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21C Media Group’s 2015 Summer Highlights Preview

Music Academy of the West
June 15 – Aug 8
Santa Barbara, CA

summer preview

The Music Academy of the West’s 2015 Summer Festival will take place from June 15 to August 8. Highlights include the New York Philharmonic’s much anticipated first appearance at the Santa Barbara Bowl under the orchestra’s music director, Alan Gilbert, as part of the Academy’s innovative, four-year partnership with the Philharmonic; Rossini’s comic opera Cinderella overseen by Marilyn Horne, an Academy alumna (’53) and Director of the Voice Program since 1997; performances and masterclasses by four Mosher Guest Artists; and Academy Festival Orchestra performances led by Courtney Lewis, Nicholas McGegan, Larry Rachleff, Osmo Vänskä, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Jeremy Denk (piano, leader). The Academy’s 140 exceptionally talented fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, will be presented at the Academy’s scenic ocean-side campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara, CA.

“Under Scott Reed, the dynamic young president who took over in 2010, the school/festival has rapidly positioned itself at the head of a new generation of classical musicians, serving as both a top training program and a uniquely stimulating environment for prestigious visiting artists.” — Santa Barbara Independent

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June 20 – Aug 2
Katonah, NY


Now celebrating its 70th anniversary season, Caramoor offers a cornucopia of music and more, with seven weeks of orchestral, chamber, jazz, roots, and family concerts, as well as opera, multiethnic dance, young artist showcases, and sonic art, all presented on the historic Caramoor estate: 90 acres of picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens in Katonah, Westchester, just one hour’s drive from Manhattan. As in previous seasons, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s is in residence, led by a trio of first-rate conductors: Peter Oundjian, Pablo Heras-Casado, and Nicholas McGegan. The orchestra also anchors semi-staged performances of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites and Donizetti’s La Favorite under the baton of opera director Will Crutchfield. The resident Calidore String Quartet and former incumbents the Ariel, Dover, and Jasper Quartets highlight a rich program of chamber offerings. French pianist Hélène Grimaud serves as this season’s Artist-in-Residence; Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra headline Caramoor’s annual Jazz Festival; and singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams draws the annual American Roots Festival to a close. Caramoor’s hit “In the Garden of Sonic Delights” returns for a second season of site-specific sound art, exhibited al fresco all summer long. From world premieres and genre-bending mash-ups to classical masterworks, from Middle-Eastern belly-dancing to Independence Day fireworks, and from today’s legends to tomorrow’s stars, Caramoor represents an oasis of musical and artistic diversity.

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 Bard SummerScape 2015
June 25 – Aug 16
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY


Now in its 13th season, Bard SummerScape presents eight weeks of music, opera, theater, dance, film, and cabaret in New York’s idyllic Hudson Valley. The prime focus of these offerings is the 26th annual Bard Music Festival, which turns for the first time to Latin America, examining the life and times of Carlos Chávez. The central figure in 20th-century Mexican music, Chávez’s compositions synthesize Indian, Spanish, and Mexican elements together with trends in European musical modernism. The festival will cover the range and breadth of his career, including such well-known works as his Sinfonía india and the Suite for Double Quartet from his ballet for Martha Graham, La hija de Cólquide (The Dark Meadow), along with music by such contemporaries as Aaron Copland, Conlon Nancarrow, Silvestre Revueltas, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. Addressing American identity and marginalization by the classical community, the music festival provides the inspiration for SummerScape’s other key highlights. These include the first fully-staged American production of The Wreckers, the foremost opera by Dame Ethel Smyth, whose work is still only rarely programmed; Smyth is the only woman to have had an opera produced by the Metropolitan Opera (her Der Wald was premiered there in the 1903 season). Also on offer is a revelatory and highly unusual chamber version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s quintessential celebration of Americana, Oklahoma!; an al fresco presentation of Everything by my side, a performance-installation by Argentina’s Fernando Rubio; Pam Tanowitz Dance performing a world premiere set to the music of Chávez and more, with live music by the FLUX Quartet; a film series titled “Reinventing Mexico”; and the return of Bard’s authentic and sensationally popular Spiegeltent, hosted by Justin Vivian Bond. It all adds up to an unforgettable arts festival – SummerScape 2015.  See below for details about the Bard Music Festival.   

To download high-res photos, click here:

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Lionel Bringuier
Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
July 7, 9

Lionel Bringuier

Lionel Bringuier opens the Hollywood Bowl’s classical season on July 7th with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and soloist Yuja Wang. The concert reunites the frequent artistic collaborators following Bringuier’s inaugural season as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, where Wang is also featured as Artist-in-Residence. Together, they perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The program, which also offers Debussy’s La mer, the Polovtsian Dances from Borodin’s Prince Igor, and Ravel’s Boléro, marks Bringuier’s return to the LA Phil after serving as its Assistant Conductor from 2007 to 2011 and Resident Conductor from 2011 to 2013. He is back on the podium two days later for an evening of music inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, including Prokofiev’s suite based on the work and Tchaikovsky’s Overture-Fantasy. Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan is the guest soloist for Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations.

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Britt Classical Festival
July 31 – Aug 15
Jacksonville, Oregon


Following his inaugural season as Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra, Teddy Abrams takes up music director duties at the Britt Festival Orchestra, leading three weeks of concerts under the stars in scenic and historic Jacksonville, Oregon. Britt is the Pacific Northwest’s premier outdoor summer performing arts festival, and the performance venue is a naturally formed amphitheater set among ponderosa pines and native madrones on a beautiful hillside. Each summer more than 100 musicians from orchestras across the country come to southern Oregon to form the Britt Festival Orchestra. This season’s highlights include Carmina Burana, The Rite of Spring, the Dover Quartet performing John Adams’s Absolute Jest, a new folk song cycle by Aoife O’Donovan and Jeremy Kittel, violinist James Ehnes performing the Barber Concerto, a Symphony Pops concert featuring vocalist Morgan James, and much more.

To download high resolution photos, click here.

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Savannah Voice Festival
Aug 2-16
Savannah, GA

savannah voice

The Savannah VOICE Festival, founded by opera legend Sherrill Milnes and his wife Maria Zouves, returns to Savannah, Georgia for a third season of concerts, free masterclasses, special events, educational outreach, and a fully staged production of Carmen, starring mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano. The two-week festival showcases both professional and emerging artists from the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs. Offerings range from opera to musical theatre and popular song.



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Bard Music Festival (26th season)
Chávez and His World
Aug 7–9: Weekend One; Aug 14–16: Weekend Two
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

bard 2In its 26th season, the Bard Music Festival turns, for the first time, to Latin America. The focal point is Carlos Chávez (1899–1978), the central figure in Mexican music of the 20th century. Chávez was a tireless organizer, generous colleague, and the most eminent of Latin American modernist composers. His synthesis of markers of Mexican identity with modernism led Aaron Copland to praise him as “one of the first authentic signs of a New World with its own new music.” Chávez’s career took to him to Europe and then to the United States, where he met and became friends with Aaron Copland and Edgard Varèse. His music incorporated emblems of modernity but was also among the first to reference Mexico’s indigenous past. Indeed, for a handful of major pieces, such as Sinfonía india (1935), Los cuatro soles (1925), and Xochipilli (1940), Chávez found inspiration and strength in Mexican themes, and he played a crucial role in the indigenismo movement celebrating native culture. But his influence was not confined to composition. As a conductor, he promoted works by composers from Mexico, Cuba, Canada, and the United States, including Copland, Colin McPhee, Henry Cowell, and Amadeo Roldán, and gave the first performances in Mexico of music by Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Hindemith, Milhaud, and de Falla. Through his work as a governmental arts administrator and founder of several major cultural institutions in Mexico, among them the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Chávez brought international visibility to Mexican musical and cultural life. Eleven concerts address such themes as the relationship between the Latin American and U.S. musical scenes; the legacy and influence of Spain; Mexican musical traditions; Chávez’s work as conductor; and his place among the other outstanding Latin composers of the 20th century.

To download high-res photos, click here:

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Alan Gilbert at Mostly Mozart
Aug 11, 13, 15
Lincoln Center, NYC

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In the first of three annual co-productions in which Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic will bring important modern operas to New York for the first time, George Benjamin’s Written On Skin will receive its first U.S. staging on August 11, 13 and 15 at the Mostly Mozart Festival. Alan Gilbert will conduct the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and much of the original cast – including Barbara Hannigan, Christopher Purves and Victoria Simmonds – in the Katie Mitchell production that was such a hit at the 2012 Aix-en-Provence Festival.


photo: Chris Lee

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Alan Gilbert at Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Aug 22, 23
Santa Fe, NM

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Alan Gilbert returns to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival as Artist-in-Residence, conducting masterpieces by Mozart and Messiaen in two programs. The first (Sat, Aug 22) features Mozart’s Wind Serenade No. 10, the so-called “Gran Partita.”  The next evening (Sun, Aug 23), Gilbert leads 44 musicians including pianist Inon Barnatan—the largest ensemble of musicians ever performing a single work at the festival—in Olivier Messiaen’s mystic and monumental Des canyons aux étoiles (“From the Canyons to the Stars”), a celebration inspired by the glorious natural beauty of Utah’s canyons and deserts.



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Stillwater Music Festival
Aug 24 – 30
Stillwater, MN


This summer marks the tenth season of the Stillwater Music Festival. Founded and led by Brooklyn Rider in Stillwater, Minnesota, the weeklong festival offers a platform for the string quartet – three of whose members have Minnesota roots – to work with old friends and new partners in a familiar setting. This year the group welcomes mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter as a special guest artist and collaborator. Events take place in the Stillwater area, with the Washington County Historic Courthouse serving as the principal concert venue.


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© 21C Media Group, March 2015

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