From Aspen to Tanglewood, summer is the season for classical music festivals. Whether you are an ambitious young musician seeking master classes with world-renowned soloists or just a lover of great music, summer festivals offer something for everyone.
There's a fest right here in Bethlehem. The Techne Music Festival, sort of like a summer camp for highly advanced violin, viola, cello, piano and composition students, is a two-week-long event at Moravian College that continues through July 26.
The festival, in its second year, was founded by violinist Tim Schwarz, formerly head of the string department at Lehigh University and now assistant professor of music at Kutztown University.
In addition to master classes and individual music instruction on strings, piano and composition, the festival features a free concerts open to the public. The concerts include performances by students enrolled in the festival as well as its distinguished faculty members.
Ten students ages 13-23 and from as far away as Venezuela are enrolled in the festival.
"It's a very small, select group. One of the challenges of a chamber music camp is that you can't have eight violins, a viola and a cello. You really have to get the right combination, and that's tricky," Schwarz says.
"The idea is to keep it at the right level. The assumption is everybody who comes is extremely strong technically and musically. They've been given the music six weeks ago, they all have a score and are expected to have all the cues written in and have an understanding of how the pieces work."
You can hear just how good this outstanding group of young musicians is by sitting in on a master class. Chamber music master classes will be presented at 1 p.m. July 17 by Domenic Salerni, first violinist for the Vega String Quartet, and at 1 p.m. July 18 by Steven Tenenbom, violist of the Orion String Quartet.
The concert schedule opens with a faculty concert 7 p.m. July 18, featuring Schwarz and Salerni, violins, violist Esme Allen-Creighton and cellist Lawrence Stomberg. The program includes Mendelssohn's String Quartet Op. 44 No. 2, the Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello and works by Lou Harrison.
At 7 p.m. July 24, students at the festival will present a chamber music concert featuring works by Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart, Prokofiev, and Borodin. Violinist Jonathan Carney, joined by the Techne Chamber Orchestra, will be the featured soloist at 7 p.m. July 26 in Vivaldi's "Four Seasons."
•Techne Music Festival, through July 26, Peter Hall, Moravian College, 1200 Main St., Bethlehem. Admission to concerts and auditing a master class is free. 215-880-5869, http://www.technemusic.com.
Recital series in East Stroudsburg
Techne instructor Domenic Salerni is also performing on Saturday as part of a recital series in East Stroudsburg University's Cecelia S. Cohen Recital Hall.
He will be joined by pianist Tim Whitehead in a performance of virtuoso music by violinist-composers, including Nardini/David, Mozart and Bazzini.
Salerni, the son of Lehigh University music professor Paul Salerni, is first violinist of the Vega Quartet, quartet-in-residence at Emory University in Atlanta.
The recital is the second in a series of four produced by L'Archet Concert Group. The series continues Sept. 14 with flutist Bart Feller and Oct. 4 with violist Donald Dal Maso and composer/pianists David Lantz.
•Domenic Salerni, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, East Stroudsburg University, Cecelia S. Cohen Recital Hall, 125 Fine Arts Drive, East Stroudsburg. Tickets are $25; $20, seniors; $10, students. Info: 917-716-9245.
Members of the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra will present the third Valley Vivaldi chamber music concert Sunday at Wesley Church in Bethlehem. This time, the popular summer series really lives up to its name, with two Vivaldi works — the Oboe Concerto in A minor and the Violin Concerto in G major.
Vivaldi's Concerto in A minor for Oboe and Strings is one of about 15 he composed for the instrument. They are demanding virtuoso pieces, with no other composer writing such music for the oboe at the time. Even Tomaso Albinoni, the most famous oboist in Venice, did not compose concertos of this scope. Oboist Nobuo Kitagawa has the solo role in this charming, ritornello-rich work.
Vivaldi's development of and use of ritornello form, a technique that proved irresistible to J.S. Bach, is also evident in the Violin Concerto in G Major. Featuring violinist Simon Maurer, the piece, published in 1716, is the third in a set of 12 concertos for solo violin, strings and basso continuo titled "La stravaganza."
Flutist Robin Kani is the soloist in J.S. Bach's Suite II in B minor for flute and strings in a program that also features Boccherini's Quintet in C and the ever-popular Canon in D Major by Pachelbel. Joining the soloists in the program are Mary Ogletree and Rebecca Brown, violin; Agnès Maurer, viola; Deborah Davis, cello; Nancy Merriam, bass; and Allan Birney, harpsichord.
A reception follows the concert. The final concert in the summer series will be Aug. 17, also at Wesley Church.
•Valley Vivaldi, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Wesley Church, 2540 Center St., Bethlehem. Tickets: $35, $25 adults; $30, $20 seniors 62+; $15, $10 students. 610 434-7811, http://www.pasinfonia.org
Lenape Chamber Ensemble
Lenape Chamber Ensemble's series of Summer Gala concerts continues Saturday at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown Township with a lineup of noted artists, including the Wister Quartet and celebrated flutist Pamela Guidetti.
Haydn's String Quartet in B Flat Major, "The Hunt," is an early work completed in 1762 noted for its conversational flavor, reminiscent of a jaunty hunting call. The piece will be performed by the Wister Quartet, consisting of violinists Nancy Bean and Davyd Booth, violist Pamela Fay and cellist Lloyd Smith.
Hindemith wrote his Sonata for Flute and Piano in 1936, after the Nazis had come to power and just before he resigned his teaching post at the Berlin Hochschule. The three-movement sonata demonstrates Hindemith's unique harmonic language, neo-classical idioms, and the Neue Sachlichkeit style.
Each movement is an exploration ofprimarily three musically independent lines, and the expanded third movement concludes with a parody of a military march. Flutist Pamela Guidetti joins pianist Marcantonio Barone, longtime Lenape favorite, in this intriguing work.
Barone is joined by Nancy Bean and Lloyd Smith for Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio in A minor, a work that Tchaikovsky dedicated to his recently deceased friend, Nikolai Rubenstein, a well-known pianist who performed many of his works.
Fittingly, the trio's piano part is quite challenging and often overwhelms the material for violin and cello. Unlike Rubenstein, Tchaikovsky was not much of a pianist and never realized how difficult his keyboard music could be.
The concert takes place in the auditorium of Delaware Valley College's new air-conditioned Life Sciences Building. Outdoor tables in the college courtyard are available for pre-concert picnics, and a champagne punch reception following each concert will enable the audience to meet the performers.
•Lenape Chamber Ensemble, 8 p.m. July 19, Delaware Valley College, 700 E. Butler Ave., Doylestown Township. Tickets: $18; $15, seniors and students. 610-294-9361, http://www.lenapechamberensemble.org.
More Philadelphia Orchestra summer concerts
The Philadelphia Orchestra is offering a rare doubleheader next week at the Kimmel Center, first with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Beatles in America, then with a concert featuring music from Disney/Pixar Studio's most beloved animated features combined with dazzling film clips.
On July 23 and 24, the orchestra teams up with the renowned Beatles tribute group Classical Mystery Tour for a concert featuring more than two dozen Beatles songs, performed as they were originally recorded, transcribed note for note, with original orchestrations.
You'll hear "Penny Lane" with live trumpets, experience the beauty of "Yesterday" with an acoustic guitar and strings, and enjoy the rock and classical blend on the hard-edged "I Am the Walrus."
The fab four of Classical Mystery Tour look, sound and dress like their iconic soulmates. Costume changes during the two-hour show will portray the foursome from the black suits of the Ed Sullivan era through the Sgt. Pepper hippie garb of the late '60s, and finally the later Abbey Road attire.
On July 25 and 26, the orchestra performs "Pixar in Concert," featuring live music scores accompanied by film clips from all 14 Pixar animated features. The family-friendly show includes music from the "Toy Story" trilogy, "Finding Nemo," "Ratatouille," "A Bug's Life," "Wall-E," both "Cars" features, "Up," "The Incredibles," "Monsters Inc.," and the latest additions, "Brave" and "Monsters University."
• Philadelphia Orchestra and Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles, 8 p.m. July 23, and 24, Kimmel Center, Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia. Tickets: $20 and up. 215-893-1999, http://www.philorch.org
• Philadelphia Orchestra "Pixar in Concert," 7 p.m. July 25, 2 p.m. July 26, Kimmel Center, Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St, Philadelphia. Tickets: $35 and up. 215-893-1999, http://www.philorch.org
Steve Siegel is a freelance writer.
Jodi Duckett, editor
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