Archive for December, 2009

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Oliver and Lennon Aldort

December 18, 2009

Two brothers who have never been to school and are flourishing through self-directed learning!

Oliver Aldort is a 15-year-old musical prodigy who began his musical performing career just one year after beginning cello lessons. He was 7 years old when he gave his debut recital on center stage to a full house at Orcas Theatre in Seattle, Washington. His first orchestral appearance at the age of ten included a cello and piano concerto. Oliver plays both the cello and piano at the professional level. He is also a conductor and a Oliver Aldortcomposer. Oliver’s prodigious talents are unique in this genre because of his fantastic understanding of the structure of music. He works from memory and can start anywhere without referring to the notes. Oliver also has perfect pitch with the ability to immediately tell what key he is listening to, while being able to detect the slightest intonation fluctuations.

Oliver has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras in Washington, Boston, and British Columbia. He has played Dvorak, Saint Saens, Hayden, and Schumann cello concertos as well as Mozart’s two late piano concertos. For Oliver, the greatest pleasure of his musical career is performing. Oliver explains, “I enter the room to win, and then I am fine with whatever happens.”

Oliver has been the winner of several state, regional and national music competitions. In 2007, he won the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National competition on cello. In 2008, he was awarded the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival (SYAMF) medal for ages 14-19. Oliver’s performance of the Schumann cello concerto left the large crowd gasping and wanting more. Oliver’s three-quarter-size cello was awarded to him by the Carlsen Foundation in recognition of his talent and dedication to music.

Aldort has appeared on KOMO-TV, and was featured on the National Public Radio program, “From the Top,” recorded live in Jordan Hall in Boston. He was also heard on CBC radio in Vancouver and was filmed for the UK Channel 4 TV program, “The World Greatest Prodigies.”

Oliver is a self-directed learner. He does not attend school, does not watch TV, and his musical path is his own initiative. “Oliver had to nag me to learn to play the cello,” says his mother Naomi Aldort, an internationally published parenting advice columnist and author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. Naomi says, “It’s my philosophy to wait until they nag the way they do for a candy, and then I know it’s the child’s passion, not mine.”

Having previously studied under Philharmonica Northwest conductor Roupen Shakarian, Oliver is currently studying cello with world renowned cellist Lynn Harrell. “Oliver has distinguished himself as an outstanding cellist because of his unique ability to empathize with the composer,” she says. “Oliver easily outshines many of my graduate level students and never ceases to amaze me.”

While he is now the principal cellist of the Northwest Chamber Youth Orchestra in Seattle, to broaden his musical base he is also playing with several chamber groups, most of them as a cellist and one as a pianist.

Oliver’s days are typically spent with music on his own initiative. You can find him practicing, improvising, listening, conducting, playing by ear, or playing from symphonic or operatic scores most hours of the day. A break from practice is often piano improvisation, sight-reading or conducting. Other loves of his are his cat Beethoven, reading, swimming, ping-pong, hiking and sightseeing.

Visit Oliver Aldort’s website at http://www.oliveraldort.com .

Lennon AldortLennon Aldort is a 19-year-old self-taught pianist and composer. Lennon grew up on Orcas Island, Washington. He started playing the piano on his own at the age of three when he began playing by ear, hands together, pieces by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Schumann. At age five he began improvising on his own without having had any lessons. He began composing his first pieces for the piano at age seven, and had completed two symphonies by age thirteen. He conducted a movement of his own symphony at age fourteen. His 2nd symphony, first movement, was performed by the Academy Chamber Orchestra in Seattle in summer 2009.

Although Lennon has never had any lessons on the piano, his musical education has included violin lessons, playing in youth orchestras, composition lessons, and a few conducting and theory lessons. He studied in British Columbia, Canada, at the Academy in Vancouver and at the Victoria Conservatory. He has also studied one semester in the New England Conservatory. Lennon’s music has been compared to Rachmaninoff and George Winston.

Homeschooled from the beginning, Lennon has always been encouraged to follow his own interests and passions.

Lennon is currently living in Seattle, Washington. Because he has an extremely well rounded background and education in music, he is available to be hired for a variety of music related composition, arranging and performing jobs. His main interest is in film composing and solo piano improvisation. In April 2008, Lennon produced his first CD which is available on Amazon. His second recording, “Melodies from Heaven,” was released in May 2009 and is also available on Amazon.

Lennon Aldort’s debut CD is a collection of seven solo piano improvisations, invented on the spot during the recording sessions, taking piano improvisation to a whole new level. He developed his improvisational technique on his own, and his music is flowing with rich melodies and harmonies that come directly from the fingers and spirit of this amazing youth. On his second album, every piece overflows with beauty, richness and intensity. The opening track “Serenade for an Angel,” is the only composition on the album. Tracks two through four are improvisations based on Lennon’s original melodies. The rest of the album is 100% spontaneous improvisation, beginning with the haunting interlude “Solitude,” which leads into the final two astounding masterpieces.

Visit Lennon Aldort’s website at http://www.lennonaldort.com .

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Simpson University

December 18, 2009
Simpson University

Simpson University is a private, Christian, fully accredited liberal arts institution in Redding, California. Redding is the largest city in Northern California between Sacramento, California and Eugene, Oregon – and yet it has the ambiance of a small town. Simpson’s beautiful 92-acre rural campus is located within sight of three mountain ranges, but it is not far from the urban center. The college currently serves over 1,200 graduate and undergraduate students.

Simpson University is selective and does not offer open admission. The average high school GPA of new freshman undergrads is 3.4. SAT scores of accepted students average at least 450 for verbal and 440 for math. Scholarships are awarded on a priority basis to undergraduate students who excel academically, artistically, or spiritually. In addition, grants are given to students who fit certain criteria. One of these is a Home School Grant of $1,000 per year for students homeschooled at least 75% of their high school career. March 2 is the priority awarding deadline.

Originally founded in 1921 as Simpson Bible Institute in Seattle, Washington, the school was named in honor of Dr. Albert B. Simpson, a Presbyterian minister in the late 19th century who pioneered the Bible institute movement and founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance. From its earliest days, the motto of the college has been “Gateway to World Service.” Initially offering a two-year program of study, the school was designed to promote spiritual growth and fulfill the Great Commission by preparing students for service overseas.

By 1940, Simpson was offering a choice of programs: Theology, Missiology and Bible/Music. In 1955, the school moved to San Francisco, and its name was changed to Simpson Bible College since it was now granting bachelor’s degrees. In 1968, the college was granted regional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Over the years, the college continued to broaden its academic offerings so that by the time the half-century mark was reached in 1971, it had become a comprehensive liberal arts college offering professional as well as biblical studies. That same year, its name was changed to Simpson College.

In 1989, Simpson College relocated to a new campus in Redding. After the move, undergraduate enrollment more than doubled. Graduate programs (including the School of Education and A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary) were established, and the School of Continuing Studies (ASPIRE) was added. Although its original mission has expanded to prepare students for a variety of ministerial and lay professions, the college (now Simpson University) maintains its focus on global service.

Simpson faculty members are experienced in international study and ministry. They reflect a broad range of evangelical backgrounds and come from a variety of institutions across the nation. Class sizes are small at Simpson University, averaging 16 students to every professor. The small class size gives students an opportunity to interact one-on-one with their professors. This personal learning environment is part of what makes the Simpson experience more appealing than a typical four-year university.

Simpson students represent 30 different Christian denominations and several independent churches, although the largest segment continues to be members of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. They also represent a mix of ethnic backgrounds, and come from a number of states and foreign countries. On average, there are two male to every three female undergrads at Simpson.

Simpson University has a greater breadth of degree programs (majors) than most colleges of its size. Simpson offers traditional undergraduate, accelerated undergraduate, study abroad, graduate, and credentialing programs to meet a variety of educational needs. The school is known for its highly successful programs in music, therapy and counseling, business and human resources management, and liberal arts.

Simpson University’s undergraduate program offers Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees. The 23 bachelor’s degree programs are offered in three divisions: Theology and Ministry, Science and Business, and Humanities. The university also offers graduate degrees in teaching, education, divinity, psychology, and Christian leadership. The A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary opened in the fall semester of 2007, offering graduate degrees in Bible and Theology.

Simpson University has a residential campus feel, where full-time students are the norm. The school provides dorm rooms to a higher percentage of its students than do most colleges, and freshmen are required to live on campus. Each dorm floor participates in events such as movie nights, bonfires, prayer groups, and more. A student meal plan with 21 meals per week is available. Part-time jobs can be found on or off campus.

Parents are encouraged to view the Simpson faculty and staff as instruments of God in the lives of their students. At the same time, the college recognizes that the parental commitment to their students does not end at the college door. Having more directly guided students through the pre-college years, parents now have the opportunity to coach their student from the sidelines, watching them they develop as individuals and as followers of Jesus Christ. Parents are welcome to get involved in supporting their students through the Parent Council and “Hugs from Home” program.

Simpson has always valued student athletics, with five men’s sports teams and six women’s sports teams. The Simpson athletic program is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Simpson students compete in the California Pacific Conference and in the sports of soccer, cross country, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, and golf. Simpson University has won the Cal Pac Sportsmanship award numerous times.

The climate in the Redding area can be described as Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Average high temperatures during July and August frequently exceed 90 degrees but drop to the low 50’s in winter. With lakes, caverns and even a ski park nearby, Redding is the gateway to numerous outdoor activities. Tourists use the city as a base to explore Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lake Shasta, the Cascades, and other natural attractions.

The area has an abundance of outdoor activities to suit every taste, including fishing and boating on the Sacramento River. The Sacramento River meanders nine miles through the middle of town, beginning just below Shasta Dam. This stretch of river is one of the finest trout-fishing waters in the Western United States.

Turtle Bay Exploration Park, a 300-acre ecology park located along the banks of the Sacramento River, contains a museum and 20-acre garden to allow study of native flora and fauna of the Sacramento River ecosystem and surrounding forests. The complex currently includes three museums, a visitor’s center, an aviary, a summer butterfly house, arboretum, gardens, and exhibits highlighting art, history, horticulture, forestry, wildlife, and natural science.

The crown jewel of Turtle Bay Exploration Park is the Sundial Bridge, a unique cantilevered cable-stayed pedestrian bridge designed by world-renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and completed in July 2004. The harp-shaped suspension bridge features a glass deck, and the tall tower holding up the support cables also acts as a sundial. The bridge links the north and south sides of the park and serves as a downtown entrance for Redding’s extensive Sacramento River Trail system.

Simpson University seems to be an ideal choice for well-rounded homeschool graduates who like nature and the outdoors, have a desire to develop spiritually as well as academically and physically, and are considering the ministry/mission field or have an interest in the other majors offered by the college. For more information, see: http://www.simpsonu.edu

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Oliver and Lennon Aldort

December 15, 2009

Two brothers who have never been to school and are flourishing through self-directed learning!

Oliver Aldort is a 15-year-old musical prodigy who began his musical performing career just one year after beginning cello lessons. He was 7 years old when he gave his debut recital on center stage to a full house at Orcas Theatre in Seattle, Washington. His first orchestral appearance at the age of ten included a cello and piano concerto. Oliver plays both the cello and piano at the professional level. He is also a conductor and a composer. Oliver’s prodigious talents are unique in this genre because of his fantastic understanding of the structure of music. He works from memory and can start anywhere without referring to the notes. Oliver also has perfect pitch with the ability to immediately tell what key he is listening to, while being able to detect the slightest intonation fluctuations.

Oliver has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras in Washington, Boston, and British Columbia. He has played Dvorak, Saint Saens, Hayden, and Schumann cello concertos as well as Mozart’s two late piano concertos. For Oliver, the greatest pleasure of his musical career is performing. Oliver explains, “I enter the room to win, and then I am fine with whatever happens.”

Oliver has been the winner of several state, regional and national music competitions. In 2007, he won the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National competition on cello. In 2008, he was awarded the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival (SYAMF) medal for ages 14-19. Oliver’s performance of the Schumann cello concerto left the large crowd gasping and wanting more. Oliver’s three-quarter-size cello was awarded to him by the Carlsen Foundation in recognition of his talent and dedication to music.

Aldort has appeared on KOMO-TV, and was featured on the National Public Radio program, “From the Top,” recorded live in Jordan Hall in Boston. He was also heard on CBC radio in Vancouver and was filmed for the UK Channel 4 TV program, “The World Greatest Prodigies.”

Oliver is a self-directed learner. He does not attend school, does not watch TV, and his musical path is his own initiative. “Oliver had to nag me to learn to play the cello,” says his mother Naomi Aldort, an internationally published parenting advice columnist and author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. Naomi says, “It’s my philosophy to wait until they nag the way they do for a candy, and then I know it’s the child’s passion, not mine.”

Having previously studied under Philharmonica Northwest conductor Roupen Shakarian, Oliver is currently studying cello with world renowned cellist Lynn Harrell. “Oliver has distinguished himself as an outstanding cellist because of his unique ability to empathize with the composer,” she says. “Oliver easily outshines many of my graduate level students and never ceases to amaze me.”

While he is now the principal cellist of the Northwest Chamber Youth Orchestra in Seattle, to broaden his musical base he is also playing with several chamber groups, most of them as a cellist and one as a pianist.

Oliver’s days are typically spent with music on his own initiative. You can find him practicing, improvising, listening, conducting, playing by ear, or playing from symphonic or operatic scores most hours of the day. A break from practice is often piano improvisation, sight-reading or conducting. Other loves of his are his cat Beethoven, reading, swimming, ping-pong, hiking and sightseeing.

Visit Oliver Aldort’s website at http://www.oliveraldort.com .

Lennon Aldort is a 19-year-old self-taught pianist and composer. Lennon grew up on Orcas Island, Washington. He started playing the piano on his own at the age of three when he began playing by ear, hands together, pieces by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Schumann. At age five he began improvising on his own without having had any lessons. He began composing his first pieces for the piano at age seven, and had completed two symphonies by age thirteen. He conducted a movement of his own symphony at age fourteen. His 2nd symphony, first movement, was performed by the Academy Chamber Orchestra in Seattle in summer 2009.

Although Lennon has never had any lessons on the piano, his musical education has included violin lessons, playing in youth orchestras, composition lessons, and a few conducting and theory lessons. He studied in British Columbia, Canada, at the Academy in Vancouver and at the Victoria Conservatory. He has also studied one semester in the New England Conservatory. Lennon’s music has been compared to Rachmaninoff and George Winston.

Homeschooled from the beginning, Lennon has always been encouraged to follow his own interests and passions.

Lennon is currently living in Seattle, Washington. Because he has an extremely well rounded background and education in music, he is available to be hired for a variety of music related composition, arranging and performing jobs. His main interest is in film composing and solo piano improvisation. In April 2008, Lennon produced his first CD which is available on Amazon. His second recording, “Melodies from Heaven,” was released in May 2009 and is also available on Amazon.

Lennon Aldort’s debut CD is a collection of seven solo piano improvisations, invented on the spot during the recording sessions, taking piano improvisation to a whole new level. He developed his improvisational technique on his own, and his music is flowing with rich melodies and harmonies that come directly from the fingers and spirit of this amazing youth. On his second album, every piece overflows with beauty, richness and intensity. The opening track “Serenade for an Angel,” is the only composition on the album. Tracks two through four are improvisations based on Lennon’s original melodies. The rest of the album is 100% spontaneous improvisation, beginning with the haunting interlude “Solitude,” which leads into the final two astounding masterpieces.

Visit Lennon Aldort’s website at http://www.lennonaldort.com .