NH Music Festival series in Plymouth offers humor, chamber music, more

Special to the Union Leader
June 21. 2014 7:40PM
A young audience member at a New Hampshire Music Festival family concert practices his conducting with Maestro Donato Cabrera. (COURTESY)

PLYMOUTH - The curtain rises in July for the six-week season of the New Hampshire Music Festival, celebrating this year's selected theme, "The romantic spirit."

According to Brad Dumont, performance operation and artistic administrator for NHMF, the 2014 season will explore the many facets of Romanticism from the 18th century to the modern day and offer exciting family concerts that will bring out the sleuth as well as the music lover.

Scheduled for July 26, "The Composer is Dead" is a family concert written by famous children's/young adult writer Lemony Snicket. It is billed as a "sinister guide to the orchestra" that, through a murder mystery, brings the audience on a journey learning about each section of instruments. The title makes it sound scarier than this humorous and delightful tale truly is, Dumont said.

"Parents should not worry about bringing their children to this event. It is a fun and exciting piece that is narrated by the composer, Nathaniel Stookey. The first time I heard it, I enjoyed it as much as any younger audience member would," he said. "It has entertainment and educational value for first-time classical music audiences, while also offering some inside jokes for people who may be more familiar with the world of classical music."

The family concerts feature the same pieces that audiences would hear on a typical orchestra concert, but with more interaction, explanation and visuals from the conductor and musicians. There are other family concerts in the works for the season, but Dumont says they are keeping them a surprise for now.

The Silver Center at Plymouth State University is the festival's primary venue, where it will offer full orchestra performances on Thursdays and Saturdays, and Tuesday night chamber performances.

In addition, the 62nd festival offers multiple chamber performances at venues throughout central New Hampshire on Friday and Sunday nights. Those locations include the Concord Community Music School, the newly rebuilt Wolfeboro Congregational Church and a jazz brunch hosted by the Wolfeboro Inn.

Highlights of the season include concertos by Vivaldi, Mozart, Piazzolla, Milhaud, Conus and Copland, and feature four internationally renowned soloists,  soprano Heidi Melton; mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop; tenor AJ Glueckert; bass James Westman.

"We are offering six weeks of orchestral masterpieces that not only celebrate the romantic spirit, but showcase the full range of sounds that only a live symphony orchestra can create.

Our chamber music concerts, curated by our musicians, will be full of musical gems not to be missed," said music director Donato Cabrera. "We'll perform beloved works of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Vivaldi and others, but we will also discover exciting musical treasures heard here for the very first time."

Single tickets range from $15 to $69. Six-concert subscription packages start at $110. New offers this summer include a three-concert Saturday night package and a flexible multi-concert option. Discounts are available for students and children.

For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.nhmf.org or call the Silver Center Box Office at 535-2787 or 800-779-3869, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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