Kayson Brown - Festival Founder and Music Director
Sometimes all it takes to inspire a young person is to find that role model who has “made it” and who is willing to help you find your own path to success.
I love music! No one ever had to “make” me practice, but it wasn’t until I was able to work first-hand with career performers that I realized that they were once just like me, and that they had found a way to make a career out of what they love — music. This realization changed the way I practiced and studied, it changed everything!
This is what I want for every participant! A new perspective on music and how music can change the world for them — and for all of us.
Students generally work with teachers. I had only ever worked with teachers. Great teachers in fact! It is rare for a student to get the opportunity to work with career performers and yet there are so many wonderful performers willing to mentor young musicians.
Lyceum Music Festival and the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic are music programs designed to connect students with professional performers in an effort to awaken the student to his or her own potential. By the end of the Lyceum Music Festival, students will have worked with professional conductors, symphony players, and industry-leading soloists! The whole idea is that each student comes away with a new understanding of what the music industry is and what role music could play in their own life.
I ask students to consider how much a lawyer knows about law or a how much a medical doctor knows about the workings of the body. It might surprise some that a career symphony musician likewise knows that much or more about their specific instrument’s part to a particular piece. It is that performer’s job to know how to approach every note while considering not just their own instrument but those throughout the orchestra. It is their business to know every trick, every bowing, every articulation, and any variation that might be asked for by any one of the dozen or more conductors that will conduct the musician throughout their career.
No one knows more about how to play symphonic music than those who play it for a living every week, year after year. The same is true of Festival guest artists and chamber musicians. Who knows more about paving their own path into today’s music scene than The Piano Guys, The 5 Browns or Nathan Pacheco? Who knows more about the world of professional classical music than the Gruppmans who perform and record on 4 continents with some of the best musicians in the world (Rostropovich, Gergiev, Solti, and Heifietz to name a few). The opportunity to be mentored by these performers helps students realize what it takes to succeed in the professional world.
As a conductor, I have directed more than 25 symphony orchestras, including professional, university, and student ensembles. I hold a Master’s Degree in Conducting and was a member of the Brigham Young University cello and conducting faculty for years. As a cellist, I have soloed with more than a dozen symphony orchestras and continue to perform, teach, and record. I have written and arranged numerous works found on professional albums and co-wrote Beethoven’s 5 Secrets, the Piano Guys’ single that ranked No. 1 on the iTunes Classical Charts and has millions of views on YouTube. I have produced and arranged for multiple commercial albums including Billboard No. 1 albums and releases for SONY Masterworks. I have taught hundreds of young musicians over the years.