by Gregor Smith
Starting this weekend and for the next three weeks in July and August, area music lovers will be able to enjoy the sweet strains of classical music in a series of free concerts at Colby College. The performances are part of the third annual Atlantic Music Festival, which has brought talented undergraduate and graduate performers to the campus for the past two summers, since the festival's founding in 2009.
According to its website, the 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."
Held concurrently with the festival, the institute helps students of composition, conducting, opera, piano, and strings hone their craft. They have weekly private lessons, attend coaching sessions and master classes, and perform. Their instructors are doctoral fellows and well established professional performers and music school faculty members
Most of the students, who pay tuition to come to the institute, are working toward bachelor's or graduate degrees at leading conservatories. Some come for two weeks, others for all four. Altogether, around 100 students, faculty, and fellows will take part in the festival, and at least 20% will come from other countries.
The first public concert of this year's festival will be on Saturday, July 16, when the AMF Orchestra will play Bartók's Romanian Folk Dances, Mendelssohn's E minor Violin Concerto, and Schubert's Fifth Symphony. The orchestra will perform three more times during the festival, on the following two Saturdays and on Friday, August 5.
In addition to the weekend orchestral performances, the festival will have a series of "salon" concerts on Wednesdays and Fridays, July 20, 22, 27, 29, and August 3. Inspired by the parlor gatherings of the social and intellectual elite in centuries past, these more intimate performances will, according to the AMF website, lead to "a meaningful exchange of ideas and emotions from artist to artist, as well as from artist to audience."
The orchestral concerts and salon recitals will all take place in Lorimer Chapel and will start at 7:00 p.m. All are free, but festival organizers encourage concertgoers to make reservations and donations on the festival's website. Additional performances may be added. For the latest information, visit the website or call the festival's office at