July 1 – 7, 2016Vol. 18, No. 4

Atlantic Music Festival Offers Free Classical Concerts

The AMF Orchestra takes a bow at a concert in July 2015.

by Gregor Smith

The Atlantic Music Festival will launch its eighth season on Saturday, July 2, with renditions by the AMF Orchestra of Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Mozart's final symphony, # 41 ("Jupiter"). Conducted by Maestro David Amado, music director of the Delaware Symphony and an AMF favorite, this free concert will, like the majority of AMF performances, take place in Colby College's Lorimer Chapel and will begin at 7:00. The orchestra will also perform on July 16 and July 23.

After that first orchestral concert, the next scheduled performance will be a chamber music recital on Wednesday, July 6. From that point on, there will a concert or recital nearly every evening — and some afternoons too — through Saturday, July 23. There will be around two dozen performances during the festival, all at Colby College and all with free admission.

The performers are drawn from the 160 to 170 students and fellows, mostly in their 20s, and the 35 to 40 faculty members at the AMF Institute, which runs from June 27 to July 24. According to the AMF website, the institute "offers programs for composers, conductors, instrumentalists, and singers. Those admitted . . . receive lessons, coachings, master classes, and have opportunities to perform alongside world renowned artist-faculty members . . . " This year, roughly three quarters of the participants will come from the United States and the rest from other countries, mainly Taiwan, South Korea, and China.

The chamber concerts will feature a variety of works performed by duos, trios, and other small instrumental ensembles. Chamber concerts will be held each Wednesday and Friday evening (six performances); on Saturday, July 9; Sunday, July 17, 2:00 p.m.; and Thursday, July 14, 3:30 p.m. The two afternoon concerts will take place in the lobby of the Colby Art Museum — the others will all be at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel — and the July 14 and 15 recitals will feature the Cassatt String Quartet, who have also appeared at the past two festivals.

Thursday evenings will be devoted to vocal music. The first Thursday's program will be art songs; one week later, it will be opera arias. On the final Thursday, July 21, members of the AMF Opera Workshop will present full opera scenes on stage with costumes, props, set pieces. This last performance will take in Strider Theater in Runnals Union.

On Saturday afternoons in the Chapel, one will get to hear new music by participants in the AMF Composition Program. Contrary to what one might think, "new" does not mean weird and atonal; most of the music is quite melodic. These musical matinees will take place at 3:00 on July 9, 16, and 23.

On Sundays, July 10 and 17, at 7:00, AMF will hold Salon @ The Bar concerts at the Marchese Blue Light Pub in Cotter Union. These informal events each feature a succession of soloists and small groups playing and singing anything from baroque to folk, including works they have written themselves. Salon programs are never announced in advance, but are always eclectic. Patrons may come and go at will and may order food and drink to enjoy while listening.

Other performances during the festival will include piano recitals on Tuesday, July 12, and Monday, July 18, and a Future Music Lab, on Thursday, July 21, at 3:30 in the art museum lobby. For the latter performance, musicians use "interactive computer technology" to augment performances on traditional instruments.

Unlike at most concerts, attendees at AMF performances are encouraged to bring their Smartphones to see which works are being performed and read the program notes. (Please turn off the ringer and please don't make or take any calls during the performance!) A few printed copies of the program will be available for the Smartphone-deprived.

Except where otherwise noted, concerts will be held in Lorimer Chapel and will start at 7:00. The schedule is subject to change and more performances may be added. For the latest information, visit the AMF website or call the festival office at (888) 704-1311.