Collington artists-in-residence Ieseul Yoen and Natalie Groom with their instruments.
Photo by David Andrews
Graduate students strengthen intergenerational partnership through music.
Two graduate students from the University of Maryland School of Music are living and working as artists-in-residence at Collington Continuing Care Retirement Community for the 2019-2020 academic year. As part of the program, the students receive room and board at Collington in exchange for performing regularly and organizing additional concerts and educational programs for the senior residents. Now in its third year, the partnership program has garnered national attention with its recent feature on NBC’s Today Show.
This year’s artists-in-residence are Natalie Groom and Ieseul Yoen. Both are pursuing Doctor of Musical Arts degrees at the University of Maryland — Groom in clarinet and Yoen in collaborative piano. They moved to Collington in late August 2019 and planned engaging programs for the residents right away, such as an open dress rehearsal featuring Joseph Grimmer, professor of bassoon at UMD, and a presentation on the history of music notation by musicologist Elizabeth Massey.
Groom and Yoen made their performance debut together on October 19 with a program featuring music by women composers. Over the course of their residency, the musicians hope to highlight works by diverse composers and strengthen this intergenerational partnership by programming educational workshops and cultivating deeper interactions between UMD faculty, students and Collington residents.
Groom earned her Bachelor of Music at Kent State University and continued her studies at the University of Arizona where she earned a Master of Music and Master of Business Administration. Groom has performed around the world and specialized in wind quintet chamber music for the past five years. She is the co-founder of Whistling Hens, a soprano/clarinet duo that performs and commissions music by women. She is also the clarinetist and arranger for Classically Dope, a classical music and hip-hop collaboration that tackles subjects such as the power of belief, racial inequality, stereotypes and being a change agent in the world.
Groom said of her experience so far, "My time at Collington has been incredibly warm and welcoming. I cherish the deep conversations we have over meals, the culture of lifelong learning and the fact that we can all have dinner together without being on our phones."
Yoen was born in Seoul, South Korea, into a musically gifted family. She first began playing piano when she was only 4 years old. Yoen came to the United States while she was in high school. After graduation from Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, she moved to New York to continue her studies at Manhattan School of Music where she earned her bachelor’s degree in classical piano and her master’s degree in collaborative piano.
Yoen said looking to the year ahead, "I am thrilled at the opportunity to spend a year living at Collington surrounded by people who have enjoyed such successful lives."