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Meet Julie Scolnik of MISTRAL MUSIC in Brookline

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Scolnik.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Julie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My musical passion began during my early childhood and evolved into a successful, freelance orchestral career in Boston. I was playing principal flute in a wide variety of jobs, from the ballet and opera orchestras, regular subbing in the Boston Symphony, to teaching privately and at Longy.

When I moved to Andover with my young family in 1996, I recognized an invaluable opportunity to bring chamber music to my new community. The town was just far enough from Boston to make people recognize what a gift it was not to make a long drive, deal with parking and traffic in order to hear world-class musicians. Our first motto was: Bringing world-class music to your doorsteps.”

When I first founded the series, it was to play music I loved the most with the most virtuosic, communicative musicians around. But I soon learned that it afforded me something which freelance orchestral work did not — a chance to connect with my community through an intimate concert experience.

We were founded as Andover Chamber Music but Mistral referred to our ensemble in residence and when we were invited elsewhere to perform. We took on the complete name change to Mistral Music in 2013 when we moved from Andover back to Boston area and brought the concerts with us. Today, Mistral is comprised of five-seven core members and enjoys a steady rotation of guest musicians and composers, as we pride ourselves on presenting wide-ranging programs with not only beloved masterpieces, but newly-discovered and lesser-known gems.

Beyond the high caliber of the artists we present, audiences have responded to the personal connection and rapport that we have established. We believe in breaking down barriers between the players and audience members with many informal introductions to the works, and an occasional Q & A from the stage. It is the level of intimacy in the concert experience that we feel makes a difference in their lives. In this day and age, with technology and endless entertainment options available at our fingertips, when people experience something beautiful together, sit and listen to a few hours of music that we have prepared, it fosters a sense of community, and it changes them in some way,

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I would say that the main challenges have been mostly administrative, as I had to quickly learn all aspects of graphic design, marketing, and fund-raising on my own. On-the-job-training! Choosing the programs themselves is a challenging but very fun, creative process. Competing for funding in a city that has so many cultural offerings is not an easy task, but we have managed to distinguish ourselves in such a way to make people want to support us so that we have survived into our twenty-second season!

MISTRAL MUSIC – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As the artistic director and founder of Mistral, I can safely say I am involved in every artistic aspect of running the organization, from the most important choices such as choosing all the music and hiring all the artists, to the more mundane but also artistic initiatives such as creating our look and brand- all the posters and program booklets which I design and create myself, and all our other marketing materials. Right now there are banners across the town of Brookline on the telephone poles that advertise Mistral with a fun photo of the ensemble. I must admit that I am a bit of a micro-manager, as every font used is very important to me, as is the kind of chocolate heart we pass out at our Valentine’s Day concerts!

I believe that the thematic programs I provide appeal to many as well. I pride myself in finding common threads between composers or works and presenting an interesting program as a whole. From “In Search of Marcel Proust,” to “Music, Marriage and Madness,” to “Songs of Nature,” and ” Rondos, Rags, and Riffs,” our thematic programs entice our members to keep returning for new adventures in programming.

But more importantly, I think what people keep coming back for, and what sets us apart from other high caliber chamber music concerts, is the close personal connection that I have established with my audience members. They know me personally very well. Some have been coming to our concerts for 22 years. They have literally watched my children grow up and become professional musicians themselves. They know my history, my bout with breast cancer, they know my parents. The letters of thanks that I have received over the years are the most gratifying and heartwarming validation I could ask for.

Some examples:
-“We applaud you for your thoughtfulness, your sensitivity, and the seemingly endless ingenuity that makes Mistral so enjoyable and meaningful.” John Antes

-“The concert was magical as usual. It is extraordinary how you make these things happen – with humor, modesty and grace. We were completely transported.” Peter Rose

-“The problem is, you put together endless different programs of the most exquisitely lovely music, and I am stuck with the same few words time after time trying to tell you how amazing and moving it was- thank you SO MUCH for your gift, and what you bring into the world!” Lisa Frost

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Quite simply, making a difference in peoples’ lives is what counts to me. Receiving letters that affirm my belief that the arts are not a luxury in our lives but our water and our air, letters from people who tell me: “There is beauty in the world, and you provide it.” That is my marker for success.

Pricing:

  • General tickets are $35, Flex pass Subscription prices make each ticket $30.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kate Lemmon, and Seungoh Ryu

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