A versatile violinist, pianist and singer, Macie Stewart has
developed a life of music from her time as a student in the Community Music
Division to now as a professional musician. A student at the Community Music
Division for eight years, Macie studied piano with Regina Syrkin and violin
with Corina Lobont. She performs as part of the duo OHMME with Sima Cunningham
and plays violin and piano with the band Marker. She is currently releasing
an album as a member of OHMME which comes out at the end of August. The duo are
especially involved in performing and working for venues within the local
experimental music scene. Macie and Sima are constant collaborators and have
recorded and toured with homegrown acts as varied as Tweedy, Whitney, Chance
The Rapper and Twin Peaks.
How did your time in the DePaul Community Music Division
prepare you for your career now?
In the Community Music Division, I took piano lessons from
Regina Syrkin and violin lessons from Corina Lobont. I played in the youth
orchestra and piano duets. While studying at DePaul CMD, I made some good
friends there that I’m still in touch with. The biggest thing was that I
learned to be a well-rounded musician. My teachers encouraged me to have
discipline in my practicing. That was a really important thing to have at a
young age. Without that, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today and wouldn’t
be able to accomplish all of the things I am able to now. My experience at
DePaul was great and I was lucky something so consistent in my life from ages 9
What did you learn at the Community Music Division that
has stuck with you the most all these years?
The Concerto Festival had a lasting impact on me. I loved it
and it was my first experience playing on a large stage. I was lucky enough to
perform with the orchestra. That’s something you don’t get to do every day.
Even though I’m not playing as much classical repertoire now, it still remains
with me. To have the orchestra supporting you as you play was a unique
Also, in the Youth Orchestra, the instructors encouraged us
to be really creative. I wrote a piece that was performed by the Youth
Orchestra. I wrote something, put my heart into, and they played it. I remember
the experience being incredible and being very excited about it.
Do you still play Classical repertoire?
I’ve been practicing a lot of the Chopin preludes and etudes
to keep my technique up. It’s a beautiful way to practice, besides scales
(which I also do). I loved Scriabin. The piece “Jeux d’Eau” by Ravel is probably
one of my favorite pieces.
What advice would you give current students?
Keep practicing! And have fun with it. You do need a lot of
discipline to excel at music, but the point of music is to have fun. You have
to work hard, but you also have to learn when to pause or take a break. That
was something I learned in the Community Music Division. If you have a muscle
pain, pause. You can take a pause for five minutes. Sometimes you need a day
long break. When you come back from that break, your piece might be better or
it could be more fun to play again because you took that time away from it.
In July, I have a week-long tour in the Midwest with Marker.
We have a lot of new material for that tour. OHMME is playing some events in
August leading up to our record release on the 24th. Then we go on a US tour
until October 5. The longest one I’ve had yet. I’m excited to get on the road
after a summer to refresh.