Salt Bay Chamberfest’s 25th season, Aug. 1 - 17, promises a wide range of concerts and events, both ticketed and free. Music and performers celebrate the organization’s commitment to supporting the future of music while also honoring the past. Concerts address a range of topics connected to the season’s theme, Music of Our Common Earth, and span genres from classical to jazz to hip hop. The season features five festival concerts at the historic Darrows Barn at Round Top Farm in Damariscotta, a variety of free events, and, for the first time, two free concerts in the Rockport-Rockland area. Musicians include two MacArthur “Genius” Fellows (Claire Chase and Vijay Iyer), Native American performers (Burnurwurbskek Singers and Hawk Henries), and returning favorites such as Jennifer Koh, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and the Brentano String Quartet.
Free events for the community include two outdoor concerts, one featuring flutes and the other percussion, on Aug. 8 (at Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport) and Aug. 11 (at Darrows Barn); a free recital by flutist Claire Chase at the Strand Theatre in Rockland; and the return of several popular offerings, all in the Damariscotta area: two OffTopic! musician-led talks on Aug. 5 and 12 at the Lincoln Home, a student master class on Aug. 16 at Schooner Cove, and a Family Concert on Aug. 17 at the Second Congregational Church. Open rehearsals on each concert morning at Darrows Barn are also free to the community.
Salt Bay Chamberfest marks its 25th anniversary on Thursday, Aug. 15, with a gala musical celebration and dinner at the 1812 Farm in Bristol, featuring drinks, food, and a musical tribute by the Brentano String Quartet.
The season opens on Thursday, Aug. 1, with two performances featuring jazz pianist, composer, and MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer. To celebrate the 25th anniversary season, the concert will be preceded by an hour-long solo recital at 5 p.m., complete with a Champagne toast. Later that evening, at 7:30 p.m., the first full-length festival concert will see Iyer joined on stage by violinist Jennifer Koh, violist Dimitri Murrath, and cellist and SBC Artistic Director Wilhelmina Smith, performing chamber works by Iyer, Beethoven, and Ravel.
The second festival concert on Tuesday, Aug. 6 highlights the one-of-a-kind musical rap event, Half & Half, featuring 50%, by Derek Bermel and Nate Smith. Initially commissioned by Salt Bay Chamberfest in 2013, this politically topical work will be presented in an expanded and updated version to be premiered that evening. Works by Bartok and Bernstein will also be performed. In addition to Bermel (clarinetist as well as rapper) and Nate Smith (drums), the evening features violinist Jennifer Frautschi, pianist Thomas Sauer, saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, and bassist Fima Ephron.
On Friday, Aug. 9, MacArthur Fellow and flutist Claire Chase performs Pan, a musical drama by Marcos Balter for solo flute, live electronics, and an ensemble of community musicians. Drawing on themes of nature and Greek mythology, Pan is paired in the first half with music of the parallel Pan/Syrinx and Apollo/Daphne stories by Debussy, R. Strauss, and Barbara Strozzi. Chase shares the stage with soprano Hyunah Yu and pianist Thomas Sauer.
Tuesday, Aug. 13 features music with nature as metaphor, through Tan Dun’s Snow in June for cello and percussion, Shostakovich’s song cycle Seven Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok, and Battistelli’s Orazi e Curiazi. Performers are soprano Hyunah Yu, violinist Jennifer Frautschi, cellist Wilhelmina Smith, pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and percussionists Tim Feeney, Ayano Kataoka, Eduardo Leandro, and Doug Perkins.
The festival concerts conclude on Friday, Aug. 16 with a program exploring how cultural exchange broadens our understanding of the world. The Brentano String Quartet is joined by pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn, violist Dov Scheindlin, and cellist Wilhelmina Smith, in a program featuring Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, Busoni’s Violin Sonata No. 2, and Nina C. Young’s Spero Lucem.
All five concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. at Darrows Barn (pre-concert talks with Mark Mandarano begin at 6:30 p.m.), Round Top Farm, Business Route 1, Damariscotta.
Salt Bay Chamberfest 2019 Season at a Glance
Thursday, Aug. 1: Season Opening 25th Anniversary Champagne Concert (5 p.m.); Festival Concert (7:30 p.m. at Darrows Barn); Monday, Aug. 5: OffTopic! Lecture (3 p.m. at the Lincoln Home); Tuesday, Aug. 6: Open Rehearsal (10 a.m. at Darrows Barn); Festival Concert (7:30 p.m. at Darrows Barn, with a 6:30 p.m. pre-concert talk); Thursday, Aug. 8: Noon Recital at the Strand Theatre in Rockland; Outdoor Concert: “The Spirit of the Flute: A Cultural Dialogue” (6 p.m. at Beech Hill Preserve in Rockport); Friday, Aug. 9: Open Rehearsal (10 a.m. at Darrows Barn); Festival Concert (7:30 p.m. at Darrows Barn, with a 6:30 p.m. pre-concert talk); Sunday, Aug. 11: Outdoor Concert: “Rhythms and Songs of Our Earth” (3 p.m. at Round Top Farm grounds); Monday, Aug. 12: OffTopic! Lecture (3 p.m. at Lincoln Home); Tuesday, Aug. 13: Open Rehearsal (10 a.m. at Darrows Barn); Festival Concert (7:30 pm at Darrows Barn, with a 6:30 pm pre-concert talk); Thursday, Aug. 15: 25th Anniversary Celebration and Dinner (5 p.m. at 1812 Farm);; Friday, Aug. 16: Open Rehearsal (10 a.m. at Darrows Barn); Master Class (1 p.m. at Schooner Cove); Festival Concert (7:30 p.m. at Darrows Barn, with a 6:30 p.m. pre-concert talk) and Saturday, Aug. 17: Family Concert (10 a.m. at Second Congregational Church).