Frances Borowsky, an instructor of cello at Lebanon Valley College, has traveled and performed with her family’s music group, “American Virtuosi,” throughout her life. Recently, the group was invited to participate in the summer festivities of Alytus—the 2022 cultural capital of Lithuania—as featured guests.
There for the final week in August, Borowsky and her siblings acted as musical ambassadors through concerts. They also spent time working with young Lithuanian musicians in workshops, masterclasses, rehearsals, and performances, bringing the same message: Music brings people together.
“As musicians, we help people to feel, express, and listen. This is so important,” Borowsky said. “Admittedly, it sometimes feels like there is nothing we can do when news of far—or close—crises reaches us. But time and time, music has proved its power in bringing people together in unified energy and purpose.”
An example of such unity occurred during one of their many performances, toward the end, when Borowsky and her siblings performed In Memoriam, a piece they had collaboratively composed. In Memoriam incorporates melodic themes significant of both somber and joyous events from Lithuania’s recent history of gaining independence in 1990.
In turn, performing with her family’s group not only pushes Borowsky to grow as a musician, but the experience also influences how she approaches her teaching. Not every aspect of the process is within her control when on tour; any variable can change daily.
“I really have to rely on the skills I developed over several decades while exploring them anew to succeed,” Borowsky said. “When my students are preparing for a performance or audition, I know exactly how to help them with their practice schedules and mindset to help them succeed.”
Read more about Borowsky’s trip and see video highlights here.
— Angelica Fraine ’23, Marketing & Communications Intern