New Hampshire Music Festival Kicks Off 2014 Summer Season: ‘The Romantic Spirit’

July 8th, 2014 by Lynn

    Photo of Donato Cabrera by Anastasia Chernyavsky

    The New Hampshire Music Festival (NHMF) presents its 2014 summer season, with a theme of “The Romantic Spirit.” The six-week season, running today July 8-August 14, will explore and celebrate the many facets of Romanticism, from the 18th century to the modern day.

    The 62nd festival will take place in multiple venues throughout central New Hampshire. 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.

    “We will not only perform music we all know and love, from a beloved Mendelssohn overture to Tchaikovsky’s towering masterpiece, his Fifth Symphony, but we will present new and exciting music, fulfilling our need and desire to keep music a living art form,” said NHMF Music Director Donato Cabrera. “We also welcome to the NHMF family Dan Perkins, our new principal guest conductor, who will prepare the chorus for Verdi’s epic Requiem.”

    Highlights of the season include concertos by Vivaldi, Mozart, Piazzolla, Milhaud, Conus, and Copland, and the festival will welcome four internationally renowned soloists to sing Verdi’s Requiem. Composer Nathaniel Stookey will be the first contemporary composer in a new concert series called Composer Portraits. Stookey’s The Composer is Dead, with the composer himself acting as narrator, and his newly composed overture, Go!, will be featured.

    The New Hampshire Music Festival is a six-week summer music festival that honors the tradition of classical music while exploring new artistic paths. The NHMF strives to connect the Lakes Region with an engaging, immersive festival experience by presenting world-class performances, creating strong collaborations with community partners, and offering educational programs to students of all ages. The festival was founded in 1952 as a small chamber orchestra performing on Melody Island in Lake Winnipesaukee and has grown to be a highly-valued community asset. Every summer during July and August, musicians from around the country come to Plymouth to perform well-known classics and contemporary works.

    Maestro Donato Cabrera, who had his first season at the helm of the festival in Summer 2013, enjoys an international career as a music director and conductor. Last year, he expanded the festival’s orchestral and chamber concerts, and reestablished the family concert series. In addition to his role at NHMF, he is the music director of the California Symphony and Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, and is resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO).

    Bank of New Hampshire is the festival’s first lead corporate partner, providing sponsorship for this season. “Bank of New Hampshire is proud to have been a lead supporter of the New Hampshire Music Festival for more than a decade,” stated Mark Primeau, President and CEO for Bank of New Hampshire. “The New Hampshire Music Festival provides access to top musicians from all over the United States to enrich the lives of New Hampshire residents.”

    Subscription sales begin in March 2014 and single ticket sales will start in April 2014. Ticket prices range from $15-$69. More details can be found at


    Donato Cabrera, Music Director

    Week 1: The German Romantic

    TONIGHT, July 8, 8 PM
    Chamber Music Series with NHMF Musicians

    Thursday, July 10, 8 PM
    Opening Celebration
    Festival Orchestra
    Donato Cabrera, conductor
    Mendelssohn: Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in E major, Op. 21
    Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467, Frances Renzi, piano
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60

    Sunday, July 13
    Jazz Brunch at Wolfeboro Inn

    Week 2: A Musical Cornucopia

    Tuesday, July 15, 8 PM
    Chamber Music Series with NHMF Musicians

    Thursday, July 17, 8 PM
    Saturday, July 19, 8 PM

    Festival Orchestra
    Donato Cabrera, conductor
    Schreker: Intermezzo, Op. 8
    Vivaldi: Bassoon Concerto in E minor, RV 484, Nicolasa Kuster, bassoon
    Mason Bates: Icarian Rhapsody
    Piazzolla: Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, Jennifer Cho, violin

    Friday, July 18, 8 PM
    Lincoln Financial Presents
    Chamber Concert
    Concord Community Music School

    Week 3: Composer Portrait-Nathaniel Stookey

    Tuesday, July 22, 8 PM
    Chamber Music Series with NHMF Musicians

    Thursday, July 24, 8 PM
    Festival Orchestra
    Donato Cabrera, conductor
    Stookey: Go!
    Milhaud: Concertino d’Hiver, Op. 327, David Loucky, trombone
    Stookey: The Composer is Dead, Nathaniel Stookey, composer/narrator

    Friday, July 25, 8 PM
    Chamber Concert
    Wolfeboro Congregational Church

    Saturday, July 26, 10 AM
    Family Concert
    The Composer is Dead

    Week 4: The Russian Soul

    Tuesday, July 29, 8 PM
    Chamber Music Series with NHMF Musicians

    Thursday, July 31, 8 PM
    Saturday, August 2, 8 PM

    Festival Orchestra
    Donato Cabrera, conductor
    Glinka: Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture
    Conus: Violin Concerto in E minor, Yulia Iglinova Milstein, violin
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

    Week 5: Verdi’s Requiem

    Tuesday, August 5, 8 PM
    Chamber Music Series with NHMF Musicians
    and Heidi Melton, soprano

    Thursday, August 7, 8 PM
    Saturday, August 9, 8 PM

    Festival Orchestra and Chorus
    Donato Cabrera, conductor
    Dan Perkins, director of choral activities
    Verdi: Messa di Requiem
    Heidi Melton, soprano
    Elizabeth Bishop, mezzo-soprano
    AJ Glueckert, tenor
    James Westman, bass

    Sunday, August 10, 8 PM
    An Evening with Lisa Vroman – Gala Concert
    Broadway and cabaret music featuring soprano Lisa Vroman and the Festival Orchestra

    Week 6: Latin Love

    Tuesday, August 12, 8 PM
    Chamber Music Series with NHMF Musicians

    Thursday, August 14, 8 PM
    Festival Orchestra
    Donato Cabrera, conductor
    Falla: The Three-Cornered Hat, Suite No. 1
    Copland: Clarinet Concerto, Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, clarinet
    Bizet: Carmen Symphony in 12 Scenes
    Márquez: Danzón No. 2

    NH Music Festival family concert takes place Aug. 3

    July 23rd, 2013 by Lynn

      PLYMOUTH — Families can enjoy an affordable afternoon of music with the New Hampshire Music Festival with the festival’s family concert series.

      The Family Concert Series, led by Music Director Donato Cabrera, offers families the opportunity to create their own musical traditions and spend time together learning about music. Concerts will take place at 2 p.m. in the Hanaway Theater at the Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University.

      “The Festival is delighted to offer these concerts for our youngest audience members and their families,” said General Manager

      Brenda Conklin. “Parents and children are invited to enjoy classical music together in a format that is geared toward these young listeners but will entertain adults alike.”

      The Aug. 3 concert is titled “The Four Elements of Music: Composer, Conductor, Musician and You!” and will bring each of these components to life during the program.

      For a complete schedule of the New Hampshire Music festival’s 2013 season, visit Tickets for all Plymouth performances are on sale now and are available at or by calling 535-2787.

      NH Music Festival celebrates a new season

      June 13th, 2013 by Lynn

        By Marcia Morris


        Dick Hanaway and Brenda Conklin were delighted to introduce newly appointed New Hampshire Music Festival Director, Donato Cabrera, at a welcome reception in Plymouth last Saturday evening.

        PLYMOUTH — With a little magic, the New Hampshire Music Festival (NHMF) could not have conjured up a Music Director more perfectly suited to its tradition, mission, and hopes for the future than newly appointed Donato Cabrera, who will make his regular Festival debut as Orchestra Conductor when the summer season opens on Thursday, July 11 at the Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University.

        Cabrera was brimming with enthusiasm for the upcoming Festival season as he made the rounds here in central New Hampshire this past week, promoting the upcoming summer classical music season. He was warmly welcomed by donors, patrons and the media during a dizzying schedule of meetings, interviews and festive receptions.

        The youthful, energetic Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) is also the Music Director of the SFS Youth Orchestra and has enjoyed an active and varied international orchestral and operatic conducting career which has taken him from his home base in San Francisco and Los Angeles to the Metropolitan (Doctor Atomic, 2008); from multiple appearances with the Orchestra de Concepcion Chile, to the Vienna Philharmonic (Herbert von karajan Conducting Fellow, Salzburg 2002) just to name a few.

        Cabrera’s humble, lowkey style and easy-going manner will no doubt appeal to Festival musicians and patrons alike. His deep and abiding respect for his fellow musicians –Cabrera originally played the French Horn–is immediately evident in the decisions he has made about the program for his first season with the Festival. Acknowledging that there is a very special “family” feeling amongst musicians and patrons that is unique to the New Hampshire Music Festival, Cabrera has chosen to highlight the talent of some of the beloved veteran Festival Musicians in the summer program.

        The Festival will celebrate the longevity of several of its members, including Joel and Karen Johnson who are celebrating their 50th summer season with the NH Music Fest. At the concert on August 8, Joel Johnson will be the honored feature conductor, and his daughter, the esteemed mezzo soprano Heather Johnson, who “grew up” at the Festival over the years, will be the featured soloist for a Berlioz piece the following week. Trumpet player Keith Johnson (no relation) will also be celebrating his 50th year with the NH Music Fest!

        NHMF Concert Master Malcolm Stewart will be the featured soloist for the ever popular Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 during the inaugural concert of the season. The program that evening will also feature Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, one of the very first pieces that ever performed by the New Hampshire Music Festival when it began 61 years ago.

        “I want to focus on the things that have made this Festival so special over the years,” explained Cabrera. “So when I put the program together, I opened up the old, dusty boxes that were stored in the Music Festival office. I wanted to see what was actually being performed when the festival first started in the 1950’s in order to celebrate the beginnings of the Festival. I found the Overture by Mendelssohn and the Coronation Anthem by Handel for example. Those are great pieces that have not been performed here for at least fifteen or twenty years. I want to celebrate that music.”

        Cabrera’s respect and appreciation for the heritage of the New Hampshire Music Festival is matched only by his openness to new ideas for the future, including those that emanate organically from the festival musicians and patrons themselves.

        “I find that if you go back in history to see what worked in the past, if you take the time to do that research, you come up with new ideas for the future,” said Cabrera. “I found that in the 1960’s and the 1970’s the Festival began to play some pieces that were very avant garde. That can be a hard sell at times, but I thought, if I can find new pieces that I know the audience and the musicians will love, then we can honor that as well.”

        At the suggestion of New Hampshire Music Fest and SFS Orchestra cellist David Goldblatt, Cabrera decided to include a piece by San Francisco Symphony violinist and composer Mark Volkert. The piece, entitled Pandora, was commissioned by the SFS and was received with tremendous enthusiasm by concert-goers there. It will make it’s East Coast debut at the New Hampshire Music Fest on Aug. 1 at the Silver Center for the Arts. Volkert and his wife will fly to New Hampshire to be here for the exciting event.

        “I know everyone will just love it,” said Cabrera.

        His passion for sharing the love of classical music to “kids of all ages” is also abundantly clear as he speaks about extending the reach of the Festival Orchestra into the community throughout New Hampshire. To that end, the Festival this year is re-instituting Family Concerts, designed to appeal to the new generation of fans that will make the future bright for classical music. Youth Tickets for these special family oriented matinee concerts are just $2 and are scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday July 13 and Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Silver Center.

        Cabrera credits his own love of music to his paternal grandmother, who, while not a professional musician, he remembers fondly as “always the life of the party” when he was a very young boy. He remembers sitting on her lap as she played the piano and covering her hands with this own as she entertained the family with the lively Mexican waltzes that were passed down to her from her father at the turn of the last century. His family roots in music run deep and he says he wants to share that love with everyone.

        There is something special scheduled for each and every performance this summer.

        The complete Orchestra, Chamber Music and Family Concert Schedule, as well as special performances in Wolfboro, Gilford and the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, can be found on the New Hampshire Music Festival website at Tickets to concerts at the Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University can be bought online via the Silver Center website, or by calling the box office at 535-2787. Tickets for Concord can be bought online at the Capitol Center for the Arts website or by calling the box office at 225-1111. Tickets for the Gilford and Wolfeboro performances can be obtained by calling the New Hampshire Festival office at 279-3300.

        NH Music Festival’s 61st season offers old favorites, new outreach

        June 11th, 2013 by Lynn

          NH Music Festival’s 61st season offers old favorites, new outreach

          PLYMOUTH — The New Hampshire Music Festival is celebrating its 61st season with a new music director and exciting new concert offerings in Plymouth and beyond.

          The festival’s beloved Orchestral Classics Series presents a fabulous array of repertoire beginning Thursday, July 11. In this season — the first under new Music Director, Donato Cabrera — the Festival Orchestra will continue in its tradition of presenting well-loved repertoire sideby side with engaging recent works.

          Drawing on programs from the early days of the festival and celebrating the anniversaries of Britten, Verdi and Wagner, the festival Orchestra will also perform works by Mozart, Beethoven, Handel and Vivaldi alongside pieces by Stravinsky, de Falla, and an East Coast premiere by American composer Mark Volkert.

          The festival also welcomes back its Conductor Laureate Paul Polivnick, and Director of Choirs Joel Johnson, who, along with several Orchestra members, celebrate their 50th summer season.

          The Pops Series kicks off the 2013 season on Saturday, July 6 led by returning Festival Pops Director Matt Catingub. This patriotic program includes jazz standards and popular favorites to celebrate Independence Day weekend. The season continues with the commencement of the Chamber Music Series, featuring intimate musical experiences performed by members of the festival orchestra. This series begins on Tuesday, July 9.

          The Classics, Pops, and Chamber series take place at the Silver Center for the Arts, on the campus of Plymouth State University. Last year, the Festival signed a ten-year contract with PSU, drawing upon a decades-long relationship between these two institutions, and securing a permanent performance space for the Festival.

          New this year, are two performance initiatives that will broaden the reach of the Festival to new audiences across the state. The Family Concert Series, piloted by Cabrera, will be offered on Saturday, July 13 and August 3.

          Entitled the 603 Series, this endeavor will reach across the Granite state with concerts offered in Gilford and Concord, and will include a joint presentation with the Great Waters Music Festival in Wolfeboro. See the full schedule on the festival’s website for dates and locations.

          For a complete schedule of the New Hampshire Music Festival’s 2013 season, go to



          Experience New Hampshire Music Festival Performances on NHPR’s ClassicalNH (146)

          May 28th, 2013 by Lynn

            Experience New Hampshire Music Festival Performances on NHPR’s ClassicalNH (146)

            Published Date Tuesday, 28 May 2013 01:49

            CONCORD —  Get ready for the New Hampshire Music Festival’s 2013 summer season by enjoying past recordings on ClassicalNH. Every Friday night at 8 p.m., a different Granite State concert is broadcast through this new program.
            The program started on April 12 with a broadcast of the Festival’s program “Joyful Reunion,” featuring music from Bach, Foss and Dvorak. 
            The next performances are as follows:
            May 31: “New Beginnings,” featuring the music of Muhly, Beethoven, Wagner and Stravinsky. Recorded on August 2, 2012 at the Silver Center for the Arts in Plymouth.
            June 14: “Musical Enigmas,” featuring the music of Adams, Faure and Elgar. Recorded on August 9, 2012 at the Silver Center for the Arts in Plymouth.
            June 28: “Jupiter and Titan,” featuring Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter” and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D major “Titan.” Recorded on August 16
            To listen to these performances, tune in to 91.5 and 89.1 HD2 in Concord or visit for a broadcast schedule.

            Dick Hanaway joins Music Festival board

            May 31st, 2012 by Michael

              Dick Hanaway joins Music Festival board

              May 24th, 2012 by Michael

                Dick Hanaway joins Music Festival board

                April 26th, 2012 by Michael

                  Hanaway joins New Hampshire Music Festival board

                  April 17th, 2012 by Michael

                    Music Festival, PSU enter into long-term agreement

                    April 8th, 2012 by Michael

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