Coming Events: Ambition Blooms At Summer Fests

By CVNA Editors

DATE BOOK – As musicians gather in wonderful locations of great natural beauty and historic college campuses along the East Coast and inland, ambitious summer fare is in the tuning stages. The hotter months bring operas old and new, showers of chamber music, and premieres of all sorts. Here is a look at some Eastern U.S. highlights:

Total immersion weekends at the new Tanglewood Learning Institute will offer shop talk and context. (BSO photo)

Lenox, Mass.: Tanglewood Music Fest goes full tilt for learning

Through Sept. 1: Full details

Beginning its first year of operations, the Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI) is an all-season multi-building complex atop a grassy ridge overlooking the traditional Boston Symphony Orchestra summer grounds. Its ambitious program of more than 140 cross-cultural activities is dubbed “a new concept in creative enrichment.” The idea is intense engagement to help deepen understanding for people who may not have the hands-on musical experience their elders did. One TLI focus will be total-immersion weekends that offer shop talk with musicians and draw on wider cultural connections: The “O’Keeffe Weekend” (July 19-21) explores artistic partnerships in the creative process in conjunction with the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ The Brightness of Light, an orchestral song cycle based on the letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. It includes a welcome breakfast and lunches. The “Wagner Weekend” (July 26-28) similarly focuses on Die Walküre, with looks into Wagner’s fascination with myth, the meaning of a Wagner voice, and the storyline itself. Meanwhile, Tanglewood events continue with concerts at the Koussevitzky Music Shed, events at Ozawa Hall, and training at the Tanglewood Music Center academy for young musicians.

Artistic director Keith Lockhart at the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute and Festival. (Mike Belleme)

Brevard, N.C.: Three operas and a Copland focus with a Mahler finale

Through Aug. 4: Full details

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute and Festival has been led by artistic director Keith Lockhart since 2007. This summer’s orchestra programs include Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto (with soloist Olli Mustonen) and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, Lockhart conducting, on June 28; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (with Alexandre Tharaud) and Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande, Matthias Bamert conducting, on July 5; and Christian Zacharias conducting Schumann’s Manfred overture, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 (with Zacharias at the keyboard), and Brahms’ Fourth Symphony on July 27. The Brevard opera company stages Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah on June 27 and 29, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette on July 11 and 13, and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus on July 25 and 27. The Shanghai Quartet plays Beethoven on July 1 and 3. A two-week Aaron Copland Festival has Lockhart on the podium for a July 19 program of Appalachian Spring, the Clarinet Concerto (with Steve Cohen), and the Third Symphony. A pair of Copland programs is curated by cultural historian Joseph Horowitz, “Copland and Mexico” on July 13 and “Copland’s America” on July 21. The festival concludes Aug. 4 with Lockhart leading Mahler’s epic Second Symphony, Resurrection.

‘The Miracle of Heliane’ by Erich Wolfgang Korngold will have its U.S. premiere this summer. (AKG-Images)

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.: U.S. premiere of The Miracle of Heliane

Through Aug. 18: Full details

Held every summer at Bard College, about 90 miles north of New York City, the Bard Music Festival has for 30 seasons chosen a single composer as its theme. This year it’s Korngold, whose 1927 opera The Miracle of Heliane (Das Wunder der Heliane) was banned by Nazis after its Hamburg premiere and has never been staged in the U.S. The story, based on an Expressionist play set in a totalitarian state, deals with an erotic triangle that develops between a ruthless character called Ruler, his wife Heliane, and a messianic Stranger. Christian Räth directs; performance dates are July 26, 28, and 31; Aug. 2 and 4. Another concert, Aug. 10, provides the context of rarities by Korngold contemporaries: Julius Bittner’s Overture to Der Musikant, Zemlinksy’s Lyric Symphony, and Franz Schreker’s Vom ewigen Leben, a pair of Walt Whitman settings for soprano and orchestra. Still others look at the operetta tradition, the Hollywood years, and Korngold’s Passover Psalm, from wartime 1941, which is paired with music of Hindemith and Strauss from the same decade.

Music director Gerard Schwarz will premiere his ‘Adagio’ at the Eastern Music Festival. (VanHouten Photography)

Greensboro, N.C.: Eastern Music Fest leader pens Webern-inspired work

Through July 27: Full details

Now in its 58th season, the Eastern Music Festival under music director Gerard Schwarz gives more than 65 performances by three orchestras, chamber ensembles, and guest artists at its home at Guilford College and other venues around Greensboro, N.C. On June 27, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg leads chamber orchestra works by Philip Glass, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, and Shostakovich. Schwarz is on the podium for the June 28 EMF Orchestral Celebration in an all-Brahms program featuring violinist Nigel Armstrong and cellist Julian Schwarz (the conductor’s son) in the Concerto for Violin and Cello, followed by Symphony No. 4. On June 30, the Pacifica Quartet will play works of Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, and Beethoven. On July 3, William Wolfram is the soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14, and he has a recital of works by Schumann, Liszt, and Schoenberg on July 17. The July 20 program includes John Corigliano’s Stomp, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, with concertmaster Jeffrey Multer as soloist, and Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, Tragic, Schwarz conducting. At the festival finale on July 27, Schwarz’s Adagio, based on Webern’s Langsamer Satz, receives its world premiere, alongside Brahms’ Concerto No. 2 with pianist Horacio Gutierrez and Strauss’ Eine Alpensinfonie.

Soprano Christine Lyons will sing the title role in Bellini’s ‘La Straniera’ with Teatro Nuovo. (Steven Pisano)

Purchase, N.Y., and N.Y.C.: Bel canto travelers explore historic sonic blend

Through July 18: Full details

For its second season, New York’s Teatro Nuovo, the bel canto company founded by conductor Will Crutchfield, presents semi-staged productions of Bellini’s La straniera and Rossini’s La gazza ladra, with performances of each work at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall. La straniera, called Bellini’s “most radical opera” by musicologist Philip Gossett, features soprano Christine Lyons in the title role opposite tenor Derrek Stark as Arturo, with musical co-direction of the period-instrument ensemble by Crutchfield at the keyboard and concertmaster Jakob Lehmann; performances are July 13 at the PAC, July 17 at Rose. La gazza ladra, one of Rossini’s biggest hits and known to concertgoers (and fans of the movie A Clockwork Orange) for its scintillating overture, has mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig as Pippo, with musical co-direction by Rachelle Jonck at the keyboard and Lehmann; performances are July 14 at the PAC, July 18 at Rose. To get the Teatro Nuovo festival under way, there is a concert pairing Rossini’s Stabat Mater and the New York premiere of Donizetti’s Symphony in E minor on June 27 at the Church of Heavenly Rest on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.