis on having fruit for dessert,” said Beltran. “We had fresh baguettes and pastries every morning!”
At the festival, which took place in and around the Château de Malicorne-sur-Sarthe castle, the quintet performed their own chamber music Wind Quintet concert, which showcased the music of both French and American composers. They were also given the opportunity to play alongside a chorus during the performance of Carmen, which was directed by Edward Benay and starred soloist Claire Elie-Tenet as the title role.
Sandberg very much appreciated the experience saying, “It felt like I saw a glimpse into the future of what my life could look like one day working with talented people whom I adore as friends.”
The Quintet received a lot of support from friends, family, and colleagues in their endeavor, even raising funds for their flights through bake sales and fundraising recitals. They extend their gratitude to all those who supported them, including the people who helped to initiate
“We are so very thankful for the connections through the festival’s coordinators and our professors at the university that won us the opportunity to perform in France,” said Beltran.