New England Summer Festivals

Newport: Music at the Mansions

Friday, June 17, 2011
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Classical New England continues a journey to gorgeous places and electrifying performances a different New England destination each Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at noon.  This week, we're off to the stunning mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, for the Newport Music Festival. 

To hear the program, click on Listen above.

The 43rd Newport Music Festival, in 2011, began on July 7 and ran through July 24.

Many musicians from all over the world participate in the festival, and some of the featured performers in 2011 included pianists Daniel del Pino, Gergely Bogányi and Frederick Moyer, violinists Jennifer Frautschi and Livia Sohn, and cellists Jirí Bárta and Sergey Antonov.

There were 57 concerts scheduled during the festival, with most days including concerts at 11am, 4pm, and 9pm. The festival began with a benefit concert for The Mark P. Malkovich, III Memorial Fund and also includes 13 "Lisztiad" concerts, an in-depth exploration of music written by Franz Liszt.

Along with the festival, Newport offers other attractions like the Newport International Polo Series, sailing charters, and more.

Newport is approximately 90 minutes by car from downtown Boston, and there are many options for dining and lodging.  More information about visiting Newport can be found by visiting the Newport Music Festival.

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The Rockport Chamber Music Festival

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
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Classical New England celebrates the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, one of New England's premiere summer music festivals.  

Hear the 2012 Rockport Chamber Music Festival episode of New England Summer Festivals

Hear the 2011 Rockport Chamber Music Festival episode of New England Summer Festivals

The 2012 Rockport Chamber Music Festival began on June 7 with a gala concert featuring pianist Leon Fleisher. The following night, Spanish gambist Jordi Savall and his ensemble Hesperion XXI come to the Shalin Liu Performance Center for a program entitled "A Dialogue of Souls."

The season also features three of the most exciting string quartets on the stage today, with the Parker Quartet, the Calder Quartet, with clarinetist John Bruce Yeh, and the Jupiter Quartet, in collaboration with pianist and festival Artistic Director David Deveau.

Music of our time plays a vital role in the season, with a performance by Boston Musica Viva, a world premiere of music written by Chick Corea and performed by clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and marimbist Mika Yoshida, and a concert by pianist Bruce Brubaker that features music by Philip Glass and John Cage.

In additiona to Savall, early music performances include a return of the British ensemble Red Priest, "Rheingold's Curse," a concert by Benjamin Bagby and Sequentia, and the complete works for solo violin by J.S. Bach with Jennifer Koh.

Complete information can be found by visiting the Rockport Chamber Music Festival.

Cape Ann is approximately 45 minutes by car from downtown Boston, and the MBTA offers commuter rail service to Rockport as well.  There are many options for dining and lodging. 

In 1981 two friends, soprano Lila Deis and pianist/composer David Alpher were travelling through Rockport. Inspired by the town's beauty and history as an artists colony, their casual lunchtime conversation led to a meeting with local businessman Paul Sylva, who had dreamed of just such a project for years.  The Rockport Chamber Music Festival was born, with the first performances taking place over two weekends in 1982 at the Rockport Art Association.

In 1995, pianist David Deveau was named Artistic Director, and his guidance has seen the festival expand in both season and ambition over the years. In 2008 that led to the creation of Rockport Music, and plans were laid for a new performing space. Finally, in 2010, the first concerts were given in the Shalin Liu Performance Center.

Now, Rockport Music has expanded its schedule to include the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, presentation of classical, jazz, and world music concerts throughout the year, live video presentations of the Metropolitan Opera and London's National Theatre, and more.

The Rockport Chamber Music Festival and the Shalin Liu Performance Center was featured on WCVB's Chronicle:

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The Marlboro Festival

Friday, June 3, 2011
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Classical New England ventures to Vermont for an encounter with a legendary festival.

Hear the 2012 Marlboro Chamber Music Festival episode of New England Summer Festivals

Hear the 2011 Marlboro Chamber Music Festival episode of New England Summer Festivals

The Marlboro Chamber Music Festival as founded in 1951 by Rudolf Serkin, with Adolf Busch, Hermann Busch and Marcel, Blanche and Louis Moyse.

Co-Artistic Directors are Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode.

Serkin had been Artistic Director until his death in 1991.

Marlboro is 1.5 hours from Williamstown, MA, and 2 hours from Tanglewood.

The 2012 festival begins on July 14 and concludes on August 12, with concerts every Saturday and Sunday, as well as the final two Friday evenings.

The festival is known for an egalitarian approach to music-making among seasoned mentors and exceptional young professionals.

Repertoire for each week's concerts is determined a week before each performance.

Concerts take place at Persons Auditorium on the campus of Marlboro College.

The iconic welcome sign to Marlboro

Its location in southern Vermont makes Marlboro an idyllic getaway, two-and-a-half hours from Boston and four hours from New York City.  Many options are available for lodging and for exploring area attractions.


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Experiments In Chamber Music At Vermont's Yellow Barn

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
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This week on Classical New England's music festival travelogue, we take you to secluded Putney, Vermont, for a helping of programs at the prestigious Yellow Barn, a cooperative institute for chamber musicians.

Putney, VTThe Yellow Barn festival is really a seven-week summer season, which, for 2012, runs from June 17 to August 4. This reputed destination for chamber music aficionados, started in 1969, primarily exists as a place for seasoned musicians to expand their skills and for conservatory students to learn from the masters. But fortunately for the public, this process involves a varietty of performances.

Every summer, musicians descend on this small southern Vermont location for a host of programs: they work with local schools, participate in masterclasses, and offer interactive presentations to the community.

And, yes, performances are held in a barn, among other locations around Putney. There have been more than one of these barns over the years, but the present "Big Barn" is a warm and intimate environment for a concert.

There is a huge selection of these concerts in store for the rest of the season, featuring student performers and seasoned veterans. There's something available nearly every day of the week.

If you're interested in more than a day trip, Yellow Barn can recommend inns, bed-and-breakfasts and hotels in Putney and other nearby towns like Brattleboro.

While you're there, you can hike Putney Mountain — where you can also watch for hawks — or even venture into the sprawling Green Mountain National Forest, which is about an hour's drive away, depending on your destination.

Here's a slideshow from our own trip to Putney, as well as some photos from the Yellow Barn's history.

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