July 7 – 13, 2017Vol. 19, No. 5

Music Festival Offers Free Classical Concerts in Waterville

by Gregor Smith

Classic music lovers, rejoice! Starting this Saturday and continuing for the rest of July, the Atlantic Music Festival will present a series of free concerts at Colby College on Mayflower Hill Drive in Waterville.

Now in its ninth year, the festival will bring some 180 musicians — faculty, students, fellows, and guest artists — to the Colby campus for four weeks of private lessons, master classes, rehearsals, and performances. The students and fellows are mostly in their twenties and are either still in school or just starting their professional careers, while the faculty and guest artists tend to be older, more established musicians. Although at least half of the participants are from the United States, fifteen other countries on six continents will be represented this year, most prominently South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Australia.

Thanks to its Composition Program, which enables aspiring composers to refine their craft, new music has always been a hallmark of the festival. During its first eight years, the festival has offered world premières of over 300 works — pieces that have not been previously performed in public or commercially recorded. During its ninth season, the festival expects to introduce at least 40 more.

Thus it is fitting that this year's opening concert will be of new music. (And no, "new" does not mean weird or atonal; most of the works are quite melodic.) That concert will take place Saturday, July 8, at 1:00 p.m. in Lorimer Chapel. If you can't make it on Saturday, you will have two more chances to hear new music, on Thursday, July 13 and Tuesday, July 18, both days at 7:00 p.m.

The festival's concert series will begin in earnest the following Wednesday, July 12, with the first of seven chamber music performances. From that point on, there will be a concert nearly every night, and on Saturday afternoons as well, until July 29.

These chamber music soirées will feature soloists, duets, trios, and other small ensembles playing instrumental works of different eras and styles. These 7:00 p.m. chamber concerts form the festival's backbone; they will be held every Wednesday and Friday through July 28, and also on Saturday, July 22.

While Wednesdays and Fridays will be devoted to instrumental music, one can thrill to vocal pyrotechnics on Thursdays. On July 20, members of the AMF Opera Workshop will present a series of semi-staged opera scenes in Strider Theater, with costumes and some props and set pieces. The following Thursday, they will present a more basic performance of art songs in the chapel.

Lovers of piano music will get their turn on Saturdays, July 15 & 22, at 3:00 in Given Auditorium, when participants in the festival's Piano Institute will demonstrate their skill. Additionally, the winner of the festival's annual piano competition, a juried competition in which students compete for a $1000 cash prize, will perform a solo recital on Monday, July 24, at 7:00 in Lorimer Chapel.

Finally, if you crave the sound of a full symphony orchestra, come to the chapel on Saturdays, July 15 & 29. In the first performance, the AMF Orchestra will present Richard Strauss's orchestral suite Der Bürger als Edelmann, Ludwig van Beethoven's Leonora Overture No. 3, and Béla Bartók's Dance Suite. The program for the second concert, which will close this year's festival, has yet to be announced.

Admission to all AMF performances is free, and except where noted above, concerts will take place in Lorimer Chapel and will start at 7:00 p.m. The schedule is subject to change, and more performances may be added. For the latest information, visit the AMF website at www.atlanticmusicfestival.org or call the AMF office at (888) 704-1311.