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By: Leigh Perkins
Published Monday Apr. 17, 2017
Franz Felkl '16, at the top of the stairs, above, credits his connections at Lynn’s Conservatory of Music for helping him secure the second violin position with the Amernet String Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at Florida International University in Miami.
“It was all Chauncey Patterson,” Felkl said, acknowledging the conservatory’s adjunct chamber music instructor. “If I didn’t know Chauncey, I wouldn’t have known about the Amernet Quartet and they wouldn’t have known about me.”
One live audition, and Felkl was a member the quartet, which Strad magazine called “a group of exceptional technical ability.”
The quartet performs at festivals, concert halls and competitions across the globe. Their schedule has included workshops and master classes at universities including Columbia, Penn State and Princeton. They conduct master classes abroad, too.
“I’m learning a lot right now,” Felkl said. “You take chamber music classes and study it and practice it, but it’s a different world when you’re having to learn new things, week-by-week. There are so many intricacies to this music. I learn from these guys every time I play with them.”
Felkl rehearses with the quartet four or five hours a day, with performances on the weekend, some historical works, some modern compositions.
It was Elmar Oliveira who inspired Felkl to venture from his home in Juneau, Alaska, to sunny South Florida.
“I was doing my undergraduate work in Fairbanks and the university brought Mr. Oliveira up one season to play with the orchestra. I had a chance to have a private lesson.”
That night, as Felkl was setting up chairs for rehearsals, Oliveira summoned him.
“I said, ‘Am I in trouble?’ He said, ‘No. I want you to audition at the Lynn Conservatory of Music. Oh, and, by the way, everything’s free.’”
Scholarships made it happen, but it was Oliveira who made the difference for Felkl.
“He can play anything,” Felkl said. “It’s scary. He plays every single note perfectly. That’s inspiring. I wanted that inspiration. It’s very special that he took me into his studio.”
In addition to the quartet and frequently sitting in with the Miami City Ballet and other regional orchestras when time permits, Felkl also teaches. He has a full studio at a Suzuki method school in West Palm Beach. Felkl lives in Delray with his wife, Katlyn, who works at the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development at Florida Atlantic University.
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