This July and August, area residents will be treated to a series of twelve, free performances by rising stars in the world of classical music. The second annual Atlantic Music Festival will be held at Colby College from July 12 to August 6.
According to its website, "[t]he Atlantic Music Festival simultaneously strives to be one of the leading music programs and the most inspiring summer music festival in the world. Every year, the AMF Institute committee seeks students and young artists who hold extraordinary talent and commitment to music."
The festival's founder and artistic director is Solbong Kim. A young composer of Korean ancestry, Kim had a vision: he wanted to provide a special opportunity for young classical musicians to make music with each other, for them to study with older and highly revered musicians, and for all the musicians, young and old, well established and just starting out, to play together in free public concerts. He imagined that the festival would create a close-knit and supportive community comprising the musicians themselves and the local residents who come to hear them perform.
To Kim, Colby College seemed the ideal site for the festival, with its idyllic and quiet campus, its proximity to cultural hubs, and Maine's perfect summer weather. In Waterville, Kim hoped to find — and did — a wonderfully kind and supportive public who would attend the festival's concerts and whose enthusiasm would motivate and inspire the young artists.
The tuition-paying students at the festival are the best and brightest students from major conservatories. These young singers, instrumentalists, and composers come for two or four weeks of private lessons, coaching sessions, master classes, and performances.
The heart of the festival, however, is its fellowship program. The fellows, the majority of whom are pursuing doctoral degrees, study and perform at the festival, while mentoring their younger colleagues. Unlike the students, fellows receive free tuition and housing.
Fellows are heard in festival performances as soloists, chamber musicians, and as members of the festival orchestra. The fellowship program is open to orchestral instrumentalists, guitarists, pianists, opera singers, one composer, one conductor, and one recording engineer, all between the ages of 18 and 34.
The festival draws participants from around the world. While two thirds of the students and fellows are from the United States, some come from as far away as Great Britain, Australia, France, Austria, China and Korea. The admissions process is very competitive. A mere 10% of those who applied this year were accepted.
All together, students, fellows, and faculty number around 60. The faculty comprises over twenty internationally acclaimed composers, performers, and teachers, including Grammy-nominated cellist Sharon Robinson and violinist Jaime Laredo, who will be featured as soloists at the festival's centerpiece concert on July 31.
The first performance will be held on Saturday, July 17. Although the exact venues for a few of the concerts had not been set at press time, all performances will take place at Colby College, and except where otherwise noted, will begin at 7:00 p.m. Although admission is free, festival organizers encourage concert-goers to reserve tickets on the festival's website. Reserving a ticket will ensure getting a seat should a particular concert be full.
The venues and times of performances are subject to change without notice, and additional performances may be scheduled. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.atlanticmusicfestival.org.