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PhoenixPhest Grande — FAQs

Please read carefully before registering, even if you are a returning student, and let us know if you have any questions. Your support of these policies will help make a better Phest for everyone.

The Phoenix Ensemble does not discriminate based on race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, or disability.

Am I too young/old/beginning/advanced to do chamber music?

This is the heart of our vision. We will help and inspire you, no matter where you are in your development. Generally we recommend the Phest for students over the age of 8; the Suzuki Institute is suggested for those under 8. We gladly make exceptions, however. Please call (or have your teacher call us) to discuss.

What are the requirements for a preformed group?

To qualify as a preformed group you must:

  1. have a COMPLETE ensemble;
  2. choose your own music; AND
  3. ensure that every member of your group registers by June 1.

If your plans fall through and you can’t meet these requirements, we will help form your group and/or choose your music. However, you will no longer qualify for the preformed group discount and we may need placement videos from you as well.

What are the requirements for individual chamber music registrants?

Groups are formed and repertoire is carefully chosen based on your age and ability. We work carefully to ensure that you will be working with people are compatible with you.

In return, we expect you to:

  • Register and send your video as early as possible. The sooner you sign up the better we are able to match you up with an appropriate group.
  • Respect the director’s decision. In addition to your placement video, director Gabe Bolkosky consults with participants, parents and private teachers in order to come up with group and music assignments. Once an assignment has been made, it is final.
  • Start practicing your part as soon as you receive your assignment. The more prepared you are, the more rewarding your experience will be. Rehearsing in advance with your group is highly recommended.

What are the placement video requirements?

ALL individual registrants must send us a placement video unless director Gabe Bolkosky has heard you play within the last two months. This includes Suzuki Institute students who choose the chamber music elective. Preformed group members do not need to send a video. If your preformed group falls through we will need a video from you (see rules for preformed groups above).

The video is for placement purposes only. It does not have to be formal, but please make sure that it is an honest demonstration of your playing. It can include:

  • a selection of a solo piece with or without accompaniment
  • a selection of a chamber work with other players (optional)
  • a short poem recited with dramatic intent (optional)
  • a good knock knock joke (optional)

Please upload your video to youtube with a setting of “unlisted” or “public” (NOT “private”). There is space on the registration form to include the link.

What is the difference between the Phest and the Suzuki Institute?

Both events are open to anyone who wants to attend, no matter your age or playing level. Tuition is higher for the festival because:

  • Phest registrants are guaranteed placement in a chamber group. While we offer chamber music as a Suzuki elective as well, we cannot guarantee that every elective request will be honored.
  • Phest registrants can opt for longer daily private lessons by committing to more hours of practice. The institute does not offer that option.

Still not sure which program is best for you? Please contact us; we’ll be happy to help you figure it out.

Is there a dress code?

You should dress comfortably since we start each day with yoga. Classes take place in two different buildings (a 5-minute walk) so be prepared for walking outside.

For performances, each ensemble is free to decide for themselves what to wear.

Do you offer financial aid?

Yes. Please see our Financial Aid page for details.

Can I request to work with a specific teacher?

Yes indeed! Although we can’t promise, we make every effort to accommodate your requests. You can let us know on the registration form, or contact us any time. Faculty schedules fill quickly — the sooner you let us know, the better. Note, we will not consider requests from anyone who has not yet registered.

Can I rent a cello for the week?

Yes! Click here for details.

What is your tuition refund policy?

  • The registration fee is nonrefundable.
  • Tuition is refundable until July 1. After that we cannot give refunds.

How do I get tickets for the faculty concerts?

The faculty concerts are every night, Monday thru Thursday, at 7:30 pm at Northside Community Church in Ann Arbor. Two free tickets to each concert are included with tuition (participant plus one guest). Please call The Phoenix Ensemble to reserve your seats, 888-929-4383.

When will I receive my individual schedule?

We normally email individual daily schedules in advance instead of handing them out at registration. We do this as a courtesy to speed up check-in and save paper. If you do not receive yours via email during the week before the Phest, we will have a printout for you when you arrive.

Can I come just to observe?

Anyone is welcome to observe student classes and coachings. There is no charge for parents; for others the fee is $36/day or $155/week, payable at the door. Advance registration is not required; just let us know when you are planning to come. Note, teacher workshops and Suzuki teacher training classes are not open to observers.