Effort Underway to Raise Tuition Funds for East Hampton Violinist

Maxfield Panish is headed to the Manhattan School of Music, but is $18,000 short for this year's tuition.

A talented violinist from East Hampton needs some financial help to continue his music education and achieve his dream.

Maxfield Panish, an 2012 graduate, will attend the Manhattan School of Music this fall, but with a $35,000 tuition price tag, he's having trouble getting enough financial aid and loans to cover the costs, which all include additional money for housing and other related expenses. He's $18,000 short.

Panish has received some scholarships, including a $2,500 scholarship from Music for Humanity, a non-profit organization based in Chester, NY, which also happens to be founded by Barry Adelman, the owner of the store in Amagansett.

Panish, along with 10 other young musicians from around the country applied to Music for Humanity for a scholarship this year. "He was selected to receive a $2,500 scholarship based upon his talent, passion for music and financial need, but it’s not enough," Adelman said.

Adelman has organized a voucher sale fundraiser, where $20 vouchers will be sold to help raise money for Parnish. Ten to 20 local retailers will offer private sales, to anyone who buys a voucher, valid for discounts from Nov. 9 to 15. The voucher sale will continue through the end of October.

Adelman said the suggested discount is 20 percent, but each retailer will create their own private sale. "One hundred percent of the vouchers bought, less printing expenses, will supplement Maxfield’s scholarship," he said.

"My dream is to be a great solo violinist," Panish said. Adelman said he has the chops.

Panish has been playing since he was five — ever since he heard a virtuoso violinist on a classical music station on the car radio and fell in love with the instrument's sound, he said. "I was awed by the violinist’s ability to express such deep emotion in each note, and by the many different colors and nuances of sound that he produced," Panish wrote in an essay.

"I just wanted to play like that," he said by phone on Wednesday.

He started out taking lessons in Water Mill, but with limited musical training on the East End, his mother eventually took him to Setauket to train with Irina Pustovoit.

When he was in eleventh grade, he set out to win the Brockman Playhouse Award for the Manhattan School of Music's pre-college program, and took a month off from high school to prepare for the audition. He was accepted and spent Saturdays in the city studying with Anat Almani.

As high school graduation neared, he was accepted to the school's conservatory and even has been placed with his first choice for a teach, Isaac Malkin. The hard work had paid off, he said. "Now I'm having difficulty coming up with the funds."

The son of Karen Panish, a nutritional therapist, he's doesn't qualify for any financial aid or financial aid from the school, though he has already taken some college loans.

This summer, he has been saving his money from work as a private chef. Raised as a vegetarian, he learned to cook healthy dishes from his mother and decided to use the skill to make some money to further his education. He also plans to work as a private chef in the city while going to school.

On Saturday at noon, Music for Humanity will present the scholarship to Panish, near Crossroads Music in the Amagansett Square. The community is invited to attend and purchase vouchers to help further Panish's dream.

TreeTruth August 09, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Do not fall prey. If this young man 'has the chops' - he will get there, and it will be worth the fight. Perhaps he is not receiving financial aid because, being under 26 years of age, the government takes into consideration one's parents income on your FAFSA application. It may well be that Mr. Parish's parents are not assisting their son financially because they want to see him work with integrity toward his dreams. The best of luck to him - it will be all the more rewarding in the end.
Megan August 10, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Am I missing something? More power to him, but why are we being asked to supplement this kid's education? What will he do next year, ask us again? If his family makes too much for financial aid, why are we even discussing this? Anyone can get a student loan, and he should like everyone else. My son is paying off half of his college education for the next ten years, and he also was awarded scholarships, including the coveted James Beard Foundation Scholarship, but he still now owes over $45,000. Let Max go into debt like everyone else. I don't understand the gall some people have, really.
Walter Noller August 10, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Welcome to the real world where reality trumps dreams and luck is the spoiler in the game. I'm certain there are other conventional ways this young man will find the funds to further his education and perserverence may even make this dream come true. That said, the fact is education at this level is costly, but so it is for anyone who wishes to persue a specific career. Unfortunately, paying it forward (and then for years to come) is part of the reality of it all. Good luck Max, mostly that your talent be properly recognized as you're entering a very competitive and subjective world.
HisNibs August 10, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I can't believe TreeTruth and Megan's harsh comments above. Where do I send a contribution to support this talented and ambitious local kid? I paid back every cent of scholarship I received from the community in which I grew up. I am eternally grateful that my neighbors did not take into account my parents' ability to pay versus their desire to pay. One of my brothers also received free tuition from a religious-based high-school based on a 15 year old boy's promise to pay it all back someday. He did: 10 times over. And still, you will be happy to know, we emerged with plenty of character-building monthly payments upon graduation. Maxfield Panish's talent should be supported.
Barry Adelman August 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Thanks HisNibs - I appreciate the sentiment - both of the harshness of the other writers and the willingness to support Max. You can make a check to Music for Humanity and send it to PO Box 359, Chester NY 10918. Please notate on the check -"for Max Panish". I'll be in Amagansett tomorrow (Saturday August 11th) to present a $2500 Music for Humanity Scholarship to Max. I've heard many musicians and Max definitely can become a world class violinist. The fund raiser for Max is a Win- Win- Win event. Merchants win because they get new customers via the cross promotion. Individuals win because they get a private sale which can save them hundreds of dollars with a purchase of a $20 voucher for the sale. Max wins because virtually all the money (less printing expenses) goes to augment his scholarship. If we all give a little bit we can make a big difference in Max's life and even benefit in our own. Individuals can also deduct the $20 as a donation to Music for Humanity. And Max isn't just asking for handouts - he's working lining up the merchants. Those with vision will support this "event". Everyone benefits. Once we line up enough merchants (we want at least ten - right now we have four) we'll print the vouchers. Thanks again!!
Barry Adelman August 10, 2012 at 05:43 PM
TreeTruth - fall prey? fall prey to what, people working together to help each other? Yes, that is what you will fall prey to. Your are making comments and assumptions that have nothing to do with the truth. That's the human truth. Question your initial reaction because you are so far from the truth.
Barry Adelman August 10, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Megan, I'm sure Max will also go into debt, but he may not be able to get the necessary loans. You can put a negative slant on this or you can say - "hey, if 1000 people buy a voucher (from which they will benefit along with local merchants) and a young violinist gets the chance to attend the Manhattan School of Music, everyone benefits". It's all in your perspective. Nobody is asking for a handout. We're asking for everyone to do something that is in their own best interests and from that Max will also benefit. All donations to Music for Humanity are tax-deductible - that's an extra benefit.
Barry Adelman August 10, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Walter - you've asked me for donations and I've helped your cause. Now I'm asking you to do something for yourself and the local business community. It also happens to help Max. I hope you can see the viability of it and support it.
mandie August 11, 2012 at 02:59 AM
I think it great that he is getting some help but what about all the talented people that work 2 jobs trying to pay for school and have to choose a different path becaause they cannot afford it? As a music teacher I see a lot ofstudents that could go really far and despite their hard work never get a financial break.
Walter Noller August 11, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Come on, Barry. We both work hard to provide to others and with little back other than that feeling we get out of doing a good thing so let's just support each other. That said, my comment is about the way things are in terms of life and in the harsh realities of an individuals' opportunity when it comes to fulfilling a goal. There are many who work very hard to obtain those things (to include education) in order to achieve their dream. And Mandy, too, sees the reality factor as there are many who "settle" simply because of their particular circumstances. Life ain't fair, but that's life. And I even see the reasoning in the other responses as many work very hard to give their children the best chance to achieve better with little or no outside help. Anyone who enters a world where people will judge them better have tough skin and know it ain't about just talent, it's about "right place,right time" and many other "luck" factors. It's about the break that may or may not come and it's about having a back up plan. It's not about Max nor about your support. If anything, the answer to "What's in it for me?" will make this far more successful than simply supporting someone's dreams no matter the level of talent. And that's human nature.. unfortunately.
Karen Panish August 11, 2012 at 06:32 PM
From the many of the comments here, I see that assumptions are being made about Maxfield. To clarify: Maxfield has applied for and received the maximum amount of student loans allowed, which is 5500.00. He has also received government aid from NYC TAP. The government assistance programs are not enough to cover the high cost of such a prestigious school. To fulfill on his path to be a soloist, attending Manhattan School of Music is an ideal choice. Maxfield has been working at his craft for 13 years. His dedication and commitment is fully demonstrated by all he has done so far. What many people do not realize is the amount of financial commitment that has already been met by his family to bring Max to this point. It has been 13 years of paying for private lessons, trips to the city, recording expenses, and Precollege Music classes, all necessary to prepare him to even be accepted to such a school. It has been a long and consistent commitment, with Max at the center position making it all happen. Our biggest surprise was learning that music scholarships at this level are awarded to only a few, and it is based on instrumentation and the need of that establishment for a specific instrument to round out their program. As it has been explained to me by many administrators at top conservatories, Violin is a very popular instrument and there is much less motivation on the part of the school to “attract” violinists. Thus, we have the situation at hand….
Karen Panish August 11, 2012 at 06:33 PM
...Continued… That being said, Maxfield has applied to every scholarship he was eligible for. He has scoured the internet for any scholarships and grants available and was able to acquire quite a few. In addition to his 30+ hours/week rehearsal schedule, he has worked both last summer and this one to earn as much money as possible to keep his dream going. Please also be aware that Maxfield has been active in the community, giving his time and talent to raise money for charities such as the Peconic Land Trust, and the Katy’s Courage Fund, which raises money for the fight against pediatric cancer. Yes, he has the chops in so many ways. He is a powerful young man with a dream, and is doing everything in his power to make it happen. I am very thankful for organizations like Music for Humanity who understands the unique challenges faced by musicians pursuing this level of education.
Allison Bourquin August 11, 2012 at 11:12 PM
As a classical musician with a Bachelors degree in Flute Performance, I feel compelled to join this discussion. I have had a very similar trajectory to Max's. I can sympathize with his desire to achieve success. I want to offer some advice to Max and Karen: Trust me, the expenses you incur in order excel as a classical musician will only become greater from here on out. Tuition, housing, travel expenses, new instrument(s), instrument repairs, summer lessons, summer festivals, auditions, etc. If you are already going INTO college with financial struggles, things will most certainly "get worse before they get better" (Assuming you DO get a return on your investment, someday) Once you graduate with a BM, you'll likely take auditions all over the world (expenses: airfare, hotels, meals) essentially bleeeeeeding money until you win a job (IF you do). If you don't win a job right away, you'll probably want a Masters and then a DMA, too... and THEN have to make good on the student loans from three (3) degrees... I have seen this time and TIME again in the classical world. It may work for a select few, and I hope that Max will be one of the lucky ones to win job(s) capable of justifying these huge investments. To be continued...
Allison Bourquin August 11, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Continued... Truthfully, there are talented violin pedagogues the world over. MSM is not the only conservatory in the world - not even the only one in NYC! My ultimate advice to you - save money where you can. It's likely that your bachelors will not be your only professional degree. Seek out smaller music schools or conservatories in meto areas, especially for your bachelors. Most highly sought after teachers will maintain studios at more than one conservatory. Check out the faculty at the CUNY and New Jersey schools - you'll see a lot of the major players from NYC with less sticker shock than MSM. And if you're a great player, nobody will care which conservatory you went to, or DIDN'T go to! Your playing will speak for itself. Remember Max, you are entering the music business. Think like a businessman and make good financial decisions - then you will have no regrets and worries, so you can focus on your playing. Wishing you all the best...
Walter Noller August 12, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Allison has great advice. It's talent not the institution on a diploma that will make the a lasting impression. Respectfully, you can't compensate talent with a fancy school name on your CV. There's not a musician out there who wouldn't agree it takes time, luck, and just the right "chops".. and in the end, with all the planets lined up for you, even with extrordinary talent, luck will be a major factor. I honestly hope Max has the talent to succeed. What a potentially wonderful story lies ahead for an East Hampton "son" and I hope it comes true for him.
Barry Adelman August 12, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Hi Walter - no life isn't fair, but together we can make it better. Together we can help everyone involved: Max, the vendors who support the private sale and the people who buy the vouchers. If you can explain what's wrong with working together on a project that benefits everyone, I'm all ears. I invite you and everyone else in this dialog to do what's best for you. If it also helps Max, isn't that wonderful. "All you need is love, All you need is love" and maybe $20. But you'll get the $20 back in some great sales. Think for yourself and beyond yourself. If you want to get something you have to give something. If we all give a little we can make a big difference,
Barry Adelman August 12, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Karen - thanks for clarifying your financial situation. And Allison, thanks for the good advice, but nevertheless, my goal it to help Max get an education at MSM and become a world class musician. He's halfway there. I invite everyone to reach into their pocket and make a donation to the Max Fund: you can do it here: http://musicforhumanity.org/musicians/members/57/store.php When he plays at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall you can tell your family how you helped him get there - it's really a small price to help one of the most talented musicians on the East End. Please join me.
kseltzer August 12, 2012 at 09:43 PM
i lived out in East Hampton for 3 years and there was a fund raiser for a boy with cancer and another for the family of a bayman who had died. The Hamptons community has always taken care of their own. Many people feel good helping another person out, be it with medical expenses or money for school. Sometimes the giving can make you feel better then receiving....I, a New Yorker once asked a woman i knew why she chose to live out on the East End with her daughter when she could have had a big career in NYC, she said "There's a lot to be said for community." Maxfield Panish is not the first person and i would hope not the last to receive some of the best things that the Hamptons has to give....
Barry Adelman August 12, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Sweet thoughts kseltzer - thanks!


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