The Institute is founded by renowned international concert violinist and teacher Daniel Heifetz. During the first year, 20 students attend the six-week summer program held at Glenelg Country School in Howard County, Maryland. In the first year there were twenty students who attended a six-week summer program. Students came from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, and Taiwan. They ranged in age from 16 to 30 and were housed by local host families. That first year, Mr. Heifetz served as artistic director, instructor, counselor, and general “jack of all trades.”
Daniel Heifetz develops the Heifetz Performance and Communication Training© system. By combining traditional approaches with innovative instruction in voice, public speaking, drama, and movement, Heifetz introduces a landmark change to the paradigm of music education.
With the near-instant success of the Communication Training program, the budding program’s growth in student population leads it to relocate to St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. The faculty is also increased and now offers instruction in violin, viola, and cello.
The Heifetz Institute’s reputation for creativity and teaching excellence continues to grow. The Institute adds piano instruction to its program.
The Institute continues to grow and is invited to move to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. In its first year at Brewster, a record 50 international students attend the six-week program.
The program expands to 60 students, inaugurates a voice/ opera program, and adds “Creativity and Improvisation,” as well as “Freedom of Expression” classes to its Communication Curriculum. The Community Outreach Program is also expanded, an integral part of the Institute’s mission since its inception.
The Institute is now attracting the most prominent pedagogues and teaching artists from such major schools as Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the New England Conservatory.
The renown of the violin, viola, and cello students and faculty lures NPR’s From The Top to broadcast on location from the Institute. Daniel Heifetz discontinues the piano and voice program to focus all of the Institute’s energy on its core strength of string instruction. Over the next three summers the Institute became the premier program for strings in the music world. Hundreds of the most brilliant and deserving young artists from throughout the United States and internationally are applying to the Institute annually. In summer 2011, the sixty-six students represented twenty-two states and thirteen countries, and came from the world’s top conservatories. Graduates of the Institute include winners of many competitions, such as the Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition in Moscow, the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in London, and the Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition in Mexico City. The Institute is also represented in symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles and on school, conservatory, and university faculties throughout the world.
Virginia Lt. Governor William T. Bolling announces that the City of Staunton will become the new home of the Institute, which will officially become the Heifetz International Music Institute at Mary Baldwin College. The Institute’s first summer in Staunton will be in 2012.
The Heifetz Institute opens its first summer in Staunton, Virginia, with 62 students from 12 countries performing before record audience attendance.
The Institute expands to 74 students, hailing from 20 countries around the globe. Heifetz On Tour, which will grow into a major year-round activity, launches as a week-long pilot program with the Jamestown Arts Center in Rhode Island.
Heifetz On Tour continues to expand with additional partnerships with the Kreeger Museum of Art in Washington, DC, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Cellist Dmitry Volkov becomes the Institute’s first year-round Virginia Artist In Residence until his untimely death in May. The summer Institute admits a record 80 students.
With a new leadership team in place, the Institute unveils a flurry of initiatives, including the establishment of a new Community Advisory Council, the introduction of the Ashkenasi/ Kirshbaum Chamber Music Seminar, a revamping of its concert schedule, and a move of its headquarters and new gift shop to East Beverley Street in historic downtown Staunton. The Institute receives its largest-ever grant from the NEA to support its Heifetz On Tour program, and its Shenandoah Scholarship Campaign raises a record $221,000.
As the Institute becomes formally chartered as a Virginia corporation, Heifetz On Tour expands to a record 8 weeks during the academic year, comprising more than 60 concerts, school appearances, and outreach events. Heifetz Institute and Mary Baldwin College join forces to create HeifetzPEG, an innovative three-week intensive summer program for gifted young string musicians (violin, viola, and cello) between the ages of eight and thirteen.
In celebration of their partnership and as they approach the twin milestones of Mary Baldwin’s upcoming 175th anniversary (in 2016–17), and the Heifetz Institute’s 20th anniversary, the two organizations come together to create the Take Your Seat! Campaign – a drive to raise funds for the renovation of the James D. Francis Auditorium, site of dozens of concerts, lectures, convocations, and classes each year on Mary Baldwin’s main campus, and the summer “home arena” of the Heifetz Institute.
At the conclusion of the Institute, Mary Baldwin formally changes its charter to Mary Baldwin University, ushering in a new era of growth and partnership for both institutions.