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The Future of Classical Music: From our family to yours!

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It is an interesting time for classical music- many ensembles and orchestras are struggling financially and to build audiences and yet, interest and participation in classical music appears to be alive and well in schools, communities and higher education. For example, never has there been a more competitive time for young musicians to gain acceptance to music schools and conservatories. While there may be a shortage of professional opportunities, there certainly is no shortage of young talent- and this actually must be construed as something very positive for the future of classical music. Witness the "birth" of America's Music Family: The Five Greenes.

Some of the young classically-trained musicians graduating from our music schools and conservatoreis may branch out into other areas of genres of music if they are ultimately unsuccessful obtaining one of the elusive teaching or orchestra performance jobs. Some may find jobs in music-related jobs in the arts such as PR, Advertising, Marketing, promotion, management, etc. But, armed with their knowledge and appreciation for classical music these young people will go on to raise their own families and instill a love of music in them, thereby creating a long-lasting legacy of classical music for our future generations.

This is precisely what I and my husband, Steven Greene, have done. Both of us received professional training in Piano Performance at the Yale School of Music, but whereas I pursued a full-time career as a musician, my husband went into banking and finance, maintaining his musical skills in part-time jobs as a church organist and accompanist and as one-half of our duo- the Merdinger Greene Piano Duo.

Nearly twenty-eight years since our marriage in 1986 have elapsed, and we now are proud to announce the arrival and our collaboration with our "next generation" in the form of a family classical music ensemble- The Five Greenes, based in the Chicago area.

We have launched a brand new website for people to learn more about us. In short, we are a family of five classical musicians who perform as two pianists, a clarinetist, a flutist, two singers and a violist/violinist. No small undertaking for just five people!

Our message is clear: A family that plays together, stays together. And music has the power not just to keep families together, but to bring all people together. In other words, we must learn to get a long a build trusting relationships and foster even greater artistic achievement through the non-competitive sharing of ideas and talents. Our sum is always going to be greater than the individual parts.

We see this as a global trend in classical music. More and more "soloists" are committed to performing chamber music, and to premiering the works of contemporary, living composers. This is the evidence of our collective willingness to collaborate and to stimulate our audiences with the beauty of human interaction and exchange. Classical music can and will survive the twenty-first century, as long as we come together to show our support for musicians, attend concerts, purchase CD's and mp3, and provide our young generation with music lessons at every step of their maturation and development.

So, please welcome the latest addition to the classical music ensemble scene in the Chicago area: The Five Greenes!

Visit the website, like The Five Greenes on Facebook, and come to our concerts in 2014-2015! Let us know how you think you we can contribute to your community concert scene and what repertoire you might like to hear! Be a part of the birth of a new Chicago based music ensemble comprised of a single family of five: Susan Merdinger, Pianist (and Flute); Steven Greene, Pianist; Stefanie Greene, Mezzo-Soprano; Sarah Greene, Violist and Soprano; Scott Greene, Clarinetist and Composer.

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