The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: This weekend will bring the conclusion of the exciting and intriguing Bard Music Festival that this year is exploring the music and world of Igor Stravinsky. Which music festivals do you recommend?

August 17, 2013
5 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Many classical music festivals, in the summer and throughout the year, interest me and I would be happy to attend them. But only a relatively few really call me or beckon me or tempt me to attend.

One is the Van Cliburn competition for AMATEURS, not the professional one. Another is the Gilmore Festival, which chooses winners not really by individual competition – or at least conscious competition – but rather by judges who follow the careers of various pianists and then hand out the awards.

Another festival I would like to attend is the Oregon Bach Festival because Johann Sebastian Bach’s body of work is so rich. A fourth is the annual summer International Keyboard Festival at Mannes School of Music in New York City because it includes relatively unknown performers, intriguing programs and very intriguing master classes.

But a  major orchestral festival that calls me strongly is the annual summer music festival at Bard College in New York State’s Hudson River Valley, whose president Leon Botstein plans and leads the events, (Below is Leon Botstein in conducting the American Symphony Orchestra last Saturday in a photo by Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times. At bottom, in a YouTube video, you can hear him discussing his “Classics Declassified” series.)

Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra at the 2013 Bard Music Festival devoted to Stravinsky CR Hiroko Masuike NYT

Critic Zachary Woolfe of The New York Times this past week gave a terrific account of the opening weekend of the festival, which this year is devoted to Igor Stravinsky (below). It will finish up this weekend and I expect to post something about its conclusion.

Igor Stravinsky young with score 2

Woolfe (below) makes all the right points about why I find the festival at Bard so tempting, from the quality and importance of the music and often unusual repertoire to the fine performances and performers as well as the unusual angle or focal point that is often adopted.

Zachary Woolfe NYTIMES

Here is a link to Woolfe’s readable and detailed account. See if it doesn’t make you, like me, want to attend the festival:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/arts/music/bard-music-festival-celebrates-stravinsky-and-his-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Which music festivals have you most enjoyed and would recommend?

Which ones would you most like to attend?

The Ear wants to hear.


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