MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Music on the Strait 2022

Music on the Strait 2022 Opening Night: Demarre McGill and Jeremy Denk play Beach and Franck

The 2022 Music on the Strait season began on Friday (see above) with a spotlight on the extraordinary flutist Demarre McGill, who was featured in works by Debussy and Amy Beach in the opening night program. Joining McGill were violinists Elisa Barston and James Garlick (Music on the Strait’s co-artistic director) violist David Auerbach, cellist Efe Baltacıgil, and pianist Jeremy Denk (2022 special guest artist), who will perform César Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor.

The festival takes place on Washington’s beautiful Olympic Peninsula over two weekends, from 26 August to 3 September:

  • August 26: Opening Night with virtuoso flautist Demarre McGill 
  • August 27: Efe Baltacıgil and Jeremy Denk play Beethoven 
  • August 28: Every Good Boy Does Fine: Jeremy Denk in Recital and Conversation
  • September 2: Shostakovich’s Eighth String Quartet 
  • September 3: Festival Finale: A World Premiere by Paul Chihara


VIOLIN: Elisa Barston, Kyu-Young Kim, James Garlick 

VIOLA: David Auerbach, Richard O’Neill 

CELLO: Efe Baltacıgil, Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir

FLUTE: Demarre McGill 

PIANO: Jeremy Denk, George Li 


Filed under: chamber music, music news, Music on the Strait

Tippet Rise Returns to Live Music: The 2022 Season

Tippet Rise Art Center launches its 2022 season on Friday. For five weeks, from 26 August to 25 September, the rural Montana-based festival will present 50 works in some 15 concerts, including three world premieres. Friday evening’s concert at the Olivier Music Barn unveils the first of these new works: a new composition for solo cello by Reena Esmail, which the Canadian cellist Arlen Hlusko will premiere. The program also features violinist Jennifer Frautschi and pianist Zoltán Fejérvári in Mozart’s Violin Sonata No. 22 in A major, K. 305, and all three musicians in Schumann’s Piano Trio No. 2 in F Major, Op. 80.

Filed under: music news, Reena Esmail, Tippet Rise

2022 Summer Festival at Lucerne

Following several days of showcasing the young generation with performances by various youth orchestras, Lucerne Festival’s summer of music for 2022 officially launches tomorrow, 12 August. Riccardo Chailly will conduct the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in a program of music by Wolfgang Rihm, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and Rachmaninoff, with Anne-Sophie Mutter as the soloist in Saint-Georges’ Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 5, no. 2.

Here’s a list of concert transmissions that will be broadcast. Check Radio SRF 2 Kultur as well for broadcast information.

This summer’s theme is “Diversity.” The Festival describes the program as follows:

“For a long stretch, until the post-war decades, time seemed to stand still in the classical music scene. Orchestras were a male domain — women could only be found playing the harp or in the ranks of the violins. People of color were almost non-existent, and Asian women had to fight for their place on the stage. Of course, the leadership was also in male hands: the conductor was to be addressed as “maestro” or, in German orchestras, as “Meister” or “Herr Professor.” The repertoire, in turn, was limited to the Eurocentric canon of works, including the Viennese classics, the German-Austrian Romantics, plus Italian opera and a few coloristic touches from the fringes of Europe. This monoculture even persisted with respect to the audience, since access was found primarily among educated bourgeois circles who had enough income for musical pursuits.

A great deal has of course changed since then, yet a lot still remains to be done. Through this summer’s theme of “Diversity,” we want to make a plea for genuine diversity in classical music. That is why we have invited artists from demographic groups that were previously underrepresented in the scene. A number of women have made their mark on the program, and many works that are inherently diverse or have never been heard here before will be performed. And with affordable offers like the “Overture” presented by international youth orchestras, we hope to prove that enjoying classical music is not a question of money. Because music is for everyone.”

Filed under: Lucerne Festival, music news

Donizetti’s Elixir of Love at Seattle Opera

Andres Acosta as Nemorino in Seattle Opera’s production of “The Elixir of Love.” (Sunny Martini)

Seattle Opera’s new season has opened with a production of The Elixir of Love, Donizetti’s melodramma giocoso from 1832. Although I have to miss these performances, I reviewed the company’s production directed by David Gately when it was presented at the height of the pandemic virtually, as a film (with a different cast and a very small ensemble):

While the world pins its hope on a coronavirus vaccine, another elixir is getting top billing at Seattle Opera…


Filed under: review, Seattle Opera

A Week at the 2022 Bravo! Vail Music Festival

Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic at Bravo! Vail. (Photo by Tom Cohen for Bravo! Vail Music Festival)

This summer I was able to visit the Bravo! Vail Music Festival in the heart of Colorado during the New York Philharmonic’s residency. Here’s my report for Classical Voice North America:

VAIL, Colo. — More than one-and-a-half miles above sea level, there’s a special tang to the music. Or perhaps it’s a side-effect of the serene backdrop of wooded slopes, alpine flowers, and spectacular cloud formations. Whatever the reason, the fading A minor chord that closes the lid on Mahler’s Sixth Symphony reverberated with a peculiar blend of shell-shocked dread and exuberant release.


Filed under: Bravo! Vail Music Festival, Mahler, music festivals, New York Philharmonic

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

RSS Arts & Culture Stories from NPR