Press

4Culture Awards Capacity-Building Grant to Key to Change

We are thrilled to announce that Community 4Culture has awarded Key to Change a $10,000 capacity-building grant. This funding will be used to expand our violin studio, serve more students, and grow our impact in our community.

Community 4Culture works to address inequities in arts and cultural funding across King County’s diverse population. Key to Change shares the same vision of increasing access to music and arts education in under-resourced communities. We are honored to have the support of Community 4Culture as we continue serving the population in South King County.

As part of this ongoing mission, Key to Change established our own Instrument Library earlier this summer with grant support from the Classics for Kids Foundation and the D’Addario Foundation. Providing free instruments for our students is a critical way in which Key to Change makes classical music instruction affordable and accessible to a broad range of students in our region.

“Classics for Kids Foundation is delighted to support Key to Change with a matching grant to support their need for beautiful new instruments for their students. Their support for young musicians in the Seattle area is inspiring, and our hope is that the offer of matching funds will further inspire local philanthropy in helping these wonderful young people to thrive.”

–  Michael Reynolds, Executive Director, Classics for Kids Foundation

To date, Key to Change has cultivated an instrument library of over 25 violins and violas through a combination of grant awards and community donations. Click here to learn more about our Instrument Library.

For more information, please email at info@keytochangestudio.org.

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2018-2019 Master Classes at Key to Change

Key to Change is thrilled to offer our students master classes with distinguished guest artists from around the world. This school year our students will have the opportunity to work with the following renowned musicians:

Daniel Ching, First Violinist of the Miró Quartet
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, 10am, Seattle University – Hunthausen Room 060

Daniel Ching, a founding member of the Miró Quartet, began his violin studies at the age of 3 under tutelage of his father. At age 5, he entered the San Francisco Conservatory Preparatory Division on a full twelve‐year scholarship, where he studied violin with Serban Rusu and Zaven Melikian, and chamber music with Susan Bates. At the age of 10, Daniel was first introduced to string quartets. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Daniel studied violin with Kathleen Winkler, Roland and Almita Vamos, and conducting with Robert Spano and Peter Jaffe. He completed his Masters degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with former Cleveland Quartet violinist Donald Weilerstein.

Daniel is on faculty at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches private violin students and coaches chamber music. He concurrently maintains an active international touring schedule as a member of the Miró Quartet.


Irina Muresanu, Violin Soloist and Professor at University of Maryland – College Park
Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, 5:30pm, Mill Creek Middle School

Romanian violinist Irina Muresanu has won the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her exciting, elegant and heartfelt performances of the classical, romantic, and modern repertoire. Muresanu has performed in renowned concert halls throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Her solo engagements include concerts with the Boston Pops, the Miami Symphony Orchestra, the Williamsburg Symphonia, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Geneva), the Transvaal Philharmonic (Pretoria, S. Africa), the Romanian National Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Radio Flamande (Brussels), and the Boston Philharmonic, among others.

In 2013, Irina introduced her “Four Strings Around the World” project, a solo violin recital featuring works of composers inspired by various musical cultures around the world. “Four Strings Around the World” sparked an orchestral project called “Strings Across Europe,” a program in which Muresanu performs multiple roles as soloist and conductor.

Irina currently serves on the faculty the University of Maryland and has taught at Boston Conservatory and in the Harvard and MIT Music Departments. She received the prestigious Artist Diploma degree and a Doctor in Musical Arts degree from the New England Conservatory.  She plays an 1849 Giuseppe Rocca violin and an Étienne Pajeot bow.


Shakeh Ghoukasian, Principal Second Violinist of Las Vegas Philharmonic and Director of the Nevada School of the Arts
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, 4pm, Renton High School

Shakeh Ghoukasian is the Executive and Artistic Director of the Nevada School of the Arts, and has been the driving force of the school’s new vision, new initiatives, and community partnerships. She is also an active chamber music and orchestral musician. She is the Principal 2nd Violinist of the Las Vegas Philharmonic since 1998. Shakeh also performs with the Nevada Ballet and the Las Vegas Philharmonic Principals Quartet, presenting educational outreach and chamber music concerts in the community.

She has performed with many notable classical and pop artists including Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Boccelli, Placido Domingo, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Itzhak Perlman and others. Her solo performances include appearances with Henderson Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic. Shakeh received her early music training in Armenia. After moving to the United States she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in performance from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is also an established pedagogue, and her students are winners of several local and national competitions and have been chosen to participate in numerous notable summer music festivals and camps. She enjoys working with young musicians and guiding their musical and artistic development.


Benjamin Hunter, Violin Fiddler
Friday, March 1, 2019, 4pm, Mill Creek Middle School

Benjamin Hunter is a violinist, storyteller, educator, and community enterpriser. ​Cross pollinating multiple artistic disciplines for more than a decade, the Seattle-based polymath has dedicated his life to transforming the world’s stale status quo into a vibrant, inclusive, communal, and compassionate society. Playing violin since age 5, he was fortunate to travel the world and absorb various musical styles at a young age. Receiving his degree in Performance Violin, with keen interest in politics and philosophy, Hunter set his sights on the intersection between art, community, and a rapidly evolving clash of culture.

Benjamin plays violin, mandolin, guitar, and sings.  He composes original works, and performs with a variety of groups, playing classical, jazz, world, folk, blues, and country. Groups and projects include the award-winning blues duo Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, the multidisciplinary performance project Black Bois, and the jazz trio Honeysuckle Rye.


Jeremy Woolstenhulme, Cellist and Director of Orchestra at Hyde Park Middle School
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 4pm, Renton High School
Friday, April 19, 2019, 5:30pm, Mill Creek Middle School

Jeremy Woolstenhulme currently serves as the orchestra director at Hyde Park Middle School in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jeremy has traveled with his Chamber Orchestra to festivals in Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, London, Washington D.C., Boston, Miami, and New York, earning top awards at every venue. The Hyde Park Middle School Chamber Orchestra was honored to have been selected to perform at the 2008 and 2017 Midwest Clinic in Chicago. The Chamber Orchestra has also played at multiple ASTA conventions, and in March 2015 won first place in the junior high division of the National Orchestra Festival in Salt Lake City.

As an author and composer Jeremy has several published works to his credit. He is a co-author of a new string method series called String Basics published by the Neil A. Kjos music company, and he has several string and full orchestra works published and available through Kjos music as well. As a string clinician Jeremy has presented teaching ideas at many state music conventions throughout the United States including the Midwest Clinic and several times at the ASTA convention. He has traveled internationally to do string teaching presentations in Canada, Australia and China. Jeremy is also a musician with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and a freelance musician performing at many venues located on the famed Las Vegas “Strip.”


Brett Deubner, Viola Soloist and Professor at Queens College – New York
Thursday, April 25, 2019, 4pm, Renton High School

Brett Deubner, one of this generation’s most accomplished violists, has inspired worldwide critical acclaim for his powerful intensity and sumptuous tone. Recent performances include concerto appearances with over 70 orchestras on 5 continents. Brett has garnered critical acclaim from solo appearances with such American orchestras as the Grand Rapids Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Missoula Symphony, Peninsula Symphony and acclaimed solo debuts in South American orchestras from Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Argentina.

Brett’s commitment to extending the repertoire for the viola is made evident by collaborations with some of today’s greatest composers such as Richard Danielpour, Andrea Morricone, Samuel Adler, Lalo Schifrin, Andrew Rudin, David Del Tredici, Joseph Turrin, Maurizio Bignone, Carlos Franzetti, and several of this generation’s leading young composers. To date, over 80 works for viola including 37 viola concerti and numerous solo and chamber works for viola have been dedicated to and premiered by Brett.


 

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Professional Development with Key to Change

Beginning in Fall 2018, Key to Change will offer professional development for middle and high school orchestra teachers in South King County. We are excited to announce that we have partnered with the Renton School District to provide their teachers with opportunities for continued education.

Key to Change will provide teachers with the following educational resources:

  • Classroom observations
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Group and individual assessment
  • Curriculum design
  • Education workshops

These professional development seminars will be led by Key to Change Founder and Director Dr. Quinton Morris. For over a decade Quinton has served as the Director of Chamber and Instrumental Music at Seattle University, and he is the first tenured music professor there in over 30 years. Quinton is also a native of Renton, Washington and a product of the public music programs in South King County. He understands firsthand the unique challenges that orchestra teachers face in this region.

By providing ongoing support to these educators, Key to Change’s goal is to ultimately enhance student learning, improve teacher skills, and increase job satisfaction. Together with our public school orchestra teachers, we can help build the infrastructure for more engaging and impactful musical education in South King County.

For more information on Key to Change’s professional development seminars, please email info@keytochangestudio.org.

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Key to Change Establishes Instrument Library Through Grant Support

We are pleased to announce that students who participate in our violin studio will now have free access to violins through our new instrument library, thanks to the generous support of the Classics for Kids Foundation and the D’Addario FoundationThis summer Classics for Kids granted us matching funds to purchase 10 new violins for our instrument library, and D’Addario Foundation has given us a $1,750 in-kind gift to use toward strings and other instrument supplies.

“Classics for Kids Foundation is delighted to support Key to Change with a matching grant to support their need for beautiful new instruments for their students. Their support for young musicians in the Seattle area is inspiring, and our hope is that the offer of matching funds will further inspire local philanthropy in helping these wonderful young people to thrive.”

–  Michael Reynolds, Executive Director, Classics for Kids Foundation

To date, Key to Change has cultivated an instrument library of over 25 violins and violas through a combination of grant awards and community donations. Providing free instruments for our students is a critical way in which Key to Change makes classical music instruction affordable and accessible to a broad range of students in South King County.

“I’m so excited to be able to provide students in South King County with access to high quality violins and violas. It is critical for students during their formative years to have a good instrument to play on, which inspires them to play with confidence and joy for the music they are making.”

– Dr. Quinton Morris, Director, Key to Change

If you are interested in contributing to the Key to Change instrument library, please click here to make a gift.

For more information, please email at info@keytochangestudio.org.

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Quinton Morris Named One of Musical America’s 30 Movers & Shapers

Key to Change Founder and Director Dr. Quinton Morris is honored to be named one of Musical America’s 30 Movers and Shapers of 2017, alongside 29 other music professionals from Carnegie Hall, Seattle Symphony, The New Yorker, and more.

Musical America is one of the world’s top music publications, distributed in over 95 countries around the globe. Their annual Movers and Shapers report highlights the work of people who are redefining and driving the future of classical music and the performing arts. Quinton was selected for his accomplishments as a performer and educator, and in particular for his work creating the Key to Change in South King County.

 

Click here to read Musical America’s article on Quinton Morris and Key to Change.

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A Culture of Community Inspires Veterans to Volunteer

What yoga does for some people, music achieves for others. Sean Greenlee helps underserved children get access to private music lessons, expanding their horizons and view of what’s possible.

Greenlee, manager of Starbucks global social responsibility, got interested in the nonprofit Key to Change because his son, a freshman in high school, plays violin. “A lot of diverse kids don’t necessarily see being in an orchestra as a possibility for them,” said Greenlee, a three-year partner. The cost of renting an instrument and affording private lessons can be daunting, which is why professional violinist Quinton Morris launched Key to Change, with the goal of making violin lessons accessible to any interested child.

Greenlee served in the Navy for 10 years, where he internalized the importance of service to others, which he now translates to his position as president of Key to Change. “A lot of core values that we learn and the character that we build in the military carries over to our outside work,” said Greenlee. “I was drawn to Starbucks because of our focus on service. I serve in the company and I want to be able to continue to do that in my outside life as well.”

That’s a common sentiment, says Bill Rausch, executive director of Got Your Six, which is military slang for “I’ve got your back.” Got Your Six empowers veterans to lead a resurgence of community in the U.S. by encouraging them to volunteer, get to know their neighbors and vote.

“A lot of veterans miss the camaraderie and the shared purpose of the military,” said Rausch. “When they volunteer, they think, ‘Hey, we have a second service.’”

Got Your Six has crunched census data and discovered that veterans volunteer at higher rates than their civilian counterparts. The findings were hardly surprising to Rausch. “The idea is simple: By joining the military and serving your country, you leave the military more inclined to stay civically engaged.”

Read the full story on Starbucks’ website here.

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Reaching and Teaching Youth With the Violin

“Do you brush your teeth every day?” Quinton Morris asks four students in a small Maple Valley studio. “You’re teenagers,” he teases as eyes roll, “some of you probably don’t.”

“Playing with the metronome is like brushing your teeth,” he says.

Morris isn’t teaching high school health. He’s teaching beginning violin. And he’s drilling the basics — scales, hand placement, finger position and playing with a metronome every day.

The violin is a notoriously difficult instrument to play well and — for beginners — there are many sour notes and crooked bows.

“You need a lot of practice to become good at it,” says student Brian Nguyen.

Many beginners start in public school string classes. But often the best learning takes place with a private teacher, who can zero in on strengths and weaknesses and hone potential early on. But not all students can afford private lessons.

Cue Quinton Morris, associate professor and director of chamber and instrumental music at Seattle University.

Read the full article by Stephen Hegg from KCTS here.

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Seattle Virtuoso Quinton Morris Is Set to Open Violin Studio for Low-Income Students of Color

With Key to Change—serving South King County—Morris pays forward generosity he received as a youth.

For Seattle University’s Quinton Morris, one of two tenured African-American violin professors in the United States, the violin is both an instrument and a seed. And with it Morris is growing a great forest—his most recent plot being south of Seattle, where he’s founded Key to Change, a violin studio with branches in Renton and Maple Valley for students of color with limited financial resources.

The studio’s origins began way back in the ’90s, when Hank Linear, then president of the Renton Black Parents Association, saw Morris had talent. Linear, through his organization, made it possible for Morris to attend college tuition-free and bought him his first violin. Now Morris wants to pay that generosity forward.

And the virtuoso has a lot to offer. Morris is a filmmaker and entrepreneur who this year toured nearly two dozen cities, from Asia to Africa, to perform, lecture, and screen his latest project, Breakthrough, a short film about the 18th-century violinist and composer Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

“I think I’ve always been a very detail-oriented person,” says Morris, sitting in his modest Seattle University office just north of the campus chapel and reflecting on the roots of his work ethic. “That’s been me since I was a little boy.”

Morris’ education started early. He learned to live both a creative and structured life by watching his father, a former director of housing in Illinois, and mother, a manager for the ombudsman office for King County, work diligently—and he intends to impart this ethic to his Key to Change students. “I didn’t realize at the time that those skills would prepare me for where I am now,” says Morris, who will receive the Governor’s Young Artist Award next month. “Having my own company and my own nonprofit just sounded like the next right thing.”

Key to Change, now accepting applications for lessons starting in November, aims to provide access to world-class private instruction to some 25 middle- and high-school students in South King County. Students will also participate in master classes taught by guest artists and attend workshops on the audition process, solo and ensemble preparation, and the college application process.

“A lot of people of color and people from low-income backgrounds are being pushed south of Seattle,” Morris says. “And unfortunately there are not very many resources there that are arts-related. I have the opportunity now–I’ve been very blessed–to give something back.”

quintonmorris.org

Read the full story in Seattle Weekly here.

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Renowned violinist encourages young people of color to love music

Quinton Morris is a violin virtuoso who wants to give back. The Seattle University teacher grew up in Renton and fondly remembers the support he got from the community. He says that encouragement is important for people of color who want to be classical musicians. Morris told Jamala Henderson how he was often discouraged.

Read the full story on KUOW here.

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String Savant

When Dr. Quinton Morris plays his violin for an audience, there’s no doubt he’s connected to the instrument. With his eyes closed, right hand on the bow, Morris seamlessly strings notes together creating a beautiful sound. The two are a fine-tuned team.

“It allows me the opportunity to be able to express myself in a way that I can’t any other way except on that instrument,” Morris said. “And that’s an honor.”

Morris has performed on stages across the world and teaches at Seattle University. In January, he is bringing his talents to a new audience in South King County.

Morris is opening Key to Change Studio, a music studio where he will teach middle and high school students violin in Renton and Maple Valley. The studio is open to everyone, but Morris is focused on students of color.

“I know what it’s like being a person of color and playing a European instrument. I understand the challenges that a 12- or 13-year-old or 14-year-old, 15 or whatever faces. I get it. Because that was me a long time ago,” Morris said. “I want to be able to provide assistance to students who can’t afford lessons. Who are really passionate about getting better on their instruments but just don’t have the necessary resources to afford it.”

The students who enroll in his classes will also work with Morris’ Seattle U students who will act as peer mentors, perform in quarterly recitals and attend workshops on the college application process. The school is currently accepting applications.

Quinton Morris with a Seattle U student. Photo by Sarah Shannon
Quinton Morris with a Seattle U student. Photo by Sarah Shannon

Morris’ schedule is full of activity. He says he works when everyone else is sleeping. He’s done a TEDx talk on artist entrepreneurship, performed in front of sold-out crowds at Carnegie Hall three times and received numerous awards and accolades.

Morris began playing the violin in the third grade when he was just 8 years old. At the time, all of his classmates played an instrument. In the coming years, his mother encouraged him to keep playing because she believed the violin would open doors for him.

“My mom always told me, ‘Look, play violin and keep your grades up; it’ll get you to college.’ She was right. She was so right,” Morris said. “She said, ‘You never know, it might take you around the world.’”

His mother’s words of encouragement became a self-fulfilling prophecy. In September, Morris wrapped up a world tour called “Breakthrough,” which took him around the globe to play for audiences in Australia, Malaysia and Tanzania, just to name a few. While flying to different countries, he still maintained his teaching responsibilities at Seattle University and got married. Morris described the experience of traveling the world as incredible. He was able to interact with people from different cultures he normally wouldn’t encounter.

“It was probably one of the most fulfilling things that I’ve ever done in my entire professional career. It was amazing on so many levels,” Morris said. “Working with children from all these different areas, understanding how they learn, how they are passionate about music. It changed me. It changed me in a way that a textbook or a book that I would’ve been reading never would’ve been able to do.”

The concerts he performed were innovative in that he shared classical music with each audience in a nontraditional way. Morris performed, lectured and showed a film at the end.

“I performed the music of this African French composer named Joseph Bologne, who is better known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges,” Morris said. “This is a man who had such a huge influence on French classical music, fought in the French Revolutionary War, was born on the island Guadeloupe and had an enormous career. He’s credited as being one of the first Black classical musicians.”

He played the role of Chevalier de Saint-Georges in the film Morris and a crew shot at the Louvre and Versailles castle to tell the composer’s story.

Quinton Morris in his classroom at Seattle U. Photo by Sarah Shannon
Quinton Morris in his classroom at Seattle U. Photo by Sarah Shannon

In addition to performing in venues, Morris also celebrated 20 years of being cancer-free while on tour. He found out he had cancer shortly after turning 18.

“I had an advanced stage of Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Morris said. “In every country I went to, I visited with families and sick children and played for them in hospitals. It was so great. It was so liberating.”

In November, he received the Young Arts Leader award from Gov. Jay Inslee. During the Arts and Heritage awards ceremony Morris played “Melodie” by Gluck. Then, with the help of a DJ, he transitioned into a hip-hop medley of songs by Beyoncé, Rihanna and Drake. Hearing R&B, pop and hip-hop on a violin is an unforgettable experience. Morris said it was a throwback to his days as a member and artistic director of Young Eight, a string octet of Black artists.

Morris credits his success with knowing who he is and what he has to offer.

“I think when you know what your life’s purpose is and when you know what you’re put on Earth to do, then you go after that,” Morris said. “I think that is why I’ve been able to do so many things because I’m always tapped into who I am. I’m always tapped into my personal and my professional mission.”

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