This is just a sampling of some of the amazing talent that comes through the gates of Chautauqua each summer! If YOU are an alumni would like to be featured in one of our upcoming newsletters and online, please contact

 Interviews by Sage Snider and Jennifer Barczak



Garret Jones

MSFO 2015, 2016 – Clarinet

Garret JonesSince joining the school band in 7th grade, Garret Jones has carried a passion for musical performance. Currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan (DMA in Clarinet Performance), he reflects on his two summers with the Chautauqua Music Festival.

What inspired you to pursue music as your career?
I've always wanted to pursue music ever since I started playing in 7th grade band. Performing has always been a rewarding experience for me, and it's what I love doing.

What made you choose to attend Chautauqua and why do you return?
My first year participating at CHQ was from suggestion from my professor Chad Burrow, as one of the options for summer study. I returned to CHQ for a second year because the first year was such a profound experience.

Is there any particular moment or event from your summer that stands out?
I enjoyed spending time with my connections. The hospitality really made CHQ feel like home. It was great to have mature conversations about the arts with educated people of the CHQ community.

What faculty member had the most impact on you and why?
Timothy Muffitt is a fantastic conductor and leader. His is one of the greatest batons I have played under. His fast-paced but efficient rehearsal style was perfect for the concert cycles.

Do you have a favorite composer?
​I love many composers, but I have a particular fascination with Stravinsky and Mahler. Both have a very defined musical language and also exhibit powerful meaning within their works.

How did you spend your free time?
When not in rehearsals or the practice rooms, I often spent my free time walking down to Bestor Plaza to get coffee during breaks.   

What did you learn in your time at CHQ that you have carried with you in your professional pursuits? 
Many of our rehearsals and coachings built a strong foundation for my playing. I have found myself talking to colleagues of certain teachers that have had great ideas for helping chamber groups to play better as an ensemble. 

How has your time at CHQ influenced your future goals?
​I want to win a position with an orchestra. The rigorous MSFO schedule helped immensely in keeping my playing in great shape, and forcing me to learn many pieces quickly. This is tremendously important when playing with an orchestra.

In your opinion, what makes the Chautauqua Music Festival unique?
The Chautauqua experience is very unique among summer programs. Not only do you study with highly experienced faculty and peers, but you are continuously supported by the Chautauqua community. Though it is a very long program, I always felt a sort of homely presence about the place. It is a great place to build professional skills and also connections.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
Work hard and play hard. CHQ is a fantastic place to develop your skills as an artist. This is done not only in the practice room, but developing relationships with your fellow musicians and conversing with the CHQ community.