November 15, 2022

MSM Precollege update:
A conversation with the Director of Precollege Enrique Márquez

In August 2022, MSM alumnus Enrique Márquez (MM ’04) was named Assistant Dean for Youth Programs and Director of Precollege, the acclaimed Saturday program for talented students ages 5 to 18. Enrique fills us in on what’s new with the program and why it’s considered one of the best pre-conservatory music education programs in the world.

Applications for MSM Precollege academic year 2023–2024 will be available on December 1.


What is new with the MSM Precollege program this year?

Enrique: MSM Precollege is back and fully in-person. Our performance venues and rehearsal spaces are filled with young musicians doing their best every Saturday. We have the largest student cohort this year, with 520 young musicians from seven countries and 11 states.

This year we welcomed Milan Milisavljevic, Principal Viola of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, as the conductor of the MSM Precollege Concert Orchestra. He has performed as soloist, conductor, and chamber musician all over the world, with artists such as Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Augustin Hadelich, Joseph Kalichstein, Cho-Liang Lin, and many others. He has conducted orchestras in Bulgaria, Poland, Wales, Mexico, the United States, and his native Serbia.

Students may study jazz or classical music at MSM Precollege

Can you tell us about the recent Precollege concerts?

Enrique: We have four outstanding orchestras at MSM Precollege, plus a string ensemble for our youngest students. Every Saturday, I sit in awe listening to their rehearsals. The level is extremely high. Students are learning new works, as well as repertoire that we often hear professional orchestras tackle. Their youth, energy, and passion for music translates into exuberant and masterful performances. I can’t wait for these concerts!

We had an impressive set of orchestra concerts on November 19 at MSM Precollege: the Symphony Orchestra, led by Tanatchaya Chanphanitpornkit, and the Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Nathan Hetherington.

These ensembles represent our more advanced students. For the past eight weeks, they have been working on ambitious programs. Works include the African Suite by Fela Sowande, considered the father of modern classical Nigerian music; Quinn Mason’s (b. 1996) Princesa de la Luna, Borodin’s Second Symphony, and Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. We will be featuring our Concerto Competition winners Logan Lee, performing Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, and Gitae Park, performing the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No 2.

“We are a world-renowned institution serving gifted and brilliant young minds. Everything we do is geared towards supporting our students, and to provide the best and most comprehensive music education program possible.”

Assistant Dean of Youth Programs and Director of MSM Precollege

Why is MSM Precollege such an important program? What sets it apart from others?

Enrique: MSM Precollege is an outstanding program. Not only are our students gifted and accomplished musicians for their young age, they are also academically brilliant and aware of the times we live in.

MSM Precollege graduates go on to attend MSM and other top-notch conservatories in the US and around the world. They also attend Ivy League and tier 1 research universities. Our students have me confident that the future of music is bright and promising.

MSM Precollege program is about friendship as well as studying music at a pre-conservatory level

You recently joined MSM as Assistant Dean for Youth Programs and Director of Precollege. Why is this important to you personally?

Enrique: I have been leading youth music programs for many years now. From K-12 programs in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Haiti, and Interlochen to working with doctoral students at Harvard’s Music Department.

My parents were music educators and faculty at the local State University. This is a natural space for me, and serving MSM Precollege students is most fulfilling. I look forward to Saturday every week. Our faculty are not only world-class musicians but masterful educators. I have the best job at MSM!

Classes take place on the MSM campus every Saturday through the academic year

What is your vision for MSM Precollege?

Enrique: My vision for MSM Precollege is straight-forward. We are a world-renowned institution serving gifted and brilliant young minds. Everything we do is geared towards supporting our students and to provide the best and most comprehensive music education program possible. We have the knowledge and know-how to prepare students for a life in the field and to instill a deep passion and appreciation for music for those that will go on to universities and liberal arts programs. We have the best of both worlds really, and that is the beauty and power of music, bringing committed and talented young people together.

Can you tell us about the upcoming application season? What should people know about applying?

Enrique: Our applications for Fall 2023 open on December 1. Our program is highly competitive, yet the atmosphere is supportive and welcoming. Our students make friends with their peers and enjoy dinning at the cafeteria, taking a break between classes at the student Lounge, and doing homework or research at the music library.

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