The brilliant Brazilian classical guitarist Camilo Carrara and acclaimed American percussionist Michelle Humphreys will return to the National Music Festival in Chestertown next June, according to Festival Artistic Director Richard Rosenberg.
Carrara, who wowed Festival audiences at solo recitals last summer, will play two recitals during the two-week classical music festival, and will perform one of the most challenging and beloved guitar concertos, Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez, with the Festival Symphony Orchestra.
In addition, Carrara will offer a guitar workshop focusing on technique for classical and popular guitar, arrangement, sight-reading, improvisation and composing. The workshop is open to guitarists of all ages and skill levels.
“We are thrilled that Michelle and Camilo will be joining us again next year,” says Rosenberg. “They are both a pleasure to work with and are an asset to the Festival.”
Carrara, who has recorded more than 60 compact discs, is renowned for building bridges between classical and creative music. A graduate of the music department of the University of São Paulo, he is in demand as a performer for recordings, shows and concerts throughout Brazil and abroad and has collaborated with musicians from Congo, Argentina and Belgium. He regularly offers seminars and workshops all over South America.
Humphreys is the principal percussionist with Opera Lafayette and the Washington Bach Consort and has recorded on the Naxos label with Opera Lafayette. This season she is performing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and with the Opéra Royal in Versailles, France.
Humphreys holds a Masters of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland College Park. She teaches percussion at Shepherd and Towson Universities and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her performing affiliations include the National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, Tempesta di Mare of Philadelphia, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, Chesapeake Orchestra at St. Mary’s College, and Washington Bach Sinfonia.
Carrara and Humphreys are two of more than 30 “mentors” and guest artists from the United States and abroad, experienced orchestra professionals, outstanding soloists and conservatory faculty members who will rehearse and play side-by-side with more than 100 “apprentices,” young artists launching their musical careers.
According to Maestro Rosenberg, the constant collaboration between the two groups sets the National Music Festival apart.
“Most other festivals segregate the faculty and students in all rehearsals and performances. One of the most important tenets of the National Music Festival philosophy is that everyone—apprentices, mentors, and audience—benefits when apprentices and mentors play side by side. At other festivals, students might receive lessons from faculty members, but playing alongside their mentors as they do at the National Music Festival takes the experience to a much higher level. It accelerates the learning process for the apprentices, increases the quality of the performances, and is invigorating for both mentors and apprentices.”
“It’s impressive,” Humphreys explains, “to see how well prepared the apprentices are, going into the first rehearsal. But this festival—really it’s a two-week journey for all of us—requires them to dig deep for even greater technical prowess, truer musical expression, and the most exciting performances possible.”
The National Music Festival, Humphreys says, “is a perfect breeding ground for the classical music stars of tomorrow.”
Because all apprentices are on full scholarship, they are selected for the NMF solely on the basis of their skills and talent, according to Caitlin Patton, NMF executive director.
“Since the apprentices are chosen for the depth of their talent rather than the depth of their wallets, we are able to recruit an incredibly high-caliber group of young musicians,” says Patton. “This sets us apart from festivals that charge tuition, and allows us to give world-class performances.”
Other returning mentors include oboist Jared Hauser (also a Festival Board member), harpist Dickie Fleisher and violist Caroline Coade.
Hauser has been described as a “sensitive, elegant soloist” with a “subtle refined style” by Gramaphone Magazine and as a “meditative and thoughtful” player by the Merrican Newspaper Guide. He has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician.
All 250 Festival rehearsals are free and open to the public, including children, and Festival Passes, which guarantee seating at all performances during the two-week National Music Festival, are currently on sale. To purchase passes and for more information, go to the Festival website: www.nationalmusic.us.