Press Room

21C Media Group’s 2021 Summer Highlights Preview

This summer marks the return of live performance for many of 21C’s artists and organizations. Highlights of this year’s festivals and summer performances are detailed below. The featured dates have all been announced, but because of changing and unpredictable COVID restrictions, they are all still subject to change.

Festivals (listed alphabetically)
Bard SummerScape / Bard Music Festival
July 8 – August 22, 2021
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

The Richard B. Fisher Center at Bard College (photo: Noah Sheldon)

Bard SummerScape returns with a full summer season of music, opera, dance and more, culminating with the 31st Bard Music Festival, “Nadia Boulanger and Her World.” This examination of the musical life and times of pioneering Parisian polymath Nadia Boulanger features themed concerts and panels, as well as a new production of King Arthur (Le roi Arthus), the only opera by Boulanger’s compatriot Ernest Chausson, conducted by festival founder and co-artistic director Leon Botstein. Marking the first time that selected SummerScape events will take place at Bard’s Montgomery Place campus, a designated National Historic Landmark, this year’s offerings open with the world premiere of I was waiting for the echo of a better day, a new evening-length dance piece commissioned from Bard’s Fisher Center Choreographer-in-Residence, Pam Tanowitz, and Bernstein Award-winning composer Jessie Montgomery. With programming from July 8 to August 22 on Bard College’s scenic Hudson Valley campus, SummerScape once again represents “a hotbed of intellectual and aesthetic adventure” (New York Times).

To download high-res photos, click here.

* * *

Britt Festival Orchestra
July 1 – October 15, 2021
Jacksonville, Oregon

The Britt Festival Orchestra performs during the summer of 2019 (photo: Jay Neuman)

Under the leadership of Music Director Teddy Abrams, the Britt Festival Orchestra presents the world premiere of an experiential new work by Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw. This yet-to-be-titled musical installation brings the countryside to life by exploring interesting points along the Jacksonville Woodlands Trail system (July 30–Aug 2). The orchestra also presents Soundwalk, an installation music piece by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ellen Reid. Using a phone app and headphones, audience members will explore Jacksonville, Oregon to discover music selections around the town (July 1–Oct 15).

To download high-res photos, click here.

* * *

June 19 – August 8, 2021
Katonah, NY

Caramoor’s Sunken Garden (photo: Gabe Palacio)

Caramoor presents a full summer season of live, in-person performances this year, with an intensive seven-week festival (June 19–Aug 8) followed by two post-festival concert series (Aug 13–Sep 12). Committed to adventurous programming across the genre spectrum, the 2021 lineup features the world premieres of new Caramoor commissions from Saad Haddad and Shodekeh Talifero; the New York premieres of important new works by Douglas J. Cuomo and Nico Muhly; and two major experiential, site-specific, evening-length works by John Luther Adams and Donald Nally. Other festival highlights include an Opening Night Gala with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; solo recitals by guitarist Jiji and pianists Richard Goode and Conrad Tao; the return of the annual Jazz Festival, American Roots Festival and “Pops & Patriots” concert; a special 91st birthday celebration for Stephen Sondheim; and performances by a starry roster of artists and ensembles, including Alarm Will Sound, Apollo’s Fire, Chanticleer, Leonidas Kavakos, Amjad Ali Khan, Joan Osborne, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, PUBLIQuartet, Sō Percussion, The Knights, Verona Quartet and the resident Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Visitors are also invited to explore the landscaped gardens, discovering the site-specific sound art installations of Sonic Innovations (Fridays through Sundays, June 11–Oct 10). Just one hour’s drive from Manhattan, Caramoor remains the premier destination for “bucolic, picnic-friendly settings with a programming philosophy that balances hedonism and exploration” (New York Times).

To download high-res pictures, click here.

* * *

La Jolla Music Society SummerFest
July 30 – August 20, 2021
San Diego, CA

California’s annual La Jolla Music Society SummerFest returns, with Inon Barnatan – “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times) – in his third season as Music Director. Under his curation, the festival explores the theme of “Self and Sound,” and the ways composers write themselves and their lives into their music. Highlights include world premieres from Gabriela Lena Frank, Tamar Muskal and Andrew Norman, and a new chamber opera by Marc Neikrug, starring Jennifer Johnson Cano and Kelly Markgraf. Other featured artists include Aaron Diehl, Augustin Hadelich, Stefan Jackiw, Anthony McGill, Daniil Trifonov, Alisa Weilerstein and the Kings Return Gospel Quartet.

* * *

Music Academy of the West
June 28 – August 7, 2021
Santa Barbara, CA

Part of Music Academy of the West’s campus (photo: Phil Channing)

As a pioneer of thought leadership in music and the arts, Music Academy of the West brings more than 100 fellows from 13 countries together to study and perform with its exceptional faculty, teaching artists and guest speakers in Santa Barbara, California. This year’s Mosher Guest Artists are cellist and educator Steven Isserlis; percussionist, composer and 2017 MacArthur Fellow Tyshawn Sorey; two-time Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano and Music Academy alumna Sasha Cooke (2002); and pianist, composer and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient Conrad Tao, all of whom will be featured in masterclasses with fellows as well as in recitals, programmed specifically with the Academy community in mind. Signature public events also include side-by-side performances, competitions and chamber concerts by fellow and faculty ensembles led by guest conductors Marin Alsop and Michael Tilson Thomas.

To download high-res photos, click here.

* * *

Rosendal Chamber Music Festival
August 5-8, 2021
Bergen, Norway

Rosendal Chamber Music Festival (photo: Liv Øvland)

The Rosendal Chamber Music Festival takes place in the grounds of a 17th-century manor house, set amongst the mountains and fjords of western Norway, where audiences are immersed in an in-depth program of music, talks and exhibitions. Curated by its founder and artistic director, celebrated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, this year’s festival celebrates the music of Antonin Dvořák. Over four days, Andsnes and his guests will explore the great Czech composer’s works and examine the ways he and his contemporaries were influenced by the national romantic movement. Special tribute will also be paid to Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, whose 100th anniversary falls this year.

This summer’s guest artists include pianists Zlata Chochieva and Emilie Aridon-Kociołek, violinists Josef Špaček, Johan Dalene and Daniela Braun, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, double bassist Arnulf Ballhorn, bandoneon player Per Arne Glorvigen and the Dover String Quartet. They will be joined on stage by Norwegian composer-cellist Lene Grenager and 18 musicians from the “Konstknekt Project,” an inspirational initiative that gives young Norwegian musicians the opportunity to collaborate with members of the Berlin Philharmonic.

To download high-res photos, click here.


Taipei Music Academy & Festival (TMAF)
August 2-9, 2021
Taipei, Taiwan

The TMAF Orchestra’s 2020 concert (photo courtesy of Taipei Music Academy & Festival)

The Taipei Music Academy & Festival (TMAF) was founded two summers ago by violinist, curator and educator Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin, “a beacon of musical charisma” (Philadelphia Inquirer) who currently serves on the faculties of Rice University and the Juilliard School, following an18-year tenure as Music Director of La Jolla Music Society SummerFest. TMAF brings together outstanding young musicians and a stellar international faculty for two weeks of daily individual coaching sessions, public masterclasses, orchestral rehearsals, mock auditions, audition tutorials and more, in the idyllic mountainside setting of the Taipei National University of the Arts. This summer, the first week focuses on chamber music and culminates in a public chamber performance called “TMAF Rising Stars on Parade,” as well as an all-star faculty chamber concert, both at Taipei’s National Concert Hall. The second week turns to orchestral performance, with rehearsals and three public performances of a program comprising symphonies by Prokofiev and Beethoven and Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin, led by Music Director Laureate of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the St. Louis Symphony Leonard Slatkin.

* * *

Notable summer performances (listed alphabetically by artist)

Marin Alsop

May 27-June 19: The Baltimore Symphony’s Marin Festival celebrates Marin Alsop – “a formidable musician and a powerful communicator” and “a conductor with a vision” (New York Times) – as she nears the end of her 14-year tenure as the orchestra’s Music Director. Beginning with a special virtual performance by OrchKids, which Alsop founded, the festival also includes her leading the orchestra’s first in-person performances since March 2020: two free outdoor community programs, the first combining Beethoven with works by Kevin Puts and Jessie Montgomery, and the second combining Mendelssohn with works by Anna Clyne and Stacy Garrop. Also during the festival are the premieres of episodes 29 and 30 of the 30-episode docuseries BSO Sessions, in which Alsop leads the finale of the BSO’s 2020-21 season. The festival culminates with Alsop’s final performance as Music Director: a live-streamed Gala event emceed by BSO Artistic Partner Wordsmith that features celebrated soprano Renée Fleming and the world premiere of a BSO commission by James Lee III in honor of Juneteenth.

June 24-26: Alsop has also just been announced as the first music director of the National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F), a program of the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center that brings together emerging orchestral musicians from across the country for a month of music-making and professional exploration. She will lead a newly formed conductor academy and conduct multiple concerts each June with the NOI+F Philharmonic. Recognized internationally for her innovative approach to programming, her distinctive interpretations of the classics will be enriched by a spotlight on new American and contemporary music, focusing on women as well as Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) composers. Repertoire this summer will include works by Jessie Montgomery, an alumna of NOI+F; Gabriela Lena FrankBrian Raphael Nabors; and Nathan Lincoln-DeCusatis ’08.

July-Aug: In her first season as Chief Conductor and Curator of the Ravinia Festival, Alsop leads the Chicago Symphony in seven concerts when the oldest outdoor music festival in the U.S. resumes live performance in July. With health considerations for both audience and performers paramount, concerts will take place outside in the open-air Pavilion, have a reduced audience capacity, and be offered with reserved-in-advance, distanced seating. The number of artists on stage will also be reduced, in order to allow for proper distancing between performers.

* * *

Daniel Barenboim

June 28: Daniel Barenboim leads the Staatskapelle Berlin at the Philharmonie de Paris in a concert celebrating the best in orchestral string music. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Violin Concerto – featuring longtime Barenboim collaborator Anne-Sophie Mutter – are paired with Pierre Boulez’s Livre pour cordes.

July 5: Barenboim, who has been deeply engaged with the works of Beethoven throughout his career both as pianist and conductor, performs a recital of the composer’s works in Barcelona that includes the Diabelli Variations, following up on his October 2020 Deutsche Grammophon album on which the same work was paired with Beethoven’s complete Piano Sonatas.

Aug 14: In 1999, Barenboim and the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward W. Said created a workshop for young musicians to promote coexistence and intercultural dialogue, named after West-Eastern Divan, a collection of poems by Goethe that was central in the development of the concept of world culture. After celebrating its 20th birthday with special anniversary concerts in 2019, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Barenboim return to the Waldbühne Berlin this summer for their traditional open-air concert. The program includes Brahms’s Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, with soloists Michael Barenboim and Kian Soltani.

* * *

Julia Bullock

July 9–13: At the Aspen Music Festival, Julia Bullock – “a musician who delights in making her own rules” (New Yorker) – joins the Aspen Chamber Symphony under Nicholas McGegan for Maurice Delage’s orchestral song cycle Quatre poèmes hindous (July 9), as heard on her recording with Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra. Her residency at the Colorado festival also includes a masterclass (July 11) and a recital, for which pianist John Arida joins her in repertoire ranging from lieder by Schubert and Wolf to songs made famous by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone (July 13).

Aug 7: Bullock performs at Idaho’s Sun Valley Music Festival, America’s largest free classical festival, where she joins Music Director Alasdair Neale and the festival orchestra for the world premiere performance of Jessie Montgomery’s Freedom Songs. Heard here in its newest iteration, Montgomery’s work results from an ongoing, multi-season collaboration between Bullock and the composer.

Aug 13 & 14: Montgomery’s new work is also the vehicle for Bullock’s concerts under the baton of Music Director Sir Donald Runnicles at Wyoming’s Grand Teton Music Festival.

* * *

Alan Gilbert

June 26 & July 1: Alan Gilbert, chief conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and former music director of the New York Philharmonic – where he made “an indelible mark on the orchestra’s history and that of the city itself” (New Yorker) – conducts two performances with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, of which he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor in 2017. The first program is all-American: Bernstein’s overture to Candide and Copland’s Appalachian Spring are juxtaposed with Ives’s Symphony No. 2 (June 26). Pianist Makoto Ozone joins Gilbert on the second program for Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, sharing the bill with Swedish composer Allan Pettersson’s Symphony No. 7 (July 1).

July 18-26: Returning to the U.S., Gilbert heads for the southwest to lead two works for chamber orchestra – Takemitsu’s Rain Coming and Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks – at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. As a violinist, he also performs Beethoven’s String Trio in C minor, and joins Berlin Philharmonic Principal Horn Stefan Dohr and pianist Gilles Vonsattel in Ligeti’s Horn Trio.

Aug 1 & 2: Rounding out Gilbert’s summer engagements are two concerts at Tanglewood. He conducts the Boston Symphony and soloist Lisa Batiashvili in Saint-Saëns’s Violin Concerto, on a program that also includes Schumann’s Bride of Messina overture and the Serenade by the relatively unsung twentieth-century Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar. The following night Gilbert leads the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) Orchestra in performances of Sibelius’s Third Symphony and Brahms’s Hungarian Dances, sharing the podium with a TMC Fellow, who will conduct Fauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande Suite and William Grant Still’s Darker America.

* * *

Michael Hersch

June 12: Michael Hersch – “one of the most fertile musical minds to emerge in the U.S. over the past generation” (Financial Times) – reunited with renowned sculptor Christopher Cairns last October to launch the intimate concert series “… thus far and no further …” Curated by Hersch and performed by some of his most trusted musical collaborators for a socially distanced audience of just 15, each live concert is bookended by sound installations and takes place among the sculptures in Cairns’s Pennsylvania studio, as previously featured in the set design for Hersch’s monodrama On the Threshold of Winter. The final concert in the series features Hersch’s original arrangement of a work by Orlando Gibbons and the world premiere performance of a new composition by Christopher Fox, along with works by Shostakovich, Xenakis, Birtwistle, Matthias Pintscher, Liza Lim and Isabel Mundry. Performers include soprano Ah Young Hong, flutist Emi Ferguson, violinist Conrad Harris and cellist Daniel Gaisford.

* * *

Daniel Hope

June 14–20: Daniel Hope – “one of the most charismatic violinists in the world” (Classic FM) – looks forward to a full and varied lineup this summer. Highlights include concerts with The Hope Orchestra at Germany’s Festival Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Frauenkirche Dresden. Especially created for the occasion, the ensemble brings young musicians together with principals of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera and Orchestra L’arte del mondo, who serve as their mentors.

June 26–July 2; July 31: Hope reprises “AIR. a baroque journey” – the chamber program BBC Music calls “a striking demonstration of the sheer variety and invention of Baroque violin composers” – in Magdeburg, Germany (June 26), Aurich, Germany (June 29), Kirchberg, Switzerland (July 2) and Pietrasanta, Italy (July 31).

July 8–11: In his seventh season as Artistic Director of the Lübeck Musikfest, which is presented as part of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Hope joins pianist Jacques Ammon and others for nine programs devoted to Schubert’s chamber music.

July 16–22: Hope grew up in the household of Yehudi Menuhin, with whom he gave more than 60 concert performances, sharing a close association with the older violinist that was truly unique. This summer he embarks on a residency at Switzerland’s Gstaad Menuhin Festival, joining baritone Thomas Hampson and others for three English-themed chamber concerts titled “Daniel Hope and Friends” (July 16, 19 & 22).

July 17–25: Hope’s busy summer includes multiple dates with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, where he is now in his fifth season as Music Director. He leads the ensemble from the violin in concerts celebrating Vienna at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (July 17 & 18) and in two programs of Baroque and Classical repertoire at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Music Festival (July 24 & 25).

July 27 & 30: Hope revisits two of his recordings at Switzerland’s Verbier Festival this summer. As on his most recent Deutsche Grammophon release, he pays tribute to Alfred Schnittke with a program of the composer’s violin and piano music, now with pianist Lucas Debargue (July 27). Then, joined by baritone Thomas Hampson, violist Lawrence Power, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and pianist Julien Quentin, Hope explores iconic film scores by composers who fled to Hollywood from fascist persecution, as on his 2014 album, Escape to Paradise (July 30).

* * *

Daniil Trifonov

July 17–27: Grammy Award-winning Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov – “without question the most astounding pianist of our age” (The Times, UK) – makes orchestral appearances at two major U.S. festivals this summer. At Tanglewood, he plays Brahms’s First Piano Concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (July 17), and the following week he plays Scriabin’s sole Piano Concerto under Vasily Petrenko’s direction at the Aspen Music Festival (July 25), where he also gives a solo recital two days later (July 27).

Aug 10 & 11: Trifonov completes the summer with two concerts at California’s La Jolla SummerFest.

* * * 

Rolando Villazón

June 15-26: Tenor Rolando Villazón, who made his directing debut in 2010 in Lyon, takes the helm to direct La sonnambula at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, with soprano Nadine Sierra singing the title role.

June 29, July 7 & 9: Villazón’s “Serenata Latina” project with harpist Xavier de Maistre, formerly of the Vienna Philharmonic, tours to Prague (June 29) and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (July 7 & 9). The Latin American program ranges from art song to zarzuela, folk song and more.

July 4: In the midst of the “Serenata Latina” performances, Villazón takes a side trip to Gmunden, Austria to sing an open-air concert with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz conducted by Markus Poschner. The concert will be broadcast on Austria’s ORF3.

Aug 24 & 28: Continuing the theme of scenic outdoor venues in Austria, Villazón performs in recital with pianist Carrie-Ann Matheson in the amphitheater at the medieval castle Burg Finkenstein (Aug 24), before giving a concert of beloved arias with the Philharmonie Salzburg led by Elisabeth Fuchs in the town square of Eferding, the third oldest city in Austria (Aug 28).

* * *

Alisa Weilerstein

June 6, 7 & 10: Alisa Weilerstein, whose “dexterity is stunning, her tone luminous” (, performs a new work for cello and piano written for her by Osvaldo Golijov at South Carolina’s Spoleto Festival. With her longstanding recital partner, pianist Inon Barnatan, the cellist performs the work on three programs on June 6 and 7, before participating in the festival’s “Conversations With” series on June 10, speaking with CBS News journalist Martha Teichner about her work and creative process.

July 11 & 15: A month later, Weilerstein reunites with Barnatan at the Aspen Music Festival to perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto along with violinist Stefan Jackiw, before the three collaborate on a chamber program later in the week.

July 25: Weilerstein performs the world premiere of Joan Tower’s Cello Concerto at the Colorado Music Festival, held at the historic Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder, built in 1898. Commissioned for Weilerstein by the festival, the concerto is part of an entire program of Tower’s music, conducted by festival Music Director Peter Oundjian.

Aug 12: Weilerstein makes her debut at Idaho’s Sun Valley Music Festival, the largest admission-free classical music festival in the U.S.

# # #

© 21C Media Group, April 2021


Return to Press Room