The National Music Festival concludes its annual two-week run in Chestertown this Friday and Saturday with two major orchestra programs.
The National Music Festival (NMF), now wrapping up its eleventh season, is an important musical institution for Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Festival brings together budding musicians from across the country and the world to provide them with the opportunity to learn from world-class professional performers – all for no cost other than their personal transportation. This year’s apprentices and mentors come from 30 states and 10 countries.
This Friday, June 16, the Festival Orchestra will present works by Claude Debussy, Louise Farrenc, and Jean-Phillipe Rameau, under the direction of Venezuelan conductor Rodolfo Saglimbeni. Saglimbeni presently conducts the National Symphony of Chile. Louise Farrenc’s under-popularized third symphony is a hidden gem by the Romantic composer, and is a celebration of women’s quiet successes throughout musical history. It will be performed alongside a suite from Jean-Philippe Rameau, Les Indies Galante, and Claude Debussy’s famous tone poem, Prélude à l’après midi d’un faune.
The following evening, June 17, the orchestra will present the Helios Overture by Carl Nielsen, followed by the Festival’s grand finale: Gustav Mahler’s seventh symphony. Nielsen’s overture will be conducted by Iranian-born conductor and University of Michigan DMA student Asieh Mahyar, who is a conducting apprentice at this year’s Festival.
The Mahler, conducted by NMF’s Artistic Director, Richard Rosenberg, is a spectacle to behold. In typical maximalist fashion, the work calls for the Festival’s entire musical personnel, including mentors and even a few arts administrators. In addition to double the standard number of wind instruments and many, many strings, the piece has a few other unique instrumental elements, such as the inclusion of mandolin and guitar in the fourth movement. This massive collaboration for the five-movement symphonic work has been an excellent opportunity for the Festival apprentices to learn from their teachers in the field. Its performance will blow you away with its power.
Tickets for the Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17 concerts are available on the National Music Festival’s website under Concert Events https://nationalmusic.us/events and-tickets/concert-schedules/. The Festival’s website also details the full concert schedule. All tickets are held for pick-up at the concerts; no tickets will be mailed. A number of concerts are free, as are all rehearsals. Tickets for orchestra concerts are $25.
The National Music Festival is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council (msac.org) and the Kent Cultural Alliance (kentculture.org). For more information about the Festival, visit the website at nationalmusic.us or contact [email protected] or (443)480-0221.