ESME is an acoustic string band exclusive in West Michigan in blending classical music training with popular music creating a live performance experience accessible to different ages and varied tastes. “From Justin Bieber to Led Zeppelin and Mendelssohn, ESME makes music of all genres engaging to audiences of every age and predilection through creative mashups and arrangements.” – Revue West Michigan. ESME performs at concert and social venues, art galleries, movie theaters and popular bar/restaurants in Grand Rapids. After being seen performing at Brewery Vivant, ESME was invited to perform on Fox17’s morning news segment. Revue West Michigan hails ESME as a “String duo for the age of musical omnivores.”
ESME’s debut CD album, which includes their original cover/mash-up arrangements of music ranging from Bach, Beethoven and Ravel to Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Led Zeppelin, is the first ever classical instrumental album to have been chosen by their recording engineer at River City Studios Ltd for a Grammy submission.
ESME enrichment programs are designed to help students apply their exposure to popular music to their study of classical music. Combining player interaction as well as improvisation with the familiarity of pop music, they seek to engage students towards finding new and creative ways of exploring their classical instruments and growing their school music programs.
Making regular appearances at West Michigan high schools and middle schools throughout the year ESME performs workshops and clinic concerts with student orchestras using ESME written orchestral arrangements. Past ESME clinic concerts have included East Grand Rapids High School, Forest Hills Eastern High School, Grandville High School, Grand Rapids Christian High School, Zeeland Public School and Troy High School orchestras. ESME has conducted residencies at Aquinas College, The Hillsdale String Festival and the nationally renowned, Philadelphia based young musicians training program Project 440, collaborating with and writing string arrangements for musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
In recent years the group has expanded the scope of their collaborations and vision to create local projects of world class artistic offerings unprecedented in West Michigan, including their premiere of "Swan Song," an original live music and dance production created by ESME and dancers of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, as well as the ESME String Camp, a summer chamber music camp where middle, high school and college string players participate in private lessons, chamber coachings, interactive workshops and side by side performances with ESME and principal members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
During the COVID Pandemic of 2020 ESME created two completely virtual training programs to keep students engaged and musically active while quarantined: The ESME Virtual String Camp and the ECCO program. Created in just under a month in response to the COVID-19 social gathering restrictions the ESME Virtual String Camp program enabled string and piano students from as far as New Jersey, Philadelphia and Minnesota to study, collaborate and perform chamber music alongside local students of West Michigan and ultimately became the only program in both West Michigan and across the state to offer students a fully enriching virtual chamber music camp experience of world class artistry and instruction during the summer of 2020. During the fall months of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic ESME also created a school-year virtual performance training program called ECCO (ESME Chamber Course Online) working with over 300 students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts as well as from across the globe including Seattle, West Indies and China. Through participating in the ECCO program the students were taught to create and put together their own virtual performances in both chamber groups and orchestras while staying socially distanced inside their own homes, enabling them to successfully complete their school virtual performing projects in Jazz, Wind, String and Full Orchestras.
ESME band members have performance and composition degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, The Curtis Institute of Music and University of Michigan and have performed as members of The Grand Rapids Symphony, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and The New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Violin: Gene Hahn
Cello: Jeremy Crosmer