Road Trip: Summer Music Festivals

By Kanny, Mark | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Road Trip: Summer Music Festivals


Kanny, Mark, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Marketing can overplay anything, but, when the elements are properly aligned, music under the stars can provide unforgettable enchantment. Summer classical music festivals are a different experience for everyone involved. The journey to the festival creates its own anticipation and can add its rewards - such as well- chosen stops for meals, good conversation and enjoying the car stereo.

Festivals usually offer different programs night to night, and some offer matinees, which adds to the value when you reach the festival. That also means the musicians are preparing more music more quickly than they do during the winter-concert season.

While the most serious music lovers will want seats in festival pavilions for the best sound, that's not much different from going to a concert hall. Sitting on the lawn is a more casual, less confined experience in every way. And you can see the stars, providing it's a clear night.

The most prestigious of America's summer classical music festivals is Tanglewood in western Massachusetts, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937.

This summer, Tanglewood will begin its 75th-anniversary season with a repetition of the festival's first concert, an all-Beethoven program that was led by music director Serge Koussevitzky.

Tanglewood attracts more than 350,000 people per summer. Its programming is diverse and artistically ambitious. This summer, it will present eight world premieres, as well as five concerts devoted to the complete solo piano music of Johannes Brahms. Yo-Yo Ma will make four appearances. It offers plenty of chamber music and new music, and isn't restricted to the classics, either.

The sound in the Koussevitzky Music Shed has some of the characteristics that make Symphony Hall in Boston a great hall. Seiji Ozawa Hall, named for another Boston Symphony music director, also has great acoustics. It serves Tanglewood Music Center, the festival's program for young musicians.,The festival runs June 22 through Sept. 2.

Christoph von Dohnanyi, who was a Tanglewood fellow in 1952, leads the roster of conductors. He has the honor of re-creat-ing the festival's first concert on July 6, and returns Aug 12. Other conductors include Kurt Masur, July 22; Charles Dutoit July 28 and 29; Lorin Maazel Aug 3;and Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Aug. 19, 25 and 26.

Other events will feature Diana Krall, June 23; The Mark Morris Dance Group, June 28 and 29; James Taylor July 2 to 4; Wynton Marsalis, Aug 20; and Chick Corea with Gary Burton, Aug 26.

Details: 888-266-1200 or www.bso.org,Castleton Festival

Former Pittsburgh Symphony music director Lorin Maazel founded the Castleton Festival in 2009 to nurture young artists in operatic and instrumental performance. It is on his 500-acre estate in northern Virginia, and this year, runs from June 22 to July 22.

Staged productions this summer will include "The Barber of Seville," June 23, 29 and July 1; "Carmen," June 30, July 6 and 8; and "A Little Night Music" July 13 to 15. Maazel also will conduct Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, July 7; and Mahler's Symphony No. 1, June 24.

Details: 866-974-0767 or www.castletonfestival.com,Wolf Trap

The national park for the performing arts, Wolf Trap is a private- public partnership between the National Park Service, which maintains the grounds and buildings, and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts that handles the performances. Programming ranges from pop, country and folk, to blues, opera and classical for the season that started June 1 and goes through Sept. 15.

Wolf Trap Opera will present Mozart's "Don Giovanni" July 1 and 7; and "The Rake's Progress, Aug. 3 and 11. Emil de Cou will lead the National Symphony Orchestra concerts at the festival, including Beethoven's Ninth on July 28.

Details: 877-965-3972 or www.wolftrap.org,The Glimmerglass Festival

Local opera enthusiasts in Cooperstown, N. …

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