Sounds of Summer
- Kimberly Uslin
For the 2013 schedule, visit http://www.nationalmusic.us/
The National Music Festival, which brought scores of talented young musicians and their mentors to Chestertown for two weeks last summer, will return this June as the National Music Festival at Washington College. Festival organizers Richard Rosenberg and Caitlin Patton ’05 and College president Mitchell Reiss agreed to the new partnership earlier this month.
The Festival provides master classes and performance experience to gifted musicians at the beginning of their professional careers. The public benefits through high-quality performances offered free or at reasonable prices. Last year some 28 music teachers (called mentors) from major orchestras, chamber ensembles and conservatory faculties worked with more than 100 apprentice musicians from across the country.
Under the new partnership agreement with Washington College, the Festival gains greater access to college resources, including rehearsal and performance spaces, musical instruments, drama department equipment, and residence halls. Festival participants also will have use of recreational and fitness facilities such as the Cain Gym Field House, Casey Swim Center, Johnson Fitness Center and Miller Library.
In return, Washington College will gain exposure from Festival publicity, and its students will have new opportunities to intern in concert-production and arts administration. Students also can audition for the Festival’s musical-theater production, participate in select workshops, and audit rehearsals and master classes. In future summers, the partnership is expected to bring interested members of the Washington College Music Department into the Festival as workshop leaders and teachers.
“This is a win-win for the College and the community,” says College president Mitchell Reiss. “We all were impressed with the quality of music and the vibrant cultural energy the festival brought to Chestertown last summer, and we want to help it grow and thrive. Washington College has a robust music program with a faculty that is a constant source of new ideas and programs. This partnership can enhance their work and open doors for our students who want to hone their musical skills and learn arts management through the Festival.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Washington College,” says executive director Patton. “We believe our partnership will benefit the educational missions of both organizations, and it is especially meaningful to me on a personal level since I am a Washington College alumna.”
The 2013 festival will take place June 1-15, with dozens of workshops, rehearsals and public performances in the Gibson Center for the Arts and other venues throughout Kent County. Highlights will include:
- Friday June 7, the full Festival Symphony Orchestra performs Peter and the Wolf with narration by former NPR host Liane Hansen. Also that evening, pianist Elaine Kwon plays the Concerto in Three Rhythms by Gershwin contemporary Dana Suesse.
- June 9 and 10, the premier of Philip Rosenberg’s “A Merry War,” which reimagines “Much Ado About Nothing” as a 1930’s Broadway musical. Philip Rosenberg is a theater and music educator, composer and director who recently moved to Chestertown.
- Saturday, June 15, a grand finale performance of Mahler’s second symphony featuring the Festival Symphony Orchestra, the Chester River Chorale, and the Singing City Chorus of Philadelphia under the baton of guest conductor Maestro Gilbert Kaplan.