July 21, 2021

Horn Player from Princeton Studies with Her Idol

LESSONS FROM THE BEST: French horn player Elizabeth “E.J.” Ferrara took lessons from Philadelphia Orchestra member Jennifer Montone at a recent summer music festival.

French horn player Elizabeth “E.J.” Ferrara, 17, of Princeton, was among the students at the Philadelphia International Music Festival (PIMF), which resumed its in-person summer model while retaining its popular online option.

Elizabeth studied with her idol Jennifer Montone, who plays French horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra, during the session June 19-July 2, on the campus of Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pa. The second session runs through July 30. Montone was among 25 members of The Philadelphia Orchestra to work with students in individual and group lessons and master classes, and inspire them in faculty recitals.

“PIMF was a breath of fresh air for me, and I loved every second of it,” said E.J. “This was my first opportunity in over a year to share my love of music with others. My favorite part was that everyone was as in love with music as I was. My roommate and I even woke up to a different orchestral piece every morning as our alarm.”

“What a joy to remove the screens and bring these talented young musicians together again,” said PIMF President Sandy Marcucci. “While we had to cap enrollment to allow for distancing and our international students aren’t able to travel from overseas yet, we have been excited and thrilled beyond measure to experience the camaraderie, the fun, the sheer humanity of making music and memories together in person.” 

With stringent COVID screening and monitoring protocols in place, PIMF was able to offer its training program to 110 residential as well as day campers.

“I loved how close to the staff we all got,” E.J. said. “They kept that teacher/student relationship but didn’t make us feel like children, we were all friends and everyone (was) accepted. I’m normally a very homesick person but I felt at home at PIMF. I also loved how encouraging everyone was. Say I had a bad practice or a bad performance, everyone around me would make sure I knew my worth. That’s something that’s really important in the music life.”

The second session currently underway includes high school and middle school symphony orchestra programs and a junior orchestra program for ages 8 through 10, as well as College Audition Preparation Camp. Limited openings are still available in all programs. Visit PIMFOnline.org for information.